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Entries in seattle (182)

Thursday
Aug272009

Blonde on Blondie: The Blonde Bombshell from TrixieBakes

Blonde Bombshell Blondie by TrixieBakes
CakeSpy Note: This post appears concurrently on CakeSpy Seattle.

Let's talk about TrixieBakes. I had seen them before: I'd walked by their booth at the Madrona Farmer's Market, but had never purchased one of their brownies because at $4 a pop, they weren't exactly cheap. But after reading the DailyCandy feature on the brownies, paired with a reader writing to tell me how amazing they were, I knew I was going to have to fork over the cash.

Since I am one of those few people who prefers blondies to brownies, of course I had to go for the "blonde bombshell", described on their site as

A luscious blondie with an indecent amount of brown sugar and pecans
You can never be too rich or too dense. Ok, that's not really how the saying goes, but it definitely applies to this big blondie.

Doesn't that just give you a shiver of anticipation?

So, I enjoyed the blondie for breakfast the next morning, and I am happy to report that it was a particularly fine specimen of blondiehood: dense, chewy, and full of butterscotch-y flavor. The pecans were a particularly nice touch, adding a slight crunch and flavor contrast.

But getting back to the price. Was it worth it? Well, no doubt about it, $4 is a lot for a brownie or blondie--I think that most will agree on that. But when I reflect on my blondie experience and how decadent and satisfying it was, I do believe I got $4 worth of joy out of the experience. I'm probably not going to indulge too frequently, but maybe that just makes it more special?

TrixieBakes blondies and brownies are available at the Madrona Farmer's Market each friday, 3-7 p.m.; they're also available at Flying Squirrel Pizza Co., 4920 S Genesee St., Seattle and Pauline Patisserie, 2315 NW Market St. Seattle; also online.

Sunday
Aug232009

This Little Piggy: The Miss Piggy Bacon and Chocolate Chip Cookie, Volunteer Park Cafe, Seattle

"Miss Piggy" Cookie, Volunteer Park Cafe
Bacon in baked goods. It's hardly a new culinary trick, but it has enjoyed a bit of a vogue in recent years, showing up in everything from chocolates to brownies to cupcakes...and now, chocolate chip cookies.

When I visited Volunteer Park Cafe for the first time the other day with my buddies Neil and Judy, we tried out their "Miss Piggy" cookie--a generously sized chocolate chip cookie studded with bacon bits.

In general, I don't seek out bacon in baked goods, feeling like it's more often a shock-value addition than something intended to really bring out the flavors--but in this case, I did feel as if it actually worked. The bacon was used sparingly, so the taste was more of a whisper than a shout. While our consensus was that perhaps the bacon could have been slightly more crisp to add a texture contrast to the chewy cookie, it was overall a pretty successful use of sweet and savory. And for vegeterians, I'm pretty confident that the same would hold true if the cookie had been made with Morningstar's soy-based bacon.

What do you think about bacon in baked goods? Is it simply a shock-value addition, or are there delicious merits?

The Miss Piggy Cookie, Volunteer Park Cafe (call for availability), 1501 17th Avenue East, Seattle; online at alwaysfreshgoodness.com.

Sunday
Aug092009

To-Thali Awesome: The Dessert Thali at Poppy, Seattle

Dessert Thali at Poppy, Seattle
The informal definition of "crush" is "one who is the object of an infatuation." But it's so much more than that--it's that feeling you get in the presence of your crush. It consumes you. It gives you an impulse to ride your bike by their house...just in case they happen to be around.

And I'm crushing really hard on the Dessert Thali at Seattle restaurant Poppy; it's the creation of Dana Cree, whom I suspect is some sort of pastry and confectionery genius.

What is a Dessert Thali, you may be wondering? Well, in case you missed its recent shout-out as the Best Dessert Date in Seattle, here's the article's well-put overview:

A large tray arrives at your table loaded up with one of Cree's main desserts (say, her warm orange-rhubarb shortcake or the, haha, hot date cake), plus a scoop of ice cream (mango lassi, sassafras, neapolitan) and a host of bite-sized things, including candied nuts, fruit gelées, chocolate truffles, and an exquisite nutter-butter square with a crackly caramel topping.


Oh, it's a sexy dessert tray all right.

