Home Home Home Home Home Home Home
CakeSpy

Featured:
Unicorn Love: the Eating Disorder Recovery Blog

 

 Buy my brilliant books!

Buy my new book!

Buy my first book, too! 

CakeSpy Online Retail!

 

Archives
Gallery

Fantastic appliance for cake making on DHgate.com

everyrecipe.co.nz

Craftsy Writer

Entries in cakespy undercover (112)

Friday
Mar252011

Sweet Farm: Farm to Market Bakery in Bow, WA

Remember how I told you about my favorite farm in the world, Breadfarm, in Bow, WA?

Well, right down the street there's another farm-themed purveyor of delicious baked goods--Farm to Market Bakery.

It is a very hippie-looking place when you walk in, and you can tell that they are probably very responsible about things like composting, recycling, and sewing their own clothes and stuff.

But what really drew this spy in was the impressive array of freshly baked goods, mostly quite large in scale (what can I say, size does matter sometimes): cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, bars and cookies, and so on. They were, oddly, out of bread on the day of my visit, but were being good neighbors and suggesting that customers seeking bread venture over to Breadfarm. (Good form, in my opinion). 

The spy's pick? A black-bottom cupcake, featuring a deep, dark chocolate base and a chocolate chip-studded cream cheese top. The texture was on the dry side--but not to a fault, more in a "you want to pair it with coffee" sort of way. The taste was not over-sweet, making it a nice choice for a decadent but not sugar rush-y type of breakfast, but it didn't quite venture into after-meal dessert territory.

A very sweet find, and a very charming establishment--this spy looks forward to a return visit!

14003 Gilmore Avenue, Bow, WA; find directions here.

Farm To Market Bakery on Urbanspoon

Friday
Jan142011

CakeSpy Undercover: Cake Gumshoe Phuong Visits Eat Cake! in Newburyport, MA

CakeSpy Note: Want the best bakery suggestions? Ask a local! Read on to discover Boston-based Cake Gumshoe Phuong's most recent bakery visit: to Eat Cake! in Boston! You might want to check out her sweet online shop, too!

How yummy does this cupcake sound? 

Pumpkin spice cupcake with a cinnamon nutmeg spice buttercream dipped in butterscotch.

How about a coconut cupcake with a gooey coconut topping and vanilla buttercream with toasted coconut on top? Or a chocolate fudge cupcake dipped in chocolate with an Oreo buttercream and then dipped in chocolate again?

These are just a few of Hilary Larson’s decadent creations at Eat Cake! in Newburyport, MA. Hilary is a fan of CakeSpy and has invited us for a tour of her new cake studio. Eat Cake! specializes in party and wedding cakes that are freshly made from the highest quality ingredients. Everything is made-to-order so nothing is ever frozen.

I knew I was walking into something special when I smelled the sweet buttery aroma that permeated the street even before I stepped into the cake studio. It smelled even more amazing inside. I was greeted by smiling faces and a counter full of luscious cupcakes. Freshly-baked cupcakes are a new offering at Eat Cake! and they’re definitely a big hit with the locals. Like me, everyone was having a hard time picking out what they want. (Did you read the descriptions of these cupcakes at the beginning? Yeah, it was definitely difficult.)

Hilary was so welcoming and allowed me to roam around freely. The studio’s open layout creates such a comfortable atmosphere. While I was there, mini cupcakes were being filled with lemon curd and raspberry preserves. I find it so wonderful that they would take the time to fill mini ones. I can only imagine how great those will taste. I have to say that the sweetest surprise was little Charlie (Hilary’s baby) just hanging out in the back observing everything. 

Hilary generously sent us off with four cupcakes to try. My boyfriend and I couldn’t wait to taste them. I love the bright pink boxes that the cupcakes were packaged in. I also couldn’t get over how great the single cupcake container was. I’ve never seen this type of container before.

It guarantees that your cupcake will safely make it to its destination before being devoured. All of the cupcakes were delicious. They were so fresh and moist. The flavors were amazing! My absolute favorites were the pumpkin and coconut ones. The pumpkin cupcake was perfect for the fall. The spices and the butterscotch complimented each other so well. One bite and it made me think of the holidays. The coconut cupcake was a coconut lover’s dream. I love how the gooey coconut topping peeked out underneath the vanilla buttercream. These cupcakes just took me to my happy place.

