Home Home Home Home Home Home Home
CakeSpy

Featured: 

What is Pumpkin Pie Spice?

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 los angeles (11)

Wednesday
Apr232014

Bake For Good: A Sweet Adventure with King Arthur Flour

King Arthur Flour Bake For Good

So.

A few months ago I get an email from King Arthur Flour asking if I'll join their "Bake For Good" event in Seattle. Now, without even knowing what that was, my initial impulse was to say "yes! YES!". You see, I am a big fan of King Arthur Flour. One of the benefits of being a blogger is that you're allowed to be a groupie for things like flour companies. 

Only there were two problems. One was that I don't live in Seattle any longer, and they weren't paying for airfare. Second (bigger issue) was that I would be in Bali on the days of the event. So with a heavy heart I had to say no. I realize that you probably feel terrible for me that I had to turn something down because I would be in Bali.

Happily, there was a solution which made everyone happy: an event a couple of weeks later, in LA. I said yes, bought a plane ticket, and proceeded to not look up anything about the event I was attending. 

A few days before, I acquinted myself with the event, and was very impressed with what I found. 

King Arthur Flour Bake For Good

What is Bake For Good? 

According to the King Arthur blog, "Bake for Good is the umbrella name we give to everything we do here at King Arthur Flour to make the world a better place – through baking."

Loved it already. Don't you?

So, as part of their do-gooding outreach, King Arthur Flour decided to do several events, tour-style in the midwest and on the west coast, where they are not as well known. This had a double benefit--people in these areas could learn about their fantastic products, and they could do some good while they were out and about. 

On this particular tour, they would meet up with bloggers for two days in each city. The first day they taught us how to make bread and pies, and then we immediately put our newfound knowledge to work and baked up a storm. 

The next day, we took our baked goods to a shelter, and rounded it out with a full dinner. Let me tell you, this was a fantastic treat for them as well as for us. There was nobody who didn't win in this equation. 

Now that I have given you the basics, I will tell you about my adventure. 

Day 1: Meet, greet, bake. 

Day 1 started out bright and early, at 7.30 AM. As I approached the group, one lady said "Hello, Jessie!". I returned the greeting, cautiously. How did she know my name? Turns out, Susan Reid, one of the King Arthur Flour bakers and editor of The Baking Sheet newsletter, had done her homework. She not only knew everyone's name and face, but details about us (that I was from NJ, for instance). This was very impressive and just a little creepy--but in an awesome, how can I be more like that? kind of way. 

King Arthur Flour Bake For Good

The group was composed of seven talented food writers and bloggers including myself. I was lucky enough to meet Julianne of Beyond Frosting, Nicole of Pinch My Salt, Jennie and Corelyn of Garlic My Soul, Farley of Over Over Under and LA Weekly, and Jessica of Beer and Baking. I already had a good opinion of these people going into the event, but it only became a better opinion once I got to know them better. Good people!

They warmed us up by letting us taste the still-warm chocolate chip scones you see above. Good. Good. Good.

We started out our baking with a bread tutorial from Robyn, another of the King Arthur Bakers. This woman was like a baking encyclopedia. She knew everything. She showed us the proper way to mix bread dough, knead, and shape it. Really, it was a great bonding experience. 

King Arthur Flour Bake For Good

In spite of knowing everything, she was very inclusive of people who knew less. One thing I've always felt a deep shame about is my lack of proper training--I can get it done, baking-wise, but I don't always follow the proper procedure. When I asked things like "Is it OK that at this point I would normally just use my hands to mix the dough?" which were clearly NOT THE RIGHT ANSWER, she lovingly would assure me that I was doing fine without turning into a crazy pastry chef who yells "sacre bleu, you are doing eet all wrong!". 

BTW, I made copious notes. 

Under Robyn's tutelage, we quickly found ourselves making rolls...and then a braided loaf...and then a mega-braided (6 strands, baby!) loaf. Say what?

King Arthur Flour Bake For Good

Yup. We did good.

King Arthur Flour Bake For Good

After a break, we were back to the dough and it was time for pie.

Pie Time


Now, unless you've been living under a rock, you probably know that People Are Scared Of Pie Crust. I don't see why--I'm not. But at the same time, while it's turned out fine, I've never been properly trained.

King Arthur Flour Bake For Good

Robyn showed us not one right way but two, and explained that there isn't one way. Before we knew it we were rolling and patting our crust into the pan with delightfully visible butter in the crust. 

But the coolest parts, to me, were these.

