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Entries in Brooklyn (8)

Tuesday
Jun282011

Peter Pancakes: Ricotta Pancakes With Fruit from Five Leaves, Brooklyn NY

For those of you who have ever thought "Pancakes! Great Idea!" and then carb-o-loaded only to find yourselves sugar-crashed, carb-full but oddly still hungry two hours later, I have two words for you: Ricotta. Pancakes.

This sweet stack of awesome was obtained at Five Leaves Cafe in the Greenpoint/Williamsburgish crossroads of Brooklyn, NY, after we saw the party at the next table order it and couldn't keep our eyes off of it. 

These ricotta pancakes were served with a healthy array of fresh fruits, maple syrup, and--joy!--something  called honeycomb butter.

Fluffy yet substantial, these pancakes are a little richer than most, with a beautifully filling batter that will keep you fat and happy for hours--and yet, magically, they don't make the batter leaden-dense, but somehow achieve a lightness that scrunches most satisfyingly under the hungry tines of your fork and keeps you coming back for more...until...

...of course, if you can't be in Brooklyn right this instant, you might consider this recipe from Baking Bites.

Five Leaves, 18 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn, NY; online here.

Five Leaves on Urbanspoon

Friday
Apr222011

Shake Me Up: Booze Shakes from Jimmy's in Brooklyn

So you've decided to go on a liquid diet, you know, to rid yourself of all of those toxins?

Don't despair, I've found something that you can suck through a straw instead of chew (and that makes it pretty healthy, I think): Booze Shakes from Jimmy's in the Williamsburg environs of Brooklyn.

You heard me. Booze shakes.

On their southern comfort food menu, there is a section dedicated to their shakes; on a board on the wall, it said “ask about our booze shakes”. Well, naturally we did, and it didn't take long for them to talk us into a White Russian Shake (not on the menu, but it was our waitress's first suggestion).

Like, OMG. 

Probably the creamiest, dreamiest thing you've ever tasted, the irish cream paired with ice cream was like a portal into the land of total decadence, with a boozy underbite which kept it from being too sweet, but (fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you want to look at it) made it go down very easily and quickly. On this visit, Cake Gumshoe Mariah enjoyed ours with two straws along with a plate of sweet potato fries for the ultimate sweet and salty indulgence; a warning to drink slowly is in effect if you're not sharing, at least if it's as stiff as the one we got.

Jimmy's also boasts a rotating menu of desserts (Key Lime pie on the day of our visit, cobblers, pies, and various other items have been on offer in recent past); well worth a visit for fatty food and sweet treats.

Jimmy's, 577 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY. More info here.

Monday
Apr182011

Pastry Profiles: Peanut Butter Chocolate Whoopie Pie from Baked, Brooklyn

It is no secret that I not only love Baked, but am actually IN LOVE with the owners, Matt and Renato. They are adorable; they are funny; they have two stellar cookbooks; and above all else, they make a mean baked good.

And their flagship Brooklyn bakery, Baked, is a pretty swell time to spend some time, money, and calories.

But on this visit (which was at breakfast time, by the way), I was a hunter, and my prey was the chocolate peanut butter whoopie pie.

I also picked up one of these!This sweetie consists of two cakey, moist but not too dense chocolate cookies (sort of devil dog style) with a generous dollop of the most exquisitely peanut buttery (accent on the buttery)frosting, studded with bits of candied nuts on the outside.

And it is so, so good. Somehow I was able to cut it in half, so I had half for breakfast (so decadent, so delicious!) and half later on, after dinner. And these two halves made my whole day sweet.

You must go get one. (and pick up a cute tote while you're at it!)

Chocolate Peanut butter whoopie pies (as well as a rotating menu of other flavors, including their signature pumpkin) from Baked, 394 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook Brooklyn; online at bakednyc.com

Also a good idea: buy their most excellent books : Baked: New Frontiers in Baking and Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented.

Saturday
May222010

Sweet Love: A Bakery Crush on Brooklyn Treat Shoppe, Brooklyn NY

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, at least one of them from the above photo is yum.

And it should serve to tell you pretty much why Brooklyn Treat Shoppe is CakeSpy's latest Bakery Crush!

This dessert catering company (read: no retail storefront at the moment), as the name might imply, is based in the borough of Brooklyn, and they specialize in sweets: cakes, cheesecakes, cookies, cupcakes, and other sweets, some of which don't start with the letter "c". They also do "cake art", including this sweet treat which vaguely resembles a cartoon version of the Seagram building (in the sweetest way possible!):Testimonials are loving: "to die for" and "what dreams are made of" are basically the tone of fans. Yup--chef Toniann Salvato sure does have a sweet future, based on what I see!

