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Entries in seattle (182)


March into Yum: Bacon Whiskey Maple Cupcakes at Cupcake Royale

March is in like a Lion at Cupcake Royale, where their flavor of the month is bound to make the masses roar with good cheer: Bacon Whiskey Maple Cupcakes!

Here's the 411, direct from Cupcake Royale: 

For one month only, get moist vanilla butter cake, made from local ingredients like milk, eggs, and butter from Medowsweet Dairy and specially milled Shepherd's Grain cake flour from Eastern Washington, hand-frosted with Irish Whiskey Maple Buttercream. Made with Jameson Irish Whiskey and real maple syrup, this malted maple swirl truly takes the edge off...a sweet tooth, that is. Dusted with either bacon crumbles from Zoe's meats or organic maple sugar and shamrocks, it's delicious to the tiniest detail.

But don't hesitate--in this spy's experience, the flavor of the month is usually first to disappear from the bakery case on most days! To ensure availability, call ahead.

Available all March long at all Cupcake Royale locations; for directions and contact info, visit www.cupcakeroyale.com. Of course, you can keep up to date with their goings-on at legalizefrostitution.blogspot.com and via Twitter.


Cake Byte: CupcakeCamp Seattle 2011 Coming on April 17

Hey, sweeties. Remember what an awesome time CupcakeCamp 2010 was? Well, forget about that, because CupcakeCamp 2011 is coming, and it promises to be bigger, badder, and buttercreamier.

Here are the details. I know I'm announcing it early, but I'm excited because I did the artwork for the poster again (pictured above) and I really, really want you to see it; and, you know, it's always nice to have something to look forward to, isn't it?

Date:  Sunday April 17, 2011. 
Time: 12PM- 4pm
Location: The Canal, a Jewel Hospitality property in Ballard
5300 34th Avenue NW Seattle, WA 98107
Why: Because who doesn’t love cupcakes? Plus we will have some fun competitions and all proceeds go to a good cause!

HOW:Purchase tickets HERE for $8 or $10 at the door.

Ticket valid for 6 mini cupcake tastings or 3 standard size on the day of the event only. No refunds available.

For a preview of the awesomeness that awaits you, check out this epic post on last year's event.


PieStalking: Pie Slam Coming Up on March 14 at CakeSpy Shop!

Did you miss National Pie Day on January 23rd? Aww, poor thing. But don't despair, because in the effort to keep you fat and happy all winter long, CakeSpy and Four and 20 Blackbirds are teaming up to host Seattle's first Pie Slam on March 14 (the "other" pie day...Pi Day!), at CakeSpy Shop, 415 E. Pine Street in Capitol Hill. Here are the details:

Cake and Pie Peace Talks Result in Seattle’s First Pie Slam

Seattle, WA – While the media has been heralding the demise of the cupcake and the ascension of pie – two Seattle bakers have come together in peace to hold Seattle’s first writing and baking contest – the Seattle Pie Slam.

Jessie Oleson, artist and blogger of CakeSpy fame, and Wendy Sykes, owner of the baking business Four and 20 Blackbirds decided there was no room for malice in the world of dessert and came up with the concept of a Pie Slam.

“It’s a writing contest and a pie contest, all baked into one,” said Sykes. “The concept is loosely based on a poetry slam, but in this contest the plot must contain pie. And the writer/baker is judged not only on the content and quality of the story -– but also on the quality of the pie.”

The Details

While entry is free, space is LIMITED! So whether you'd like to perform or just attend, be sure to RSVP via email to jessieoleson@gmail.com.

When: Monday, March 14th, 6:30pm
Where: CakeSpy, 415 E Pine St., Seattle WA 98122 (space is limited)

What: Be prepared to eat their words! 
It’s Seattle’s first Pie Slam, where judges decide who has the best story, and the best recipe – all baked into one contest.

Pie Slam Rules, based on rules from Poetryslam.com
Each story must be of the writer's own construction;
Each writer gets three minutes (plus a ten-second grace period) to read one
story. If the writer goes over time, points will be deducted from the total score. 
Of the scores the writer received from the five judges, the high and low scores
are dropped and the middle three are added together, giving the writer a total
score of 0-30.

Recipe does not have to original, but must be made from scratch.