1. Robyn showed us how to peel an apple with high speed. First, peel the top, and don't lift the peeler. Drag it down and peel around the bottom. Now, bring the peeler in strokes along the sides, letting it lift between strokes. Seriously. So fast. 

King Arthur Flour Bake For Good

2. She showed us how to flute the crust. I never knew how to do this pointy style.

King Arthur Flour Bake For Good

3. Susan stepped in and showed us how to do a lattice crust. She told us that the way I have always done it--right on the pie--is not necessarily incorrect, but that to keep things from getting messy, it's easier to do it on an upside down pie plate. How right she was! Plus, this has an amazing "voila" moment when you transfer it. It's exhilarating and fun.

King Arthur Flour Bake For Good

We baked up our treats and felt very satisfied. We packed them up for day two, and retired to dinner.

King Arthur Flour Bake For Good

We all went to a place called Little Beast for dinner. It was adorable - the amount of mason jars present in this restaurant was up through the stratosphere. Pinterest would love this place. But more importantly, it was freaking delicious. I had a really amazing chocolate mousse for dessert. It was served in a mason jar, natch.

I wore a sequined unicorn dress, if that matters.

There was a moment of stress when someone suggested the table share desserts. "I cannot tell a lie," I bravely confessed, "I do not share dessert." so I had this baby all to myself. I'm pretty sure everyone else was jealous. 

Photo via Beer and BakingDay 2: Sharing and caring

The next day was a bevy of doing good and meeting others who do good.

We started by visiting Homeboy Industries. Seriously, if you have never heard of this place, you need to. They do fantastic and inspiring things.

In a nutshell, Homeboy "serves high-risk, formerly gang-involved men and women with a continuum of free services and programs, and operates seven social enterprises that serve as job-training sites."

Former gang members--some previously jailed--are given a second chance by working at this world class bakery, working their way to recovery. As they gain experience and skill, they also gain entry back into the "real" world. We got to speak to several of the bakers and they were all amazingly inspiring, having come from the bottom to where they are today. Without a doubt every single person was a hard worker, and thankful for the opportunity. 

King arthur flour trip

And equally as important as their message...the cookies are great! 

After leaving Homeboy, we headed over to PATH to cook a dinner for the residents. We created a number of Susan's recipes, including mac n cheese, Spanish rice, lime-scented chicken, and veggies. We worked together in the tiny kitchen and made it happen, serving our wares along with the bread and the pies we'd made the day before. Talk about a good feeling, especially when we saw the smiles on the residents' faces. The shelter residents, I learned, rarely see food of this caliber, much less homemade desserts.

IMPORTANT: We all felt good at the end of the day. 

Photo via Beer and Baking

- - - - - -

RECIPES

King Arthur Flour Bake For Good

You didn't think I'd leave you hanging, did you? Here are the tasty recipes we made. Both are courtesy of King Arthur Flour.

BREAD:

Yield: 1 large loaf, about 18 servings.

  • 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water*
  • 1 heaping tablespoon honey
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons soft butter
  • 4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/3 cup Baker's Special Dry Milk or 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk granules

*Use the lesser amount in summer or humid climates; the greater amount in winter or drier climates.

  1. Mix all of the ingredients in the order listed, and mix and knead — by hand, or using a stand mixer — to make a smooth dough. It won't be particularly soft nor stiff; it should be smooth and feel bouncy and elastic under your hands.
  2. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl or other container. Cover it, and let it rise at room temperature until it's very puffy, 1 to 2 hours.
  3. Gently deflate the dough, and shape it into a fat 9" log. Place it in a lightly greased 9" x 5" loaf pan.
  4. Cover the pan, and let the dough rise for 60 to 90 minutes, till it's crowned 1" to 1 1/2" over the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  5. Bake the bread for 20 minutes. Tent it lightly with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes, till it's golden brown. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center will read 195°F to 200°F.
  6. Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out onto a rack to cool. When completely cool, wrap in plastic, and store at room temperature.

