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Entries in oregon (6)


CakeSpy Undercover: Mio Gelato, Portland OR

Guess what guess what guess what?

I love gelato, and it loves me back. See picture above. Proof!

Most recently, I loved it at a place called Mio Gelato in Portland, OR.

I hadn't read up on this place before going to Portland; I simply happened to walk by their NW 23rd location, thought "Gelato, yum!" and walked right in. Some reviewers said that the service hadn't been friendly, but I found it to be rather prompt and sweet. 

The case was well-stocked with interesting flavors; I went for a scoop of what I am pretty sure I remember as Oro d'Oro (a vanilla egg custard flavor) and the vanilla-caramel.

The Oro d'oro was the clear star, extremely rich and creamy and given a nice little je ne sais quoi-type contrast from what tasted like bits of lemon zest. 

The caramel was also quite good, but it got better when the custardy flavor got melty and mingled with it a little.

All said and done? A deliciously sweet gelato experience. 

Mio Gelato, Portland; several locations, find 'em online here.

Mio Gelato Caffe Italiana on Urbanspoon


Sweet Love: A Bakery Crush on Willamette Valley Confectionery

A couple of weeks ago, at Crafty Wonderland, I met the two men of my dreams.

They were at a booth surrounded by cake pops, homemade pâtes de fruits, chocolates, and toffee. There was a dreamy sign that said "Willamette Valley Confectionery".

Of course, they also appeared to be a couple, but that was ok with me, because I really just wanted their candy. 

And oh, what candy it was.

Let's start with the cake pops. They really, really wanted to upsell the fact that they were gluten-free, and that is fine by me, and it made me happy for people who can't eat gluten, but it really wasn't of great importance to me.

But happily, devoid of gluten as they might have been, they were full of flavor: very moist, rich, and extremely--like, your tooth might fall out but it would fall out so good--sweet.

The pâte de fruit was a bit more subtle, still very sweet but made with local Marionberries. And shaped like a heart! Love.

Willamette Valley also boasts a full line of confections, such as barks, chocolates, and tiny cakes. 

Happily, if you are in Portland or the environs, you can pick up their goods at Whole Foods markets; it is slightly pricier but still delicious to have the goods shipped, which you can do via their website, willamettevalleyconfectionery.com.


Awesome Overload: 50 Moments from the Sweetest Week Ever

Life is pretty sweet, no doubt about it.

But a couple of weeks ago, when I had the distinct pleasure and honor of attending CupcakeCamp in Newport, OR -- as well as several other sweet occurrences in the days following -- it was a little bit sweeter than usual.

Share the memories with me (that was a command, not a request):

  1. To warm up my belly for a long day of eating cupcakes, I was sure to stop and get a delicious biscuit first, from The Coffee House, a place with a lackluster name but amazing sweets. How far would you travel for a delicious biscuit? Consider a road trip to Newport.
  2. Arriving at the show, I felt so welcome.
  3. OMG! My artwork was on the poster!
  4. Double OMG: I think this is the first time I've ever seen my likeness on a poster. Cake celebrity!
  5. Triple OMG: Look who else is on the poster!Photo credit: Bakerella
  6. This is a big one: I finally got to meet Bakerella.
  7. Bakerella! 
  8. Finally! After all of our sweet back and forth.
  9. And I got to meet her friend "Cupcake Julie", too, who is an absolute delight and inspiration!
  10. I got to hang out with my friend (and CakeSpy sponsor) Carrie of Bella Cupcake Couture fame. This time, she was one of the judges at CupcakeCamp.
  11. I also got to meet Dianna Lopez, who is a professional cake decorator and taught a decorating class in which they used my artwork as inspiration. Cool!
  12. This time, I got to teach a class, showing children (and kids at heart) how to watercolor cupcakes. Of course, there was some confusion about this--I taught them how to do watercolors OF cupcakes, not watercolor ON cupcakes.
  13. I may or may not have felt slight pangs of jealousy when I saw the kids' creations, like this one
  14. And this one
  15. and this one
  16. and this one
  17. and this one
  18. and this one
  19. and this one
  20. and this one
  21. ...and this one too.
  22. And the adults had some nice showings too--here's Julie's (above).
  23. ...and Bakerella's (above).
  24. You'd think that after judging cupcakes at Seattle's CupcakeCamp, I'd be tired of tasting cupcakes 30 at a time. But you're wrong.
  25. There were so many delightful displays of cupcakes, but one of the standouts was definitely by Rocket Queen, whose cupcakes I have enjoyed in the past.
  26. Judging was hard, but someone had to do it, and so I tasted peanut butter filled and frosted cupcakes...
  27. ...and huckleberry cupcakes...
  28. and decorated cupcakes...
  29. and cupcakes for Halloween...
  30. and rainbow cupcakes...
  31. rows and rows of cupcakes...
  32. and cupcakes decorated to look like ice cream sundaes (!)
  33. and cupcakes made by kids (maybe some of the same kids who took my class?)
  34. and vegan cupcakes...
  35. ...and even cupcakes with fish!
  36. ...and wouldn't you believe, I was even asked to AUTOGRAPH something. I felt like a bona fide big deal, people.
  37. After all this awesome, I kind of wanted to take a nap, but I didn't. I powered on over to Portland, where my totally sweet friend Nicole was having a bachelorette weekend. I arrived just in time for cheesecake from Laurelhurst Market (good timing!).
  38. And back at the hotel room, there were cupcakes from Cupcake Royale.
  39. In the morning, we went to Mother's, where I love the biscuits and cookies...
  40. ...before breakfast, we got a cinnamon roll.
  41. ...and after breakfast, we got some chocolate cake (secret ingredient: BEETS! Pictured at top of post)
  42. ...and then after that, while browsing about, I discovered the best bike in the world: Biscuit Bike!
  43. Then, I saw some of my artwork at Presents of Mind!
  44. Back home in Seattle, Bakerella and Julie came to visit my store!
  45. ...and while they were there, I was surprised by a visit from Cake Gumshoe Phuong (here all the way from Boston!)
  46. ...and a visit too from the amazing food writer Rebekah Denn and her adorable new baby daughter, who I have taken to calling "Miss Marshmallow".
  47. All of them (Bakerella, Julie, Phuong, and Rebekah) got to meet Porkchop.
  48. I was also an expert on Questionland that week. Cool!
  49. And later on that week, a visit and little Halloween shindig with the totally awesome Alicia Kachmar.Photo Credit: Bakerella
  50. And finally, a question and answer session and book signing at Williams-Sonoma with Bakerella before we sent her on the rest of her totally sweet tour.