Check out the official Brooklyn Treat Shoppe website here; follow them on Twitter here.

Monday
Oct272008

Batter Chatter: Interview with Matt and Renato of Baked, Brooklyn NY

Batter Chatter with Baked
(Cakespy Note: Many of the photos in this interview are c/o the Baked website, and were taken by Tina Rupp and Brian Kennedy).


In case you're not familar, this is Baked, a sweet little spot in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

 

Baked exterior

These are Renato and Matt, the adorable owners.


Renato and Matt, Baked
And these are some of their baked goods. 
Coconut cupcakes from Baked
Cake, baked
Malted Cake, Baked

If it's not already clear why we love Baked and its bakers, then please scroll back and review the photos again (and smack yourself while you're at it). Yes, we love Baked--and so it should be no surprise that we also love their brand new cookbook, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, which includes recipes for a great variety of their gorgeously decadent, down-home-with-a-gourmet-touch baked goods, as well as the sweet stories behind them. 
Recently we caught up with them when they passed through Seattle on their book tour. Knowing that they've been doing a lot of interviews, we decided to conduct ours a little bit differently--putting them on the spot by having their own baked goods conduct a picto-interview. In a sort of rorschach-type manner, they were presented the following images and asked to react. 
Baked Faceoff
Question one was presented by the Baked Brownie and the Bakedbar.

Matt: Almost always theBaked Brownie--I love the Bakedbar...I mean, they're both our children...but I think the Baked Brownie is a little tougher.
Renato: A little meaner.
Matt: Yes...a little meaner.
Cakespy: So that's it. Sophie's Choice--you win, Baked Brownie.

Baked Good Response: Bakedbar bows head in shame, little coconut bits drooping sadly.

 

Sweet n Salty Cake
Question two addressed the buzz about the bakery case's heartthrob, the Sweet & Salty Cake (dark chocolate cake infused with a salty caramel, caramel chocolate ganache and topped with fleur de sel.).


Renato: It's a classic combination that nobody really thinks about--that sweet and salty combination, with dark chocolate, caramel, fleur de sel, it comes together in this way that makes all other desserts bow down to it.
Matt: It's an obsessive dessert, that's for sure.
Renato: When people bite into it, you see their face just...melt.
Cakespy: And then it's just a journey to see how fast they can cram it into their mouth.

Baked good response: Sweet & Salty says "Please, ladies and gentlemen...there's enough of me to go around!"

 

muffin
Question three addresses a serious cake issue--cupcakes vs. muffins--is the banana espresso chocolate chip muffin in their book really just cake in disguise?


Matt: Oh, absolutely. There's no doubt about it. The best muffin is just a cake in disguise.
Renato: It's kind of like a naked cake--there's just no frosting.

Baked Good response: "I've been living a lie!"

 

Headpiece faceoff
Question four addressed headpieces: whose is awesomer, the meringue topped tart, or their logo-mascot deer?


Renato: My answer is the mascot...we use him everywhere--on tote bags, buttons, tee-shirts...
Matt: Is it possible they could be equally awesome?
Renato: I do love lemon, but I'm gonna go with the stag.
Matt: I'm gonna go equal.
Cakespy: I'll try to be diplomatic here: while the stag's antlers may be slightly more awesome, the lemon meringue is likely more delicious. (Matt and Renato seem to like that).

Baked Good Response: Tart says "What does stag have that I don't?"

 

Tricolor cookiesBaked Tricolor Cookies
Question five tackled the Baked take on the tricolor cookie, which is different from the traditional Italian-flag coloring. It begs the question--would theirs get beat up in Little Italy? 


Renato: Probably.
Matt: Probably.
Renato: Ours are very delicate--they're made in small batches, with a circular cutter--those other ones are mass produced, and so would overpower them by sheer number.
Cakespy: So we'll keep them in their corner of Brooklyn--out of Bensonhurst.
Baked Good Response: "I'm a delicate flower--keep me away from those thug-cookies!"

velvet
Question six was posed by the Red-Hot Velvet cake: "Am I the sexiest cake in the case?"

Matt: Oh yeah. Everyone wants a piece of that red velvet. It's just that deep scarlet red, with a little bit of cinnamon in the buttercream...you just can't go wrong. I think that a lot of red velvet cakes look like the crazy aunt--but this is the sexy nymph.
Renato: If you watch Mad Men...this cake is Joan.
Baked Good Response: "You know you want me."

 

German Chocolate Cake
Chocolate chip cookies, Baked
Question seven came to us from German Chocolate cake, the underdog of the bakery case--always a solid choice, but so rarely the #1 choice. He asks in a winsome manner, "Which one of us would you take with you on a desert island?". We can tell he hopes it's him.

