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Entries in cakespy mischief (122)

Tuesday
Sep142010

Sweet Notes: Little Love Letters to Chicago, from CakeSpy

So, if you read this site, like, ever, you probably know that the guiding principle of CakeSpy is that I am seeking sweetness in everyday life, and hopefully leaving the world a sweeter place with my work. I know, so cheesy you could die, right?

Well, don't die yet. First, check out these sweet little love-notes I left around Chicago, with hopes that they would sweeten the day(s) of those who found them:

First, Floriole. I was thrilled to hear that these dudes had opened up a retail spot, because I had been delighted by a canelé I picked up at their Farmer's Market booth 2 years ago.

Alas, Floriole was ferme on Lundi! Sacre bleu! Well, I left them a little something to find when they were ouvert again, to let them know I cared. A note, nestled between their outdoor tables, to be discovered by an employee in the morning! (picture of note is at the top of the post)

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Second, while browsing some delightful secondhand clothes at The Buffalo Exchange, I thought I might add to the "treasure hunt" aspect of thrifting by hiding a treasure in a handbag for sale.

Of course, anyone who buys an Andy Warhol handbag has good taste, and they should be rewarded, right?

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Third, I was struck by the beauty of this gorgeously appointed...storage space? So I left a little note nestled in by the toes of this Egyptian dude. Call it a footnote!

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Well, after all of this walking around, some caffeination was in order, and what better spot for a Seattleite to hit up for strong coffee than Intelligentsia? And to say thank you for the totally sweet latte, a totally sweet little note was left on the counter.

Thanks for the totally sweet times, Chicago! Love ya, miss ya! 2 good + 2 be = 4 gotten! (Note: A full bakery roundup to come)

Tuesday
Sep072010

Hot Dog! Chilly Willy Ice Cream Sandwiches on Hot Dog Buns Recipe for Serious Eats

CakeSpy Note: I created these for a Labor Day entry on Serious Eats. Even though Labor Day is over, they're a great way to use leftover hot dog buns!

When it comes to Labor Day food, the general rule is "it's more fun on a bun." Happily, dessert can be part of the party when you combine ice cream and hot dog buns to make Chilly Dogs.

I was delighted when I first came across this confection at Snacks!, a bodega in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood. Unlikely as it may seem, the combination of toasted hot dog bun lined with peanut butter and jelly, then topped with ice cream is actually quite delicious—the light sweetness of the bun works nicely with the ice cream, with just enough sponginess to absorb the flavor of the ice cream, but sturdy enough that it will keep it contained for a sweet hand-held treat. Of course, it might get a bit messy toward the end, but isn't that part of the fun of outdoor eating?

For the full post and recipe, check out Serious Eats!

Thursday
Sep022010

Totally Stuffed: Cupcake-Filled Croissants Recipe

The list of foods that are made more awesome by being stuffed in croissants is pretty immense and far-reaching, from the sweet (chocolate, almonds, cream cheese) to the savory (ham, cheese, hot dogs).

So I was pretty sure that a buttery blanket of croissant dough would have the same awesomeness-enhancing effect on leftover birthday cake (or, in this case, a leftover birthday season cupcake, from the delectable Jubilee Cupcakes).

And guess what? It turned out pretty good. While the frosting can melt out a bit and get messy, it does lends an extra-buttery richness (and a nice color contrast, as mine had pink frosting), and the cake crumbs give it an extra-carbohydratey boost, perfect for carbo-loading if you're about to run a marathon (or, you know, just a tasty snack if you're not).

Want to give it a try? Here's how I did it.

Birthday Cake-Filled Croissants

Ingredients

  • 1 leftover cupcake (or, 1 leftover slice birthday cake)
  • 1 package ready-to-bake croissants (you know, the kind in a roll)
  • Extra butter, to brush on top (if you're into that)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to the temperature directed on the croissant package.
  2. Unroll the croissants. In the center of each, place a chunk of birthday cake, crumbled up (with frosting!). Roll them up, or (as I did with some of them) form the dough into little dumplings around the cake.
  3. Place on a sheet. If desired, brush tops with melted butter (why not?).
  4. Bake for the time specified on your croissant package. When you open the oven, you may discover that the frosting has oozed a bit out of the sides, but don't worry--plenty was probably able to melt into the croissant dough. Plus, once it cools just a bit, you can kind of scrape off the oozed bits and eat them (if, like me, you have no manners, that is).

 

Saturday
Aug212010

Sweet Excess: Chocolatey Kitchen Sink Cinnamon Rolls Recipe

Question: what happens when you raid your pantry while making cinnamon rolls late at night and top them with every sweet thing you can get your hands on?

Answer: Nothing good. Nothing good at all. It's awful. It's terrible. Here's how you do it at home.

Note: This is best done late at night, when things like this seem like good ideas.

Step 1: Get yourself some cinnamon rolls--you know, the kind from the can that pops when you open it.

Step 2: Set them all in a pie plate or in a baking pan.

Step 3: Raid fridge and pantry for any various sweet leftovers you might have. For me, these happened to be about 1 cup of chocolate fudge frosting, 3 almost-stale brownies, and half a can of chocolate fudge sauce.

