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Entries in cakespy mischief (125)


Sweet Art: Popcones

I'm so clever sometimes...

Welcome to my creative process.

Today, while I was spending some time creating clever illustrations, I had an observation. It was this. The way I draw ice cream cones...

Cupcake and Ice Cream Take a walk

and the way I draw popcorn...is pretty similar.

Popcorn and peanuts

See? They're both ok with it. They embrace the fact that while they share similar shapes, they are actually quite different. 

Ice cream and popcorn

But it got me thinking - could I create a real-life popcone?

Highly inspired by this idea and in need of a fun procrastination project, I hit photoshop, and I made this. POPCONE! 


But then I thought it would be more magical and cute to make them tiny. So I asked a friend if she had any popcorn, and asked for two good-looking kernels. She didn't ask why, she just gave them to me.

And I grabbed my art supplies, and made a few lines. And after a few minutes I had these:

I'm so clever sometimes...

OH MY GOD! Ice cream cones for elves!


Popcones! So there is your sweet observation of the day, illustrated sweetly: popcorn and ice cream cones have more in common than you might think. 


Cake Mix Science

Frosting Cake

I remember when I was young, observing my mother make cakes, and how something always kind of bugged me: the difference between cake batter and frosting.

Consistency-wise, the cake batter and the frosting really didn't seem terribly different to me--why did they have to be treated so differently? One went in the oven, and the other had to wait til that part was cool and was then spread all over the baked part.

Frosting Cake

But what would happen if you just combined the cake and the frosting before baking? Could you streamline the process?

Frosting Cake

Although I'm much older now, I'm clearly not wiser, because I took the time to see what would happen today. I conducted my experiment with Duncan Hines Butter Golden Cake Mix and Whipped Fluffy White Frosting in a tub.

Frosting cake

I started out by respectfully following the directions. The mix asked to be combined with 3 large eggs, 1/2 cup water, and 7 tablespoons of softened butter. I did so.

Frosting Cake

Per the directions, I mixed it in a large bowl in my stand mixer on low speed until combined, then jacked up the speed and mixed for four more minutes. Meanwhile, the oven was preheating.

Frosting Cake

And then I went rogue. I took the entire tub of frosting, and folded it into the cake batter. It made the consistency of the batter silky and sticky. And delicious.

Frosting Cake Frosting Cake

Here's what it looked like before going in the oven.

Frosting Cake

I spread the thick batter in the prepared cake pans and baked it for 22 minutes, as suggested on the box. I divided it between two 9-inch cake rounds. I baked one first, in case I messed up.

I know you're not supposed to, but since I was already breaking the rules I opened the oven part-way through baking. Here's what it looked like. Weirdly it looked like it had mini marshmallows in the middle.Frosting Cake

When I took the cake out of the oven, here's what greeted me.

Frosting Cake

It was a bit jiggly in the middle, but it appeared to have set on the sides and top. So I let it cool for a while - a long while, about 2 hours. During this time it deflated somewhat. 

Frosting Cake - after cooling

Then I flipped it over on to a plate. It was gooey in the middle, but not really liquid. More pudding-like, or gooey butter cake innards-like.

Frosting Cake

I thought "since it already has frosting, does that mean I don't have to frost it?". And then I quickly answered myself: "Don't be stupid, of course you still have to frost it."

So I did. And I added sprinkles.

Frosting Cake

When cut into at room temperature, the center was quite gooey. Cutting was kind of difficult. I got frosting on my fingers...but I made it out of this situation OK.

Frosting Cake

After chilling the cake in the fridge, cutting was much easier.

So how did the cake taste? It was actually pretty good. It was more dense than a typical cake--while it had risen in the oven, it deflated into a dense round after cooling. It was somewhat like a Philadelphia butter cake or gooey butter cake in its texture--crunchy on the outside, gooey and creamy in the center. 

Actually, I'd go so far as to say I'd do this again. The slice I had was decidedly tasty--very moist, and extremely decadent. Final word? I want more.


