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Entries in bakeries (273)

Tuesday
Sep012009

Sweet Spot: Cakes by One Tough Cookie in NYC

Engagement cake by One Tough CookieCupcake by One Tough Cookie
Are you in NYC and in need of a super sweet special occasion cake? Or cupcakes or cookies, for that matter?

Well, according to CakeSpy reader Marie, One Tough Cookie, an NYC-based special order bakery, is the spot. Here's what she had to say:

My fiance Gabriel and I were hosting an engagement party in the Hamptons for our friends and family; being an absolute cake and cookie addict I had to get myself a perfect engagement cake. That's when I discovered OneToughCookie (a friend told me about her), who creates delicious, custom made cakes which she decorates with cookies - real works of art!

I just want to spread the word about her, because by creating my engagement cake she contributed to a perfect day in my life and I will definitely ask her to bake my wedding cake as well (the wedding will be next may...)! I thought you might be interested in her since her cakes are really unique and so tasty...I am absolutely amazed by her work and the cake was a dream!

Based on the pictures, it looks like a great find! For more information, visit onetoughcookienyc.com (warning: music plays upon opening the page).

Thursday
Aug272009

Blonde on Blondie: The Blonde Bombshell from TrixieBakes

Blonde Bombshell Blondie by TrixieBakes
CakeSpy Note: This post appears concurrently on CakeSpy Seattle.

Let's talk about TrixieBakes. I had seen them before: I'd walked by their booth at the Madrona Farmer's Market, but had never purchased one of their brownies because at $4 a pop, they weren't exactly cheap. But after reading the DailyCandy feature on the brownies, paired with a reader writing to tell me how amazing they were, I knew I was going to have to fork over the cash.

Since I am one of those few people who prefers blondies to brownies, of course I had to go for the "blonde bombshell", described on their site as

A luscious blondie with an indecent amount of brown sugar and pecans
You can never be too rich or too dense. Ok, that's not really how the saying goes, but it definitely applies to this big blondie.

Doesn't that just give you a shiver of anticipation?

So, I enjoyed the blondie for breakfast the next morning, and I am happy to report that it was a particularly fine specimen of blondiehood: dense, chewy, and full of butterscotch-y flavor. The pecans were a particularly nice touch, adding a slight crunch and flavor contrast.

But getting back to the price. Was it worth it? Well, no doubt about it, $4 is a lot for a brownie or blondie--I think that most will agree on that. But when I reflect on my blondie experience and how decadent and satisfying it was, I do believe I got $4 worth of joy out of the experience. I'm probably not going to indulge too frequently, but maybe that just makes it more special?

TrixieBakes blondies and brownies are available at the Madrona Farmer's Market each friday, 3-7 p.m.; they're also available at Flying Squirrel Pizza Co., 4920 S Genesee St., Seattle and Pauline Patisserie, 2315 NW Market St. Seattle; also online.

Sunday
Aug232009

This Little Piggy: The Miss Piggy Bacon and Chocolate Chip Cookie, Volunteer Park Cafe, Seattle

"Miss Piggy" Cookie, Volunteer Park Cafe
Bacon in baked goods. It's hardly a new culinary trick, but it has enjoyed a bit of a vogue in recent years, showing up in everything from chocolates to brownies to cupcakes...and now, chocolate chip cookies.

When I visited Volunteer Park Cafe for the first time the other day with my buddies Neil and Judy, we tried out their "Miss Piggy" cookie--a generously sized chocolate chip cookie studded with bacon bits.

In general, I don't seek out bacon in baked goods, feeling like it's more often a shock-value addition than something intended to really bring out the flavors--but in this case, I did feel as if it actually worked. The bacon was used sparingly, so the taste was more of a whisper than a shout. While our consensus was that perhaps the bacon could have been slightly more crisp to add a texture contrast to the chewy cookie, it was overall a pretty successful use of sweet and savory. And for vegeterians, I'm pretty confident that the same would hold true if the cookie had been made with Morningstar's soy-based bacon.

What do you think about bacon in baked goods? Is it simply a shock-value addition, or are there delicious merits?

The Miss Piggy Cookie, Volunteer Park Cafe (call for availability), 1501 17th Avenue East, Seattle; online at alwaysfreshgoodness.com.

Monday
Aug172009

Sweet Art: Just Baked in Michigan

Custom Piece for Just Baked Bakery
I have fallen in love, from afar, with Just Baked, a Detroit-area bakery. I discovered them recently when I was hired by a friend of the owner to do a custom painting depicting cupcakes from their menu hanging out in front of the shop.

But business mixed with pleasure the moment I took a look at their menu, which has a gorgeous array of cupcakes:

 

as well as other baked goods:


 

If you're in the Detroit area, well then, lucky you--because you can taste the magic for yourself! A second location is set to open very soon.