Contest Rules
Pie must be mentioned in a way that is intrinsic to the story, not peripheral (as in, “…and then he had a piece of pie.”
Writing submissions must be acceptable for a mixed-age, family event. Keep it clean folks!
Submissions must be entered in digital form, including recipe, by 5pm Monday, March 7th, or will not be considered.
Pies/desserts must be dropped off at CakeSpy on Monday, March 14th between 4pm to 6pm
Plates/desserts must be clearly marked with entrants name and phone number. 
Please bring knife/serving tools if needed.

For more details on entry rules, prizes and judges, email jessieoleson@gmail.com! 


Cake Byte: Introducing Madyson's Marshmallows

Oh, great. Another talented kid has come along to remind me of how little I was accomplishing at age 5.

At said tender young age, your dear spy was showing a great talent for eating macaroni and cheese, watching Danger Mouse on Nickelodeon, and playing with her favorite My Little Pony (her name, not that you asked, was Molly Ringwald). 

Impressive, I know, but not much compared to Madyson Wetzel, the wunderkind entrepreneur behind Madyson's Marshmallows. This 5-year old confectioner's tale goes thusly:

Madyson's Gourmet Marshmallows started with a young girl who asked her Daddy how to make a homemade marshmallow. They played around with different recipes and came up with a unique recipe that made their mouth water! They started blending and mixing this delectable treat together in their small kitchen. The first batch was so fantastic that they made another the very next day. They started sending their homemade marshmallows to friends and family and soon, word of mouth spread like wildfire and everyone they knew was calling to get these tasty homemade marshmallows.

Now, dad has a bit of a flair for cooking. In fact, he really should have gone (and he still should go!) to culinary school. Not too long after the first few batches of gourmet marshmallows, dad and Madyson were taking it up a notch and experimenting with chocolate dip, caramel drizzle, graham cracker bottoms, and peppermint flavoring in the marshmallows. If they could dream it, they would try it. Now, we're dreaming up new flavors every day! Our family is glad to be able to share these delectable chocolate dipped marshmallows with you. Our dipped marshmallows are perfect for so many occasions!


Whatever. Her parents help. (this makes me feel better).

Of course, proof is in the pudding, so how do these 'mallows taste? I haven't had the pleasure of sampling them myself (yet), but doesn't that story make you so, so curious? Especially since the online store has not only basic marshmallows, but all manner of marshmallowey goodness, including marshmallow candy bars, caramels, and espresso marshmallows? Oh yes.

Madyson's Gourmet Marshmallows are sold fresh from the Seattle area and are available to ship within the United States. They ship on Mondays so marshmallows will usually arrive fresh by end of week. You can order here, and follow them on Twitter here.


Dark But Sweet: Bittersweet Chocolate Gateau Recipe from Macrina Bakery, Seattle

Image: Macrina BakeryTopping the list of things that make you go NOM? Howsabout a big slice of Bittersweet Chocolate Gateau? It's the recipe of the month from Seattle's famous Macrina Bakery, and I don't know about you, but I think it would be a perfect cake to enjoy for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or all of the above.

Bittersweet Chocolate Gateau

  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 9 eggs
  • 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks)
  • unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup dark cocoa powder, sifted
  • 2 cups (1 pint) fresh raspberries
  • Lightly Sweetened Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
  • Powdered sugar



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil a 9 x 13-inch springform pan. Set aside.
  2. Chop chocolate into small pieces and place in a small stainless steel bowl. Place bowl on top of a saucepan filled with 2 inches of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl does not come in contact with the water. It’s important that the water be just simmering; if it’s too hot it will scorch the chocolate. Stir chocolate with a rubber spatula until all of the pieces have melted and reached a smooth consistency. Remove the bowl from the heat and set it on the stovetop to keep it slightly warm.
  3. Separate eggs, placing yolks in a small bowl and whites in a medium bowl. Set bowls aside.
  4. Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and mix for about 5 minutes more to cream the butter. The mixture will become smooth and pale in color. Start adding the egg yolks, 2 at a time, taking care to mix each addition fully before adding more yolks. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. After all of the yolks are incorporated, add the sifted cocoa powder and continue mixing until combined.
  5. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and fold in the melted chocolate with a rubber spatula. The batter will thicken. Using a whisk or hand-held mixer, whip egg whites until medium-stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter, one third at a time. Continue folding the batter until there are no visible white streaks; it is important that the whites be fully incorporated into the batter. The final mixture should have a sponge-like texture. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and scatter half of the raspberries over the top. Poke the berries down with your fingers until they are just below the surface.
  6. Place pan on center rack of oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the center is set. Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Release the sides of the pan and lift, leaving the cake on the pan bottom. Dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar and garnish with the remaining raspberries. Serve with Lightly Sweetened Whipped Cream. It’s best to enjoy this cake the day it’s baked, but it can be stored at room temperature for up to one day. It will become very dense and fudge-like if kept in the refrigerator.
  7. It's also most excellent with freshly whipped cream!

