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Entries in bakeries (274)

Sunday
Feb072010

Sweet Love: A Bakery and Baking Blog Crush on Cupcakes and Sundry Cupcakery, Toronto

It's happened again. Like a ray of buttercream sunshine straight to the heart, CakeSpy has another bakery crush. This time it's a double dose of delicious, because Cupcakes and Sundry is not only a custom order baking business, but also a delectable baking blog.

So who's behind all of this sweetness? Head baker Stephanie is a teacher by day, baker and blogger by night. What moves her?

I've been in love with cupcakes all of my life. In March 2008, I started making cupcakes as a hobby in my little apartment kitchen. Every week I'd pump out a different flavour for my friends and colleagues to try and to judge. Everyone has their personal favourite; mine strawberry angel food cake (picture on photo page) and a new flavour the peanut butter colossal.

I like to swirl and sprinkle, dip and glaze, fill and layer, pipe and top or just make cupcakes simple and sweet. Birthday, holiday or any occasion cupcakes are a perfect dessert after any meal.

And now that you have the backstory, howsabout the goods?

On the menu, you can build your own cupcakes using various cupcake flavors, fillings and frostings--love that. And oh, what an array of flavors--the chocolate chip cupcookie with cream cheese frosting sounds pretty good to me--or perhaps some vanilla cake with boston cream filling and chocolate frosting for a sort of Boston cream pie shout-out? Oh, you lucky Canadians who can order Cupcakes and Sundry wares!

Of course, for those not in the Toronto area, instant pleasure is available via the Cupcakes and Sundry blog, where you can follow Stephanie's day to day adventures, and you have access to some of the recipes she loves. Don't know about you, but within five minutes I was able to find a bunch of baking ideas I wanted to try--including Snickerdoodle cupcakes, cotton candy cupcakes, coffee and doughnut cupcakes, Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes, macaroons, and -- OMG-- these: 

Yup--Cupcakes and Sundry deserves to be loved.

You can check out Cupcakes and Sundry in several ways: if interested in ordering, visit the order page; if you want to keep up with the baking adventures, visit the blog; if you want some seriously sweet pictures to tempt you, visit the Flickr page.

Saturday
Feb062010

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler: New Orleans King Cake from Sucre

So, recently I was contacted by Sucré (say it: soo-kray), a bakery in New Orleans, inquiring if I'd like them to send me a sample of their king cake. They assured me it was one of the best.

It's ok if you're jealous. This is really kind of an awesome thing to have someone offer.

Needless to say, there wasn't a type point-size large enough on my email to fully convey the powerful "YES" I wanted to send back. But they must have gotten the idea, because a few days later, this was on my doorstep.

(Olive the pug was keenly interested in this parcel.)

There was a pretty box inside...

And then within that...

Behold, the Sucré King Cake. A ring of twisted, buttery dough sweetened with cinnamon and sugar and filled with a whipped cream cheese filling. 

And it sparkles.

Really, I'm not sure if the pictures quite convey it, but this is an exceedingly lovely cake to look at.

And it tastes just as gorgeous as it looks. 

The cake itself has a texture like a cross between brioche and croissant, simultaneously light and rich, and redolent with buttery flavor. The cream cheese filling infuses each bite with a sweet, dense richness which adds a smooth contrast to the buttery flakiness of the exterior. It's all beautifully topped with a layer of thin confectioners' sugar icing which adds just a bit more sweetness and balances out the slight savoriness of the cream cheese filling. One taster said if anything he would have enjoyed a slightly thicker layer of icing, but it's not like he left any of his slice uneaten.

While a great teatime cake, I found it tasted best for breakfast--kind of like a fancy, sparkly danish. It pairs beautifully with a dark, strong coffee.

Now, because I know that receiving something for free can affect one's opinion, I purposefully did not look at the price of the cake and independently polled tasters as to how much they would pay for such a confection before looking up the actual cost. People estimated anywhere from $40  to $60 including shipping, which makes it all the more delightful to say that if you buy a Sucré king cake, it costs only $19.95 plus $9.95 shipping in the US. Honestly, I think that's a pretty great value! Of course, once you get on their site, escaping without purchasing some gorgeous macarons (including Mardi Gras-themed ones! Pictured below), chocolates or confections in addition to your King Cake may prove difficult.

Final word? The Sucré King Cake gets an A+ from CakeSpy. Vive le Roi!

