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Entries in roundup (4)

Wednesday
Oct152014

30 Non-Pumpkin Fall Treats

I'll just go ahead and say it. What's the big deal with pumpkin?

Don't get me wrong. I like pumpkin. When done right, I can even love pumpkin. But when fall rolls around, you'd think there's no other flavor, such is the proliferation of the gourd-geous stuff.

To inspire fall baking that accommodates the other seasonal produce and flavors, from apples and beyond, I've come up with this list of 30 awesome non-pumpkin fall treats for you to bake and enjoy. No particular order to these; just thirty I think are fab. 

1. Apple pie bars.

Including oats and apples, they might seem somewhat healthy, but trust you me, it's an illusion. These bars are all about the tasty brown sugary topping and caramelly innards, and cakey but firm base. (CakeSpy)

2. Applescotch cookies.

 Made using a cake mix, these apple cookies taste toasty in the fall, and come together in minutes. (CakeSpy)

3. Quince custard cake.

I'm intrigued by this mix of a lesser-known fruit and creamy custard. (Apt. 2B Baking)

4. Fig "Brownies.

Actual health food! But still tasty. These brownies employ figs for their tasty moisture. (Sarah Jio)

5. Honeycrisp apple bread.

 More seasonal than banana bread, more delicious than sandwich bread. A perfect way to secretly eat cake and call it breakfast. (Culinary Concoctions by Peabody)

6. Caramel Apple Magic Bars.

Look at that oozy caramelly top. Don't you want to swim in it? Or at the very least eat a stack of these? (The Domestic Rebel)

7. Homemade Mellowcreme pumpkins.

Why buy when you can make your own, which taste even better, and come together pretty quickly? (CakeSpy for Craftsy


8. Sweet potato biscuits.

Sweet. Moist. Carbohydratey. Need I say more? (Taste of Southern)

9. Apple pie bread pudding.

This bread pudding has all of the flavors of your favorite (non-pumpkin) fall pie. (Flavor Mosaic)

10. S'mores martinis.

Make s'mores and drink them too with these adult-friendly sweet martinis. (Excerpted on CakeSpy

11. Maple apple pie with walnut topping.

Maple isn't necessary a fall flavor, since it's harvested in the spring, but it works so well with apple and nut that it's joyfully allowed on this roundup. (The Spiffy Cookie)

12. Apple Cider Doughnuts.

Growing up, these were one of our quintessential fall treats on the Jersey Shore. I think you'll love them, too. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

13. Apple cinnamon chip blondies.

It's pretty well publicized that I prefer blondies to brownies. These ones look autumn-fantastic. (Culinary Concoctions by Peabody)

14. Sage Shortbread cookies.

These shortbread cookies are SAVORY! I know that sounds nutty, but try them with soup. (The Green Chalkboard)

15. Figgy pudding

Bring us some, right now! Figs are in season, so stock up and make this dessert from now til the official eve of figgy pudding-dom (you know, Christmas). (CakeSpy for Serious Eats)

16. Butternut squash cake.

It's not pumpkin, but it still has that lovely, earthy aroma and flavor. (Betty Crocker)

17.Quince jam thumbprint cookies.

Quince, once again! This time, in jam form, in tasty little thumbrpint cookies. (In Erika's Kitchen)

18. Apple pie breakfast bake.

A Bake-Off finalist from the past, this recipe is a winner on every morning it graces your table! (As seen on CakeSpy)

19. Brown sugar buttercream.

It may or may not contain crack. Not technically fall-flavored, but it goes with everything toasty and comforting, so it's on the list. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

20. "Carnival" caramel apples.