King Arthur Flour Bake For Good

PIE:

For the crust

  • 2 1/2 cups Perfect Pastry Blend or King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
  • 7 to 10 tablespoons ice water

filling

  • 8 cups sliced apples
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 cup boiled cider or undiluted apple juice concentrate
  • 2 tablespoons butter, diced in small pieces

Procedure

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
  2. Cut in the shortening until it's in lumps the size of small peas.
  3. Dice the butter into 1/2" pieces, and cut into the mixture until you have flakes of butter the size of your fingernail.
  4. Add the water, two tablespoons at a time, mixing with a fork as you sprinkle the water into the dough
  5. When the dough is moist enough to hold together when you squeeze it, transfer it to a piece of wax or parchment paper. It's OK if there are some dry spots in the pile. Use a spray bottle of water to lightly spritz these places; that way you'll add just enough water to bring the dough together without creating a wet spot.
  6. Fold the dough over on itself three or four times to bring it together, then divide it in half and pat it into two disks 3/4" thick.  
  7. Roll the disk on its edge, like a wheel, to smooth out the edges. This step will ensure your dough will roll out evenly, without a lot of cracks and splits at the edges later. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes before rolling.  
  8. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie pan that's at least 2 inches deep. This will make serving the pie easier after it's baked. 
  9. Combine the sliced apples and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl.  
  10. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cornstarch, salt, and spices. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples, and stir to coat them. Stir in the boiled cider or apple juice concentrate.
  11. Roll out half of the pastry to a 13" circle. Transfer it to the prepared pan, and trim the edges so they overlap the rim of the pan by an inch all the way around.
  12. Spoon the apple filling into the pan. Dot the top with the diced butter.
  13. Roll out the remaining pastry to an 11" circle. Cut decorative vent holes, if desired. Carefully place the pastry over the apples.
  14. Time to preheat the oven to 425°F.
  15. Roll the overhanging bottom crust up and over the top crust, pinching to seal the two.
  16. Flute the edges of the pie, then place it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up the crust while the oven finishes heating.
  17. Place the pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the pie for 20 minutes at 425°F, then reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake for 40 minutes more, until you see the filling bubbling inside the pie. Check the pie after half an hour of baking time, and cover the edges with foil or a pie shield to keep them from browning too quickly.
  18. When the pie is done, remove it from the oven and cool it completely before slicing.

To learn more about Homeboy Industries and PATH, click on the respective hyperlinks. 

To learn more about the Bake for Good program, visit the King Arthur site.  

Thursday
Jun202013

CakeSpy Undercover: Villa Blanca, via Ninja Baker

VB-Green-Tea-Tiramisu-Srawberries-1

CakeSpy Note: This is a guest post from Kim Watkinson, The Ninja Baker. Her bio appears at the end of the post!

Note from Kim: Jessie Oleson Moore, The CakeSpy, brings readers like me such joy with her whimsical artwork and recipes. Remember Donut Stop Believin’ and Why Cupcakes are Nutritious? Like a rich chocolate cake, I am currently relishing every page of Jessie’s latest book, The Secret Lives of Baked Goods. So, I am thrilled to write this guest post for the Cake Spy whilst she is busy on her book tour. Thank you, Jessie!  

Villa Blanca

White lilies and other snow-white flowers strain their necks forward as if to say hello. A slight breeze ruffles the white tablecloth. I reach for my goblet of water with lemon and sip contentment. For a moment I feel like a movie star. After all I am taking lunch at Villa Blanca owned by celebrity Lisa Vanderpump. (One of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.)

Well-coifed BFFs with designer bags and shopping bags labeled Chanel and Ralph Lauren swinging from their arms chatter away as they wait to be seated. I feel lucky to have been seated at a table open to California sunshine and people watching. Oblivious to the splendor inside the restaurant in Beverly Hills, Italian suited businessmen on iPhones engrossed in the world of commerce rush by.

VB-coconut-miso

A friendly server comes over with menus. My darling niece, Jasmine and my friend Nobuko-san contemplate our choices. Nobuko-san and I are sticking strictly to dessert. (Life is short, right?) But Jasmine sensibly chooses a coconut milk and miso soup – which she generously shares. Nobuko-san and I prefer traditional Japanese fare so we wouldn’t have thought to combine coconut milk and miso. But we both agree it works. Jasmine observes the asparagus is “perfectly cooked and crunchy.”

English-Toffee-Pudding-Vanilla-Bean-Ice-Cream

As our English Toffee Bread Pudding arrives, we all play dessert detective. (Lisa Vanderpump is from the UK so we had to try this traditional British treat.) Supersweet! (I believe there is both white and brown sugar involved.) And the dessert stays true to its heritage with a sticky topping. My well-traveled niece was wary of the pudding, but found it “surprisingly good.” We all agreed the vanilla bean ice cream served with Villa Blanca’s version of the pudding is sublime.

Villa Blanca ice cream

To cleanse our palates we licked ice creams! Two were made with champagne and another was made with coconut ice cream. The latter was like a cake in ice cream form and full of flavor. VB-ice-creams-and-coffee

The pink champagne was uber-pretty and left bubbly puddles as it melted.