King Cakes and other confections by Sucré can be purchased online at shopsucre.com. If you're in New Orleans, aren't you lucky, because you can experience the magic in person, at their retail shop, at 3025 Magazine Streeet, New Orleans, LA 70115.

Thursday
Feb042010

Cake Byte: Semla Available at Seattle's Svedala Bakery

Semla from Svedala

What a happy note to receive in the mail today from CakeSpy buddy Ann, who wrote to say

I just leaned that semlor (which is the plural of semla, I'm told) are available now from Svedala Bakery (yay!).  You have to order them, and they don't ship the semlor because they wouldn't last (what with the whipped cream and all).

My friends and I are plotting our new annual tradition of stuffing ourselves with as many semlor as possible while they're available, so this is good news.

Indeed Ann is right, this is good news. In case you missed the feature on the sweet Swedish specialty last year, basically this is like heaven on a plate, a cardomom-spiced yeast-raised wheat bun filled with almond paste and whipped cream. Per Sweden.se,

 

The plump, cream-filled buns traditionally eaten on Tuesdays begin appearing in shops as early as January 1. Fat Tuesday would be more aptly named fat January, February and March.

And if you're in Seattle, they're available through Svedala Bakery! They no longer have a retail storefront, but you can special-order semla for pickup by calling 206.890.9774 or visiting their website, svedalabakery.com.

Tuesday
Jan262010

Sweet Love: A Bakery Crush on Sara Snacker Cookie Company



What happens when a former TV producer switches gears and decides to start producing sweet treats? 

You get spectacular productions of sweetness, that's what happens.

Say hello to Sara Snacker Cookie Company, "a milk and cookies company" run by Sara Leand, who left behind the world of creating and producing shows for the likes of TLC, E!, and Lifetime to start creating get-fat-now treats which meld old-school nostalgia with new-school creativity and awesomeness.

Some of the menu's highlights? 

The Chipn'etzel Cookie is their signature product, a kitchen sink-type cookie which combines many of the best snack foods--pretzels and potato chips--into one delicious cookie. There are variations which include dark and white chocolate drizzles, in case the original isn't rich enough for you.

The CandyPop Cookie is one of those cookies which makes children shiver with joy and dentists quiver with fear: a cookie with lollipop bits baked inside, topped with a gumball center.

Chocolate Dipped Twinkies and Devil Dogs: Want to get fat in an extremely enjoyable way? How 'bout eating one (or three) of these Twinkies enrobed in thick white chocolate or a Devil Dog smothered in deep, dark chocolate? Goodness gracious--somewhere Paula Deen is shedding a tear over these babies.

Homemade versions of classic cookies and candies: Homemade animal crackers (you can actually tell what animals they are!) and Tootsie Rolls that "won't break your teeth"--yes please!

Yup: this is what love looks like.

Where can you get Sara Snacker sweets? Right now there is limited availability in fancy food stores in the NYC area; however, they can ship anywhere in the USA! Here's a link to their online store; for more information, visit sarasnacker.com.

Monday
Jan252010

Sweets for the Sweet: Sugar Bakery and Cafe Debuts Valentine's Day Treats

Whew! Is it getting sweet in here, or is it just the newest roster of sweet treats available at Seattle's Sugar Bakery + Cafe? These sweet treats are the perfect gift for your Valentine, or a perfect Valentine gift for yourself!

Valentine's Cookie and Truffle Gift Basket: Filled with fresh cookies, truffles, and other sweet stuff. $20. (Baked Fresh to order)

Valentine's Cookie Decorating and Truffle Making Class: Learn how to decorate fancy schmancy cookies and make chocolate truffles. You'll leave with two gift boxes full of goodies to bring to your sweeties. Two classes available: Kids Class: Thursday February 11th, 5:30-7:30pm. Kids under 18 only. Everybody Class: Friday February 12th, 5:30-7:30pm. Everybody welcome. $45. (Includes 3 boxes of goodies plus treats for yourself!)