Oreo Etiquette


OreOMG! These creme-filled cookies are delicious. They're to be loved. But...let's be serious here...are you really showing the proper Oreo etiquette at all times? OreOh, Dear. Please, allow me to educate you on the proper way in which to conduct yourself when you find yourself up close and personal with an Oreo Encounter.

If you'd like to express delight:


To show your appreciation for something tasty you just ate: Oreo Nom

To indicate that you're deeply pleased after eating a fat stack of Double Stuf Oreos: Oreoh, yeah

In response to someone saying "Oh noes! I dropped my Oreo in my milk!":Oreoh dear.

To express your utter delight about eating an Oreo on the Eiffel Tower: OreOhlala

For if someone says "excuse me, I believe you're eating my Oreo, may I have it back, please?":

N'oreo way!

...and of course, to express disbelief, happy surprise, or just sheer amazement, it's always appropriate to exclaim thusly:


Of course, this is just a small sampling of the proper etiquette when it comes to Oreos; hopefully you've gotten the idea and will be able to apply this newfound knowledge to any number of social sandwich cookie situations. For more Oreo fun, visit their website.


Sweet Treats: Peeps Dumplings


Today, I found myself with a few little ingredient odds and ends at hand.

Included: Peeps, pie crust, tinted coconut.

And so I thought...why not engage in a little Peeps Torture? After all, this a documented fun activity. Who hasn't enjoyed a little Easter-time Peeps torture? 

And so, I cut out scraps of pie crust in a size about 5 inches by 5 inches.

On top of it, I laid a little bed of tinted coconut.


And then I put a Peep on top of that...like putting it on a little nest. 


And then I gathered the crust and sort of "tented" it around the peep. Like a little bed!


Is it just me, or does Peep #2 look a little concerned?

Well, he had good reason for concern. He was next to be put into a bed. A forever bed.

and then...I put these little dumplings in the oven. And then...



Here's how to make this magic happen at home.


Peeps Dumplings


  • Pie crust scraps (enough to roll back out to about 5x5 inches)
  • As many Peeps as you have pie scrap pieces
  • shredded coconut 
  • Chocolate chips or chocolate pieces (I didn't to this but think it would taste good so I am suggesting it here)


  1. Place one Peep and whichever fillings you'd like on the center of each piece of pie crust.
  2. Form a little "tent" around the peep, making sure to seal the top off to prevent oozing.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for 7-10 minutes, or until it starts to brown.
  4. Let cool, but serve still slightly warm.

The Secret Lives of Cupcakes

Um. What.

What do cupcakes do after the bakery closes? This is a question I think about a lot. I like to imagine them as little elves, getting to the real work of misbehaving and making magic after hours. And after I received this wonderful batch of cupcakes decorated to look like my Cuppie character at the CakeSpy Official Book Launch Party, made by New York Cupcakes and wearing wrappers by Bella Cupcake Couture, I had a chance to see for myself. Here's what they did:

This little cupcake took a ride on a pug...

Cupcake riding a pug!

This little cupcake helped me bake...

Cupcake helped me make frosting

This little cupcake considered cannibalism...

These look great!

These little cupcakes like Bakerella...

I just love Cake Pops!

This little cupcake didn't even know it was being hunted...

Pugs want cupcakes

This little cupcake dreamed of unicorns...

Cupcakes dream of unicorns

This little cupcake enjoyed the harvest...

Mellowcreme pumpkins surrounding cupcake

These little cupcakes hung out with some hotties...


This little cupcake made a big mess...

Cupcake from book launch party

This little cupcake didn't fear death...

Naughty cupcake!

But perhaps he ought to have.

Goodnight, sweet cupcake

...the end.


Epilogue: a giveaway! For week 2 of the CakeSpy book giveaway bonanza, simply leave a comment on this post answering the question: have you ever encountered a sweet treat that was so cute that you couldn't eat it? Be honest. The winner will receive a signed copy of CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life and will be chosen at random on Thursday, October 27, at 5pm PST. Entrants from all over the world welcome!