Just Baked is located at 33309 7 Mile Road, Livonia, MI, (248) 255-1441; online at justbakedshop.com‎.

 

 

Sunday
Aug022009

What a Turon-On: A Delicious Find at Delite Bakery

Turon from Delite Bakery, Seattle
Nope: this is not an eggroll. It's even better, because it's dessert.

Say hello to the turon, my most recent discovery at Delite Bakery in Seattle's Beacon Hill. What is a turon (or turrón, as I've seen it elsewhere), exactly? Well, according to Wikipedia,

Though many varieties exist, a typical turrón is plantain and jackfruit wrapped in a springroll wrapper, dipped in brown sugar, then fried. This somewhat resembles banana spring rolls. These are also known as banana fritters.


Oh, and these little confections (which cost only $1.45 each! a steal!) are also exceedingly delicious. Delite's version was made with banana, and had the most delicious slightly crackly, carmelly-sticky crust which gave way to the sweet taste of banana. The banana's texture was perfect: yielding, but not too mushy. A satisfying treat, and surprisingly for something fried, not too heavy--all in all, perfect for a hot day and definitely worth seeking out if you find yourself in the Beacon Hill area (especially easy now, thanks to the light rail).

 

Delite Bakery, 2701 15th Ave S., Seattle. Read more online here!


Of course, if you're not in the Seattle area, you might want to investigate making your own turon--this recipe looks pretty delicious! If you've got another to share, please leave a comment!


Despi Delite Bakery on Urbanspoon

 

Sunday
Jul262009

CakeSpy Undercover: A Cake Gumshoe's Thoughts Cakes on Demand, Chilliwack, BC


CakeSpy Note: This is a guest post from Cake Gumshoe Jess.

What luck: my new neighbour is a baker and the owner of Cakes on Demand. Well, I was so very excited when she arrived at my door to welcome me to the neighbourhood with some of her delicious delights! Caitlin was just leaving when she arrived and quickly retreated back inside the house so that she could partake in the cupcakery confections.

 

They all looked so good it was so hard to decide which one to eat first!

 

Caitlin was quick to zoom in on a fluffy coconut one. Her thoughts? Yum.

I decided to try a coffee one as I am a nut about anything coffee. We were both delighted to find that our cupcakes were cream-filled!

I highly recommend Cakes on Demand to anyone needing a cake or cupcake fix.

Cakes on Demand is a special-order cupcake and cake bakery in Chilliwack, BC; for more information or to make an appointment, visit cakesondemand.com.

To read more about Cake Gumshoe Jess's adventures, visit her blog.

 

 

Wednesday
Jul152009

CakeSpy Undercover: A Cake Gumshoe's Thoughts on Sprinkles Edible Art in Olympia, WA

Corn on the Cob Cupcakes
CakeSpy Note: This is a guest blog post from Cake Gumshoe Roxanne Cooke. Check out her website here!


At Sprinkles Edible Art in Olympia, your cupcake can be dressed up the way you want. Sprinkles, which is dubbed “an interactive pastry shop” on its business cards, offers the “Edible Art experience” either in a kit to take home or directly in the shop. For $6, you get a cupcake, individual cake, cookie, or brownie, as well as a small container of frosting, three different kinds of sprinkles, and a drink.
Sprinkles Edible Art, Olympia
There are dozens of sprinkles of all shapes and colors to choose from, including bear-shaped sprinkles and Christmas-themed sprinkles. Cupcake and frosting flavors cover the basics, such as chocolate cake and cream cheese frosting. Drinks include soda, juice, milk, coffee, and water. Once you order your baked good and gather your sprinkles, you’ll sit at a table with a cupcake-shaped placemat and begin to frost your goodie.
Sprinkles Edible Art, Olympia
Now it’s time for the fun part. I found that each tiny container of sprinkles was more than enough to cover the entire cupcake. I added the other sprinkles just for fun, but most fell onto the plate because there wasn’t anything left to stick to! The chocolate cupcake was good and moist, and the cream cheese frosting was delicious.
Chocolate Cupcake from Sprinkles Edible Art
If you’d rather skip the art experience and get straight to the goods, you can. Cupcakes are $1 for small, $2 for large; brownies are $2.25; cake is $5; and cookies are under $1.
Sprinkles Edible Art, Olympia
On my second visit to Sprinkles, I opted to try a cupcake without all the jazz. The shop was sporting a new display case, and inside were lemon-filled cupcakes that looked too good to pass up.
Lemon Cupcake, Sprinkles Edible art
Though the cake looks a bit like cornbread, it definitely doesn’t taste like it. The cupcake was a tiny bit crumbly, yet still plenty moist and flavorful. The filling was pure heaven, gooey and sweet—but not overly sugary. It was similar to doughnut jelly filling, rather than the lighter lemon curd found in other lemon-filled cupcakes.
Lemon Cupcake
Sprinkles also hosts live music events and rents its space for any special occasion you can think of, from birthday parties to Pampered Chef parties to cookie swaps. There’s plenty of seating, from tables and chairs to couches surrounding a television. A local photographer’s art hangs on the walls, and there is interesting cupcake art near the entrance, including cupcakes-on-the-cob covered in yellow jelly beans and speared with corn cob holders (CakeSpy Note: this project was also done beautifully on Peabody's blog!)