 

On the day we went, we personalized ours with the following:
"Rocky Rose" ice cream
First, the "Rocky Rose" ice cream, which was kind of a fancy take on Rocky Road, with a thick fudge topping and homemade marshmallows;

Cherry crumble
Then, a crumble consisting of roasted cherries topped with almond streusel and honey-lavender ice cream. This was an absolute standout: assembling it just moments before being served, apparently, is one of the secrets--each ingredient maintains its own flavor and texture "identity"--coming together beautifully without becoming soupy.

Cream PuffsCumin Cashews
Pate De FruitNutter Butter
Various other little bites were served alongside the main attractions: little lemon cream puffs; cumin cashews; apricot pâtes de fruits (translation: fancy fruit jellies); and some absolutely tantalizing Nutter butter squares, which were crispy and sweet and salty all at once, andwith a crowning glory of thick caramel, completely addictive.
Bread Pudding
..and, we were treated to a sneak preview of something Dana is working on for an upcoming event. Not going to give away too much, but it was good.


Honestly, I couldn't imagine a more delightful way to serve dessert. With a sampler like this, you still have some choice in the matter--but it also gives you an opportunity to try some tiny bites of unexpected desserts; there's also a certain drama that comes with having this platter full of sweets glistening like little jewels being delivered to your table. It's one of those dishes that all the other diners tend to turn to see as it goes by.

 

Want a piece of this sweet action? Poppy is located at 622 Broadway East, Seattle (206) 324-1108; you can check them out online at poppyseattle.com. For more on the lovely and amazing Dana Cree, check out this article and stay tuned for other new developments!


Poppy on Urbanspoon

 

Tuesday
Aug042009

Refreshing and Sweet: Cupcake Royale Debuts the Raspberry-Lemonade Cupcake for August

Photo c/o Cupcake Royale, new August flavor!
Cupcake Royale has had a lot going on lately, what with the opening of their beautifully outfitted new location and owner Jody Hall speaking out about Health Care on NPR. But of course we can't forget the cupcakes, and this August they've got a refreshing new flavor: Raspberry Lemonade.

Per their site, the new flavor consists of "fresh, local, organic raspberries from Willie Green's organic farm in the cake, topped with tart and tangy, oh-so-summery lemon cream cheese frosting". I love that the flavor has the raspberries mixed into the cake rather than just as part of the frosting--it sounds so refreshing for the summer heat, but with a welcome bit of richness from the cream cheese frosting.

The new flavor will be available at all four Cupcake Royale locations through August 31st; for more information, visit cupcakeroyale.com; for instant updates, follow them on Twitter!

Sunday
Aug022009

What a Turon-On: A Delicious Find at Delite Bakery

Turon from Delite Bakery, Seattle
Nope: this is not an eggroll. It's even better, because it's dessert.

Say hello to the turon, my most recent discovery at Delite Bakery in Seattle's Beacon Hill. What is a turon (or turrón, as I've seen it elsewhere), exactly? Well, according to Wikipedia,

Though many varieties exist, a typical turrón is plantain and jackfruit wrapped in a springroll wrapper, dipped in brown sugar, then fried. This somewhat resembles banana spring rolls. These are also known as banana fritters.


Oh, and these little confections (which cost only $1.45 each! a steal!) are also exceedingly delicious. Delite's version was made with banana, and had the most delicious slightly crackly, carmelly-sticky crust which gave way to the sweet taste of banana. The banana's texture was perfect: yielding, but not too mushy. A satisfying treat, and surprisingly for something fried, not too heavy--all in all, perfect for a hot day and definitely worth seeking out if you find yourself in the Beacon Hill area (especially easy now, thanks to the light rail).

 

Delite Bakery, 2701 15th Ave S., Seattle. Read more online here!


Of course, if you're not in the Seattle area, you might want to investigate making your own turon--this recipe looks pretty delicious! If you've got another to share, please leave a comment!