30 Uses for Leftover Birthday Cake

Fact: when you have over 30 birthday cakes, you're bound to have some leftovers. And after my BYOC (Bring Your Own Cake) birthday party to celebrate my recent 30th birthday, I found myself with over 36 types of cake. What to do to maximize the leftovers in such a situation? Luckily, I had a few ideas. Here they are, in case you ever find yourself in such a situation:

  1. Enjoy it the morning after, straight from the fridge or freezer. It's not elegant, but it has its charms.
  2. Birthday Cake Bread Pudding.
  3. Leave it at the bus stop in a tupperware container with a note for someone to find it. I'd eat that if I found it at a bus stop.
  4. Birthday Cake French Toast.
  5. If it's cupcakes...Bake 'em in MORE cupcakes!
  6. Chocolate Covered Cake on a Stick. Hey, they do it with cheesecake and Key Lime pie!
  7. Use one of these tricks to bring it back to life.
  8. Cake Crumb Cookies. I'd never heard of them til today!
  9. If one of them was a cheesecake, make a Grilled Cheesecake.
  10. Make trifle.
  11. More specifically, make a "Russian Cake" or "Creole Truffle". 
  12. Share it with the public (that's what I do at my store!).
  14. Crumble it up and use it as an ice cream topping or mix-in.
  15. Use it as a cinnamon roll filling! Like this recipe, but with cake instead of cookie dough.
  16. Slice it into thin slivers and use it to line a pie plate. Prepare a batch of your favorite no-bake pudding or cream pie filling, and pour it into the cake-sliver "crust". Possible flavor combinations: Hummingbird cake with banana pudding filling.
  17. Crumble it and make cake pops, adding a little extra frosting or butter if needed to make the filling hold together; coat with melted chocolate or candy coating as in this recipe.
  18. Similar, but with booze: make rum balls.
  19. Make Birthday Cake Soup.
  20. Make "chocolate salami". No, I am not kidding. And no, I didn't invent it, but I'm glad it exists.
  21. Use two thin slices as the bookends to an especially decadent ice cream sandwich.
  22. Make a cake-plate sampler and share it with your next-door neighbors. Extra points if you give it to a neighbor you've never met before.
  23. Make cake croutons, the perfect topping for candy salad!
  24. Use it (cake only, no frosting) to line a tart or pie pan before baking (it will keep things from sticking).
  25. Make a charlotte, using sliced birthday cake in place of bread or ladyfingers.
  26. Crumble up an entire slice and bake into a batch of brownies. You'll be rewarded with crunchy bits and swirls of buttercreamy frosting. 
  27. Top it with jam and eat instead of toast for breakfast. Healthy!
  28. Birthday cake cereal. Cut it into half-inch cubes and put in a bowl. Pour milk over it and eat with a spoon. Better than granola!
  29. Cube it and entomb it in an awful but awesome-looking jell-o mold.
  30. Deep-fry it. On a stick, if desired.




Letter From Whoopie Pie: Please Stop Trying to Fix Me Up With Boston Cream Pie

To Whom It May Concern:

Hi, Whoopie Pie here. Now, I know I'm kind of easy to make fun of. I have a stupid name, and even my regional variation in Pennsylvania is called "Gob"--not much better. But today I'm not here to lobby for a cooler name like Sweetburger or Awesome Sandwich. 

No, I'm here to talk about matters of the heart.

Now, before you start to titter about "making whoopie", please know that your comments cannot hurt me, because I have heard them all. ALL OF THEM I TELL YOU.

I am writing to implore you to please, please, please STOP TRYING TO FIX ME UP WITH BOSTON CREAM PIE.

I get it, ok? I totally get it. We're both baked goods that have "pie" in the name that are not actually pies. We're actually both more cakey. In my case, cakey cookie. And in Boston Cream Pie's case...well, just cake, layered with cream and chocolate.

