Home Home Home Home Home Home Home
CakeSpy

Featured:

 

How a rainbow cake is really made
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 california (14)

Sunday
Jul072013

Sweet Discovery: Isabella's Cookie Company

Cookies, Isabella's Cookie Company

Do you ever look at a cookie long and hard, say "I'm gonna eat you" in a sort of cowboy-gangsta drawl, and then imagine it screaming when you bite into it? 

No, neither do I. Especially not when eating this Red Velvet Cookie from Isabella's Cookie Company.

Cookies, Isabella's Cookie Company

Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yes, cookies. Namely, the ones in the box of samples I recently received from the aforementioned Isabella's, a boutique cookie company based in Redondo Beach, California (am I the only one who hears Patti Smith saying "gone-gone"?), with availability mostly in the Southern California area (at stores such as Whole Foods) but available for purchase online, too. I was pretty psyched to receive them, because they seem like a cool company. And they offer all of these flavors! Dazzling, no?

Isabella's

In my sample box, there were three flavors: Red Velvet, Ginger, and "The Limey".

What I liked first, before even sampling any of them, was the nice size and satisfying weight of the cookies. They were small-ish, but a good size to enjoy two (not too huge that one is more than enough, but not so tiny that you need like six). They had a satisfying heft, and I had a feeling they'd make a good snacking cookie.

Here's a picture of the Limey from the website. Inspired by Key Lime pie, this cookie has a strong lime presence, but also has bits of handmade graham crackers, white chocolate chips, and --brand new -- they just "added sweet lime-infused vanilla drizzle to make your lips go smack!". It's a tasty cookie, and I like the creative cookie take on a classic pie. 

The other two varieties, it turned out, were both vegan--the V-Ging, a molasses ginger cookie with a vanilla drizzle, and their newest addition, the Vegan Red Velvet cookie. They teamed up with another business, The Buttermilk Truck to create this treat, which "combines the heavenly flavor of their red velvet pancake but topped with a sweet vanilla drizzle."

Cookies, Isabella's Cookie Company

I'll tell you the truth. I am probably not the most qualified to review the Ginger cookies, because...I do not like ginger cookies. They're like, a second or third choice cookie flavor for me. But an associate who is a fan says that they were moist and chewy and just this side of underbaked...in a good way.

I do, however, feel qualified to tell you about the Red Velvet variety. 

Like, yum. There's a nice little cocoa scent to them, and a really nice texture. Moist. Slightly crisped (but not crispy) on the edges. Chewy. Dense in the center, like they are approaching cookie dough, but they have most definitely been baked. An interesting, almost buttermilk type flavor, but gee whiz, they're vegan! I have no idea what they put in them, but this is a very good cookie. Were I to taste it blindfolded, I might not say "Red Velvet" right away if asked to guess the flavor. But I would say it was good. Not too sweet, actually. A hint of cocoa, a lot of nice, dense, slightly soured (in that buttermilk way--good thing) flavor. A nice hit of sugar from the glaze. A perfect cookie with milk. 

Overall, I will tell you this--I was impressed. Since I received the samples gratis (I love my life), I didn't know how much they cost when I received them. But I looked it up--$6.50 for a bag of 10. I vote "worth it". 

A sweet cookie find indeed!

Isabella's Cookies--find them online (including a store locator) here.

Wednesday
Apr242013

CakeSpy Undercover: Huckleberry Cafe, Santa Monica

Multigrain bar, Huckleberry, Santa Monica

I love me a good cafe. And in Santa Monica, California, you'll find plenty of nice ones. Airy, sunny, often with outdoor seating. You can smell the ocean in the air if the wind is right. 

My new favorite is a bit in-land, but what they lack in the scent of sea air, they make up for in the smell of sweet carbohydrates. It's called Huckleberry Cafe. It's owned by a couple--half of which earned their baking chops at San Francisco's famed Tartine Bakery.

