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Entries in seattle (182)

Wednesday
Nov112009

Sweet November: Cranberry Orange Cupcakes, and Sweet Artwork, at Cupcake Royale

Cranberry Orange Cupcakes, photo used w/permission from Cupcake Royale
Breaking cupcake news from Cupcake Royale (per their email newsletter):

The Cupcake Harvest Festival isn't over yet, and we have a fresh crop of Cranberry Orange Cupcakes through Thanksgiving! Made with real Pacific NW cranberries in the cake and the cream cheese frosting, these cakes were meant to be gobbled!

But delicious cupcakes aren't the only reason to hit up Cupcake Royale this month: they've got a bunch of sweet art events too! Here's the lowdown:

Blitz Capitol Hill Art Walk ARTIST RECEPTION Thu 11/12 from 5-8 | Check out the killer new group show "I do," curated by Joey Veltkamp and featuring work by David Warren Bernam, Dawn Cerny, Claire Cowie, and Leo Saul Berk.

West Seattle Art Walk Thu 11/12 from 7-9 | Check out new work from Erin Shaftkind.

Ballard Art Walk Sat 11/13 from 7-9 | Round out your art-filled week with Brandon Ilenstine's new show.

You can find out more about the art shows here; to obtain one of the cupcakes, you can visit any of the four Cupcake Royale locations til Thanksgiving; for more information, visit cupcakeroyale.com; for instant updates, follow them on Twitter!

Thursday
Oct292009

Fresh Flours: Chocolate Pecan Creme Sandwich Cookies from Dahlia Bakery

Chocolate butter pecan sandwich cookie from Dahlia Bakery
Imagine a chocolate cookie, and then make it about five times more buttery than the one you were imagining--and add some pecans into the mix, too.

Then, sandwich two of them together with a smear of buttery frosting.

You are now beginning to get the idea behind the Chocolate Pecan Creme Sandwich Cookie from Seattle's Dahlia Bakery. This cookie is small--not the typical gargantuan bakery or coffee shop cookie, here--but extremely mighty. I picked one up after a serious lunch at Serious Pie just around the corner, and all I can say is that it was a double whammy of Tom Douglas deliciousness.  The cookie had been suggested by a friend, and while it probably wouldn't have been my first choice purely based on visual appeal, it was definitely a delightful taste surprise. Every bite was rich with chocolate, pecan, and butter--in that order.

This is all to say, if you see this cookie when you visit Dahlia--get one. Or two. Don't forget the coconut cream pie, either.

Dahlia Lounge and Dahlia Bakery are located side by side at 2001 4th Ave., Seattle; check them (and Tom Douglas' other restaurants) out at tomdouglas.com.

Sunday
Oct252009

Cake Byte: Sweet Cupcakes at the Space Needle Holiday Cards!

Cuppies at the Space Needle Cards!
Here's a shout-out to all of the Seattle sweeties out there: a bonus Cupcakes at the Space Needle holiday card design! It's the newest item in the CakeSpyShop.

Here's the basic info:

This is a boxed set of 10 cards and envelopes. The cards measure 4.25 x 5.5 inches folded. All ten are the same design: sweet little wintry cupcakes at the Space Needle in Seattle! The envelopes are plain white, and empty canvas to draw little snowflakes, hearts and Santa hats on for the recipient!

Inner Greeting: "Sweet holiday wishes"


Cuppies at the Space Needle Cards!Cuppies at the Space Needle Cards!

 

These cards (as well as a bunch of other sweet stuff for the holidays!) are available for purchase at CakeSpyShop.com.

Tuesday
Oct202009

Season of Sweetness: The Fall and Winter 2009 Lineup at Essential Baking Company, Seattle

Peppermint Cookies from Essential Baking Co.
The weather may be getting cooler, but in Seattle, Essential Baking Company is clearly going to keep us all warm this winter. Just take a look at their seasonal menu. Like, yum.

The following items will be available all season long, from October 1-December 31: Apple Cranberry Tart, Bourbon Pecan Tart, Individual Raspberry Baked Alaska, Individual White Chocolate Snowman, Black Forest Cake (in 9" or individual servings), Caramel Praline Cheesecake, and Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake.

And later on in the season (from November 20-December 31) you'll be able to find the following: Buche de Noel (12" or individual buchette), sugar cutout Christmas cookies, and Gingerbread men.

But wait, there's more: from November 4-December 31, they will also have the following specialty items on the menu:

Holiday Cakes From Around The World: A sweet suite of three cakes that will "take your tastebuds on a journey around the world: the Creole, South Indian and Mexican falvors each boast a velvety rich texture, regional spices and a hint of liquor for extra holiday cheer."