Step 4: Put all foraged items on top of the cinnamon rolls (I broke the brownies into little crumbs). Bake as directed on container.

Step 5: Remove from oven. Admire handiwork. Remember the icing that comes with cinnamon rolls. Wonder to self: is it too much? Decide that no, it's not, and pour icing on top of the bubbling mass of a sugar-bomb.

Step 6: Top it all with the rainbow sprinkles that you found in the cupboard while the rolls were baking. Because...well, why not?

Step 7: Enjoy, preferably immediately and in front of bad TV for the ultimate terrible late-night indulgence.

Wednesday
Aug182010

Pastry Public Service: Preventing Dessert Desertion

Friends, I know that CakeSpy is generally sweet and upbeat in tone, a sweet retreat from the everyday grind. But today we're going to have to get serious for a few minutes.

I feel as if it is my duty to solemnly address a rising epidemic in the world of sweets: dessert desertion.

I have compiled a collection of images to illustrate and bring attention to this alarming trend and to raise awareness for the plight of the abandoned pastry. I warn you, the following imagery may be disturbing.

This Oreo, for instance: cut down in its prime. It could have been that much more of a snack, if only it had been given a chance.

Or this croissant. Poor little buttery baked good wasn't even given a chance to be a complete breakfast.

And this muffin. I know, I know. The top is the best part. But did you really have to decapitate and then discard this muffin and leave its maimed remains for all of us to see?

And this donut, discarded with just a bite left. Who does that?

...and words can't even describe the pain and anguish that this image evokes.

But no, this plight isn't just limited to baked goods: I have, with my own eyes, witnessed a mass candy disposal. They could have been headed to Candy Mountain, but instead, it was Candy Murder.

But what can you, as an individual, do to help? Here are some tips.

  • Eat quality sweets. This way, the desire to discard will be diminished.
  • Wrap it up! Don't toss it just yet. You might want it later.
  • Don't be a deserter! Offer it to a friend. A lot of people are happy to finish what you started, when it's in dessert form.
  • And if you must discard? Please, do it humanely and out of the sight of sensitive sweet tooths like yours truly.

Please, take action! Don't let another sweet treat go to waste. Only you can prevent dessert desertion!

This has been a public service message from CakeSpy.

Wednesday
Aug112010

Pie + Cake + Shake = Pake Shake

This is a personal note to everyone who came to Monday's Cake Vs. Pie Party. This crust-against-crumb was a star-studded event, and you have my greatest thanks (along with co-hosts Jenise and Edible Seattle) for coming. True, a PIE was declared best in show--but it was a rather fine specimen, so I can live with this.

But today I'm here to talk about the darker side of sampling 10 pies and 10 cakes in one evening: the massive pie-and-cake sugar hangover you're bound to have the next morning. How to deal with this unique sort of sugar shock to the system?

Hair of the dog that bit you, that's how. And my suggested medicine? The Pake Shake.

Equal parts pie, cake, and shake, this beauty is inspired by both the pake and the excess of Monday's indulgent evening of tasting pie and cakes. True, it may not be the most beautiful concoction, but it's good for what ails you, a sort of bloody mary equivalent for a sugar hangover.  Keep this idea on file for the next time you find yourself sampling 10 pies and 10 cakes in one night (it might be sooner than you think).

Pake Shake (Pie-and-Cake Shake)

Ingredients

  • 1 slice pie (I used the "Rhueberry", a lattice-topped rhubarb-blueberry pie made by Wendy Sykes)
  • 1 slice cake (I used a slice of mocha cake with chocolate buttercream made by Nazla Merce)
  • 2 large scoops vanilla ice cream
  • Cream or milk, to taste

Procedure 

  1. Combine all of the above ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding more milk or cream until it has reached your desired consistency.
  2. Pour into a glass, reflect on last night's revelry, and enjoy.

 

Saturday
Jun262010

Big Fun: An Enormous, and Delicious, Cinnamon Roll

Have you ever wondered "what would happen if you baked a package of pop-n-bake cinnamon rolls as one long, continuously huge cinnamon roll?".

If so, you're not alone. And happily, I have the answer: it's basically the easiest way ever to make a big pile of awesome. And, ah, you know, work your way toward morbid obesity.

The finished product vaguely resembles a cross-section of a very old tree--but in this case, each ring in its spiral is a layer of delicous.

Now, I'm not quite sure if these pictures really convey scale. If you need a realistic idea of the scale of this thing, consider the size of a football player's head, in a helmet, and you'll be getting the idea.

A Very Large Cinnamon Roll

Serves 1-8, depending on how hungry you are

Ingredients

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Place one of the rolls in the center of a large, lightly buttered baking pan (either 9x9 or 9x13-inch). Unroll the next one and continue it in a spiral around the first one; repeat with the succeeding rolls until you have one long, continuous snail of a cinnamon roll.
  3. Bake 25-29 minutes or until browned.
  4. Spread with the provided icing.
  5. Enjoy. 
Tuesday
Jun222010

Taking it to the Sweet: Making the World Sweeter With Free Treats

We could all take a cue from Miss Rumphius, a children's book written and illustrated by Barbara Cooney.