I hear Bostie's name comes as a result of his ancestors being baked in pie tins, so I guess there's some connection, even if it's weak. But in my case, no, I can't tell you why pie is in my name. It's like asking why is birthday cake delicious or who first combined peanut butter and chocolate . Nobody knows for sure, but we know they're Good Things.

So yeah, we do have stuff in common. We're both cakey, we both contain chocolate, and we're both delicious. 

But here's the thing. Just because we're both from the Northeast, just because we're both Official State Foods (I'm the official state snack of Maine; Boston Cream Pie holds the honor of official state dessert in Massachusetts), just because we're both Pie misfits, just because we both contain butter and sugar and eggs...it doesn't mean that we complete each other.

For one thing, Boston Cream Pie is a cool guy, really he is, but he's so uptight, you know, in that reserved Boston blue-blood sort of way. I mean, he's from the Parker House. As much as he says he can just "roll with it" (I don't think he's trying to make a Parker House pun, either), it's just not true. Boston Cream pie is stiff, and kinda stale. It's all about the cream in the middle, but the cake is kinda boring.

He's just not my type. As for me, I like a tall drink o' milk. I've always been attracted to dairy types--milkshakes, flan, or tres leches cake any day. Don't believe it could work? It can. It has. I have a cousin who got married to Frozen Custard and they made a very beautiful baby.

So in closing: let me live my life, and you live yours. It's my body, and I can do what I wanna. And my fate isn't to become a Boston Cream Whoopie Pie (although that does sound tasty).


Whoopie Pie (but my friends call me Sweetburger)


Seeking Sweetness: Impromptu Jumbo Ice Cream Photo Shoot

Photos: Surber DesignsOne of the best parts about owning a store is having totally sweet, unexpected connections with customers.

And recently, I had a really special one. It involved two cute girls who came into my store. They were visiting from out of town, and had made CakeSpy Shop a destination. Naturally, I already liked them. 

They were very taken by the store's decor, especially my jumbo ice cream cones. And this led to a conversation about ice cream, and I advised them that they should visit Bluebird Ice Cream, where I recently completed a mural. And I'm not sure how it exactly happened, but we all decided that they should take the ice cream cones with them. The only stipulations? "Be sure to bring them back, and promise that you'll send me the pictures," I said.

Would they ever come back? I trusted they would.

And they did, and they bought stuff (I told you I liked them!), and they sent me the pictures of their great ice cream adventure. Here they are. Credit goes to Bethany Surber (Surber Designs) for the great photos, and to Kristen for being the cutest ice cream cone model ever.Twirling with an ice cream cone is a delight!Hello, Bluebird Ice Cream!Hello, CakeSpy Mural!Hello, rest of mural!Thank you Bethany and Kristen for making my day a little sweeter!


Macabre Foodie Fairy Tale: The Land of Misfit Pastries by CakeSpy and Seattle Food Geek

CakeSpy Note: Not long ago, Scott of Seattle Food Geek approached me, narrowed his eyes, lowered his voice, and said "do you want to harm some innocent baked goods with me?". And--because at my core I'm darker than the darkest chocolate, I said "yes". And so we got together, and we tortured those treats, and as you can see from the story we made around it, we both liked it (possibly too much). Here goes:

In a land not so far away, in the dark endcap displays of the grocery store, exists the land of misfit pastries.

These are the sad, stale, and typically on-sale sweets that have not been purchased, the unloved in a generally lovable section of the food pyramid.

Like shooting stars, their futures initially looked bright. But as someone (don't ask me who, probably a lighting salesman) once said, "the brighter the light, the bigger the shadow". And here, we are going to delve into some of the bad things that can happen to fallen pastries.

Take here the hapless cookies, so festive and fresh a few days ago, which are now inspiring the ire of a rather dapper Watermelon. What will happen next in this scene? We cannot be sure, but one thing is certain: that Mr. Watermelonsworth is displeased, and his monacle and mustache should tell you that he means business.