Stollen from Essential Baking Company
Stollen: A traditional German cake-like bread packed with raisins, dried cranberries, and currants with a hint of orange liqueur. Festively sprinkled with icing sugar.

Peppermint Swirl Cookies: Marbled chocolate and vanilla tea cookies with refreshing peppermint flavor throughout. (pictured top)

Three Wise Loaves: A modern version of gold, frankincense and myrrh, these tea loaves in Cranberry, Pear Ginger and Spice boast a moist, fine crumb. Slice up and serve with a cozy beverage.

To ensure that the location closest to you has the item you want, be sure to call first, because they're bound to sell like...well, you know. For locations and more information, visit essentialbaking.com.

Monday
Oct192009

Cupcake City: A Sweet Visit to New York Cupcakes in Bellevue, WA

Little and Big Cupcakes at New York Cupcakes, Bellevue
The first CakeSpy visit to New York Cupcakes in Westlake Center in Seattle was not a sweet one. The display case was kind of sad, the employee was texting the entire time, and the cupcakes themselves were...well, kind of a bummer.

But since then something magical happened: they changed ownership (incidentally, location too), and the transformation is dramatic.

I was lucky enough to visit the revamped New York Cupcakes today with my friend Carrie (proprietress of Bella Cupcake Couture, a CakeSpy sponsor and all around cool company!), and I have to say, I was very impressed. Walking in to the shop, the warmth strikes you immediately: decorated with cute artwork by Everyday is a Holiday and bright pink walls and a classic checkerboard floors, you immediately sense that this is a happy place.

But rarely are sweet shops able to coast on good looks alone, so how about those cupcakes?

We picked up five just to be sure:

The "Manhattan Margarita" (pictured top);

The "Grand Central S'more";
New York Cupcakes, Bellevue

The "Boston Cream Cutie Pie";
Boston Cream Pie cupcake, New York Cupcakes, Bellevue

and a mini "Royal Red Velvet" (also pictured top) for good measure.

What can I say other than that I was very, very impressed? The cake was perfectly moist, with a perfectly tender crumb--especially on the vanilla cake. The texture was light-ish, but assertively buttery enough to make its presence known. The frosting too was quite buttery, but whipped so expertly that it practically seemed to melt in your mouth. The Margarita Cupcake in particular impressed me, with a touch of tart lime flavor beautifully balanced by a rich, buttery and just ever-so-slightly salty buttercream. I did not want this cupcake to end.
New York Cupcakes, Bellevue
The verdict? In my mind, New York Cupcakes has not only redeemed itself, but I'd now consider it a worthy destination.


New York Cupcakes on Urbanspoon

New York Cupcakes, 15600 N.E.8th Ste. A-4 Bellevue, WA, 425.283.5445; online at newyorkcupcakes.com.

 

Saturday
Oct172009

Last Seduction: Chocolate Seduction Cake Recipe from Essential Baking Company

Flourless Chocolate Cake
Several years ago when I was first considering making a move from New York City to Seattle, a friend offered some wise advice to help me make the decision: "before you make any rash decisions, make sure you find a good bakery there." Sage advice indeed.

I didn't exactly follow the advice though. I didn't find one bakery: I found three.

The first three bakeries I visited in Seattle--in order--were Cinnamon Works, Macrina Bakery and Essential Baking. This was basically a triple play of delicious: two weeks later, I lived in Seattle. And all three bakeries have a sweet spot in my heart.

So when one of those first bakeries I ever visited--Essential Baking--offered to share one of their recipes, I knew it was going to be good.

Called "Chocolate Seduction Cake", this flourless cake is pure decadence--redolent with rich chocolate flavor--while still maintaining a delicate crumb which isn't quite brownie or fudge, but definitely cake. It's great all by itself, but it's even better with whipped cream, ice cream, or (best of all) prettily decorated with pink buttercream frosting and decorative sliced almonds (an idea I picked up when I judged a pie contest!).
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Seduction Cake

-adapted from Essential Baking Co. in Seattle -

Serves 8-10 generously

  • 10 ounces Belcolade chocolate (that's the brand Parisian Star uses; a high
  • quality dark chocolate could be subbed)
  • 5 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ounce cognac
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Line 9x9" cake pan with parchment paper and grease
  3. Gently melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler; set aside.
  4. Whip egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Add cognac to chocolate and butter mixture and fold very gently into whipped egg yolks and sugar.
  6. Whip egg whites with 1/4 cup sugar and salt until soft peaks form, then fold into the chocolate and egg yolk mixture.
  7. Fill the cake pan 3/4 full.
  8. Bake for about 35 minutes or until knife inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
  9. If desired, let cool completely and then frost with pink (really, pink is best) vanilla buttercream (I used the one in the latter half of this recipe).

