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Entries in cakespy mischief (123)

Monday
Jan102011

The Biggest and Best Cake News Ever: CakeSpy Book Coming Out This Fall Through Sasquatch Books

Dudes. Dudettes. You know how reading is totally sweet and all? Well. It's about to get even sweeter, because it's with extreme excitement that I make this obnoxiously huge-type announcement:

CakeSpy got a book deal!

It's true. In what can only be described as a very good decision, Seattle's totally rad Sasquatch Books (the publisher of such gems as Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home by Lara Ferroni and The Newlywed Kitchen by Ali Basye and Lorna Yee) has taken this sweet spy under their wing to create what I'm sure my mom will tell you is "the best book ever".

And to sweeten the deal, I actually get to work with the people at the publishing house, in person: the Sasquatch offices are within walking distance from my house, and there happens to be a good bakery along the way.

But enough about me, let's talk more about my book. It's gonna be called Seeking Sweetness: CakeSpy Presents Recipes for a Sugar-Filled Life. And well, in case you hadn't figured it out from the title, it's going to be full of recipes--featuring some of my more deliciously decadent, butter-and-sugar packed ones, as well as plenty witty repartee and tons of illustrations of cupcakes, cookies, pies (they're so hot right now) as well as magical creatures such as unicorns, bunnies, and maybe a robot or two for good measure.

And there will be pictures! OMG, there will be pictures of these over-the-top desserts, taken by the lovely and amazing Clare Barboza, and styled by the multi-talented (I suspect she's a genius) Autumn Martin. Additional photos will be taken by the incredibly talented and awesome Rachelle Longe of Sasquatch Books. I can only imagine that it will be a departure from the usual food photo shoot to take pictures of things like Cadbury Creme Eggs Benedict.

And it's going to be out later on this year, in time for the holidays. So start saving your pennies, because you'll want to buy one for every single person you know. 

Basically, it's going to be the best thing to happen to butter and sugar since flour (but don't worry, I'm not getting a big head about it or anything).

OMG! OMG! OMG!

Stay tuned for more information about this exciting project! Thank you to everyone who already has supported this great adventure (I'm looking at you, Mr. Spy, SpyMom, Gail FortuneJennifer Pooley, to name a few!) and to everyone who undoubtedly will help with the rest of the process!

Tuesday
Jan042011

Slice of Life: Bob Andy Pie Recipe from Dangerously Delicious Pies

Recently, when leafing through the amazing book Killer Pies: Delicious Recipes from North America's Favorite Restaurants, a conflict presented itself: which recipe to try first?

Happily, the answer presented itself quickly enough, when I found the entry for Dangerously Delicious Pies in Baltimore, Maryland. 

The pie in question? The "Bob Andy". 

What's a Bob Andy Pie, you ask? Well, according to proprietor (part time baker, part time rock musician) Rodney Henry, this pie is "really awesome...I call it 'White Trash Creme Brulee.'" I didn't need any more backstory beyond that: I was already headed to the kitchen.

Happily, the Bob Andy is what is considered a "staple" pie, meaning it contains the basic ingredients most people have in their pantry at any given time. 

Unhappily, it just so happened that just returning from a trip, my pantry was somewhat empty, and I found myself with roughly half of the milk and butter called for in the original recipe. But it occurred to me: is it possible to half a pie recipe? After all, I had split a pie in three parts before, why not just create a foil barrier and bake it as a half-pie?

So I gave it a try, and amazingly, it worked. I had a little extra filling, which I simply baked up as custards in cupcake-cups. I can't say it would work for every type of pie, but I was happy with the result.

Bob Andy Pie, Halved

  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 unbaked round of pie dough (enough for a 9-inch pie), cut into 60/40 portions, of which you'll use the 60 part (use the rest for pie fries!)

Procedure

  1. Preheat the oven to 375.
  2. Prepare your pie dough. Roll it out, and place it in your pie plate. Using a piece of foil, form a barrier in half of the tin, and shape your dough up the side of it, so that you have a sort of makeshift pie semicircle in which to pour your filling.
  3. Mix all of the filling ingredients except for the egg whites together to make a custard.
  4. With a hand mixer, beat the whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Fold the whites into the custard and pour into the pie shell. Bake for 1 hour. 
  5. Remove when it's browned on top, and when (owner's words) "everything moves together. It shouldn't be jiggly like milk."