Valentine's Cupcakes: Cupcakes are the perfect little treat, especially in our cute little boxes. We vary our flavors daily, but we'll always have our famous truffle filled red velvet with cream cheese frosting. $3.35/ea or $36/dozen (Baked Fresh Every Morning)

Sweetheart Cakes: Special cakes made just for two, available in red velvet with cream cheese frosting or chocolate with ganache or vanilla buttercream. $15. (Includes customized inscription)

For more information, visit Sugar Bakery & Cafe • 1014 Madison Street • Seattle, WA 98104; online at sugarbakerycafe.com

Monday
Jan252010

Essential Sweetness: Valentine's Day Specials at Essential Baking Company, Seattle

This year, Seattle's Essential Baking Company urges us all to "forgo the overdone heart-shaped box of chocolates and surprise your loved ones this Valentine's Day with artisan breads, pastries and desserts". Marketing ploy (since the company obviously doesn't offer boxes of chocolates)? Perhaps. But good idea? Definitely. Why? Just take a look at their menu of sweet treats which will be around for a limited time only (the Cara Mia cake from now til February 14; the other desserts through Feb. 23):

Cara Mia: "My Beloved" in Italian, this heart-shaped chocolate bread is kissed with chocolate chunks and cherries embraced by a sweet French bread sprinkled with sugary love.

Valentino Cake Cookie: This hand-held delight consists of two moist chocolate cake cookies spread with a luscious raspberry buttercream frosting and pressed together for a sweet and irresistible treat.

and their line of Parisian Star Desserts:

Chocolate Syrah Seduction: This heart-shaped chocolate cake is enrobed in chocolate ganache blended with a reduction of Chateau St. Michelle Syrah  for a deep, rich flavor, all in a dark chocolate cup decorated with beads of white chocolate mousse.

Cherry Jubilee: Cherries soaked in Kirsch are suspended in a light mascarpone filling, all tucked into a velvety dark chocolate mousse atop a chocolate-almond cake.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Heart: A dark chocolate heart-shaped cup filled with a light peanut butter mousse and chocolate brownie chunks, sprinkled with chopped peanuts and topped with a dark chocolate heart.

Porcupine Chocolate Heart: This chocolate chiffon cake is brushed with Grand Marnier and layered with Belgian dark chocolate mousse, then covered in dark chocolate with white and dark chocolate spikes.

Raspberry Linzer Tart: Raspberry jam fills the buttery shortbread crust and lattice topping made with Northwest hazelnuts.

What are you waiting for? Call in advance to ensure availability or to special order; locations and more information can be found at essentialbaking.com.

Sunday
Jan242010

Not a Fritter: The Glorious Snitter from Nielsen's Pastries

Pop Quiz: What is a snitter?

No, you're not gonna Google your way out of this one. If you consult Wikipedia, you'll discover that it is "Snitter is a village and civil parish in Northumberland, England. It is near the Northumberland National Park. The closest town is Rothbury."

True as this may be, Wikipedia has clearly never been to Nielsen's Pastries, a little Danish bakery in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, where, nestled among the danish and cookies is an unassuming flat little treat with streaks of cinnamon, cream, and sugary glaze on top. The signpost in front declares "Snitter - a flat cinnamon roll". Oddly, while there is another Scandinavian baked good known as Hindbaer Snitter, the Nielsen's version doesn't seem to resemble it very much (that one kind of looks like Danish meets Pop Tart!).

Now, on first impression, the snitter appears to have a face (and name) that only a mother would love. But one bite and you'll see the light. It's got all of the magic of a cinnamon roll, but compressed into one dense little package, bursting with rich, buttery, cinnamon flavor--and the healthy dollop of custard on top certainly doesn't hurt. 

So what is a snitter? One of the most beautiful ugly pastries you'll ever meet.

The Snitter can be found at Nielsen's Pastries (which, incidentally, is also the home of the Potato), 520 2nd Avenue West, Seattle; online at nielsenspastries.com.

 

Thursday
Jan212010

Sweet Love: A Bakery Crush on Coco Cake, Vancouver BC

Photos by Lyndsay Sung and Amy Pelletier

If it were legal to marry a cupcake business, I'd probably propose to Coco Cake in Vancouver.

Why? Well, if you have to ask, you've clearly never checked out the website. Why not go there now?

Probably now you have an idea of why Coco Cake ought to be adored, but just for fun, let's talk about some of the reasons why it's a CakeSpy pick.

Coco Cake is totally sweet: The operation is run by Lyndsay Sung, an "artist and fun-loving baker" whose sense of whimsy is matched by a slight dark humor (bloody hand cupcakes to raise awareness for workplace safety, anyone?) that makes for simply irresistible cakes.