 

Wednesday
Sep302009

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

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

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

Wednesday
Sep162009

Royal Sweet: Princess Cake from Svedala Bakery, Seattle

Princess Cake from Svedala Bakery, Seattle
When Kristina of Svedala Bakery sent a message saying she'd recently made a batch of Princess cake and invited me to try some, the response was swift and without hesitation: Y.E.S.

And so a sojourn was made to Svedala's small location in the Pike Place Market (in the same corridor as Daily Dozen Donut Co.) and she gave us two pieces to-go.

The first thing you'll notice about Svedala's Princess Cake is that it's pink, as opposed to the more frequently seen green (remember how it became a CakeSpy obsession a while back?). Why so? Well, it's actually a green reason: since they color and flavor all of their baked goods naturally, they've found that the color they can get from beet juice is much more appetizing than natural green dyes, which tend more toward a drab green.

But you're not going to want to linger on the color for long. At this point, you're going to want to get this cake in your mouth.
Princess Cake from Svedala Bakery, Seattle
Svedala's princess cake is--how else to put it--transcendent. It's a beautiful balance, with lighter layers of sponge cake and a rich whipped cream which is somehow light at the same time that it coats your mouth with a creamy flavor, anchored by more substantial vanilla bean pastry cream and fresh jam layers, and it's all held together by a rich, almondy marzipan. Once slices are cut, the marzipan layer all but melts into the cake, which makes for a perfect marriage of flavors, especially along the edge of the cake. While I had initially expressed a concern that the marzipan layer might be too thin for safe transport, I have been assured that the cake does transport better as a whole cake, and that the baker has been considering some different options to help the cake maintain form better.

If you are in Seattle, this one is a must-try. Since the Princess Cake is not available every day, please do call ahead for availability.

 


If you are not in Seattle, don't despair: you can find more Princess cake lore here, and a recipe for an American variation on the Princess cake here.

 

Monday
Sep072009

All You Need is Luv: Cupcake Luv, Kirkland, WA

Seduced by a Peach Cupcake by Cupcake Luv
You know what all of the recent cupcake backlash made me want to do?

Eat a cupcake, that's what.

So I was particularly excited when I happened to discover a new-ish custom cupcake business based in Kirland, WA called Cupcake Luv, which had a booth at the Mercer Island Farmer's Market.
Cupcake Luv
They had a gorgeous array of beautifully decorated cupcakes. They were a bit spendy ($3 for a "regular"; $5 for a "jumbo") but most variations were filled and all of them were beautifully decorated, so it took away a bit of the sting.

I picked up the "Seduced by a Peach" (vanilla butter cake filled with a chunky peach chutney, and finished with buttercream with peach puree); while generally I shy away from fruit flavors (too healthy!), it seemed really fresh and seasonal, and was a flavor I hadn't seen anywhere else.
Inside of Peach Cupcake from Cupcake Luv
The cupcake itself, which was a vanilla cake filled with fresh peach preserves and topped with a peach buttercream, was satisfyingly heavy--a good start. The cake itself was moist and finely crumbed, and nicely complemented by the sweet, creamy frosting. Unfortunately, it was the beautiful decorating that was its ultimate fatal flaw: since the piped frosting was applied directly above the filled part of the cake, it didn't have much to hold on to, and so when the cupcake was bitten into, the frosting tended to flake off and a precious morsel even fell to the ground (just picture it in slow motion: noooooo!).

Construction aside though, it was a pretty delicious cupcake. Just make sure to eat carefully, perhaps even with knife and fork.


Want to feel the Luv? Check out Cupcake Luv's website here; they can also be found at Kirkland's Wednesday and Friday Farmer's Markets; Issaquah and Woodinville's Saturday Farmer's Markets, and Mercer Island's Sunday Farmer's Market. For more information on the Farmer's Markets including locations, visit pugetsoundfresh.com.

 

Tuesday
Sep012009

Sweet September: Cupcake Royale Debuts the Blue Mountain Huckleberry Cupcake!

Photo c/o Cupcake Royale: Blue Mountain Huckleberry Cupcakes
September is certainly off to a sweet start: just check out the new flavor of the month at Cupcake Royale! Here's the 411:

We teamed up with the good people over at Foraged & Found to bring you a cupcake bursting with wild huckleberry goodness! Our delicious vanilla buttercake is loaded with the little gems, and we top the whole thing off with a perfectly tart huckleberry buttercream. It doesn't get any fresher than this folks. Straight from the forest and into the oven!

To obtain one of these cupcakes, you can visit any of the four Cupcake Royale locations all September long; for more information, visit cupcakeroyale.com; for instant updates, follow them on Twitter!

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