Oregon Sweetness: Cupcakes from Frills, Seaside OR

My friends Denise and Nick are delightful for oh, so many reasons. I mean, just look at them:

Yeah, adorable, right? And among other awesome traits, they both have the amazing ability to eat their own weight in cake, and they're the people who introduced me to Full Tilt Ice Cream.

But most recently, they've secured real estate in my heart by bringing me cupcakes from Frills in Seaside, Oregon.

Now, I didn't visit in person, so I can't attest to the decor, but I can say for sure that their website does not do these delicious cupcakes justice (they need more pictures!).

Their cupcakes go by pretty names, which makes it a little harder to tell you exactly what I ate. Specimen one was surely the "Violette", their red velvet with cream cheese frosting, which was rich, tangy, and moist just in the right places.

I have forgotten the name of cupcake #2, but it was chocolate cake topped with a rich, buttery frosting and what tasted vaguely like crumbled up Butterfingers on top. This chocolate cake was really something else: deep and dark, moist and fudgy, but not excessively so; the frosting was fairly light but very buttery, and extremely rich in flavor.

One thing that both flavors had in common? Upon reaching the empty cupcake cup, they both prompted the thought "how bad is it, really, to lick the wrapper?"

Frills Cupcakes and Frozen Yogurt, 200 Broadway, Seaside, OR; online at frillscupcakes.com.


Sweet Love: A Bakery Crush on Rocket Queen Cupcakes, Albany, OR

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Jessica Stanley, owner of Rocket Queen Cupcakes, an Albany, OR-based custom order operation, when she found herself passing through Seattle.

It's always great to meet cool people in the cupcake community--but it's even better when you get to taste their wares.

And Jessica came packing a triple-threat of deliciousness from her menu, including:

The People's Cake, which is described as "Grandma's secret recipe, a dense red velvet cake finished with her rich, cooked buttercream frosting."

The Ms. Devereaux, which is described as "Our take on a key lime pie! A graham cracker crust is baked into a tangy, sweet cake and topped with a cream cheese frosting."

and a delicious combo of Lemon cake, raspberry filling and cream cheese frostin(pictured top).

Currently the Rocket Queen Cupcakes line is available by special order only in the Albany, OR area, but they're not ruling out a retail location in the future. But regardless of whether it's a retail location or just more presence in wholesale accounts, one thing is certain after tasting these cakes: they have a rich and delicious future ahead of them. The cupcakes are extremely dense, with decadent, moist cake (my favorite--no light as air cake for me, please). As for the frostings, my only hesitancy came with the cooked buttercream: while Jessica informs me that this is technically the traditional way to go for red velvet cake, I have sheepishly admit that I prefer the rich tang of cream cheese frosting with the scarlet-hued cake. But this preference aside, the frostings were all quite good, especially (in my opinion) the cream cheese frosting which topped the decadent and tart Ms. Devereaux.

It's sweet love for Rocket Queen Cupcakes, and I can't wait to see their business take orbit.

Rocket Queen Cupcakes, by special order in the Albany, OR area; for more information, visit rocketqueencupcakes.com.


Heaven is a Place on Earth: Heaven On Earth Restaurant and Bakery, OR

We all feel regret sometimes, and for this Cake Gumshoe, it hit bigtime when we failed to stop at Heaven on Earth Restaurant and Bakery in Oregon.

Traveling along I-5 in Oregon, we only noticed the sign after we flew by: "Home of the world famous cinnamon rolls".

In retrospect, it was probably a big mistake to not have turned around. Why?

For one, the cinnamon rolls. Available in traditional iced as well as caramel pecan variations, these look like a totally sweet way to carb-o-load for your next sporting event (or, you know, your next...workday). Yes.

But they also have other sweetness on the menu, which includes oh, let's see...turnovers, whole pies (in apple, marionberry, pumpkin, pecan, and cherry), carrot cake, chocolate cake, chocolate mint cake, German chocolate cake, pineapple upside down cake, coffee cake, cookies, macaroons, peanut brittle, and Western toffee. Not to sound obsessed or anything.

Oh well. There's always next time, right?

Heaven On Earth Restaurant and Bakery, 703 Quines Creek, Azalea, Oregon 97410; online at heavenonearthrestaurant.com.

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