Huckleberry, Santa Monica

I had read about Huckleberry on websites and in magazines over the past few years, so I was delighted to finally have a chance to visit while spending a few days in Santa Monica. 

The website told me that "Everything served at Huckleberry is made on site using the best quality ingredients, including organic flour, Vahlrona chocolate and farmer’s market produce. The menu changes regularly with the seasons and on the baker’s whims."

Huckleberry, Santa Monica

So, I'll tell you what I had, but I can't guarantee it will be there when you go. 

Huckleberry, Santa Monica

First, the maple bacon biscuit. I am a biscuit lover, and this one was a fine specimen. Sort of like a hybrid between biscuit and scone, texture-wise, with a mellow sweetness from the maple. Yum. But then it was punctuated by salty spots of bacon. This was no "bacon just for attention" type of sweet. It was really effing good. 

Next up was the multigrain oat bar with a cherry filling. This was different, I was told, because it usually has blueberries. Whatever. This cherry thing was freaking good. Tart cherries against a backdrop of oaty buttery cookielike goodness, then topped with brown sugary crumble. Don't be fooled by the word "grain" and the presence of fruit--this is not health food. No way, man. It's tasty-town.

Multigrain bar, Huckleberry, Santa Monica

The bakery case is STOCKED, though. You'll find shortbread cookies, croissants, cakes (cornmeal blueberry? YES!), layer cakes, scones, biscuits, and then in the cold case, trifles and salted caramel bars and other tasty stuff. 

Huckleberry, Santa Monica

Huckleberry is mos' def a new favorite of mine. It's a fantastic place to spend time and eat. I hope you'll visit next time you find yourself in sunny Santa Monica! Also go visit my sister. You might find her around the new Doc Martens store! She does all of the retail planning for them, so feel free to be effusive about their fantastic displays.

Huckleberry Cafe, 1014 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica; online here.

 


Monday
Jan142013

Pastry Profiles: Muffins at Linda's Seabreeze Cafe, Santa Cruz CA

Butterscotch Muffin, Linda's Seabreeze Cafe, Santa Cruz

Normally, there is not much ado about muffins for me. I mostly consider them ugly, inferior and worst of all unfrosted cupcakes.

But every now and again, I am impressed. When I recently got breakast at a place called Linda's Seabreeze Cafe in Santa Cruz (also called "Linda's" by locals, I observed), I was offered either toast or a homemade muffin with my omelette. Well, a homemade muffin certainly sounded more interesting than toast, so I ordered one to see what it was all about.

Apparently they have a different flavor every day; on the day of my visit, it was butterscotch. A good start.

Now, I have to tell you, that in spite of my not-so-great photos, this was a truly fantastic muffin. It was served piping hot, and gently steamed when I cut it in half. The butter melted as I spread it, such was the warmth. 

Butterscotch Muffin, Linda's Seabreeze Cafe, Santa Cruz

Like a quick bread studded with butterscotch and topped with a delectable streusel topping, this muffin was completely satisfying, and, true to my instinct, much more interesting than toast. In fact, it was absolutely delicious, sweet and just a touch salty on the streusel topping--an addictive and highly enjoyable flavor combination. Mostly consisting of top with a little tiny bottom, it had an ideal ratio of "stuff on the top" to sort of disinteresting bottom.

Final word: if you go to this beachside cafe, you've gotta get the muffins.

Seabreeze Cafe, 542 Seabright Avenue, Santa Cruz CA; online here. 

Wednesday
Dec192012

CakeSpy Undercover: Icing on the Cake, Los Gatos CA

Icing on the Cake, Los Gatos

Here's the situation. You're driving from San Francisco to Santa Cruz, CA, and you've gotten stuck in traffic and are starting to get SERIOUSLY hungry along the way. Do you wait til Santa Cruz and risk binge-eating all the artisan ice cream and bakeries in town because you're so hungry?

No. You pause, pull your car over in Los Gatos ("the cats"!), and stop your sweet self at Icing on the Cake.