So if you’re ever around Boston’s North Shore, make sure to stop by Eat Cake! You won’t be disappointed. I can’t wait to custom order a cake from Hilary one of these days. The flavor menu on the website is incredible; so many delicious possibilities!

With that, I’ll leave you with two more cake-lust inducing cupcake pictures of flavors that I didn’t have the chance to try this time around. This just gives me an excuse to go back and eat more cupcakes!

*Special thanks to Hilary for inviting us to your cake studio and thank you for making this write-up super easy because your cupcakes were truly wonderful!

CakeSpy Note: As a sort of P.S. to this post, Phuong was recently able to visit CakeSpy Shop--on the same day as Bakerella! Here's a sweet picture of us all together.

Eat Cake! 9 Prince Place, Newburyport, MA 01950 (978) 465-6057; online at eatcakeonline.com

Thursday
Oct212010

Bright Lights, Big City Cupcakes

It's totally awesome when friends go on a trip and send you a postcard. 

But it's a zillion times awesomer when they bring you back cupcakes.

I'm talking, of course, about some of my favorite people in the world, Denise and Nick, who recently went to Vancouver and brought back cupcakes for myself and Mr. Spy.

The cupcakes were from Big City Cupcakes, a business which appears to be taking over Canada, and they were delectable.

Here's a review of the specimens sampled:

First, the Strawberry Cheesecake. Comprised of a strawberry cupcake with a big ol' gob of cheesecake filling baked inside (do you hear that, Bake It In a Cake?), and topped with strawberry cream cheese frosting. Now, after that description I probably don't even need to tell you it was delicious, but I still will. It weighed roughly as much as a brick, but in like, the best way possible. Rich, creamy, and delectable.

Second, the "Red Carpet"...their version of Red Velvet--described as being "vanilla cake with a hint of chocolate", the cake was very dense and rich--if not very cocoa-y--and it was topped off with basically an ice cream scoop's worth of cream cheese frosting. YES!

Check them out (and find a location!) at bigcitycupcakes.com.

Friday
Oct082010

CakeSpy Undercover: Toscanini's, Boston

CakeSpy Note: Recently I heard a rumor (well, in the NY Times, so I guess that's not really a rumor) that the best ice cream--like, in the world--was to be found at a place called Toscanini's in Boston. Boston! So far! But happily, Cake Gumshoe Jen lives there, and she was more than happy to case out the joint on a spy mission. Here's a piece from her spy diary (she took the photos, too!):

Having only one year left in law school and uncertain of where I would be post-graduation, I decided to make a “Massachusetts Bucket List” of all the places I needed to go or things to do before I graduate. On the list was Toscanini’s, an ice cream place in Cambridge that has been touted as having the best ice cream in the world by the New York Times. I grabbed a friend on a beautiful Saturday morning and ventured out.

My first impressions of Toscanini’s upon arriving were that it was small but cozy and crowded but friendly and relaxed.  The lines moved quickly and we didn’t have to wait very long before placing our order. Toscanini’s serves brunch on Saturday, so we decided to try that first. I had their Open Faced Sandwich, which was ricotta scrambled eggs, figs and prosciutto on toasted bread, while my friend had their Toasted Bagel, which had mascarpone plum preserves, and sea salt. Both were very delicious, and despite the busyness of the place the food arrived quickly.

After brunch it was time for the most important part of the meal – dessert. Gus Rancatore, one of the co-founders of Toscanini’s, was at hand to help me make the difficult decision of which ice cream flavors I was to ultimately consume. He was very friendly and helpful, asking me what kinds of ice cream I liked and giving me generous samples of several of his recommendations. I ultimately went with the caramel apple and the hazelnut, although I had also sampled the green tea Kit Kat and the burnt caramel (which were also delicious, but alas my stomach can only hold so much ice cream at one time). 