VB-champagne-ice-cream-close-up

Next we dug into the Green Tea Tiramisu (pictured top). Nobuko-san and I thought the green tea accent was a tad weak and thought the cinnamon was a bit overpowering. But, Jasmine who grew up in California thought it was a winning blend of tea and strawberry. I’m not saying I didn’t love all the creamy goodness, but wished for a bit more matcha or green tea. (Sorry. You can take the girl out of Japan but you can’t take the Japan out of the girl.)

Whatever tastes may or not be wanting in a dish at Villa Blanca, the atmosphere and stellar service are well worth the Beverly Hills prices. Oh! You may just spot Ken Vanderpump, Lisa’s husband. He is 100% sweetie. While his lunch waited for him, he let a whole gaggle of customers take photos with him. To see the smile on my niece’s face and her excitement about meeting him was the crowning moment to a lovely afternoon at Villa Blanca.

Final word? Definitely worth the visit. Do make reservations. Villa Blanca 9601 Brighton Way Beverly Hills, CA 90210 Tel. (310) 859-7600. Online here.  

VB-Jasmine-niece-Ken-hubby-of-Lisa-NB-and-friend-Nobuko

About the Ninja Baker, Kim Watkinson: The Japanese language and food was all I knew until age 5 albeit I’m a towheaded American. My 17 years in Tokyo influences my baking, blogging and book writing. At Ninjabaking.com I share scrumptious Asian fusion, American classics and gluten-free how-tos as well as fun facts about Japan.

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.

 


Sunday
Sep252011

Sweet Chic: The Patisserie at SLS Beverly Hills

Let's spend a few moments to talk about the desserts I sampled at a place called the SLS Beverly Hills.

This is the hotel I stayed at when I went to the Emmy Awards (oh, did I tell you I did that?) and the best part about this quirky, curio-filled hotel is that they have their very own patisserie. Sweet!

In keeping with the hotel's curio closet-gets-Philippe Starcke-ified vibe, the sweet shop has an apothocary-meets-sleek chic feel, but the goodies are delicious business. Desserts can be ordered at the hotel restaurant/bar, or ordered a la carte at the counter.

This spy sampled the Greek Yogurt parfait with macerated apricots, which was a gorgeous surprise, with vanilla-scented house-made yogurt complemented by lovely apricots and honey. Who knew yogurt could be so good? It didn't taste overly breakfast-y, either--they do have a version that they serve in the morning, too, though, albeit with less sweet bells and whistles.

But if you ask me, the real stars were the a la carte items: homemade marshmallows, small “tablet” chocolate bars, bonbons, lollipops, and mini-cookies including financiers, florentines, lava cookies, and more. It made for a magical presentation, and the sweets were all very well-executed small bites, clearly made with fine ingredients, with care given to flavor contrast and sweet presentation.

The SLS Beverly Hills hotel may be too cool for school for some, but a stop to the patisserie even as a walk-in is well worth the trip.

SLS Beverly Hills Patisserie, Los Angeles.

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.

Friday
Jun252010

Sweet Love: A Bakery Crush on Freshly Baked, Los Angeles

Now, there are countless reasons why Freshly Baked, a gourmet cookie company in Los Angeles, deserves your love and sweet affection.

But if pressed, I'd offer these up as some of the primary reasons:

 

  1. Their mission statement, as stated on the front page of their website, may bring tears to your eyes: "Forget about carbs, sugar, and fat grams. Our cookies are meant to be eaten, not analyzed."
  2. Said cookies come in flavors which give shout-outs to, but aren't quite, traditional flavors: for instance, Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzel, Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip, Strawberry White Chocolate, Banana chocolate Chip Walnut, and Root Beer Float (!). Oh, and they do something called the "OMG" which is comprised of half cookie, half ice cream. Like, OMG!
  3. The cookies all come in hand-graffiti'ed boxes with Keith Haring-esque designs, so that like snowflakes, no two are alike. I'm tempted to say something about the anti cookie-cutter effect...
  4. The company has a sweet story: owner Eric Weston has had a love affair with the cookie since he was a wee lad (he'll show you an adorable photo) and while a talented actor-comedian he decided to take his penchant for unsusal cookie creations to the local LA Derby Doll arena and see if he could sell his wares to all the local hipsters. To his great delight (and theirs), he was a hit and is now delivering his goods to all the hip coffee shops all around town!