Can't you just taste the outdoor fun? Extra points if you make them with apples you picked. ( Taste of Home)

21. Caramel Apple Nachos.

These are pretty cute, and they even look healthy, even though that is not my primary concern.(Consumer Queen)

22. Brussels Sprouts Cupcakes.

Believe it, my friends. Whether you want to or not. (CakeSpy)

23. Pear and custard tart.

Pears are in season. Custard is always a welcome accompaniment! (As seen on CakeSpy)

24. Chocolate Cauliflower cake.

Seriously. It exists and is apparently very good. (Chocolate Covered Katie)

25. Brown sugar ginger cream cake.

Pears! Cake! And plenty of rich brown sugar pecan butter topping. YUM! (CakeSpy for Garlic My Soul)

26. Triple-dipped apple s'mores.

Take your favorite outdoor treat and add apples that you just picked, because of course you're all fall-like and outside picking apples. Right? (Country Living)

27. Cinnamon roll pear bread pudding.

This Pillsbury Bake-Off finalist recipe is perfect for cool fall mornings: indulgent with a touch of health. It will keep you going! (As seen on CakeSpy)

28. Macaron mushrooms.

Well, OK, they're actually sweet. But mushrooms are in season, so consider them an homage! Via Bubble and Sweet.

29. Apple pie.

Plain and simple is best sometimes. (Craftsy)

Note: also check out the history of apple pie, here!

30. Cheesy sausage bread.

I know it's not sweet but wow, totally sweet! Have it for "dessert" after all these treats. (BHG)

What's your favorite (non-pumpkin!) fall treat?

Friday
Dec312010

Sweet Memories: 50 of CakeSpy's Most Delicious Experiences from 2010

It's that very special time of year when we pause and reflect on the year past, and for me, that means taking a few moments to think about the most delicious (usually buttery and sugary) things I've put in my mouth.

And in 2010, these were some of the standouts--50 things--some homemade, some made by others, and listed in no particular order--which I wish I was eating again, right this instant. And no, I don't have any regrets, and no, I am not going to be dieting in 2011. 

Here goes:

Custom CakeSpy artwork cupcakes for CakeSpy Shop Opening (pictured top): You might think it was hard to eat cupcakes with an anthropomorphic cupcake version of myself on them, but it wasn't.

Chocolate Brownie Pie: this decadent treat was my offering for Seattle's Pie day celebration, and I am so proud to say that it was one of the first items to disappear!


Velveeta Fudge: The most controversial sweet of the year, but I loved it. So rich and creamy. So awful and awesome, all at once!

Avocado Cake: So dense, so rich, so decadent. I wish I was eating it again right now.


Deathcake Royale: A yearly favorite, from Seattle's Cupcake Royale.
Berthillon Ice Cream, even if the cone kind of does look slightly unfortunate. In Paris, this is the place for ice cream, and now I know why: it is delicious.


Doughnut Upside Down Cake, which I made for Serious Eats; because yes, a classic (Pineapple Upside Down Cake) can be improved by substituting doughnuts for fruit.


Linzer Cookie, Mount Bakery, Bellingham, WA. This was the perfect specimen of what a linzer cookie should be: crumbly, nutty, and with a nice, tart contrast from the preserves. Simple but perfect.


Cadbury Creme Eggs Benedict: Yes, I'm serious. As serious as a heart attack.


Opera Cake from Dalloyau, Paris. The place that made Opera Cake legendary, and still the maker of some of the best.


Bouchon Ho-Ho, NYC. I'm sometimes wary of fanci-fied fast food, but this was very good.


Homemade Oreos from Abigail's Bake Shop--construction-wise, they were like Oreos, but taste-wise, something else on a whole different level.

King Cake from Sucre, New Orleans: What a sweet treat in the beginning of 2010--a rich, creamy cake to kick off the new year.

Salted Peanut Crisps: there's a reason why they were the official cookie of 1950-55, according to Betty Crocker.
Cornmeal Blueberry Cookie Bars: Almost healthy, to boot!

Cupcakes by Cake Eater Bakery, Minneapolis: Muraling was hard work, and I needed some delicious cupcakes to keep me energized. Happily, the cupcakes made by the place I was doing a mural were delicious!

Nanaimo Bar by French Meadow Bakery, Minneapolis: who would have thought I'd discover my favorite Canadian treat in Minneapolis? Not only did I, but a fine specimen indeed.

Macarons by Pierre Herme, Paris: like little cookie clouds. They made me understand why people love macarons.