 

Monday
Dec202010

Silly Goose: A Trompe L'oeil Cake Made to Look Like a Christmas Goose, For Serious Eats

We could go round in circles discussing which treat is the ultimate Christmas sweet—is it cookies? Bûche de Noël? Or perhaps fruitcake?

But instead of engaging in this wild goose chase, why not make a Christmas Goose Cake?

Paying homage to a classic Christmas dinner, this treat isn't meat—it's totally sweet! It's a trompe l'oeil designed to look like a Christmas goose, made from decadent cake crumbled with frosting and covered with rich marzipan. Extra points for serving it on an equally sweet bed of either candy salad or artfully arranged batch of cornflake wreath batter!

For the full recipe and entry, click on over to Serious Eats!

Wednesday
Nov242010

Stuff It: Stuffing Cupcakes With Mashed Potato Frosting by Ryan's Baking Blog

CakeSpy Note: Were you grossed out by the Turkey Cake I made for Thanksgiving? Well, vegetarians can rejoice with this guest post from Cake Gumshoe Ryan, whose sweet adventures can be followed via his great site, Ryan's Baking Blog! This recipe for trompe l'oeil savory "cupcakes" is far easier to make veggie! Here he goes:

This isn't technically stuffing, it's called "dressing" since it wasn't cooked inside a turkey...but I'm going to call it stuffing because it's easier. It's vegetarian too! And looks like a cupcake!!! I baked it in a cupcake tin and then topped it with some mashed potatoes. It's really perfect for Thanksgiving coming up or any dinner. It's easy to eat, compact, and gets two of your side dishes together. You could garnish it with chives or (vegetarian) bacon or just leave it as is like I did. It's super easy to make and is an easy way to impress your guests.

I prefer using an ice cream scoop to top it off but you could pipe the mashed potatoes.

You can use any kind of stuffing/dressing recipe and mashed potato recipe if you have your own favorite, my family stuffing recipe is really simple, it's vegetarian, and it's delicious. If you aren't vegetarian and would like to use broth, you can replace the water with equal parts of Chicken Broth, which is what the original recipe called for (and how I ate it before I became a vegetarian), but being a vegetarian I just use water and it still comes out tasting great.

Vegetarian Stuffing "Cupcakes" Makes about 10 cupcakes

 Ingredients

  • 1 lb loaf of bread, cut into half-inch cubes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt, more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, more to taste

Procedure

Preheat oven to 350°F and butter a muffin tin (or an 8" square pan). In a large bowl, mix together the bread cubes, water, and applesauce. Everything should be moist but not soggy, you can add a little more applesauce or water if it isn't moist enough. Mix in the salts and pepper and mix until combined, adding more to taste. Fill up muffin tin holes to the top (since they won't rise) and bake for about 35 minutes, or until the tops are slightly browned. Cover the tops with parchment paper and foil if you want a softer top, leave it uncovered for a more crisp top. Allow to cool slightly in pan, top with mashed potatoes, and serve warm.

Simple Mashed Potatoes

Makes a little more than enough for the cupcakes

  • 3 potatoes, I used russet baking potatoes, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Scant 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Garlic Salt, to taste Salt, to taste
  • Procedure

Boil potatoes until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain the water and move the potatoes to another bowl (or stand mixer) and beat with an electric mixer (or stand mixer) with the butter and cream until fluffy. Add salts to taste, or you could add cheese or anything else you like in your mashed potatoes. Use an ice cream scoop to put a heaping spoonful of mashed potatoes on each stuffing cupcake or use a piping bag and tip to make a nice design. Add garnish or gravy and serve warm.

Monday
Nov222010

Pie Another Day: Delicious Pie Fries from Leftover Pie Dough Scraps For Serious Eats

When it comes to pie, my mantra is "I must increase my crust." But even carbohydrate addicts find themselves with extra scraps of pie dough from time to time. And I now have the best solution for making use of them: Pie Fries.

I came across this idea from Seattle piemaker Dani Cone, whom I suspect is a genius, and whose High 5 Pie offerings have been rated some of the best in the country.