Icing on the Cake, Los Gatos

Not only is Icing on the Cake a fantastic name for a bakery, it's also a fantastic bakery. It had crossed my radar several years ago when the staff was smart and savvy enough to begin stocking my products for their small retail area. Obviously, this meant that they were smart and wonderful people. True appreciators of sweetness.

Icing on the Cake, Los Gatos

But I had never actually tasted the sweets in person until I found myself in the situation detailed above. 

When I got to the bakery, I introduced myself and had a short chat with Lynn, of whom I asked a big question: "what should I take with me?". 

This led to a brief consultation about what my sweets preferences were. Well, I said, I tend to like buttery, rich things--not so much fruit stuff--and I would probably veer more toward caramel, peanut butter, etc, rather than chocolate (I love chocolate, but I like it as a component, not as the whole story, in general). 

Icing on the cake, los gatos

"Oh," she said wisely, "you're one of those people who only eats beige things."

Now, I will confess, this took me aback for a moment. I love color! Rainbows! Unicorns! Pink frosting!

But then, the more I thought about it, the more I realized she was right. I prefer blondies to brownies; I love shortbread, all the better if topped or sandwiched with caramel; one of my favorite-favorite foods, in the world, crumb cake, is really just several shades of beige.

So it's true: I'm a beige lover!

So I loaded up with a few beige-y treats: 

Icing on the Cake, Los Gatos

First, the softie Salted Caramel cookie ("Salted Caramel Moon"). If you like soft sugar cookies, this will be a real treat for you: a soft, rich, lightly crumbly cookie, but instead of the sugary-sweet frosting, this has a caramelly kick with a salty aftertaste. It works wonderfully with the cookie base; it's a little different, but not crazy--like, I could share this with my grandma, whereas she'd say "say WHAT?" to salted licorice flavored baked goods. 

Icing on the Cake, Los Gatos

Next up, the gingernsap. This one is crispy, which is usually not what I crave in a cookie (softie for life!) but this one was quite nice. It had quite a spicy zip--as Lynn advised, pair this one with tea and it will give you a little heat for a cold afternoon. Nice. 

Icing on the Cake, Los Gatos

Next up: the brown sugar shortbread cookies. Shortbread is one of those things that is so simple, but has the potential to be so exquisite, and at Icing on the Cake, it falls into the latter territory. The small additions of brown sugar and crunchy sugar around the sides of the cookies make a big difference, and take them from "good" to "great" shortbread territory. Very worth a try.

Icing on the Cake, Los Gatos

The most colorful treat--or at least the one with the most different tones--was their seven layer bar. This is probably one of my favorite treats in the world (well, aside from super-beige crumb cake) and theirs was a fine specimen. Crunchy and buttery on the bottom crust layer, soft and gooey in the midsection, so decadent and rich that you'd lose yourself in that sticky sea of delicious coconut if it weren't for the punctuations of crunchy nut and pockets of rich chocolate morsels. Please, promise me you'll get one when you visit. 

Of course, Icing on the Cake has a ton more: cupcakes, layer cakes, bars and quick breads and cookies of all sorts--the bakery case is very well appointed and tempting. 

Final word: GO TO THIS PLACE. I promise you won't regret it.

Icing on the Cake, 50 W. Main Street, Los Gatos, CA; online here.