 

Of course, these cookies were recommended by Cake Gumshoe Renee, who says that the "cookies are crackalicious, seriously. I'm very persnickety about my cookie selections, but his Nutty Bavarain Love Biscuit (peanut butter chocolate pretzel) cookie makes me want to curse with pleasure."

Freshly Baked will soon be debuting a cookie truck which will deliver mobile cookies throughout LA; til then, cookies are currently available at various coffee shops in the Los Angeles area, and can be special ordered for local delivery or nationwide shipment; find out more on their site, freshly-baked.com. Oh, and you can follow them on Twitter, if you're into that.

Sunday
Apr042010

Sweet Love: A Bakery Crush on Daisy Mae Treats, Los Angeles

Photos c/o Daisy Mae TreatsThank you, internet. For various reasons, of course, but most recently for introducing me (via DailyCandy) to my newest bakery crush: Daisy Mae Treats, an online bakery based in Los Angeles.

And happily, several of their items can be shipped nationwide.

The primary object of desire? Their signature "Daisycakes", a most delectable-looking gourmet cookie sandwich which comes in flavor combinations like chocolate cookies filled with sea salt caramel frosting as well as ginger molasses, peanut butter chocolate, and lavender. 

Of course, the caramels--which come in flavors like sea salt and lavender--don't look so bad themselves.

While they don't have a retail space (yet), if you're in the LA area you can also receive deliveries of all sorts of treats from their menu, including the aforementioned cookie sandwiches and caramels, as well as a full array of cupcakes (in flavors like lemon curd, honey mascarpone, chocolate sea salt caramel, and red velvet), brownies, blondies, sour lemon scones, and a most alluring-looking chocolate chip coffee cake (pictured left).

Browsing the internet has never been so sweet.

Daisy Mae Treats can be found online at daisymaetreats.com.

Thursday
Oct152009

Sweet Love: A Bakery Crush on Sweet E's Bakery

Sweet E's Bake Shop
I don't know if this happens to anyone else, but occasionally I develop crushes. On bakeries.

And right now, I'm crushing hard on Sweet E's Bake Shop, a Los Angeles-based special order "mini bake shop" that only offers tiny treats--each one is about 2-3 bites. Which, by my math, makes it totally OK to eat about 5-7 of the treats. 

The treats themselves are adorable, ranging from sweetly decorated cupcakes:
Sweet E's Bake Shop
to baby brownies:
Sweet E's Bake ShopBrownies from Sweet E's
to cute cake pops.
Sweet E's Bake Shop Red Velvet Cake PopSweet E's Bake Shop

They also offer something intriguing called "Peanut Butter Blizzard" (pictured below)--a confection which falls somewhere between a brownie and fudge texture-wise, comprised of peanut butter and white chocolate fudge with marshmallows, rice krispies and chocolate chips. Like, yum.
Peanut butter Blizzard

Cupcakes are available for local delivery only, but brownies, cake pops and mini cakes can be shipped; you can find it all at sweetesbakeshop.com.

Friday
Nov142008

Lost and Found: The Chocolate Topped Princess Cake

Princess Cake
What makes a dessert go extinct? Times changing? Palates and preferences shifting? Dessert chefs retiring? All of the above? 

Whatever the reason, and wherever they may go, there are nonetheless certain desserts that stay alive in people's memories. And during our recent bout of research (read: obsession) with the Princess Cake, we came across one such dessert. The Princess Cake at famed Los Angeles eatery Scandia was not green, and in fact, it even varied a bit from the classic recipe, getting an added crunch from two layers of macaroons in addition to the layers of cake, jam and cream--and an added layer of richness with a layer of chocolate frosting atop the classic marzipan. However, one thing is for certain--this cake was certainly loved. 
While Scandia is no longer around, luckily Cake Gumshoe (and go-to pastry Chef of the Cakespy crew) Chris Jarchow sleuthed out the recipe for Scandia's Princess cake in the gorgeous book Lost Desserts: Delicious Indulgences of the Past Recipes from Legendary and Famous Chefs by Gail Monahan. Together, we took on the massive (and very time-consuming) cake-making project. Here's how we did it:


Princess Cake

Princess Cake (It says it serves 8-10, but we found that a little went a long way and it was more like 15 servings...no, really)
For the Yellow Cakes: 
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the Vanilla Buttercream: 
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Marzipan Icing:
  • 1 cup almond paste
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 large egg plus one egg yolk (or more if needed to make a spreading consistency)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the chocolate icing:
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature and lightly beanten
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Macaroons
To assemble the cake: 
  • 24 almond macaroons--somewhat hard and chewy, not hard and crisp (recipe suggests store-bought but Chris made ours)
  • about 5 tablespoons dark rum (or more, if you're feeling frisky)
  • About 2 cups best-quality raspberry jam
To make the yellow cakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 6 or 8 inch round or square cake pans at least 1 1/2 inches deep. Line the bottoms with parchment paper; butter the paper and dust the paper and pans with flour.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of the milk and the vanilla.
  3. Place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix for 30 seconds until combined. Add the butter and remaining 6 tablespoons milk. Mix on low speed until uniformly moist. Switch to high speed and mix for 1.5 minutes. Add the egg mixture in three batches, beating 15 seconds after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  4. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the surfaces with a spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center, 20 to 25 minutes. The cakes should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after they are removed from the oven.
  5. Cool on wire racks for 10 minutes, then loosen the cakes from the sides of the pan with a small knife and invert the cakes onto the racks. Re-invert and cool completely. Split each cake horizontally into two layers.
To make the vanilla buttercream:
  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile combine the sugar and corn syrup in a small saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until the syrup comes to a rolling boil and the sugar dissolves, and the entire surface is covered with large bubbles. Immediately pour the syrup into another cool saucepan or metal bowl to stop the cooking. 
  3. Beating constantly, add the syrup to the egg yolks in a slow, steady stream. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the last of the syrup into the yolks and to scrape down the bowl occasionally. Continue to beat until the mixture is completely cool.
  4. Gradually beat in the butter and then the vanilla. Store the buttercream in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and beat again before using.
To Make the Marzipan Icing:
  1. Cut the almond paste into small pieces and place in the bowl of an electric mixer with the sugar, the whole egg, and the egg yolk. Beat on medium speed until combined, adding more egg if necessary to make the icing a spreading consistency. Add the vanilla and beat until combined.
Frosting
To Make the Chocolate Icing:

 

 

  1. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. When melted, remove from heat and add the confectioners' sugar and hot water. Stir thoroughly; add egg and beat well. Add the butter one tablespoon at a time and beat until thoroughly combined, smooth, and glossy (this took several minutes).

Layering the Princess Cake
To Assemble the cake:
  1.  Lay the macaroons out on a piece of wax paper, flatten them a bit with your hand, and spinkle with 2 tablespoons of the rum. Set aside.
  2. Layer a cake layer on a cake plate and dampen the top with 1 tablespoon of rum. Spread generously with jam and then cover evenly with 12 or so macaroons. 
  3. Spread the underside of a second cake layer with buttercream, about 3/8 inch thick. Place this second layer, buttercream side down, on top of the first layer. Dampen the top with 1 tablespoon of rum. 
  4. Spread the top of this second layer generously with jam (be sure to hold the side of the cake so it doesn't slide around).
  5. Spread the underside of a third cake layer with buttercream, again about 3/8 inch thick, and lay it, buttercream side down, on top of the second layer.
  6. Dampen the top of the third layer with the last tablespoon of the rum, spread generously with jam, and evenly cover the jam with the remaining 12 macaroons.
  7. Spread 3/8 inch of buttercream on the underside of the fourth cake layer and lay it, buttercream side down, on top of the third layer.
  8. Use leftover buttercream sparingly to tidy up the cake: fill gaps on the sides between layers, and just generally smooth things over. Put the cake in the fridge or freezer for at least 15 minutes to harden the buttercream. Note: Ours started to pull a "Leaning tower of Pisa" in the fridge, so it might be a good idea to support it on the side somehow. We eventually put a wooden skewer through the cake to keep it solid).
    Making the Princess Cake
  9. When the buttercream is hard, ice the cake with a layer of marzipan icing. Refrigerate or freeze for about fifteen minutes, again to harden the icing, and then ice a final time with the chocolate icing (we didn't think it was attractive during this time, but it's quite pretty once sliced into--see top!).
    Scandia's Princess Cake
  10. The cake should be kept in the refrigerator until one hour before serving. It can be assembled up to 24 hours in advance and kept well covered and refrigerated. It can also be frozen.
Note: The vanilla buttercream, marzipan, and chocolate icing will keep well in the fridge for several days. To store longer, freeze.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday
Jul092008

Cakespy Confidential: 72 Glazed and Confused Hours of Cakewalking in Los Angeles

Donut from Randy's, LA

Randy Newman may have had it wrong about short people (Cake Gumshoe Median height: 5'3") but he sure had it right about LA: We love it! Sure, the city is perhaps best known for its contributions to cinema, but it's also host to one of the most eclectic bakery scenes we've ever seen. From donut joints to panaderias to shops with daintily decorated cupcakes, this sprawling city has it all--and on our recent long weekend in the City of Angels, we set out to try as many spots as we could. Armed with suggestions from our friends Chris and Sandy, we headed off into the palm-tree lined sunset and set to our sweet sleuthing.
Cakespy Note: With only 72 hours, clearly we weren't able to visit every sweet spot in the city--our short-people bodies can only stand so much--but please pass on any suggestions or spots we must hit next time!