Despi Delite Bakery on Urbanspoon

 

Wednesday
Jul152009

Kickin' It: Old School Frozen Custard, Seattle

Old School Custard, Seattle
So, Old School Frozen Custard has opened in what is quickly becoming Seattle's Ice Cream District in Capitol Hill, what with the recent opening of several other arbiters of chilled treats including Molly Moon's Ice Cream and more recently Bluebird Ice Cream. However, you'd be a fool to mistake frozen custard for your everyday softserve. Why? Well, Old School's website does their best to educate, under the heading "What is Frozen Custard?". As they put it:

We know what you're thinking, but you're probably wrong. Frozen custard is not flan, crème brûlée, or something your grandma throws in a pie.


as the narrative goes on, the differences are mainly to be found in two places. First, ingredients: frozen custard not only contains a minimum of 10% butterfat (this is the delectable thing that makes premium ice creams coat your tongue with deliciousness), but it also has 1.4% egg yolk by weight. It's the yolk that separates frozen custard from regular ice cream by adding a "richer, fuller taste and an indescribably silky texture."

 

The second difference is preparation: "The volume of regular ice cream is almost doubled by the air whipped into it during production (called overrun)," --crystals formed during this time can lead to a coarse texture in softserve ice cream. With frozen custard, the mix is continuously fed into and frozen in a barrel, avoiding this extreme aeration and resulting in a denser, creamier finish with 70% less overrun than regular ice cream. It's also served slightly warmer than ice cream: "In contrast to regular ice cream which is served just above freezing, Old School's frozen custard is served 18-20 degrees warmer, which allows for maximum flavor and doesn't freeze your taste buds."


Old School Custard, Seattle
But enough science. As they say, proof is in the pudding, and the expert CakeSpy tasters (Allie, Jason and Danny) agreed: this stuff is good. Old School only offers three flavors daily (vanilla, chocolate and one daily special) but personalization can be attained with a large variety of mix-ins, from brownie bits to nuts, pretzels, caramel and more. The smooth, silky texture of the custard was delightful, and the addition of brownie and fudge was declared a delight; all agreed that the whipped cream, too, was exceptional. 
Overall, the tasters seemed to agree that custard is not for the feint of heart: if you're expecting regular softserve ice cream, the creamy density of this rich treat might be overwhelming. Happily though, this also makes Old School a different enough experience from the other ice cream places that perhaps they can all exist in harmony, ready to cater to all sorts of different frozen-treat cravings. But if it's a seriously decadent dessert experience you're seeking, then maybe it's time to kick it...well, you know.
Old School Frozen Custard, 1316 E. Pike Street, Seattle; online at oldschoolfrozencustard.com.

For an interesting NPR story about frozen custard, click here.


Old School Frozen Custard on Urbanspoon

 

Saturday
Jul112009

Cake Byte: Why You Should Be Excited About Cupcake Royale's New Location

Cupcake Royale's new location in Seattle!
So, Cupcake Royale is coming to Capitol Hill. Naturally, this in and of itself is cause for celebration. But why should you be extra-super excited? Well, let's review:

Free Cupcakes on Opening Day: Stop by the new Capitol Hill location on opening day (July 22), utter the words “Legalize Frostitution,” and you'll get a free Strawberry 66 babycake while supplies last.


Cake Meets Architecture: The decor of this location is bound to be gorgeous, having been assembled with a dream team of artisans and architects, including: Domestic Architecture, led by Roy McMakin (artist and longtime neighbor/customer of Cupcake Royale in Madrona); Dovetail Construction (which recently completed Molly Moon’s and Oddfellows); Sterling Voss; Big Leaf Manufacturing; and glass artist Greg Lundgren (owner of Hideout, and Stranger Genius award winner for Vital 5). The space is housed within the first commercial building by internationally acclaimed architect Tom Kundig.

Cake and Art: Distinctive from the other three locations, this one is a conceptually designed space, including one-of-a-kind works of cupcake art (including a 5 foot tall, stained-glass cupcake Royale) and signature Roy McMakin tables. 
Party On: Expect a semi-private party area, bistro tables and chairs, a community table, and a bakery peepshow picture window exposing back-of-the-house operations. 