 

Sprinkles Edible Art is an artistic shop with plenty going on. The people working there are always friendly and inquisitive, making sure your experience goes well. The cupcakes are tasty and the topping choices are abundant. Kid or adult, it’s a fun place to visit!

Sprinkles Edible Art, 316 Capitol Way N., Olympia WA, (360) 350-0712; online at sprinklesedibleart.com.

For more of Roxanne Cooke's work, check out her website here.

Do you want to be a Cake Gumshoe too? Feel free to submit bakery reviews or great baked good related finds (with pictures, please) to jessieoleson@gmail.com.

 

Tuesday
Jul142009

CakeSpy Undercover: Amelie's French Bakery, Charlotte, NC

Amelie's Dessert Case
By Cake Gumshoe Shannon Connell


So what’s better than a super-cute French bakery with a variety of delicious home-cooked goodies? One that’s serving up treats around the clock.

 

Stepping into Amelie’s French Bakery and Café was a magical experience. I had high hopes for the bakery, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and I was enchanted at first glance by the chic, bohemian environment.
Cafe Food Menu Board at Amelie's, Charlotte NC

True to its name, once you walk through the door, you may feel as though you’ve stumbled into a bit of Paris mixed in with eclectic, shabby chic décor. Funky lampshades, one-of-a-kind chandeliers and toile adorn the cozy café along with Parisian monikers such as wall-hangings of Marie Antoinette, the Mona Lisa and black-and-white pictures of well-known and loved monuments of the City of Lights.

 

The fabulously French ambiance aside, Amelie’s offers a variety of baked sweet tooth cures in addition to an array of tartines, soups and baguette sandwiches. While the Ham and Gruyere Tartine that I sampled was quite good, the pastries and desserts are the real draw.
Chocolate Mousse Cup at Amelie's, Charlotte NC
The Chocolate Mousse Cup was the consensual and uncontested favorite among Amelie’s employees and me. Creamy, rich chocolate mousse was nestled in a delicate chocolate cup and topped with a luscious and tart chocolate-covered strawberry. To top it all off, the strawberry was situated in a pillow of thick and creamy chocolate frosting. A symphony of tastes in harmony, the Chocolate Mousse Cup was a decadent treat sure to cure any chocoholic.

Another delightful Amelie’s dessert that I sampled was the Salted Caramel Brownie, a moist, chewy fudge-like concoction topped with a salty-sweet layer of soft caramel. The only thing that would make this treat even tastier would be if it was served a la mode.

While the chocolate desserts were my favorite, the Blackberry Lemon Torte is not to be underestimated. The torte had an almond and sugar crust topped with alternating layers of lemon and blackberry custard-like soaked sponge cake, combining sweet and tart flavors with a slight almond crunch.

Other Charlotte favorites of this maven haven include croissants, which are made six times on Saturdays to ensure freshness, and petit fours including the signature, award-winning peanut butter, chocolate ganache and feuilletine petit four. I have yet to experience the simple joys of these popular offerings, but I’ll have the opportunity to do so as I know I’ll return to this sweet spot again and again to enjoy the variety of baked treats offered at all hours of day!

Amelie’s French Bakery & Cafe, 2424 N. Davidson St., Charlotte (704) 376-1718; online at ameliesfrenchbakery.com.

For more of Shannon Connell’s work, check out her website here.


Amélie's... A French Bakery on Urbanspoon

 

Wednesday
Jul082009

In The Raw: Decadent Raw Chocolate Fudge Brownies at Chaco Canyon

Raw Brownie from Chaco Canyon Cafe, Seattle
Usually when one thinks of raw foods the images conjured up are very crunchy-granola health foodie sorts of foods, but clearly most people have not been properly introduced to the raw chocolate brownie at Chaco Canyon Cafe.

This is a serious brownie in several ways. Starting with the price--weighing in at $4.95 plus tax, it's a lot of investment for a relatively small amount of brownie. It's noticeably more expensive than their vegan (baked) brownie at $2.25. (Ten points if you can shed some light on that.)

Luckily, you've got Cake Gumshoes who will taste-test for you in the name of research; and so recently the $5.20 or so was forked over in order to sample this uncooked treat.