All in all, I definitely had a great time at Toscanini’s – the staff was friendly, the food was delicious, and there was a great atmosphere about the place. I’m looking forward to going back more often and trying all of their flavors.

Check it out yourself--find the location, menus, and more at tosci.com.

Toscanini's Ice Cream on Urbanspoon

Saturday
Jul032010

CakeSpy Undercover: Simply Sweet, Snohomish, WA

CakeSpy Note: This is a report from CakeSpy junior trainee freelance remote spy team (bicycle division), comprised of sweet duo Steve and Denise (she of banana bread fame). And yes, this answers the other question you had: "does CakeSpy have a junior  trainee freelance remote spy team (bicycle division)?"

We assigned ourselves the mission to investigate Simply Sweet, the new cupcake shop in Snohomish.  On a rainy Sunday morning, we climbed on our red two-person bicycle and headed North, working up an appetite as we went.

Simply Sweet is on First Street in Snohomish, the historic "main street".  The location used to be a barber shop; look for the glass cabinet doors that still have "Fitch's shampoo" painted on them.

We selected two cupcakes and three "mini" cupcakes for our reconnaissance.  We compiled a photographic dossier on our subjects, shortly before eating them with extreme prejudice.

Our full-size cupcakes were: chocolate with lemon frosting, and vanilla with orange frosting (which Denise likes to call a "creamsicle" cupcake).

Our minis were: vanilla with vanilla frosting, vanilla with rasperry frosting, and red velvet.

The red velvet had a cream-cheese frosting, while all the others had buttercream.

We both agreed that the cupcakes were really good.  The cupcakes had a perfect soft texture and were not dry at all.  The frosting was excellent, and applied with a generous hand.  We have had some buttercream frosting that really tastes like butter; this frosting had a smooth balance of flavor, with no single ingredient calling attention to itself.  The fruit flavored frostings contained just the right amount of fruit flavor: delicate, but unmistakable.

Steve's favorite was the red velvet.  He declares the Simply Sweet red velvet to be his favorite red velvet cupcake of any local cupcakes he has tried.

Denise's favorite was the "orange creamsicle".

Steve decided to try the coffee as well.  Simply Sweet serves Vital Joe coffee, the "First Street Blend", drip coffee only.

Steve liked the coffee and recommends it.  Coffee condiments currently are limited to sugar and liquid non-dairy creamer; perhaps later Simply Sweet will offer milk or cream, and alternative sweeteners.  (However, it should be noted that Simply Sweet is just across the street from Java Inn, a complete coffee/espresso shop that roasts their own beans.  It would be easy to put together a Java Inn drink with some Simply Sweet cupcakes.)

We both recommend Simply Sweet.  When you are in Snohomish, go check it out.

Sorry, this message will not self-destruct in five seconds.  (Maybe after we graduate from "junior" status.) However, you could always print out a copy of this message and then run it through a paper shredder.

Simply Sweet, 1206.5 1st Street, Snohomish, WA; online at simplysweetcupcakes.com.

Sunday
Jan172010

CakeSpy Undercover: Mount Bakery, Bellingham, WA

In Washington, there is a mountain of keen interest to outdoorsy types called Mount Baker.

But to cake gumshoe-ing types, Bellingham's Mount Bakery is a much more palatable proposition.

This place isn't strictly a bakery--it is also a cafe serving breakfast (including a gorgeous Eggs Benedict, if you're into that savory stuff) and lunch items. But we're here to talk about the sweet stuff right now.

On our recent visit, after the requisite period of analyzing the choices, we settled on some solid choices: the black bottom muffin and the Linzer Cookie.

Now, for those who have not been initiated into the black bottom muffin club, they are basically one of the best muffins out there (with a possible rival in the doughnut muffin), in that they don't even pretend to be healthy: they're largely comprised of cream cheese and chocolate. Dense and moist, taster Nicole commented that she was impressed how the cream cheese taste permeated the entire muffin--definitely a decadent treat.

And as for the Linzer Cookie (the cookie version of the famous tart by the same name)--oh, what a cookie.

For one thing, it already wins points because it's a sandwich cookie--and everyone knows that sandwich cookies are basically the best excuse to eat two cookies at once and not be judged.