Coffee Eclair from Stohrer, Paris: Stohrer has been making pastries since the 1700s, and obviously they've honed the art: these eclairs are very, very good.

Hot chocolate from Angelina, Paris: like melted candy bars, this drinking chocolate was a truly decadent treat, and the fact that it was served on a fancy tray in the shadow of the Louvre didn't hurt the experience!

7-Up Cake: This cake had a lot of butter, but a lot of delicious flavor too: the lemon-lime of the soda added a certain je ne sais quoi that made it almost too easy to keep eating.

Lollipops by This Charming Candy: these lollipops are nothing like the ones you used to get at the Doctor's office: in refined flavors like salted caramel, pistachio-marshmallow, and tangerine-clove, these are meant to be eaten with pinkies out!

Pain au Chocolat from Bakery Nouveau, Seattle: who doesn't love crispy butter and chocolate, all served up for breakfast? This was a particularly fine variety.

Blackout Crumb Bars: Le yum. A decadent pairing of chocolate with crumb topping and shortbread crust.

Biscuits with Sugar Butter: This was the true breakfast of champions. So delicious and rich, I could have eaten my weight in it.

Lime Coconut bar, Street Treats, WA: Street Treats was one of my favorite new retail operations to start up in Seattle in 2010, and this bar was certainly a standout: a dense, creamy lime filling between crumb topping and a sturdy crust.

An early morning donut from Donut Pub, NYC: because no matter if 3am is early or late, it's the perfect time for a doughnut, and this place had me covered on a dark and stormy night.

Cupcakes from Frills, OR: these rich, delicious cupcakes saved my life during a long day vending at Crafty Wonderland.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies inspired by David Lebovitz: worth stalking.

Blondie-topped brownies: Blondies? Brownies? Why decide? Indulge in both, at once. I did, and I loved it.

Pine State Biscuits, Portland, OR: Carbohydrate Heaven.

Banana Jumbos. OMFG.

Apple pie by High 5 Pie: perfectly crisp, not-mushy apple slices, paired with a most decadent, buttery crumb and crust. Perfection.

Chocolate Mudslide Cookies. Perfect for chocolate lovers: somewhere between truffle and cookie, reside these fat, flavorful little nuggets, which I loved every bite of.

The "Pixie" from Pix Patisserie, Portland, OR: a petite, but very sweet, little bite from the cutest bakery in Portland.

Behemoth Crumb Cake: nothin' but crumb, this was sort of last-meal territory for me, so good I couldn't stop eating it.

Red Velvet Cake Shake: Because yes, there is a way to make Red Velvet Cake better: mix it with ice cream and serve it with a straw.

Cinnamon rolls stuffed with chocolate chip cookie dough. Do I really have to explain why this one made the list? They were made of awesome, duh!

Kaleidoscope cookies: not only pretty to look at, these little treats pack a buttery, crumbly punch that makes you want to eat a full rainbow-full.

Pineapple butter cakes from Taiwan. Thank you, thank you, Kairu, for introducing me to this addictive treat.

Cookies by My Dough Girl, Utah: cookies with macadamias, chocolate, and zucchini? Unlikely as it may sound, it works, and it works well.

Trailer Park Special from Angel Food Bakery: a highlight from my September trip to Chicago, this featured a delicious homemade Twinkie, zinger, and more.

Vegan Oat Bar, Caffe Ladro, Seattle: A constant favorite, and it continued to be so this year.

Cowboy Pie from Hill Country Fried Chicken (oh, and many other things along Broadway)
Yumball, Three Tarts, NYC: if the name doesn't tell you why I loved this thing, the picture (above) should fill in the blanks.

Salt n pepper cookies by BAKED: like fancy oreos, with a kick: so compulsively eatable.

Nanaimo Bar Hybrid from Savary Island Pie: Nanaimo bar? Rice Krispie Treat? Scotcheroo? Why decide? Have them all at once. Le nom.
Buttermilk biscuits by Macrina: Fact, I have one of these almost every morning for breakfast. And I plan to continue this trend, until the day comes that I cannot even look one of these beauties in the eye anymore.

