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Entries in cakespy mischief (123)

Monday
Oct012007

Who Takes the Cake?: A Cupcake Tasting for the Ages


There's a lot of emphasis put on labels these days. Organic, pre-owned, skinny, punk-rock: you'd be surprised how frequently people will judge something before considering the whole package. People will often choose (or reject) things because of preconceived notions...and even seemingly innocent things like cake can fall prey to this! There are people who shun cake mixes because they're too fake, people who won't try vegan cakes because they're too hippie; at the same time, there are those believe that homemade by nature must always be the best. So who's right? Hard to say, but in a recent cupcake tasting hosted by Cakespy, we tried to challenge some of these notions! Here's the lowdown:

WHAT: A "blind" (though not blindfolded) cupcake tasting including three batches of cupcakes: homemade "regular" cupcakes, vegan cupcakes and from-a-mix cupcakes (below, from left to right in order of description). To try to keep things fair, we made each batch the same flavor combination: vanilla cake with chocolate frosting.
Cakespy Note: There were some inherent variations between the cakes, but we tried to keep them as similar as possible. The homemade dairy cupcake recipe came from Cupcakes! by Elinor Klivans; the vegan cupcakes recipe came from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World! by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, Terry Hope Romero, and Sara Quin; the Mix was courtesy of Betty Crocker.

HOW:
Each participant was given three cake samples labeled A (homemade "regular"), B (vegan) and C (from-a-mix), as well as a scorecard. Upon tasting each sample, filled in their cards with guesses on which cake was which, and voted on which one they liked best.

WHO: Cupcake testing is serious business, so we assembled an equally serious and eclectic group of tasters:
WHY: To see if people could tell the difference between the three batches; also, to see which ones tasted best.

RESULTS: Well, nobody had any trouble picking out the vegan cakes from the others; of course, their frosting texture was noticeably different and the cake much more dense. Nonetheless, we didn't see anyone who left the vegan portion uneaten, which in itself is very telling! A few people did mix up the homemade and mix-made cupcakes though.

But most importantly, which one tasted best?

The tally came in as follows: Homemade "regular" cupcakes came in first with 4 votes; Mix cupcakes and vegan cupcakes tied for second place with three votes each.

CONCLUSION: When it comes down to it, cake is an innately good thing, fulfilling both mentally and physically. Our testers' comments reflected this very much; while the denser cake was "spongy and satisfying" to one tester, the mix cupcakes brought on memories of "childhood sugar highs", and yet another noted that the dairy homemade cupcakes reminded him of those his mother used to make. Cake is about comfort, and no matter what the label, if it's made with love and enjoyed in good company, it's bound to be a rewarding experience. Awww.

Monday
Sep242007

Harvest Moon: What's your Moon Cake Sign?


The Chinese Moon Harvest: the day when the moon shines at its brightest for the entire year; and this year, it's today, September 25th. Naturally, we're more than happy to bring this tradition stateside, since its centerpiece is the moon cake, which is a pastry shell of a cake which can be filled with any number of rich fillings ranging from lotus to coconut or nut pastes. But before blindly reaching for that first slice, stop and consider your favorite flavor: what is your moon cake choice really saying about you?

Lotus Paste: Exotic and sexy; you exude a confidence that makes people turn and stare. Celebrity Soul Twins: Angelina Jolie; Daniel Craig.

Red Bean Paste: The girl/boy next door. Sweet, cute, and crush-worthy, but comfortably familiar at the same time. Celebrity Soul Twins: Shia LaBoeuf; Pre-scientology Katie Holmes.

Winter Melon Paste: High maintenance and confident, you enjoy only the finest life has to offer. Celebrity Soul Twins: J.Lo; P-Diddy.

Coconut Paste: Naïve and sweet, sometimes to a fault because you can be very gullible, you'll listen to anyone's problems and make the best cupcakes. Celebrity Soul Twins: Amy Sedaris; Steve Carell.

Mixed Nut Paste: You've been around the block a few times and might be a little jaded, but still love to party all night long as long as the event's cool enough. Celebrity Soul Twins: Madonna; Bruce Willis.

Pineapple Paste:
Sugary sweet, sometimes fake, you really like pop punk music. Celebrity Soul Twins: Ashlee Simpson; Ryan Seacrest.

"Snow Skin": Awkward and pasty, you greet people with a dead-fish handshake and have frequent awkward silences in conversation. Celebrity Soul Twins: Crispin Glover; the girl from the TV in "The Ring".

Curious? You can buy moon cakes online (in a variety of flavors, with no judgment) at chinasprout.com; in the Seattle area, you can find moon cakes at Uwajimaya (600 5th Ave. South at South Weller St.) or at A Piece of Cake (514 South King St., near 5th Ave. South).

Cakespy Note: Much of the credit for this wonderful post goes to Cake Gumshoe Allison.

Thursday
Sep132007

The Next Big Thing: What Happens after Cupcakes?

We love cupcakes. No, seriously, we love cupcakes. But we can't help but wonder, with so many cupcake establishments opening these days, are their days limited? Well, you can never be too cautious so we're humbly submitting some ideas for what could be the next big thing (with thanks to Cake Gumshoe Phil):

Re-Torte: All tortes. All the time. Nary a miniature gateau in sight--a bit of an eff you to the cupcake "man", get it?

Cups N' Muffs:
OK, so this idea still allows for cupcakes, but broadens the scope--a bakery where everything is served in cupcake cups. Cupcakes, muffins...hold on, we're sure we'll think of something else.

A Mere Trifle: Hey, the Anglophile angle has worked for Tea and Sympathy and A Salt and Battery in NYC. Why not have a bakery specializing in that regal dessert?

Pie'd Piper: A pie store specializing not only in pies but that also offers flute lessons. Maybe it would have to be based on the California coast or a hippie commune though, we're not sure who else would go for it.

Blonde on Blonde: A bakery specializing in not brownies, but blondies (fondly known as Skipper to the brownie's Barbie--until now).

Nookie + Cookies: Kind of like Babeland meets Mrs. Fields. You know what? We'll stop there.

OK, so perhaps the world isn't ready for Cakespy's radical ideas. It's just as well, we didn't want to change our name to Tortespy anyway. Vive la cupcake!

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