Now, not to get overly dramatic about it, but this brownie is worth every penny. I'd go so far as to say this may be one of the more perfect desserts I've tried in recent memory. Honestly. And I'm not alone: turns out CakeSpy buddy Tea (who is like, a famous food writer) is also a fan.
Delicious

The name "brownie" is a misnomer, really. It's really more of a bar cookie, comprised of three distinct layers: a hazelnut-date crust topped with raw cacao and coconut and topped with a generous smattering of hazelnuts. And oh, what joy lies within those three layers. The raw cacao and coconut oil layer is one of the most decadent, melt-in-your mouth fillings I have ever tasted--so creamy, so rich and chocolatey--and yet, somehow, not too sweet. It finds the perfect complement in the tightly packed, nutty crust, which has a perfect amount of salt added (and this can never be underestimated), which really rounds out the sweetness in a most tantalizing way. The added crunch of hazelnuts on top is a nice touch and gives a really pleasing texture contrast to all that creaminess in the middle layer.

This brownie is an absolute delight. It absolutely defies any preconceived notions about vaguely healthy-tasting and ultimately unsatisfying raw desserts: it's one of those truly decadent sweets that makes you want to take a nap afterward. And if you do, you'll pretty much be guaranteed sweet dreams.

Raw Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Chaco Canyon Cafe, 4757 12th Avenue NE, Seattle; online at chacocanyoncafe.com.

CakeSpy Note: Looking for a recipe? In looking around online, I found this one which uses walnuts but otherwise seems comparable.

Sunday
Jul052009

CakeSpy Undercover: A Cake Gumshoe's Thoughts on Indulge Cupcakes in Puyallup, WA

Indulge Cupcakes, Photos and Writeup by Roxanne Cooke
CakeSpy Note: This is a guest blog post from Cake Gumshoe Roxanne Cooke. Check out her website here!

Live life one cupcake at a time.
Keep calm and have a cupcake.
Are you checking out my cupcake?


Inside Indulge Cupcakes in Puyallup, you’ll find a variety of cupcake sayings, as well as a variety of cupcake flavors. Indulging here is simple.

 

Indulge Cupcakes, Photos and Writeup by Roxanne Cooke
The bakers at Indulge have the classics covered: vanilla with chocolate or vanilla buttercream, chocolate with vanilla or chocolate buttercream, and red velvet with vanilla buttercream.

Indulge also offers chocolate chip mint, lemon with lemon cream cheese frosting, cinnamon swirl, caramel macchiato, and orange dreamsicle. The lemon and orange dreamsicle cupcakes have freshly squeezed juice in their batters.

The shop sells a few specialty cupcakes, including carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, coconut with coconut buttercream, cherry chip, and strawberry shortcake.
Regular cupcakes cost $2.80 and specialty cupcakes are $3.75. The rest of the menu is devoted to drinks: espresso, tea, and smoothies. There’s a shelf full of cupcake-themed items, including cards and cupcake-shaped ceramic containers. Indulge also rents its space for events, such as baby showers.


On two separate occasions in June, I visited the downtown Puyallup shop with a friend. On our first visit, it was near closing time, and we ordered the chocolate chip mint and red velvet. Both were a bit dry, but we chalked this up to the late hour. The frosting, while beautifully done, was a bit sugary for our taste buds.
Indulge Cupcakes, Photos and Writeup by Roxanne Cooke
Before leaving, I bought a cherry chip cupcake to go and kept it in my fridge for a few days before tasting it. The cupcake was yellow on the outside and pink on the inside. It was moist and sweet, but not overpowering.

 

Cupcake from Indulge Cupcakes, Puyallup WA

On our second visit, we arrived early in the day and tried the caramel macchiato and carrot cake cupcakes. The caramel macchiato (pictured directly above), featuring a coffee bean on top and caramel syrup swirled over the frosting, had a delicious coffee flavor, but the frosting was still on the too-sweet side. The carrot cake (pictured below), now my favorite at Indulge, was just about perfect. The ratio of cake to frosting was more manageable, the frosting felt smoother and tasted less sugary, and the cake was rich, moist, and flavorful. Plus, it’s just cute!

 

Indulge Cupcakes, Photos and Writeup by Roxanne Cooke
I’ll definitely be going back to Indulge Cupcakes to try their other cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, and to see what other specials they come up with. The people running the shop are always friendly, there’s interesting art on the walls, and their beautiful cupcake creations are fun to try.
Indulge Cupcakes, Photos and Writeup by Roxanne Cooke

Indulge Cupcakes, 207 N. Meridian, Puyallup, 253-904-8234; online at indulgecupcakes.com. For more of Roxanne Cooke's work, check out her website here.


Do you want to be a Cake Gumshoe too? Feel free to submit bakery reviews or great baked good related finds (with pictures, please) to jessieoleson@gmail.com.

 

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