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Entries in books (28)

Wednesday
Oct102012

Daily Sweet: Good Housekeeping Little Book of Baking

Little Book of Baking

Today, I asked my cupcake (which lives on a pony): "What do you think of this book?" It has a big name for a tiny book: Good Housekeeping The Little Book of Baking: 55 Homemade Cookies, Cakes, Cupcakes & Pies to Make & Share.

Little Book of Baking

And after reviewing it for a few minutes, the cupcake said "you should buy it."

Why is that? Helpfully, the cupcake gave me several reasons.

Grape and ginger tart

It has interesting recipes. I'd never seen a recipe for a Grape and Ginger Tart before! Helpful tips!

It has helpful tips. You never can be too educated. Yummy stuff

It has tasty versions of classic recipes. For example: hazelnut brownies; cherry-pistachio biscotti. Not crazy-different, but they might just challenge you a little bit. Tasty classics  

Why not listen to the cupcake? Find the book online here: Good Housekeeping The Little Book of Baking: 55 Homemade Cookies, Cakes, Cupcakes & Pies to Make & Share.

 

Thursday
Mar292012

Delicious Volume: Midwest Sweet Baking History by Jenny Lewis

Brownies: a midwest baking classic!

I'm fond of saying that "everything tastes better with a backstory". After all, isn't it more fun to eat a chocolate chip cookie while imagining Ruth Wakefield in a Massachusetts toll house, trying to take a shortcut making chocolate cookies by adding chocolate chunks, and inadvertently creating an American icon? Or picturing a hapless baker in St. Louis mixing up the sugar and flour in a recipe and ending up with Gooey Butter cake? 

If you find this sweet lore fascinating, then you should probably go ahead and invest in the new release Midwest Sweet Baking History: Delectable Classics around Lake Michigan by Jenny Lewis. It's published by The History Press. Did you know they existed? I didn't, but I am glad I do now--they have a ton of interesting books.

a book I like a lot

This volume is a comprehensive source for learning about the popular treats of the Lake Michigan region--but really, it goes beyond that. 

While you'll get plenty of sweet stories about specific foods, you'll also get a very interesting primer and backstory on the general history of baking in America.

There are chapters devoted to the development of popular baking ingredients (ever wonder when baking soda became a common pantry item?) and the developments in kitchen technology which played into what and how we ate. Author Jenny Lewis, who is a pastry chef, Certified Culinary Educator (did you know that was a thing? I didn't! I also didn't know all of these degrees existed!), and clearly One Smart Cookie, also gives some of the backstory on companies such as Kraft, Nabisco, and even smaller manufacturers in the Midwest such as Lessafre Yeast Company.

And then there are recipes. Yes! From historical--including one of the first printed brownie recipes, from the Chicago area, old fashioned doughnuts, and homespun pies--to contemporary, such as peach crumble with cornmeal cinnamon streusel, apple tart with salted caramel, and cherry whiskey cake.

Morever, what we learn is that recipes--and baking methods--aren't so much invented as they evolve--and so, the popular baked goods will reflect the immigration patterns of the United states, often the result of "old country" favorites getting a "new world" makeover based on the kitchen technology and ingredients available in the new surroundings. And it's a fascinating and delectable journey.

Buy the book here: Midwest Sweet Baking History: Delectable Classics around Lake Michigan; listen to an interesting interview with the author here.

Monday
Mar122012

Sweet Discovery: Cake Magic by Kate Shirazi

Cake Magic

Recently, I was sent a review copy of a book called Cake Magic by Kate Shirazi. And after careful review, I have decided that even if it hadn't been sent to me for free, I'd probably buy this book. And I would recommend it to friends, too.

Now, I don't want to be bossy about it. But I know that you're not going to really read the reasons (the creative projects, the fun lore and stories in the headnotes, the user-friendly format), so I'm just going to go right to showing you five things that intrigued me right away in the book.

First off: English Madeleines? What? I've never heard of such of a thing. But gosh, now I want to get to know them better.

Cake Magic

Second: Little tarts featured with a photo of little dollhouse people. I don't even care what flavor they are, I want one! Cute.

Cake Magic book

Third: Teacakes that look like some sort of tricked-out Mallomar. I vote yes on this. 

Cake Magic

Fourth: The snuggle loaf. I have had the urge to snuggle with carbohydrates before, and I consider this permission to act on this urge.

Cake Magic

Fifth: The Fancy Pants cheesecake. Eat it with your pinkies out, yo!

Cake Magic

Ready to buy? Thought so. Find it here: Cake Magic.

Tuesday
Feb212012

Save the Date: Joy The Baker at CakeSpy Shop on March 17!

Want the recipe? Come buy the book!Save the date, sweeties.