Baked Brownies: Still the best.

Hot chocolate from 7-11. What can I say, you can take the girl out of NJ, but you can't take the NJ out of the girl.

...and how about one bonus sweet to take us into the new year? How 'bout one I haven't written about yet, but will soon: the absolute singular sensation that is the Pumpple Cake (entire apple and pumpkin pies baked into vanilla and chocolate cakes, all held together with a ridiculous amount of frosting!), from Flying Monkey Patisserie? That's a pound or more of pleasure per slice, and we loved every inch of it.

Happy 2011!

 

Tuesday
Dec302008

Totally Sweet: Our 25 Most Delicious Bakery Experiences of 2008

Carrot Cake, Baker Boys, Asbury Park, NJ
It's been an exceedingly sweet year, this 2008--in so many ways. To commemorate, we've decided to do a small recap of the top 25 sweets that have sparked our imaginations and palates this year, from bakeries we've visited all across the country. Since there was no way we could list them in any order of preference, and as such are listed in no particular order--in our hearts, all 25 were a perfect 10. Here goes:

Berger Cookies
Berger Cookies: Baltimore's pride, these little cookies are shortbready, chocolatey, and we suspect, filled with crack: they're that addictive. We are forever in debt to Mitch for having opened our eyes to their glory.

Mr. Cakespy's first "Real" Black and White Cookie
Black and white cookies from Freedman's Bakery, Belmar, NJ: We grew up on Freedman's cookies, but rediscovered them during a visit east in early 2008. These are what a black and white cookie ought to be: a soft, cakey base the size of a saucer, with soft frosting, and just the slightest bit of overlap between chocolate and vanilla.


It defeated us.
Carrot cake from Baker Boys, Asbury Park, NJ: Some may say that dressing up carrot cake with golden raisins and mascarpone frosting is a bit too pinkies out for a classic, but we couldn't keep our forks off of it.

Perfect Corn Muffin
Corn Muffin from Muffins Cafe, NYC: There is nothing more elusive than the perfect corn muffin. They're either too bread-y, too cakey, or crumble apart too easily. But we feel completely confident when we say that these ones are perfect: sweet but not too much so, while still maintaining a slight crunch on the top but remaining solid when torn or cut in half.

 

Lemon curd tart, Papa Haydn, Portland OR

Lemon curd Tart from Papa Haydn, Portland, OR: We tried this tart last Valentine's Day weekend, and it was surely love: tart yet creamy, with a layer of buttercream between the lemon and crust, topped with a tart raspberry coulis. Oh baby.

Ginger Biscuit, Cafe Besalu, Ballard, Seattle
Ginger biscuit, Cafe Besalu, Seattle: Cake Gumshoe Chris swears by the ginger biscuit at Besalu, and upon tasting it, we all agreed: these sweet biscuits, made with cream, are a treasure.

 

"Potato", Nielsen's, Queen Anne, Seattle
The Potato, Nielsen's Bakery, Seattle, WA: Like, oh. my. god. The potato is something like an eclair, only richer and more delicious, with a topping of marzipan and dusting of cocoa; we don't care for fries, but we like these potatoes very much.


Cupcake from hello cupcake, Tacoma
Pumpkin cupcakes from hello, cupcake in Tacoma: A dense, moist pumpkin cake (unsullied by raisins, which we can't stand in pumpkin cakes!) topped with cream cheese frosting and adorned with an adorable pumpkin topper--what's not to love? 

 

Some ridiculously huge pie at Zoka
Peanut Butter Pie at Zoka: This pie is off the hook indulgent, about 6 inches high, with a buttery crust, a dense, peanut butter-chocolate filling, and swirls of chocolate on top. So rich, so decadent...so delicious.
Pumpkin whoopie pies
Whoopie Pies from Baked, Brooklyn NY: We had a lot of fun interviewing Matt and Renato of Baked earlier this year, but what made the experience even sweeter was tasting their amazingly delicious Pumpkin whoopie pies, which are dense, cakey, and utterly indulgent.