Friday
Jun012012

Batter Chatter: Interview with The Cravory, San Diego

Cravory Cookies 1

About the author: Erin Jackson is obsessed with finding the best cheap and tasty eats in San Diego. Keep up with her other food finds on her San Diego Food blog, EJeats.com
The Cravory is one of San Diego's best cookie bakeries. Not only are the cookies exceptionally good from a technical standpoint (soft, chewy, and moist), they are also some of the most inventive. Like red velvet cake? They've got a cookie version. How about blueberry muffins or oreo milkshakes? They've got that too. There are also savory options like rosemary balsamic and pancakes and bacon -- and those are just some of the signature flavors. 
Every month, The Cravory also dreams up 6 "featured cookies of the month", which are typically even more unusual. This month, they've got mint chip ice cream, blackberry bliss, and chocolate birthday cake (among others). The bakery doesn't have a storefront, so you've got two options to get your paws on them. if you live in San Diego, you can pick them up from select retail locations and farmers' markets (read on to find out where) or you can order cookies online and have them shipped anywhere in the continental USA.
Cookies are available by the dozen, or if you're a serious cookie monster, sign up for the Cookie of the Month Club or go for the Ultimate Box Special, a 50-count assortment of all the signature flavors and some of the newest creations. Another option is to design your own cookies by choosing your dough and mix-ins. 
If you've got willpower issues and the thought of dozens of cookies just lying around presents an issue, you can always freeze them. When you're ready for more, pop the cookies in the microwave for about 15 seconds, or let them defrost on the counter. Cookies can remain frozen in their packing for 3 months, but who are we kidding? They won't last that long.
 
I spoke with Adam Koven, CEO of The Cravory to find out more about his history with baking, his favorite flavors, and what's in store for summer.

Your bio says you've always been a big fan of cookies. Did you bake when you were growing up, and if so, who taught you? A little bit, I cook more than I bake, but growing up, we always did cookies during the holidays. It's definitely in my genes, my great-grandmother was an amazing baker and she did the old European style baking, so I've definitely been involved with baking my whole life.

How old were you the first time you baked something by yourself, and what did you make?
I was probably 11 or 12. We always did the decorated sugar cookies growing up, which is ironic, because we don't do those at all now. 
Besides ordering them online, where can people find your cookies? On Sunday, we're at the La Jolla and Hillcrest farmers' markets, along with Wednesday evenings in Ocean Beach. As far as local businesses in San Diego, we're the featured dessert at Neighborhood, Craft and Commerce, and Leroy's Kitchen and you can get our cookies at The Deli Llama, and Shell gas station in Hillcrest.
How often do you come up with new flavors? Each month, we come out with 6 brand-new flavors each month, our cookies of the month. We carry 18 flavors online, 12 of those are signature flavors, including everything from sweet to savory. Those are our best-sellers from over the past year, and they don't change too often. We've only changed them once or twice because one of the new cookies really blew everyone's socks off, so we made it a signature flavor. But, every month we come up with 6 new flavors for the website, which get featured at the farmers' markets. The farmers markets are also where we test out new flavors. If they do well, they'll become a cookie of the month later on.
Do you work at the farmers' markets yourself? We try to go to the farmers' markets as often as possible. It's either my partner Nate or myself at the Hillcrest market and we have someone that does the Ocean Beach market and La Jolla for us.
Do you see the same people coming to get the same cookies frequently? We definitely have a very strong following at the farmers markets. It's pretty interesting, everyone that works the market has a different fan base, so to speak, but a lot of regulars come by. The really cool thing we do at the market is change our menu every week, so we have the people who come to see what's new and the people who come for their favorites. One of our favorite customers is only in town every third week or so and she absolutely loves the rosemary balsamic, which is one of the flavors we carry every week, but every time she comes, she buys us out. 

 

What are some of your favorite flavors that you've dreamed up recently?
My personal favorites right now are the chocolate truffle, even though I'm not a dark chocolate guy at all. That one is just unbelievably addictive and decadent and delicious. Our newest cookie, which was a cookie of the month and is now a signature, is the salted caramel cream cookie -- that one is amazing. And one of my all-time favorites is our original s'mores, which is original dough with milk chocolate, marshmallow and graham crackers.
Have you ever tried to make a flavor that didn't quite work? My business partner Derrick is our chef, and he's the one who comes up with all of the recipes and actually goes back to the kitchen and makes the cookies, and I'm actually the cook of the group, I make a BBQ sauce from scratch. Two years ago for Memorial Day Weekend, he stole a bottle of my sauce and decided to make a BBQ cookie with the sauce as a base, along with smoked almonds and BBQ chips. He said "Here's what you have for the market, see if you can sell 'em".  I took a bunch of them to the market and needless to say it wasn't a huge hit, even with the BBQ theme of summer, but it was definitely an interesting attempt to think outside the box.
Can you give us a hint of some of the new flavors you're working on for summer?
We have some amazing summer flavors coming out over the next few months, like cotton candy, apple pie, corn bread with candied bacon, and pink lemonade...the next few months are going to be a lot of fun in terms of flavors.