But it's even better when the cookies are excellent, like these: they're lightly crumbly (not quite as much as a pecan sandy, say, but slightly more than a sugar cookie), extremely buttery, and nicely complemented with a layer of slightly tart preserves and a sweet layer of confectioners' sugar on top.

(Oh, and as a P.S. -- right next door is a cupcake shop which says "coming soon" called Icing on the Cake!)

Mount Bakery, 308 W Champion St, Bellingham, WA 98225; online at mountbakery.com.

Mount Bakery on Urbanspoon

Saturday
Jan022010

French Connection: Croissant French Toast at Doug Fir Lounge, Portland OR

Croissant French Toast
We're going to talk about a very special sort of French toast from the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland, Oregon right now.

Entitled "The French Connection", the menu describes the item thusly: "two croissants, battered with egg, cinnamon and orange zest, served with maple or blueberry syrup".

Now, in case the description didn't get the point across, I made a venn diagram for you:
Pleasuretown
This is possibly the most wonderful way to bring day-old croissants back to life that I have ever seen. These compressed crescents contained rich, buttery flavor in every bite, and the orange zest worked beautifully to add a little tartness to slightly counter the sweetness.

The final word? I used to think that chocolate croissants were the epicenter of croissant awesome, but now I am not so sure.

"The French Connection" is available at the Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E. Burnside, Portland, OR; online at dougfirlounge.com.

Doug Fir on Urbanspoon

Friday
Nov202009

CakeSpy Undercover: The Upper Crust at Pryde's Old Westport, Kansas City MO

Pryde's, Kansas City
Pop Quiz: you're in Kansas City, MO and hankering for a sweet treat. Where to go?

Pryde's Old Westport, of course. This was Cake Gumshoe MJ's latest discovery on a recent trip to Kansas City (which has the unusual tagline of "Make It a Good Place to Live In"). The bakery had looked intriguing during online research before the trip, and happily it was just as good in person. Based in the Westport section of town, this is not merely a bake shop: it is a three-story emporium of kitchen and garden goods, with an in-house bakery called The Upper Crust, which is open Friday and Saturday 10am-6pm.
Pies at Pryde's, Kansas City
So what's on show at The Upper Crust? Pies of all sorts, including fruit (apple, French apple, blueberry, blackberry, bumbleberry, cherry, crimson appleberry, gooseberry, peach, rhubarb, strawberry rhubarb), cream (banana cream/meringue, chocolate cream/meringue, coconut cream/meringue, lemon meringue, key lime, pumpkin, sour cream raisin, peanut butter) and nutty (cranberry pecan, chocolate pecan, mince, pecan, pumpkin pecan, german chocolate) varieties, including small "cutie pies" in the $7-8 price range and full size pies from $19-$22.

Our Cake Gumshoe sampled the bumbleberry and gooseberry pies, and reported that both were pretty perfect.

And though the pies are certainly the star of the show, they also carry cookies which range from $1.95 - $2.25, including Breakfast cookies, chewy oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip, decandent chocolate, frosted banana, shorbread, molasses crinkle, lemon sugar, peanut butter, coconut macaroon.
Pryde's, Kansas City
MJ bravely sampled the cookies in addition to the pie (anything for the sake of research!); her favorites were the chewy oatmeal raising and frosted banana.

In fact, the only regret that MJ had was that on the last day of her trip she went back, but alas The Upper Crust was closed. Which just goes to show--while there's noplace like home, Pryde's will certainly make you feel welcome in Kansas City.

The Upper Crust at Pryde's Old Westport is located at 115 Westport Rd, Kansas City, MO; phone: 816.531.5588; online at prydeskitchen.com.
Upper Crust on Urbanspoon

Wednesday
Sep302009

CakeSpy Undercover: A Cake Gumshoe's Thoughts on Unicorn Crepes, Seattle WA

Unicorn Crepes, C/O Cindy
CakeSpy Note: Cake Gumshoe Cindy chimed in with this review (and photos!) of Seattle's most magical creperie, Unicorn Crepes. Here's her review!