...or see how cupcakes have fallen into an unfortunate series of events. sometimes we do senseless things when we are bored or just hungry. were these purposeful lures or simply a cupcake playdates gone bad? Nobody can be sure, but one thing's certain, these poor Hostess cupcakes are never gonna be the same, and their friends are looking hungry.

...oh, and that happy hand pie, BFF with Mr. Unicorn? Looks like Mr. Unicorn sold his friend out to food abusers, and look what they did to him!It is proof that you never know who your friends are, and that the world is a bad, bad place.


...and what of the Cinnamon Roll who once greeted the day with high hopes of being made into a breakfast of champions? Now he's been relegated to Accidental Smoothie, a stale, sad pile of carbohydrate crumbs.

...as for the scone, let's just say it's a blessing that he never saw the homogenizer coming.

...and what of the cookies? Those sweet flowers made of flour, butter, and love? With no parental supervision they got up to some mischief and found themselves in deep--literally--in the sous vide.

So, boys and girls, the next time you see those bags of lonely, aging treats at the convenience store, know that their Sell By clock is ticking down to a rather gruesome demise. When you reach for the cake mix instead of the plastic-wrapped pocket pie, you’re turning your back on a helpless sweet. And when you buy that glistening, fresh, handmade cupcake from the neighborhood bakery, you’re signing the death warrant of another misfit pastry.

Thanks Seattle Food Geek for such an evil and wonderful time!


Love Letter to the Vanilla Kreme Donut at Dunkin' Donuts

Dear Vanilla Kreme Donut of Dunkin' Donuts,

You may have suspected this for some time, but I'd like to put it out there so it no longer tortures my soul from within:

I love you.

I love you, I love you, I love you. I have since the first time we met, on a serendipitous day in my third or fourth year, as a child growing up in suburban New Jersey. At that time, Dunkin' Donuts still allowed smoking, and was a popular hangout for recovering alcoholics, who could belly up to the donut bar at the location next to Foodtown on 18th Avenue, buy cigarettes at the vending machine conveniently located in the store, and drink unlimited coffee and eat donuts and talk about how long you'd all been sober and how deeply, extremely happy you all were.

I love how you're an elusive beast of a sweet treat: not every Dunkin' location has you. And even of the ones that do, not all versions are created equal. Some locations serve a version that looks like a jelly doughnut from the outside, but has a Kreme filling instead; some are served with a dollop of Kreme filling served on top, as a garnish; some have it coming out of the side, where the Kreme is piped in. Some versions have sprinkles. For the record, my ideal version is the one where the excess Kreme is piped out the side in a pretty pouf, with sprinkles.

I love how sometimes (oh, beautiful times!) when I purchase you, you are so full of Kreme filling that you weigh as much as a brick (the sweetest and best brick ever). Sometimes the Kreme filling is paltry, but I still love those times I have with you--just slightly less.

I love how your filling is called Kreme, not "Cream" or even "Creme". There is no illusion being made here that your filling is in any way healthy or good for me. And I appreciate that honesty.

I love how, when put in the freezer, the Kreme filling hardens into a sweet, hard (but not frozen) mass, and the experience of eating you, dear donut, can therefore be stretched out, sucking on the Kreme filling until it gently melts on my tongue.

I love how you make me a believer in yeast doughnuts, which are usually too airy and disappointing to me, but your Kreme filling adds the substantial aspect I seek in a sweet treat.

I love how you leave your mark upon me, leaving me looking like some sort of cocaine fiend after I've devoured you--and though you are a drug, the powder is far more benign, made of confectioners' sugar.

It is true: from time to time I have strayed. I have had a fling or two with Chocolate Kreme, but it cannot compare. There's just something about you, Vanilla Kreme, with that filling that tastes like the most wonderful donut filling adaptation of store bought birthday cake frosting, that I simply cannot quit.

And I never want to quit you, dear donut. Ours is a forever kind of love. And even though I live in Seattle, where we do not have Dunkin' Donuts, I promise to visit you whenever I return to Dunkin' Donuts country.

Love, CakeSpy

For a Dunkin' Donuts location close to you, visit dunkindonuts.com.

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