 

Wednesday
Mar212012

Gelat-O-Clock: La Copa Loca, San Francisco

La Copa Loca

Recently, while visiting SpySis in San Francisco (where she manages a fashion boutique), I had a craving for ice cream. This happens often.

Now, I really wanted to visit Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous, which had been suggested by Anita Chu.

But when we got there, they had the saddest sign up: "SOLD OUT". What?!?

La Copa Loca

So, we did a quick search on where to find frozen sweets, FAST, and what came up was La Copa Loca, a gelato place in the Mission. I love gelato, so this was very acceptable. 

Now, I should tell you that the selection of flavors was beautiful--surprisingly thorough for a small space, including Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Panna Cotta, Mexican chocolate, chestnut, and more.

I got a combo of deliciousness: French vanilla bean, and pumpkin (a special that day).

The French vanilla was a standout, lightly eggy and very rich, incredibly creamy in that "it-is-gonna-coat-your-mouth-but-that's-a-good-thing-because-you-don't-want-the-flavor-to-end" sort of way. The pumpkin gelato was sweetly spiced and acted as a beautiful complement to the rich vanilla--together, the two flavors were almost like eating the beating heart of pumpkin pie in frozen form, and man, was that a nice experience.

La Copa Loca

Sadly, while SpySis's dog, Hamilton, was eager to be SpyDog, he did not get any gelato. Maybe he'll talk to me again one day.

La Copa Loca Gelato, 3150 22nd street, San Francisco, CA 94110find La Copa Loca on Facebook here.

Wednesday
Feb082012

Batter Chatter: Interview with Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop, Orange County

What's a "Whacky Cake"? Read on.In the modern world, it seems like just about every other person has some sort of a baking business, be it their bread and butter or a little something on the side.

Sadly, a lot of businesses like this fizzle out. But Meringue Bake Shop, located in Orange County, CA and run by baker Kristin Ausk and her husband Lyle, is an inspiring exception. While they don't have a retail storefront (yet), they've been going for four years and have a loyal following at farmer's markets in the area; as they put it, "While our name may have 'shop' in it, we are currently a catering business working out of a commercial kitchen in Fullerton. But we have our eyes set on the future and so our name reflects that."

Until that sweet day, let's learn more about what keeps them going strong, shall we? (Hint: it may or may not include buttered and toasted Pop-Tarts):

How has Meringue Bake Shop changed since you established it four years ago? Hmmm. I honestly don't feel like much has changed. I'm sure a lot has, like we are now at farmers markets and are consistently busy instead of having one or two orders a month but I guess it just feels like business as usual. We have received some great press and accolades from industry experts so that has helped us grow. Occasionally someone will come up to me and be excited to meet me and that kinda freaks me out, but in a good way. That certainly wouldn't have happened a few years ago.

Your world-famous PushCakes seem to have inspired some...for lack of a better word...copycats. How do you deal with people who are a little too "inspired" by your business? Ha well.... I am going to be honest and say that it is challenging for me to deal with. And I am trying to learn to let go and just accept that it's a great idea and so of course people are going to want to make it their own. Look at Bakerella! But it does upset me when someone talks about it as if they came up with pushcakes or use the name I invented and tell me they had no idea. Or purposefully go around and try to "steal my thunder" so to speak by following my press around the internet to tout their version. That's just not nice. And I was bummed when I found out someone is publishing a book about the very idea, someone who isn't even in the business and ultimately will get all the credit for it. But I digress! I really owe its wide spread popularity to you, for doing the first official post about PushCakes here on Cakespy!