Scents and Sensibility: Spots for Sweet Aromas in Seattle

Though it may appear unassuming, the spot captured in the above photo is actually quite a special spot in Seattle. I have, through much painstaking research, determined that this exact spot, on 6th Avenue between Blanchard and Virginia, is where you get the absolute best doughnut aroma wafting over from Top Pot Doughnuts, which has its entrace one block away. Seriously. Just go here one morning, stand, and smell. It will make you so happy.

Although this is my favorite spot to catch a sweet scent in the city, there are several other very pleasant ones that come to directly to mind--feel free to add your favorites (for Seattle or beyond!) in the comments section below!

1st Ave. South near S. Holgate, SODO: It's no secret that I adore Macrina Bakery, which has several locations in Seattle. But it is my learned opinion that this facility (where they do much of their wholesale baking) smells the best. 

6th and Olive, Downtown Seattle: It always smells like bread baking under the awning of Il Fornaio. Could it be that they pump the scent out into the street to entice customers, as I've heard McDonalds does? Perhaps, but I'm not complaining.

Jackson and 20th, Central District: Though I'm not the biggest fan of their packaged baked goods, it always smells delicious nearby this large commercial baking facility for Franz Bread.

Phinney Ave N. and 35th, Fremont: Theo Chocolate's factory is bound to give you a Wonka-esque moment when you walk by and get a whiff of the chocolatey-smelling air at this intersection.

Pine Street and 10th Ave, Capitol Hill: Walking by Molly Moon's Ice Cream is like a study in willpower. The delicious aroma of freshly pressed waffle cones mingled with the creamy ice cream aroma is pretty appealing at just about any time of day.


Cake Byte: Cake Central Presents An Intensive Buttercream Technique Class in Seattle

Talk about news you can use (and eat right up). Here's the most delicious headline I've heard in some time: Cake Central Presents an Intensive Four-Day Buttercream Technique Class with Lucinda Larson.
It's true! Per a press release sent to me by the fantastic Cake Central, "we are proud to announce that Chef Lucinda Larson will be teaching a four-day intensive course on several buttercream decorating techniques."
Want to know what you can expect? Lucinda’s class includes four days of intensive, hands-on buttercream education for the intermediate to advanced decorator. Students will learn dozens of buttercream flowers and foliage piping in addition to learning and tasting different buttercream preparations. This fast-paced course will also include instruction on airbrushing on buttercream, color theory, color mixing, border piping, and figure piping. 
Want to know more about the teacher? Lucinda Larson is known for her buttercream work, gumpaste flowers, and extraordinary use of color. She has owned and operated a custom order bakery for over 14 years, and she has been teaching since 1981.
Want to know the nitty gritty? 
  • Cost: The whole thing costs $1,199.   A list of necessary tools and materials will be available at cakecentral.com.
  • Location: Radisson Hotel Gateway Seattle-Tacoma Airport, 18118 International Boulevard , Seattle, WA 98188
  • Dates: March 3-6, 2011. 9 am to 4 pm with a one-hour lunch break.
For all additional information, please visit cakecentral.com/classes/lucinda-larson.



CakeSpy Undercover: The Salvadorean Bakery, White Center

Let's take a moment to celebrate new experiences.

I'm talking, of course, about CakeSpy's visit to The Salvadorean Bakery (what did you think I was talking about?).

This is a bakery visit that was a long time in the making. I've heard great stories; I've even sampled some of the goods (including their famous Tres Leches Cake). But until a couple weeks ago, I had never actually visited the retail location.

But oh, I was so glad I did. And you will be, too, when you go.

When you first walk in, you'll be impressed and delighted by the array of baked goods, in a big, beautiful expanse of glass bakery case. In a variety of colors, textures, and flavors, it's fun to take several minutes to decide on your ideal pastry assortment.

Ultimately I settled on a couple of the the Pastelito de Leche, the Sandino de Mango, the Pastel de Crema, and the Maria Luisa de Pina.