 

Simma's Bakery, Milwaukee
Caramel-Oatmeal Bars from Simma's Bakery, Milwaukee, WI: My, oh my. These rich, buttery, oaty-crusted bars had a generous midsection of caramel-chocolate filling, topped with additional bits of oat crumbs on top, and they were so delectable they made our heads spin. Thank you to the MKE Cupcake Queen for taking us over to Simma's!


Cookies N' Cream Cake Bites from the Sweet Tooth Fairy
Cake bites from Sweet Tooth Fairy: When we got down to just one left, there was an actual fight about who deserved it most. Tears may or may not have been shed.

Lemon Cookie
Anginetti Cookies from Morris Park Bakery, Bronx: When we tried the Anginetti cookies at Morris Park Bakery, they had just been glazed, and were still slightly warm--the slightly tart citrus taste combined with fresh sugar glaze made for a memorable experience.

Vegan Earl Grey "Shortbread" cookie
Vegan earl grey shortbread cookie, Bleeding Heart Bakery, Chicago, IL: Undoubtedly Bleeding Heart is one delicious spot, but the baked good that stood out in our memories was the Vegan Earl Grey shortbread cookie. Utterly devoid of the most important ingredient in classic shortbread--butter--these nonetheless had a gorgeous, melt-in-your-mouth richness and a perfect sandy texture.

"Ravioli" Pastry, Termini Bros. Bakery, Philadelphia
The "Ravioli", Termini Bros. Bakery, Philadelphia: Like a cannoli and a calzone had a sweet, sugary baby. Need we say more?
Whole Wheat-Honey Donut, Randy's Donuts, Los Angeles: The honey glazed whole wheat flavor combo was unexpected, but surprisingly addictive: we've dreamed of it ever since our visit to Los Angeles earlier this year.

Deathcake Royale
The Deathcake Royale, Cupcake Royale, Seattle: This was probably the richest and most indulgent dessert the Cakespy crew tried in 2008. It was hard to finish, but Head Spy Jessie did it--after which she was told it was intended to be shared. Oops.

 

Chocolate flecked Sable cookie, Bittersweet
Sables from Bittersweet, Chicago: Who doesn't love a good butter cookie? These ones were phenomenal, with a perfect tooth-feel and with little flecks of bittersweet chocolate which contrasted nicely with the buttery sweetness. Thanks again to Natalie of Bake + Destroy for having suggested Bittersweet!


Strawberry Cupcake, Make My Cake
Strawberry cupcakes from Make My Cake: These cupcakes, with real bits of strawberry studded in the frosting, were simply delightful.

Trophy Cupcakes is Gonna  be on Martha Stewart!
Chocolate Graham Cupcakes from Trophy Cupcakes: Don't just take our word for it--they were good enough to be featured on Martha Stewart

Banana Pudding, Upper West Side Magnolia Bakery
Banana pudding from Magnolia Bakery, NYC: It may be #2 at Magnolia, but we think the pudding trumps their famous cupcakes any day.

The Cake
Wedding cake from Cameo Cakes, Brielle, NJ: At Cake Gumshoe Kelly's wedding, we tasted what might have been the most delicious wedding cake we've ever had--a buttercream-topped confection which looked fanciful and tasted wonderful.

Raspberry marshmallow from Three Tarts
Marshmallows from Three Tarts: Had we ever really tasted marshmallows before we came across this little shop in Chelsea? We can't say for sure, but now we're hooked on these treats, which are light as air and delicately sweet.

Six Layer Bar
Six Layer Bars, PCC, Seattle: So rich, so dense, so decadent. Six layers of heaven--also known as coconut, chocolate chips, graham cracker, walnut, white chocolate chips, and evaporated milk. These ones are excellent. 
Vegan Thumbprint cookies
Vegan Thumbprint Cookies, Whole Foods, Seattle: These cookies are delicious, perfectly spiced and with a healthy dollop of jam in the center--the perfect breakfast cookie. 

 

 


Here's to an even sweeter 2009! Happy New Year!