Matt: I don't know if I would take German Chocolate...but I would definitely send him notes back home.
Renato: I'd want more buttercream.
Matt: We're indulgent to a fault.
Renato: I'd put a letter in a bottle in hopes that it would get back to him.
Matt: Yeah, we'd definitely send letters and money.
But what would you choose?
Matt: I'd choose the Baked brownie. I'm a brownie fan, and that's the reason to be for me.
Renato: I'd take the chocolate chip cookie, because I could eat that every day and not get tired of it.

Baked Good Response: Cue the "Debbie Downer" music.

Wanna get Baked? Check out their site at bakednyc.com. We also highly suggest their book, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking!

 

 

 

Tuesday
Oct232007

Baked, Not Fried: Bakedbars from Brooklyn

 

“Some say our bakedbar is a dangerous addiction.”


This disclaimer appears right on the website of Baked, a Brooklyn-based bakery. To some, this might seem foreboding, and perhaps it should. While technically the bakedbar can be defined (a graham crusted bar topped with layers of coconut, chocolate, condensed milk, walnuts and butterscotch), we cannot explain the certain something they possess that makes you wonder just how many you can cram in your mouth, and how quickly, before you’ll regret it. Certainly the secret must lie somewhere in those six dense, dreamy, creamy-meets-crunchy layers, but exactly where is uncertain.

 

Luckily, you’ll have no problem devoting yourself to research like this.

Cakespy Note: While rumor has it that the story behind the bakedbar will be revealed in the Baked Cookbook, due out in 2008, even non-Brooklynites can get sweet gratification: the bakedbar is available for shipping all over the US on their website, as well as a small but good selection of cakes, cookies, brownies, and even homemade marshmallows.

Available online at bakednyc.com, or at their storefront, located at 359 Van Brunt Street, Brooklyn; (718) 222-0345.
Baked in New York

Wednesday
Sep122007

Honey Pie: the Desserts of Vegan Honey


For some reason, the phrase "Whoopie Pie" really, truly bothers us. Not the dessert, mind you; just the name. Cakespy notes that a different name might make them less mortifying to order, out loud, in a bakery. Just to throw out a few ideas: frosting sandwiches, happycakes, sweetburgers, cakewiches, cream cuties, twin quasars of pleasure.

Nonetheless, the photo and description were so alluring on Vegan Honey's Peter Pumpkin Whoopie Pies that we had to give them a try. Now, there were risks involved--even name aside, these were also vegan (and with our non-vegan tasting crew, we weren't sure how they'd go over). After arriving yesterday via express mail from Brooklyn, the pies were a bit soft from their long trip to Seattle, but were revived by a brief stint in the freezer. And the verdict? We were converts after the first bite. Creamy, sweet (but not cloying) and expertly spiced, these confections are nearly perfect, and the word "vegan" never even entered our mind--in fact, one of our unknowing testers never even noticed! Ideal with warm soy milk or tea, these are a wonderful, cakey autumn treat. Although we haven't sampled anything else, we're feeling very good about Vegan Honey; we're especially intrigued by the brand-new "Faux-stess" Hostess inspired vegan treats.

Cakespy note: One more reason to feel good: a percentage of Vegan Honey's sales go toward animal advocacy, environmental and social justice organizations!

Available online at veganhoney.etsy.com or by calling 718-928-8495.

Tuesday
Sep042007

Do You Believe in Magid?: Cakes by Sarah Magid


They say that one thing leads to another. Never has this been more true than in the case of Sarah Magid: after inheriting a serious sweet tooth from kitchen savvy mom and Grandma growing up in So-Cal, she moves to NYC to study Art History; fashion beckons and she becomes a shoe designer, which segues into jewelry design; somewhere in all of this she realizes that the demand for the home-baked goods she brings to fashionable affairs were just as great as the demand for her jewelry designs; the baking business takes off, and now there are plans in the works for a bakery to open in 2008 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

And we haven't even mentioned the actual cakes yet.

These cakes are the epitome of urban cool: not too perfect and not too cute, they're nonetheless unmistakably hip. Oh, and they're made with the finest organic ingredients-- so you can count on your cake tasting as good as it looks.

Unfortunately for much of the nation, delivery and orders for custom wedding, birthday and other occasion cakes are only available for the NYC area at the moment. But we're going to keep our eyes on this one--we see many more great things ahead for Sarah Magid.

To order or inquire about cakes, visit sarahmagid.com

(Photo credit goes with thanks to Sarah Magid)

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