The Pastelito de Leche (rice flour cookie filled with sweet Salvadorean style custard), were sort of like sweet, milky custard-filled little empanadas. The crust itself wasn't too sweet but the filling was, which added a nice contrast, and it they were crusted with sugar which made them sparkle prettily in the sunlight (pictured top).

The Sandino de Mango (a cookie filled with mango jam), which were crumbly little morsels held together with a sweet, sticky jam which once again, was a nice contrast to the not-too-sweet dough.

The Pastel de Crema (white cake willed with bavarian creme, and dusted with cinnamon), was probably my personal favorite, with a thick layer of cream on top which kept the cake more moist than the other pastry specimens sampled, and nicely contrasted by the spicy cinnamon for a sort of horchata-esque flavor.

And finally, the so-pink-it-almost-hurt Maria Luisa de Pina (white cake filled with pineapple, topped with meringue), which was good, but a drier sort of cake (not stale--just drier in texture) so a good candidate to be paired with a strong, milky coffee, or ice cream, or both.

Of course, you'd be a fool not to try their specialty, the Tres Leches Cake. Officially, it translates to "Three Milks"--but unofficially, it translates to "Triple Yum".

Moreover, the baked goods were on the drier end of the scale, but as mentioned in the description of the Maria Luisa, this is not to say they weren't fresh. Now, maybe a reader or three can help here, but it seems that many baked goods which have roots in Central America do err toward dryness. Upon looking at several Pan Dulce recipes, it does seem that many of them call for shortening or margarine (or lard!) rather than butter as a primary source of fat--could this be the reason? Or perhaps the fact that in Central America, where coffee is also quite popular, pastries are made drier to pair well with it? (CakeSpy Shrug)

The Salvadorean Bakery, 1719 SW Roxbury Street; online at thesalvadoreanbakery.com.

Salvadorean Bakery on Urbanspoon


Power Moves: The Power Cookie by Capers

I feel like we need to talk for a minute about one of my favorite "feels like health food" cookies: The Power Cookie. This beauty is the invention of Capers Markets (a Whole Foods partner in Canada), but luckily, here in Seattle we are close enough that they are readily available in Whole Foods stores. 

You may be tempted, upon looking at it, to think that this oaty, nutty, seedy, granola-y looking vegan (yes, vegan!) lump is kind of healthy. But you'd be wrong. It's delightfully full-of-fat, sweet but not overly so, and feels very indulgent. 

As BFF blog Everybody Likes Sandwiches says, 

The cookies are filling and with all of that good stuff crammed in, I certainly wouldn’t be adverse to calling these a breakfast cookie! While the ingredient list is long, these are simple to put together and they bake up really well too. If you don’t have applesauce on hand, but you do have an apple, just make your own sauce. One large apple should do it.

and -- even MORE awesome -- la belle Sandwich lady has come up with a "Bakery Hack" and made up her own version of the Power Cookie recipe! Since I've had the good fortune of trying her delicious baking, I would say that you could take this one on with confidence.

To find a Power Cookie, visit Whole Foods locations in Seattle or Vancouver (probably in-between, too); to try the recipe, visit Everybody Likes Sandwiches.


Stick It: LolliPies by A La Mode Pies, Seattle

So, earlier this week I headed over to the Center of the Universe (aka Fremont, Seattle) for a secret spy assignment: namely, to eat pie at newly-opened Pie.

Little did I know that even more pie would be in my future. After Twittering that I'd just visited Pie, I received a message from nearby Blue Moon Burgers saying "you should come try our LolliPies!".

Um, OK.

So I walked over and what should I find at this burger joint but a beautiful display of pocket pies on sticks! Now, these aren't Pie Pops like the baby-ones I made for Serious Eats a while back--these are respectably, bigger-than-a-fist-sized pies on not so much of a popsicle stick, more like a tongue depressor. 

They had a few flavors available--I chose the "Blue Hawaiian", which I knew was a specialty.

On a stick, this already-good pie is positively genius. The higher crust-to-filling ratio allows the eater to attain a heightened state of carb-o-loading bliss, and the blueberry-pineapple-coconut filling was rich and sweet enough to stand up to all that delicious crust. Nice detail: it was topped with more toasty coconut on top.

Of course, it got even better when I topped it with a jaunty dollop of freshly whipped cream.

LolliPies by A La Mode Pies, available at Blue Moon Burgers and various other locations; learn more at A La Mode Pies.


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