 

Saturday
Nov242007

Cakespy's Holiday Gift Guide (Non-edible)

Twelve days of Christmas? Why not round it out to a Baker's Dozen? Keep things festive with Cakespy's Holiday Gift Guide, featuring thirteen exceptional gift ideas for dessert lovers. The list goes in ascending price range, from the inexpensive (we never say "cheap") to some seriously sweet investments. This is one of two gift guides; the second one, a guide to edible holiday gifts, will follow!

On the First Day, have your cake and eat it too with Birthday Cake Lip Balm: its batter-sweet taste is like having a birthday year-round! $6 ea.; available online at fredflare.com.

On the second day, go for pie (humble or not, your choice) with a Cutie Pie Plate by designer Jane Jenni. In addition to having a picture of pie and a clever play on words, these 9" plates are also melamine and nearly unbreakable. $7.95 ea.; available online at heliotropehome.com.

On the third day, help them get organized with Recipe Cards by Boygirlparty. No more writing recipes on index paper like a jerk; it's a whole lot funner on cards with bunny and squirrel drawings. Comes in a set of 10. $8 ea.; available online at boygirlparty.com.

On the fourth day, stay warm and sweet with a Lobi Designs Bitten Cupcake Mug, perfect for tea or coffee to accompany an afternoon treat. Since each mug is a re-purposed vintage mug, no two will be quite alike. $10 ea.; available online at lobi.etsy.com.

Five golden rings? Yawn. On the fifth day, keep things rock and roll with the Cookie Chaos Set, comprised of a guitar-shaped cookie cutter and a mini book of recipes like "Max's Kandy Cities" and "Peanut Butter Slackers,". $13.95 ea.; available online at bustboobtique.com.

On the sixth day, give the gift of baking: the Cupcake Book Baking Kit is a perfect starting point for those who just wanna have fun (making cupcakes); includes recipes, baking cups, decorating nozzles, and stencils for designing decorations. $14.95 ea.; available online at patinastores.com.

Show a friend how much you care on the seventh day with a Milk loves Cookies Tee or Hoodie. Artist Jess Fink's design portrays a cookie proclaiming "I love you!" to a carton of milk; just like your friendship, they'll always perfect together. The classic tee is $10; onesies are $15; the hoodie is $35; available online at threadless.com.

On the eighth day, reign it all in with the Candy & Cookies Belt by Bored, Inc. Sweet, Japanese Pop-art style candy and cookies happily dance on the white vinyl belt, which is available in three sizes. $20 ea.; available online at boredinc.net.

On the ninth day, give them something to hold onto with Plush Cakes by Mypapercrane: felted creatures full of personality available shaped like various extremely happy little desserts. $20 will get you a cupcake, cinnamon roll or ice cream sandwich; available online at mypapercrane.com.

Keep things sweet, but fashion-forward, on the tenth day, with the gift of a Jessie Steele Apron, brimming with retro charm in styles like "Peony Stripe", "Snowflake" or (our favorite!) the ultra-Frenchy "Pink Paris". $32 for most styles; available online at wishingfish.com.

On the eleventh day, give the gift of art with Cakespy Original Artwork. Yes, the artwork you've come to love from Cakespy.com is now for sale; what could make a sweeter gift? No prints--these are all the real thing, available framed or unframed. $35 or under; available online at jessieoleson.etsy.com.

On the twelfth day, class it up with a gorgeous MoMA Cake Plate; doilies meet high design with this eye-catching mirrored platter, which measures 4.25 inches high and 11.75 inches in diameter. $65.00 ea.; available online at momastore.org.
And to round out the Baker's Dozen, a real showstopper for the thirteenth day: the Tiffany Cupcake Charm. This charm doesn't mess around: exquisitely formed with 18k yellow gold "frosting", a white gold cupcake cup, and "sprinkles" made of round blue sapphires, round pink sapphires, round tsavorites, this one's sure to make it a happy holiday. $1400 on a 16-inch gold necklace ($1250 for the charm alone); available online at tiffany.com.

Happy Shopping!

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