Taking a bite of LARandy's Donuts
DAY 1: Our first stop, shortly after pulling out of the rental car lot, was the gorgeously iconic Randy's Donuts, which boasts a donut the size of a small house atop a takeaway stand on the side of the highway. Feel like it looks familiar? It's with good reason--check out here to see all the movies and films in which it's played a role. There we indulged in the unlikely but, as we learned, addiction-inducing, honey-wheat flavor combination on our donut (pictured top). So far, so good.

Raw Desserts, Euphoria, Santa Monica
Feeling the urge to eat something un-sweet for the moment, we headed over to Santa Monica, where we settled on Euphoria Loves Rawvolution, an eatery catering to the raw, vegan crowd--not a touch of the food had dairy or had ever been heated above 115 degrees. The food was good, although we must admit that there might be a learning curve to eating raw--the textures on some of the items were a bit dense and dry for our tastes. But all was forgiven when we got to dessert--a trio of (raw) dessert truffles, including a coconut fudge, goji berry, and cookie dough truffle, which were dense, rich, not too-sweet and made us very happy.

Cupcakes, Vanilla Bakeshop, Santa MonicaDulce de Leche Buttercups from La Brea Bakery
Feeling virtuous and...yes, slightly euphoric, we headed back to dairytown--by way of Vanilla Bakeshop, where we tried out a vanilla bean cupcake--and really, perfection is the word that comes to mind. Across the street, Yummy Cupcakes was already closed, so we hit up Whole Foods, where we browsed wares from La Brea Bakery and others. We drifted over to the pier for some roller coasters and recognized the pier right away from Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead--heading back to the hotel, we drifted off to sweet dreams.

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Santa MonicaJack N Jill's, Santa Monica
DAY 2: The next day, we started out with LA's coffee chain, the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, where our Seattle coffee tastes were satisfied, if not wowed, by the coffee. Breakfast was a delight at Jack N Jill's, a cafe which we loved if not completely agreeing with their typestyle choices. As a bonus to breakfast-eaters, an alluring counter display of cupcakes is right by the register--cos we understand that sometimes you need dessert, even after breakfast.
Red Velvet slightly unwrappedCarrot Cupcake moments before eating

That's when the day hit hyper-awesome mode, because that's the point at which we met up with the awesome Jen and Erica of All-Mighty, a company specializing in everything cute, and everything Boston Terrier. Our first stop was Auntie Em's, a cafe which was featured on Bobby Flay's Throwdown. Apparently Bobby's cupcakes won, but you could have fooled us--the red velvet and carrot cake cupcakes we tried were simply superlative, and possibly as large as a baseball mitt. Of course the food wasn't bad either.
Jen gave us a roundabout tour of her city, leading us by Eat My Cupcake in North Hollywood (alas, closed when we dropped by), and then to the very cool neighborhood of Silver Lake, where we hit up the Cheese Shop of Silver Lake (home of Cake Monkey's Frosting Sandwiches!), refueled at Intelligentsia (great floors, great coffee, pastries from Delilah). (As a side note, we nearly died cooing over all of the cuteness and coolness that is present at Giant Robot, a gallery and store with plenty of cake and pastry-themed stickers, stationery items and tees--and, of course, lots of other cool stuff). We were too full at this point, but the cake offerings at Town & Country looked awfully good too.

Erica, me, Danny (aka Mr Cakespy), Jen and StinkyAll-Mighty offices, LA
We also got to tour the All-Mighty offices, which are incredibly awesome--yup, these girls are a serious inspiration.

Cupcake and Movie Shoot!Crumbs Bakery, LA
By the time we left the offices, we cake gumshoes had found our appetites again, and so headed over to Crumbs Bakeshop in Beverly Hills, where we picked up the "Artie Lange", which we were informed by the friendly employees, is what the namesake eats every day for breakfast--four of them, that is. Artie has good taste, but he is also a very big man, and now we know why.