Shucks! I'm blushing. OK, so...PushCakes were one of the items that brought your business to the public eye in a big way. How big a part of your business are they today? Right now pushcakes are probably 40% of my business. I'd like to get that to at least 75%. I am working on an online storefront so I can spread the pushcake love all over the states. But since I only do this part time, and a lot on my own, it's going to take longer than I'd like. Plus it's just me and my husband baking, creating and assembling these and we've only got 4 hands between us!

Tell me more about your "whacky cake", that lovely thing with a funny name pictured at the top of this post. The whacky cake is based off an idea I saw in a Donna Hay magazine a year or so ago. My friend Sharon from Cupcakes and Cutlery showed me the cake and told me that I just had to make it my own. I found a company in Australia that is making something with a chocolate mold in the shape of a cake that you break open with a hammer. I believe they call them smash cakes. What makes mine different is that underneath that chocolate dome and layer of delicious candy, you'll find our yummy cake and buttercream. So after eating some sugar, you can eat more sugar! Everyone's happy! So far I've just been making them for kids parties but they would great for marriage proposals, gender reveal parties, milestone birthdays or even for graduations. We can put anything inside the cake as long as it's small.

What flavor would your last-meal cake be? It would have to be a slice of Le Bete Noire. It's a cake made at Extraordinary Desserts in San Diego. The cake is comprised of layers of a creamy semi-sweet chocolate mousse, vanilla crème brûlée, chocolate ganache, dark chocolate cakes and moistened with Madagascar vanilla bean syrup.

Pop Tart Vs. Toaster Strudel

Pop-tarts or toaster strudel? DUH! Pop-tarts baby! I eat mine toasted with salted butter and cut into fourths. shhhh

What is, in your opinion, the ideal cake-to-frosting ratio on a cupcake? I personally prefer 1/3 buttercream to 2/3 cake.

Can you name some bakers who truly inspire you? Oh yes. Elisa Strauss, Karen Krasne, Kari Haskell, Carrie Fields, Julie Desmeules, Rosie from Sweetapolita, and you!

If money were no object, what would you love to do next with your business? Open a real shop! One with a case full of cupcakes, cookies, diner cakes, bars and puddings. A pink and white checked floor, tinsel lampshades, turquoise vinyl booths, a cakespy mural in my kitchen, a glitter toilet (yea you heard me!), a space for parties and a retro jukebox playing daft punk, madonna, rodrigo y gabriel, abba, squeeze, and zz top (among others). ;)

For more awesome, visit the Meringue Bake Shop website or find them on Facebook.

Tuesday
Jan312012

Gelat-o-Clock: A Visit to Gelato Classico, San Francisco

Gelato Classico, San Francisco

When it comes to Gelato, the setting is a big part of the experience. It is, as I like to say, a “strolling food”, so all the better to have sweet surroundings while you stroll and enjoy your treat.

That having been said, in San Francisco, I felt it necessary to try some gelato in the so-italian-it-hurts North Beach. It's touristy, but it's fun. I also love Stella Pastry there, by the way.

So after consulting the best source for fast information (um, twitter), I learned that Gelato Classico was the place to hit. So after touring Tcho, I strolled on over for some gelato.

I chose a scoop of the crème brulee paired with the dark chocolate. I'll tell the truth, with flavors like tiramisu, chocolate-hazelnut, a good-looking vanilla bean, and many others, it was not an easy thing to decide. But here's the happy thing: It was a good decision.

I strolled my gelato over to the park, where every single person around me proceeded to say “Omigod where did you get that?”. I think I may have single-handedly caused a big rush at the gelato place in this way, because it really was a sunny and perfect type of day for a chilled treat.