Early on in the book, the main character's grandfather offers a life lesson, urging her to see the world, seek adventure, but says that ultimately, "you must do something to make your world more beautiful".

And with that principle as my guide, I've done this in the most simple way: by putting out sweet treats for people passing by my retail store. 

Why do this? Well, a couple reasons. True, it does bring customers in (and this helps with my rent and keeps my pugs in puppy chow).

But even more so, it's an incredible thing to see people's reactions as they pass by.

There is a certain magic to seeing people's faces light up as they unexpectedly encounter a tray of brightly colored cookies, cupcakes, or even Pop-Tarts broken into bite-sized pieces. Especially in a neighborhood which is best known for its disaffected hipsters. It's fun to see them smile.

As for the sweets themselves? Sometimes they are homemade, and sometimes they are store-bought. Truly, though, (yes, I'll admit it!) the sweets themselves are almost secondary to the idea that this gesture is meant to take one out of the sometimes dull routine of everyday life--if only for a sweet and fleeting moment.

After all, who isn't just a little delighted by the prospect of a free cookie or treat, just because?

And it's fun to muse on the possible sweet implications: for instance, if encountering unexpected treats brightened one person's day enough so that they smiled at the next person they saw on the street, and that act put that person in a better mood...well, just think of the sweet domino effect this could all have.

Here's to a sweet week for all!

Want to see the magic for yourself? I'll be putting these out today (while they last!):

Total sweetness, brought to you by CakeSpy Shop, 415 E. Pine Street, Capitol Hill, Seattle.

Friday
Apr232010

Batter Chatter: Interview with Sweetened Condensed Milk and Evaporated Milk

Undoubtedly you've baked with either Sweetened Condensed or Evaporated Milk, if not both. But what exactly are they? And what's the difference, anyway? Happily, I was able to get the full story directly from the source, when I sat down with a couple of the respective canned dairy products for an interview:

CakeSpy: First off, I'd like to thank my guests, Sweetened Condensed Milk and Evaporated Milk. And I'd like to say, for the record, that no matter what anyone says, I've never considered you dairy misfits.

Sweetened Condensed Milk: Who said that?

Evaporated Milk: I'll kill them! It was Whipping Cream, wasn't it? He's so smug.

CakeSpy: Outta sight! So, to get things started, Sweetened Condensed Milk...what exactly are you?

Sweetened Condensed Milk: Well, since I was googling myself before the interview, I can tell you that I'm "cow's milk from which water has been removed and to which sugar has been added, yielding a very thick, sweet product which when canned can last for years without refrigeration if unopened."

CakeSpy: Wow, that's a long time.

Evaporated Milk: No wonder why you seem so dated.

CakeSpy: Now, now, Evaporated Milk. I'm interested in you too--what is it exactly that you are?

Evaporated Milk: So glad you asked. I'm comprised of dehydrated milk, and am considered a shelf-stable canned milk product with about 60% of the water removed from fresh milk.

CakeSpy: You guys, no offense, but it doesn't sound like you're all that different. What exactly is the difference between you two?

Sweetened Condensed Milk: I've got sugar!

Evaporated Milk: I don't need sugar! I have a very unique flavor and am often used in desserts such as Libby's Famous Pumpkin Pie.

Sweetened Condensed Milk: But with my deliciously decadent sugary nature, I'm often used in desserts too--perhaps most notably, or notoriously, in the Magic Cookie Bar.

Evaporated Milk: I thought those were called Hello Dolly Bars.

CakeSpy: Tomato, tomahto.

Sweetened Condensed Milk and Evaporated Milk (in unision): Whaaat?!?

CakeSpy: Nevermind. (pause)

Anyhow, to review, you're both shelf stable canned milk products, but basically Sweetened Condensed Milk has added sugar, and Evaporated milk doesn't. You both have a rich history and a rich texture, and are often used in baking. And no matter what Heavy Cream, Yogurt, or Cream Cheese says about your status as reputable dairy product, I love you both.

Evaporated Milk: Thanks...I think.

Sweetened Condensed Milk: Let's go shank Heavy Cream!

For recipes using Sweetened Condensed Milk, visit the Eagle Brand site; for Evaporated Milk recipes, check out Carnation.

Monday
Mar292010

Sweet Sandwich: Peeps Fluffernutter for Serious Eats

Oh, don't act surprised. It was really only a matter of time before Peeps, those pillowy pastel harbingers of spring, met the classic marshmallowy sandwich called Fluffernutter.

What may surprise and delight you, however, is that in my version, the peanut butter-and-Peeps mixture is sandwiched between two hefty slices of pound cake rather than white bread, to form a delectably decadent dessert sandwich.

The pound cake works beautifully on several levels—the sweetness works harmoniously with the Peeps, and the rich butteriness is perfect with the peanut butter. In fact, I'd like to humbly submit that it just may be the perfect lunchtime followup to a breakfast of Cadbury Creme Eggs Benedict.

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