Coco Cake is thoughtful: When asked the open-ended question "why cupcakes?" baker Lyndsay had a thoughtful and thought-provoking response: "I think in an aesthetic sense, cupcakes appeal to me, especially when done artfully and with care and a nice sense of design. I also love vintage-look cakes, old school buttercream techniques, anything well-designed. I hate it when you go into a shop and you can tell someone has frosted their cupcakes so sloppily with no regard or real caring. I really do care about my cupcakes and think about them often on their journeys out into the world!"

Coco Cake is inventive: You've heard of Red Velvet...but how about Brown Velour? It's a Coco Cake original--in Lyndsay's words, "it's a play on the idea of the Red Velvet, because ... don't murder me, world-- but I'm not a fan of the cake part of a red velvet cake, but I love the creamcheese frosting. So Brown Velour is a dark chocolate cupcake topped with vanilla creamcheese frosting. More what I would hope to bite into rather than the bland weird red muffin taste of some red velvet cakes. The name Brown Velour also makes me think of an old lady with lavender hair boogying it up on a dancefloor in a brown velour tracksuit...!

Coco Cake enjoys life balance: Baker Lyndsay makes an adorably sweet cupcake burger. But in truth, she's just as passionate about the savory versions! "I actually love regular burgers and hot dogs as much as I love the cake versions!" she says, adding a tip for visitors to Vancouver: "We have this awesome hot dog stand in Vancouver called Japadog. Japanese style hot dogs, with nori, Japanese mayo, miso, all sorts of yummy/crazy sauces." Life is about balance, and Coco Cake embraces all of the major food groups!

For more, visit cococake.com or keep updated via the Coco Cake blog!

Monday
Jan182010

Sweet Love: A Bakery Crush on Hello Kookie, San Francisco

Love's sweet arrow (or was that the dentist's drill?) has struck CakeSpy's sweet tooth again--and its name is Hello Kookie.

Upon discovering their site through a DailyCandy Kids feature, an immediate sweet crush formed.

Hello Kookie was born when owner Dina couldn't find cute, simple and organic cookies for her son's birthday; teaming up with her buddy Wendy, they decided to create a cookie (or kookie, as they call it) which would be enjoyable for kids--but fun for parents too.

And to that point, their cookies are adorable without being too precious -- rendered in an anime style, these sweets are like beautiful graphics made edible.

But they also take taste seriously: their tagline is "cute...but not too cute to eat."

Currently these cookies are available via special order in the Bay Area; however, orders can also be shipped in the US. For more details, check out their FAQ page or keep updated on their progress via their blog!

 

Sunday
Jan172010

CakeSpy Undercover: Mount Bakery, Bellingham, WA

In Washington, there is a mountain of keen interest to outdoorsy types called Mount Baker.

But to cake gumshoe-ing types, Bellingham's Mount Bakery is a much more palatable proposition.

This place isn't strictly a bakery--it is also a cafe serving breakfast (including a gorgeous Eggs Benedict, if you're into that savory stuff) and lunch items. But we're here to talk about the sweet stuff right now.

On our recent visit, after the requisite period of analyzing the choices, we settled on some solid choices: the black bottom muffin and the Linzer Cookie.

Now, for those who have not been initiated into the black bottom muffin club, they are basically one of the best muffins out there (with a possible rival in the doughnut muffin), in that they don't even pretend to be healthy: they're largely comprised of cream cheese and chocolate. Dense and moist, taster Nicole commented that she was impressed how the cream cheese taste permeated the entire muffin--definitely a decadent treat.

And as for the Linzer Cookie (the cookie version of the famous tart by the same name)--oh, what a cookie.

For one thing, it already wins points because it's a sandwich cookie--and everyone knows that sandwich cookies are basically the best excuse to eat two cookies at once and not be judged.

But it's even better when the cookies are excellent, like these: they're lightly crumbly (not quite as much as a pecan sandy, say, but slightly more than a sugar cookie), extremely buttery, and nicely complemented with a layer of slightly tart preserves and a sweet layer of confectioners' sugar on top.

(Oh, and as a P.S. -- right next door is a cupcake shop which says "coming soon" called Icing on the Cake!)

Mount Bakery, 308 W Champion St, Bellingham, WA 98225; online at mountbakery.com.

Mount Bakery on Urbanspoon

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