The concept is simple behind these pie fries: simply put your pie scraps on a baking sheet, slice them into fry-sized pieces, brush with butter, cinnamon and sugar, and bake until crispy. Want extra cute points? Put 'em in pillow boxes (available at most craft supply stores) or paper cones and serve with jam for dipping.

Of course, if the fry shape isn't your thing, you could always cut out the shape of your choice, perhaps a pie dough unicorn (like the one I made with the cookie cutter I bought at Cookies in Seattle?)

For the full entry and recipe/tutorial, visit Serious Eats!

Monday
Nov152010

Thanksgiving Sweetmeats: Turkey Cake With Mashed Potato Frosting and More for Serious Eats

This Thanksgiving, there's a new delivery method for stuffing turkey in your pie-hole: bake it as a cake.

That's right: inspired by this recipe on Chow.com, I decided to serve up layers of turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes, all in one beasty feast of a trompe l'oeil cake.

While some may have trouble coming to terms with the savory nature of such a sweet-looking treat, ultimately brave eaters will be rewarded: it's like the best of Thanksgiving leftovers all stacked into one tasty bundle.

Note: This recipe is actually quite open-ended in terms of how you stuff your turkey cake. I added a layer of green beans and fried onions to mine, but if you prefer to add or omit any of the classic Thanksgiving side dish flavors, it's totally up to you.

Monday
Nov152010

Gluten-Free as a Bird: GF Turkey Meatloaf Cupcakes for the Gluten-Free Girl Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

I eat gluten. There, I said it. And I kind of it.

But here's the thing. Some people can't eat gluten. Like, because it will make them sick and/or die and stuff. And that is the opposite of cool.

But then again, there are people like Shauna--you may know her as Gluten Free Girl--who can't eat gluten, but not only refuse to let it ruin their lives, but actually learn to "love the food that loves them back".

And she just came out with a great new book (to follow up her previous great book), entitled Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. Her husband is named Danny, my husband is named Danny. Adorable!

So when someone like the incredibly awesome Shauna asks me to take part in a gluten-free Thanksgiving recipe challenge, I'm gonna give it a try.

Of course, because it's in my nature to be slightly bratty, I went gluten-free...as a bird. Literally. I baked it, but it's not a cake: these cupcakes are a gluten-free variation of the turkey trompe l'oeil cake I made for Serious Eats. They may not be sweet, but the sentiment is...and in an awful-meets-awesome sort of way, these sweetmeats are kind of tasty in spite of themselves.

Turkey Meatloaf "Cupcakes"

Lightly adapted from the recipe found here

Note: When it comes to gluten-free ingredients, be sure to read everything. Even things that you wouldn't think of as having gluten--say, ketchup or oats--often do. So do your homework!

  • 2 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats (be careful to find a truly GF brand)
  • 1/2 cup white cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup ketchup (be sure to check the ingredients and use a GF brand)
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce substitute such as tamari
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • For the filling and topping:
  • 5 cups mashed potatoes (recipe of your choice)
  • 1 cup sauteed green beans
  • 1/2 cup sauteed onions 
  • 2 cups stuffing (use this recipe!)
  • 1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce, drained of excess liquid

For the procedure, click over to Serious Eats--basically you will follow the same steps for the "cupcakes", but reduce the baking time by about 10 minutes because they are served in smaller vessels. Serve with any combination of GF Thanksgiving sides you'd like, and garnish with gravy (white flour free, please) if desired. 

Of course, if all this is too much for you to...ah, digest, check out the other GF entries which are linked to from Shauna's blog, and here's a direct link to a few of my favorites: a gluten-free pumpkin pie, a gluten-free sweet potato and crabapple clafoutis (!), and a rather delectable-looking gingerbread cake.

Saturday
Nov132010

Cookie Capers: Fixing Botched-Up Butter in Batter

Uh-oh. You accidentally added too much butter to your cookies.

On the one hand: Awesome! Butter is delicious!

On the other hand: Oh crap. Flat-as-a-pancake cookies. Serious bummer.

Well, suffice it to say that this comes from experience. I seem to be chronically incapable of adding 1.5 sticks of butter to anything--it's always the full 2 sticks for me. But when I recently came across this problem when pulling out my first batch of the delicious-sounding chocolate chip cookies from the gorgeous Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook (after an "oh sh*t" sort of moment, since we're being honest), I was buoyed with courage from having recently received another brilliant book, entitled How to Repair Food , and decided that I would try to improvise.