Joy the Baker is coming to CakeSpy Shop in Seattle!

We are THRILLED to be hosting this extra-special event for our dear friend, Joy the Baker! Join us to celebrate Joy and her first cookbook at CakeSpy Shop on Saturday, March 17th! Come hang out with Joy, CakeSpy founder Jessie, and the winner of the "So You Wanna Be a CakeSpy?" contest, Molly Allen!

Want to learn more about the book? OK.

Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes is a celebration of butter, sugar, and cream--all of our favorites! Everyone is just looking for an excuse to eat chocolate for breakfast, and this book is reason enough to indulge. With 100 recipes and photographs, like Avocado Pound Cake to The Best Chocolate Bundt Cake, the Joy the Baker Cookbook is designed to be fun, approachable, and meant to make you feel like a wizard in the kitchen.

Joy will be here to tell us all about her awesome new book, answer questions for her fans, and of course have a stack of books to sign!

Date: March 17

Time: 3-6pm

Location: CakeSpy Shop, 415 East Pine Street, Seattle; 206.325.1592

Check out the Facebook invite here. Oh, and you might like to hear the interview with Joy and CakeSpy together, too!

Friday
Nov042011

Giveaway: Ultimate Cookies by Julia Usher

You know what? Because you're sweet and I like you, I feel like offering up a giveaway.

The sweet prize you could win? How 'bout a copy of Julia M Usher's Ultimate Cookies book?

If you're not familiar with Julia Usher's work, well then, you're in for a treat. Full of gorgeous aspirational cookies (I say that because I personally have not made anything from the book yet, but I have looked through it lovingly, and said "someday" at many of the projects), this book contains recipes and tutorials for cookies that are certain to wow a crowd, such as cookie sailboats, fancy cookie rings, and 3-d collage cookies. It's really a delight.

How do you enter to win a copy of this beautiful book? Oh, it's easy. What I need you to do--in the comments section below, or on the CakeSpy facebook page--is simply tell me the following:

What kind of cookies are you most excited about baking this holiday season?

The fine print: this giveaway will close on Friday, November 11, at noon PST; a winner will be chosen at random. Because of high shipping rates, I am only able to offer this giveaway to US and Canadian entrants!

Friday
Sep232011

Sweet Find: Scanwiches by Jon Chonko

From Scanwiches by Jon Chonko, published by powerHouse Books.I am absolutely obsessed with the new book Scanwiches by Jon Chonko, published by Powerhouse Books. This book features oddly sexy, almost Damien Hirst-style sandwich cross sections, presented in a high design sort of way and then gives a blurb about the sandwich's specs and place in society. While it is not a recipe book per se, it does feature the "construction" of each sandwich, so it invites readers to create their own versions (or seek out the best in their town). 

But don't take my word for it all; here's the official book description.

Scanwiches takes the sandwich and spreads it out for all to see. There's nothing quaint or humble about its presentation. From full-frontal, cross sections of monsters like the Dagwood and club, to minute, geometric tea sandwiches whose construction looks more like minimalist art than culinary creation, Scanwiches presents unabashed food porn that satiates even the most severe sandwich fetish. A supernova of swirling bread, cheese, meat, and lettuce, suspended in a black, vacuous space, and reproduced at actual size, each sandwich lays imposing, exposed, and tantalizing. Complimented by text revealing the origins and development of each sandwich throughout history, you'll learn to love and lust after these lowbrow delicacies in a whole new way.

From Scanwiches by Jon Chonko, published by powerHouse Books.But why should it be written up on a cake and dessert themed website? Because while there aren't many dessert sandwiches, there are enough to make it of interest to the dessert lover. Profiles on the fluffernutter and on sweet tea sandwiches captured my interest in particular, and I think they would interest you, too. In fact, the tea sandwich has spawned the idea for my next entry on Serious Eats (picture preview below!).

Buy the book Scanwiches here.

Wednesday
Sep212011

Save the Date: Official CakeSpy Book Launch Party at CakeSpy Shop on October 13

People. It's happening.

My book is out. It's called CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life. It rules. It's available for purchase. And on October 13 at CakeSpy Shop, at 415 East Pine Street in Capitol Hill, Seattle, we're gonna have a party to celebrate this momentous occasion.

If you're not in Seattle, don't despair: it's also the kickoff of my lovely and amazing Tour de Sweet book tour, which will span the entire nation (lucky you!). And I sincerely promise to draw a cupcake, unicorn, or robot in every book, free of charge. Um, the books you still have to pay for though.

But back to the launch party at the store.