Cupcakes, OP Cafe, Santa MonicaCupcake from Sprinkles, LA
DAY 3: We began our day by hitting up the OP Cafe in Santa Monica, a small and unlikely breakfast and lunch cafe perched across the street from a large office park. We were pleasantly surprised by their gorgeous array of baked goods: the cupcakes were delicately and daintily decorated, and were some of the prettiest we saw on the trip (photo above left).

Heading back to Beverly Hills, we stopped at super-famous Sprinkles before getting our Rodeo Drive on. At $3.25 a pop for a simply frosted cupcake they're pricey--but then again, this is Beverly Hills. We tried a Chai Latte and a Red Velvet cupcake--and were not disappointed (photo above right). Hitting up Rodeo Drive, Head Spy Jessie thought it would be a great idea to be purchased a Tiffany & Co. Cupcake pendant as a present, but he didn't take the bait. Quel dommage!

Joan's on ThirdBob, let me help you!
Next up was Joan's on Third, where we were hoping to find some celebrities along with our cake, but alas there was no Paris Hilton to be seen. However, the bakery department was worth the visit alone: majestic hi-hat cupcakes (above left), gorgeously decorated cakes, and decadent "Bouchon" bites--too good. The bakery manager didn't much care for our taking photos, but we did it anyway when she turned to get our order.

It was at this point that we reasoned that no trip to LA would be complete without a trip to Bob's Big Boy in Burbank--unfortunately, it turned out to be Bob's Big Disappointment--were we at the wrong spot for the huge Big Boy sculpture? This one wasn't that much bigger than a Cake Gumshoe. However, we did help him with his burger (above right).
Next on our list had been Dots Cupcakes in Pasadena, but unfortunately time had gotten away from us and they were already closed. Luckily, we were able to drown our sorrows at Bob's Donut and Coffee before turning in for the night and our early flight back to Seattle.
Just another perfect day...we love LA!
Places mentioned:

 

All-Mighty (Not cake but just as sweet!): Shop online at all-mighty.net.
Auntie Em's Kitchen, 4616 Eagle Rock Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041, (323) 255-0800; online at auntieemskitchen.com‎.
Bob's Coffee and Donut, 6333 W 3rd St # 450, Los Angeles, CA 90036; (323) 933-8929.

Cake Monkey Bakery (Special order only) 877.640.CAKE (2253); online at cakemonkey.com.
Cheese Store of Silver Lake‎, 3926 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029, (323) 644-7511; online at cheesestoresl.com‎.
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, multiple locations; online at coffeebean.com.
Crumbs Beverly Hills, 9465 Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills CA, 90210, (310) 550-9811; online at crumbsbakeshop.com.
Delilah Bakery‎, 1665 Echo Park Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90026, (213) 975-9400; online at delilahbakery.com‎.
Dots Cupcakes‎, 400 S Arroyo Pkwy, Pasadena, CA 91105, (626) 568-3687; online at dotscupcakes.com‎.
Eat My Cupcake, 5227 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601, (818) 509-2910; online at famouscupcakes.com‎.
Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea‎, 3922 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90029, (323) 663-6173; online at intelligentsiacoffee.com‎.
Euphoria Loves Rawvolution, 2301 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90495, (310) 392-9501; online at euphorialovesrawvolution.com.

Jack N Jills, 510 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401, (310) 656-1501; online at eatatjacknjills.com.‎
Giant Robot, 2015 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025, (310) 478-1819; online at giantrobot.com‎.
Joan's on Third, 8350 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90048, (323) 655-2285; online at joansonthird.com‎.

La Brea Bakery, 624 S La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA; (323) 939-6813‎.
OP Cafe‎, 3117 Ocean Park Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405 (310) 452-5720; online at theopcafe.com‎.
Randy's Donuts, 805 West Manchester Avenue, Inglewood CA 90301; 310.645.4707; online at randys-donuts.com.
Sprinkles Cupcakes Inc‎, 9635 Santa Monica Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90210, (310) 274-8765; online at sprinklescupcakes.com.
Town and Country Bakery & Cafe‎, 3823 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
(323) 667-3331; online at towncountry.com‎.
Vanilla Bakeshop, 512 Wilshire Blvd Santa Monica, CA 90401, (310) 458-6644; online at vanillabakeshop.com‎.
Yummy Cupcakes‎, 313 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA; (310) 393-8283‎.
Whole Foods Santa Monica, 2201 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA - (310) 315-0662; online at wholefoods.com.

 

 

© Cakespy, all rights reserved. Powered by Squarespace.