Going Green (um...the ingredients, not the batter): The new Capitol Hill location, along with its sister Seattle locations, are also celebrating Cupcake Royale’s recent “most local cupcake” status. Cupcake Royale continues to prove their commitment to regional sustainability and local farmers through the premium, local ingredients it uses. Already all-natural and scratch-baked, Cupcake Royale cupcakes are now “More Moisty-er!” thanks to pastry chef Sue McCown’s new recipes, and they are also a minimum of 66% local following a newly forged relationship with Eastern Washington’s Shepherd’s Grain, which will be milling custom cake and pastry flour specifically for Cupcake Royale. This means Cupcake Royale’s milk, butter, flour, sour cream and eggs are all deliciously Washingtonian.
Late-night snacking: The new location's hours will be 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends. 
Want to visit? The new Capitol Hill Cupcake Royale café and bakery is located at 1111 E Pike Street and opens for business on July 22, 2009. For more information, visit their site; keep updated on their daily goings-on via their blog and twitter.

 

Tuesday
Jul072009

Cake Byte: Look Cupcakes To Be Sold at The Chocolate Box!

Look Cupcake
Big news, Seattle: delicious mini cupcakes from Look Cupcake are now going to be sold at The Chocolate Box! Previously only available by special order, this is an exciting new venue for these treats (read the previous CakeSpy writeup about them here!).

Here's the scoop from The Chocolate Box:

Chocolate Box is always looking for new and exciting local tasty treats to offer you. We are very excited to be hosting a potentially new local passionate cake maker, Rhienn Davis. Rhienn's Look cupcakes will make you do a double take because they look fantastic. The flavors will tempt your taste buds to ask for more. This may become an addiction. As our guest this Sunday from 12 to 3, Rhienn will be sampling her cupcakes, and we will be asking your opinion. We want to know what you think. If you like, then we will see Rhienn more in our case and hopefully in your happy tummy.


Now, in case you missed the most important part:

 

Free. Cupcakes. This Sunday. From 12-3 p.m., at The Chocolate Box!

For the location and more information, visit their site!

Wednesday
Jul012009

Berry Delicious: Cupcake Royale Debuts the Strawberry 66 for July!

 

Strawberry 66 from Cupcake Royale, photo c/o Cupcake Royale

Let's get excited about Cupcake Royale. Why? Well, beyond the obvious (they are a shop that sells cupcakes), here are two very exciting reasons this month:

 

#1: Their new flavor for July, the Strawberry 66. Why 66? Well, it's made with 66% local ingredients. That is no small feat! So not only is it sweet, it's a great way to support local farmers and vendors. Here's their description:

Sweet and summery strawberry buttercream swirled atop our delicious, NEW More Moisty-er! vanilla buttercake. Made with strawberries from Skagit Sun Farms, eggs and dairy from Meadowsweet, and flour from Shepherd's Grain, this cupcake is 66% Washingtonian! It's like an old-fashioned strawberry shortcake. Only better.

#2: Their long-awaited Capitol Hill location is set to open this month! Also per their newsletter:

You've waited, anticipated, and salivated. Now, the wait is over. The cupcakes are coming to Capitol Hill. We open this month at 1111 E Pike, just in time for Block Party! Watch our blog for updates. And we'll see you on the Hill!

Looks like this summer is going to be totally sweet!

To obtain one of those delicious Strawberry 66 cupcakes, you can visit any of the three (soon to be four!) Cupcake Royale locations all July long; for more information, visit cupcakeroyale.com; for instant updates, follow them on Twitter!

Tuesday
Jun302009

Rosemary's Babka: Devilishly Delicious Mini Chocolate Babka in Seattle

Mini Chocolate Babka
The other day while wandering around Ballard, I happened to walk into Great Harvest Bread and in doing so, unwittingly submitted to my destiny: The Mini Chocolate Babka.

Baked in a muffin tin, this two-pronged treat is a mini monstrosity, so ugly it's sort of cute. Because of its small size, the chocolate-to-pastry ratio is upped dramatically, making it amazingly buttery and rich; in spite of said richness, it's amazingly how quickly and easily it manages to get in your belly.
Mini Chocolate Babka
As the sign in the shop said, this mini version of a classic holiday bread is "too good to save for once a year"--and I tend to agree. Even if it is the devil in disguise.

Mini Chocolate Babka (call for availability!) from Great Harvest Bread Company, 2218 NW Market Street, Seattle, (206) 706-3434; online at greatharvestsea.com.

Not in Seattle? No need to panic. This recipe for chocolate babka sounds like just about the most delicious thing ever, and I bet it could be divided into muffin cups for mini portions.

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