What to expect: an informal open-house type setting where we will have cake and treats (I will have 4-5 types of sweets made from recipes in the book!), alcohol (woooo!), original artwork as featured in the book on sale in the gallery, and my lovely little self on hand to sign the books which you should plan on buying. 

  • Date: Thursday, October 13 (this is also the night of the Cap. Hill art walk!)
  • Time: 6pm-???
  • Location: CakeSpy Shop, 415 E. Pine Street, Seattle, WA; online at cakespyshop.com

For the rest of the tour dates, click here! To purchase the book in advance, visit cakespyshop.com.

Thursday
Aug042011

Sweet Reading: Cookies and Cream Scones Recipe and a Giveaway for The Secret Ingredient by Laura Schaefer

Reading is totally sweet. We all know that. But novels are even sweeter when they involve baking recipes! A few years ago, I was charmed by Laura Shaefer's young adult novel The Teashop Girls, about three friends who are trying to save the main character's grandmother's tea shop in Madison, WI; now, there's a follow-up novel entitled The Secret Ingredient, which is a sweet but not saccharine continuation of the tale of Annie and her friends growing up and learning their place in the world--this time centering around a scone-making blogging competition.

So, they're super cute books for young girls to read, but happily, Paula Wiseman books has offered a copy of The Secret Ingredient for giveaway! Just add a comment to this post (or comment on the CakeSpy facebook page) with your favorite type of scone. 

and--bonus! Here's a recipe for one of the scones from the book.

Cookies and Cream Scones

Adapted from The Secret Ingredient

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup chopped sandwich cookies (I used about 8 coarsely chopped berry oreos, because they were pink in the middle)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup milk

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients together first; cut in the butter. Stir in the beaten egg and the cookie pieces. 
  3. Slowly add the buttermilk to form a thick dough. Knead the dough on a board, roll to a 1-inch thickness, and cut the dough into 2-inch rounds or triangles.
  4. Place each piece on a greased cookie sheet and brush the tops with the milk. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Thursday
Jul282011

Sweet Giveaway: Win a Copy of You Are My Cupcake By Joyce Wan!

FACT: You could use some more cuteness in your life. But how? Answer: a copy of You Are My Cupcake , the adorable new book by Joyce Wan, which focuses on terms of endearment, delivered with a ton of cute illustrations.

And--lucky you--Joyce has offered up three copies to give away on this very site! Like, OMG!

How do you enter to win? It's like, so easy. Simply confess the cutest pet name you use for your partner (or your pup, or kitty, or sister, whatever) in the comments section below, or on the CakeSpy Facebook page. It doesn't have to be pastry-related (but you know that we'll probably enjoy those ones best).

Three winners (US only this time, please!) will be chosen at random on next Friday, August 5; the winners will be contacted and announced once they have been confirmed.

Good luck!

Thursday
Jun232011

Five Reasons Seattle Dessert Lovers Must Buy Keren Brown's Food Lover's Guide to Seattle

If you live in Seattle, you pretty much need to buy the newly released book Food Lovers' Guide to Seattle: Best Local Specialties, Markets, Recipes, Restaurants & Events by Keren Brown.

If you don't know Keren Brown (if you live in Seattle, and are involved with food at all, you probably do), she basically knows everything about the Seattle food scene. And this book is her love letter to the city and food she loves. 

In the book, she shares "the inside scoop on the best places to find, enjoy, and celebrate these culinary treasures. A bounty of mouthwatering delights awaits you in this engagingly written guide, as well as a rich array of other, indispensable food-related information including Favorite restaurants and landmark eateries, Specialty food stores and markets, Food festivals and culinary events, and even recipes from some of Seattle's top chefs."

But for sweet-lovers, I'll give you five good reasons why you should buy this book.

  1. CakeSpy Shop is featured! A self-serving reason, yes. It is featured as a spot for gifts for foodies (although my store does not sell food!). OMG!
  2. There is an entire section dedicated to the city's best baked goods. Really, this reason alone would probably be enough to make the book worth buying, but please, see reason #1.
  3. You might just learn about a new specialty shop. I know I did! For instance, although I had vaguely heard of Punjab Sweets in Kent before, Keren's detailed listing of this confectionery shop has now made it a high priority on my to-do list!
  4. There's a section on sweets on the Eastside too. As an urbanite who often "doesn't go over there", it was nice to have a short-list of some of the best for when I do venture over the water.
  5. There are recipes from local chefs. For drinks, main courses (from the likes of one of my foodie heroes Kurt Dammeier)...but also desserts. One I can't wait to try? The Chocolate Ganache Cakes recipe from local celebrity chef Maria Hines. 

And if these reasons haven't enticed you to buy my friend's book, then I am not sure we can be friends anymore. Buy it here. Keep up with Keren via her website, franticfoodie.com.

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