Gelato Classico, San Francisco

The caramel-vanilla crème brulee flavor didn't have the toastiness of crème brulee, tasting more like a caramel-vanilla, but that was just fine with me, because this is a good flavor combination. The dark chocolate was delightfully rich, but not so fudge-like that it left a slick on my teeth. The gelato was solidly good, but it was the experience of strolling with it in North Beach that truly made it magic.

Gelato Classico, 576 Union Street. More info here.

Gelato Classico Italian on Urbanspoon

Saturday
Sep242011

CakeSpy Undercover: Sweet Lady Jane, Beverly Hills CA

I want to tell you about my recent visit to a magical place called Sweet Lady Jane.

Now, I first made note of Sweet Lady Jane several years ago, when I saw it featured in a glossy celebrity magazine as the maker of a famous person's wedding cake (I forget who; the cake was what made an impression).

And so when I recently found myself in Los Angeles for the Emmys with Duncan Hines, I made sure to check out this delicious spot in Beverly Hills with a buddy.

Sweetly decorated inside, the bakery cases present some serious eye candy: mile-high meringues, decadent cookies, gorgeous pastries, and—most importantly—cakes. Cakes, cakes, cakes. Of all sorts and sizes, from red velvet cupcakes to chocolate decadence cake to Princess Torte and more. Like, whoa.

Our Spy Selections? Chocolate decadence cake, walnut caramel tart, Red Velvet cupcake, and a sea salt brownie.

My main treat was the Red Velvet cupcake. If I could have hooked myself up to an IV to quicker receive the cream cheese frosting from the Red Velvet cupcake I would—it was my ideal type of frosting, sweet but not saccharine, and lightly tangy from the cream cheese. The cake was flavorful. The cake was good. The cake was great. But I am going to tell you the truth in that for me, it was a vehicle for that frosting.

My next favorite was the tart, which had a nice, creamy filling and delightfully thick caramel finish on top of a shortbready crust.

The chocolate decadence was for chocolate die-hards only, unapologetically chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, and weighing roughly the same as a human baby (and not necessarily a newborn).

I didn't taste the brownie, but was assured that it had a nicely balanced flavor, with the salt providing a flavor contrast and rounding out the chocolatiness of the treat.

Basically, what I am saying here is that if you are in Los Angeles and don't go to Sweet Lady Jane, you are making a grave mistake.

Sweet Lady Jane, Beverly Hills, CA. Online here.

Thursday
Apr072011

Push It: PushCakes by Meringue Bake Shop, Orange County CA

Photo: Meringue Bake ShopWhen push pop meets cupcake, you get something awesome to shove in your gullet: PushCakes!

And I was the very lucky recipient of a sample package of these sweeties, made with love by Meringue Bakeshop in So-cal, which arrived on SpyStep (that's my doorstep) this morning.

Aside from some minor frosting sticking-to-the-top, the cakes arrived in fine form (and really, if you must know, I just licked it off the lid, and am pretty certain you'd do the same if nobody was looking). Also, a small circle of parchment paper would probably do the trick in keeping it from sticking.

While the push pop mechanism doesn't change the taste of cake at all, it does make it fun to eat, and if you ate it in front of someone else, it would probably make them jealous. And Kristin Ausk, the baker behind Meringue Bake Shop, makes a mean PushCake: cake layers kept moist between generous, almost mini trifle-esque layers of buttercream. Favorite flavor so far? The strawberry cheesecake, which tastes a little bit like both flavors, all at once, in a good way.

Here are the flavors that Mr. Spy and I devoured:

  • Queen of Hearts (aka red velvet)
  • German Chocolate
  • Strawberry Cheesecake
  • Sweet & Salty (salted caramel) 

...and yes, they were freaking delicious.

Want more? You'd do yourself a favor if you bought some PushCakes--do it here. And follow the baker online here.

© Cakespy, all rights reserved. Powered by Squarespace.