Now, this wasn't highly technical, but I thought to myself: "OK, so I added too much butter. What if I added some extra flour?".

And so I added half a cup of flour, mixing only until incorporated.

And while I can't say that it is a definitive fix, you know what? In this case...it kind of worked. The cookies were not only perfectly palatable, but delightfully delectable--perhaps not as pretty as the original recipe, but I even felt comfortable sharing them.

...of course, that having been said, the recipe I'm sharing is for the "official" version, not my extra-buttery one.

...and also, of course, if you do add too much butter and have pancake-cookies, just sandwich them with frosting. You'd be amazed how much it fixes things.

Delicious (non-messed-with) Chocolate Chip Cookies

As originally published in Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook

  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, room temperature (don't add 2 sticks like I did)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugars, vanilla, and cinnamon on medium speed, making sure to stop and scrape the bowl down. This will take 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix on medium-low speed until combined.
  4. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a separate bowl; add all at once to the batter. Mix the dough together on low speed until combined, making sure to stop and scrape the bowl down so that the flour is all incorporated.
  5. Fold the chocolate chips or chunks into the dough with a spoon or spatula.
  6. Flatten the dough in a shallow pan and freeze for 20 minutes.
  7. Coat 2 cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line with parchment. With an ice cream scoop (for BIG cookies) or a teaspoon for baby-sized cookies, scoop cookies onto sheet. Be sure to leave about 2 inches around each cookie. You'll get either 12-14 big, or 24-30 small, cookies. Bake for 12-14 minutes for smaller cookies, 15-17 minutes for larger cookies, until golden and set on top.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.
Thursday
Nov042010

A-Maize-Ing: Creamed Candy Corn for Serious Eats

Halloween's over, and chances are, you've got a bunch of leftover candy corn. But what to do with all those extra tricolor kernels?

Here's an idea: cream them. That is, creamed corn style.

Starting with a recipe for creamed corn, I simply revised it a little, substituting candy corn for real corn, and leaving out the pepper and spices in favor of a little pudding mix to thicken the mixture. The resulting candy corn slurry is certainly one of those dishes that straddles the line between awful and awesome: that is to say, you might just like it, but you probably wouldn't confess that to your foodie friends.

Note: It is of utmost importance that you add the candy corn after the other ingredients. Add it at the same time and you'll end up with an orange, candy corn-flavored soup because they'll melt completely!

For the full post and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Thursday
Oct282010

Taking it to the Sweet: Making San Francisco Sweeter with CakeSpy Magnets

So, here's the thing: I kind of like to think of myself as a big sugar cube in the coffee cup that is life. 

And as such, I am constantly doing little things that I hope will make life just a little sweeter for people. I've left fake cupcakes around the city; I give people candy and cookies; I write little love notes. For no reason in particular, other than to bring joy and maybe a little everyday delight to the masses.

And on my recent trip to San Francisco, I employed sweet magnetism: I brought a stockpile of magnetic CakeSpy postcards, and stuck them to unsuspecting surfaces.

Each one had a sweet little note written on the back (I did this while on the plane). Wonder who found my sweet handiwork?

First, a sweet little note left on a post office box, just off of...you guessed it...TREAT STREET!

Then, after some reflection, I decided my art was museum-worthy, and so I stuck one to the sign at the Oakland Museum of California. My first solo exhibit!

Next, a sweet little offering on someone's entryway. What a sweet thing to come home to!

Howsabout finding one of these sweet little things on the side of your Vespa? (Note: there was a scratch on the side, so really, I was also providing a nice patch too).

But for those taking mass transit, I left this one on the Muni.

And then, in Santa Cruz, one was left like a prize on the espresso machine at Cafe Delmarette.

...and I also left one with Carolyn and Lindsey at the Twitter offices to do with as they pleased. 

All said and done? I believe I made San Francisco just a little sweeter with this gentle street art. If you found one, I hope it made your day just a little sweeter--either that, or that the cuteness made you projectile vomit. Either/or.

For past sweet operations, click here and here and here.

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