Unicorn Crepes is what I would call a Japanese-style creperie. All crepes come with a free coffee/plum tea/chai with the help of a cute automatic dispenser machine. They also have a to-go menu which is handy for those who want a crepe to go or can't find parking in the always tough to park International District. And they are wrapped nicely in a easy to unwarp cone for mess free eating. I frequently see the owner Jino Yoon there making crepes for his customers. The plastine display menu versions of the crepes are actually how Jino puts the crepes together for real except you get them in that nicely rolled and warped cone. Not only are the prettily displayed but they're quite tasty. It's fun to watch the staff lay out the pieces so perfectly.
Unicorn Crepes, C/O CindyUnicorn Crepes, C/O Cindy
My personal favorite crepe is the Anko Custard Whip Crepe (with half the amount of whip, you can request adjustments ). By the way anko is red bean, its a sweet Japanese dessert/filling. But they certainly have a lot of crepes to chose from sweet to savory. If you're feeling adventureous you can try the Okanomiyaki Crepe. Lots of people like the combination of banana and chocolate (or what they call Choco Whip). You won't find Nutella on the menu though. Instead there are options of various fruits drizzled with chocoloate or caramel and paired with custard, pudding, daifuku (think little balls of mochi) or even ice cream!
Unicorn Crepes on Urbanspoon
Unicorn Crepes, 421 6th Ave S., Seattle, WA 98104.

Thursday
Sep242009

Cakespy Undercover: A Cake Gumshoe's Thoughts on Retro Bakery, Las Vegas NV

Java Cupcake Guest Post on Retro Bakery, LV
CakeSpy Note: This is a guest blog post from Betsy of Java Cupcake. To get the scoop on what sweet stuff she's been sampling, be sure to visit her site, and keep updated with her twitter feed!

When I spent last week in Las Vegas, NV with my husband, I knew that we needed to stop at Retro Bakery. Boy, it did not disappoint!

Just about 20 minutes from The Strip in Vegas, Retro Bakery is located just off the highway in a quaint little shopping center. I was greeted by a super cute, super friendly bundle of joy named Kari, whom I had messaged via twitter earlier that day to let her know I was coming.

Most importantly though: on to the cupcakes. There were so many delicious cupcakes to choose from--it was very hard to pick. My husband and I decided we'd each pick two.

I chose the Peanut Butter Cup (chocolate cake topped with peanut butter buttercream and dark chocolate shavings) and the Cinnamon Toast (vanilla cake topped with cinnamon buttercream dusted with cinnamon and sugar) while my husband chose the Cotton Candy (vanilla cake topped with pink cotton candy buttercream and blue glitter sugar) and the Creamsicle (vanilla cake topped with a vanilla/orange swirl buttercream).

The tag line on the bakery's business card is "It's All About the Buttercream" and they aren't kidding! The buttercream on these cupcakes was absolutely to die for. Creamy, flavorful, smooth... it just rolled across my tongue with each bite. Each buttercream flavor was distinctly the flavor it said it was going to be--so, for instance, when I bit into the peanut butter, it actually tasted like peanut butter, and surprisingly, the cotton candy buttercream tasted exactly like cotton candy!

As I look back, I wish I had tried one more cupcake with a different base flavor. We had three with vanilla and one chocolate. The chocolate was so delicious... moist and chocolatey; however, I have got to give it to the vanilla because it was by far the best vanilla cupcake I have ever tasted! It was dense, but not mushy, springy and moist, full of flavor and baked to perfection. I could have eaten those vanilla cupcakes alone if the buttercream had not been so heavenly!

So thank you to Kari for being so sweet when we came to visit! And thank you to Retro Bakery for making such delicious cupcakes! I can't wait to get back to Las Vegas to try four more flavors.

Retro Bakery, 7785 N. Durango Dr. #130, Las Vegas (702)586-3740; online at retrobakerylv.com. You can also follow them on Twitter, and if you want more of the inside scoop be sure to read the CakeSpy interview with owner Kari!

Page 1 ... 7 8 9 10 11 ... 12 Next 10 Entries »
© Cakespy, all rights reserved. Powered by Squarespace.