Cake Byte: CakeSpy Coming to Chicago for the Renegade Craft Fair, September 10 and 11, 2011

Get excited, Chicago. Get VERY excited. For a few reasons.

For one thing, I'm coming your way for the Renegade Craft Fair next weekend, September 10 and 11! And I will have onesies, socks, original art, prints, and a ton of cards (among other products) to sell to you. Oh, and--just saying--I'll have my book, too. And I will totally sign it for you, after you pay for it.

You'll find me and my crafty BFF AbbeyChristine cute-ing it up at the fair...come say hi! 

But before the Renegade Craft fair, there's also a totally sweet event on September 9 at Busy Beaver Buttons: the Superhero Button Release Party. I designed some buttons for the series! Read more about my button designs here.

For details on the Renegade Craft Fairvisit the official site! But I'll tell you right now, it's both days next weekend, September 10 and 11, 2011, from 11-7 both days.

But wait, there's more! I will be staying a day or two extra in the Chicagoland area so that I can do a mural at Bleeding Heart Bakery! Yeah! (as you know, I have done murals in Minneapolis and Seattle!)

Oh, and did I mention the most important part? I will actually be driving to the fair from Seattle...making a pastry road trip of the journey! Look out for updates on sweets from Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, the Dakotas, Minnesota and more while I work my way over to Chicago! And of course, feel free to pass on any suggestions along the way.

Sweet News: Ice Cream Social at Seattle's Palace Kitchen

Wow, isn't that some cute ice cream artwork?

Well, it gets even better: I created the art for a very special event: the Ice Cream Social Happy Hour, coming up on August 31st at the Palace Ballroom in Seattle!

Here are the details:

Date: Wednesday, August 31st

Time: 5:30-7:30 pm

Location: The Palace Ballroom, 2100 5th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

Join us at the Palace Ballroom to sample some of the best ice cream that Seattle has to offer!  On hand will be delicious cold treats from ice cream superstars like:

·         Bluebird Homemade Ice Cream

·         Parfait

·         Full Tilt

·         D’Ambrosia Gelateria Arigianale

·         Old School Frozen Custard

·         Fainting Goat Gelato

·         Procopio

As well as a treat from the Tom Douglas pastry kitchen!

The cost of admission gets you a sample from every vendor, entertainment and access to a full bar.  We’ll also have a specialty ice cream cocktail available for purchase for those who want a little bit of booze with their chilly treat (for 21 and over folks only of course)!

Tickets are $15 (tax included); learn more and buy tickets online here.

Cake Byte: Pie Stand Featuring Kate Lebo at CakeSpy Shop on August 6

Pie Stand returns! This time, the famous pie-maker Kate Lebo is selling pies by the slice at CakeSpy, the sweetest space in Seattle. She'll have slices and hand pies for sale, including a couple fresh fruit and gluten free pies. Pay no attention to that "end at 4" time listed--she'll be open until she sells out (which she will!), so come sooner rather than later. Kids and small dogs welcome. We'll also have her book of pie lore and poetry, A Commonplace Book of Pie, for sale at the shop.

Kate's note: This is a good time to get your whole pie orders in, so let me know now if you'd like to take a whole pie home.

The Menu:

Peach Bourbon hand pies
Vanilla Cherry hand pies
Mumbleberry Pie
Rhubarb Ginger Pie
Peach Cherry Galette
Fresh Fruit & Marscapone Pie
Lemon Shaker Pie
Apple Bacon Roquefort Pie
Asparagus Chevre & Thyme Pie

Fresh slices are $3-5, whole frozen pies are $35 for one, $60 for two. Cash only for the pie, please!

Details: Saturday, August 6 at CakeSpy Shop; 12pm Til we sell out.

CakeSpy Shop is located at 415 E. Pine Street (at Summit) in Capitol Hill, Seattle; Please note the shop is not a bakery, it's a space for people who love baked goods. See you there!

Sweet Art: Baltimore-themed Art by CakeSpy!

So...not long ago at the Wilton Workshop, I got to meet Rachel of Coconut & Lime for the first time. This was a pretty big deal for me as I am a pretty big fan of hers. AND! She asked me if I might be interested in creating some artwork for Baltimore's first CupcakeCamp!

Well, needless to say "YES" was the rapid and assured answer, and here's the result: a sweet Baltimore-themed piece featuring Baltimore architecture and characters (fictional and factual!).

Oh, and speaking of Baltimore, have I mentioned lately that I will be stopping there on my book tour? Yep, November 14 we'll be having an event at Dangerously Delicious Pies. Details TBA!

For more about the upcoming event, stay tuned via

Cake Byte: Many Baking Contests at the Puyallup Fair!

YOU GUYS. If you've never been to the Puyallup Fair, this is the year to go. Just take a gander at all of the baking (and, ok, one Spam)-related contests! As the press release goes,

Taking home the coveted blue ribbon is the dream of cooks and bakers who enter their creations at the Puyallup Fair, and this year is no exception. A NEW online registration is required in advance if culinary artists want to vie to make their dream a reality. The Puyallup Fair runs Sept. 9-25.

Here are the contests; rules can be found at the bottom of the post.

Dillanos Coffee Biscotti Contest

Online Registration By:  Thursday, Sept. 1, 10 p.m.

Bring Your Entry:  Wednesday, Sept. 7, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

If your friends love to come over and enjoy your just-baked biscotti with a hot cup of Dillanos coffee, then you may be a step away from winning a blue ribbon. The first place receives $100, second place $50, and third place $25.

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Dillanos Best Quick Bread Coffee Cake Contest

Online Registration By:  Thursday, Sept. 1, 10 p.m.

Bring Your Entry:  Wednesday, Sept. 7, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

If your family or friends love to wake up to a piece of your quick bread coffee cake with their cup of Dillanos coffee, then you’ll want to enter this competition. The blue ribbon first place brings home $100, second place $50, and third place $25.

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Fleischmann’s Yeast Bake For the Cure® Contest

Online Registration By:  Thursday, Sept. 1, 10 p.m.

Bring Your Entry:  Wednesday, Sept. 7, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

If you bake a first place recipe in the yeast bread or whole grain bread category, your recipe will advance for a possible $1,000 grand prize national award! For every entry, Fleischmann’s Yeast (ACH Food Companies) will contribute $10 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Themes and decorations are encouraged for your recipe using Fleischmann’s Yeast.

1st Category: Yeast Bread of Any Type or Flavor - First place receives $150, second place receives $75, and third place $50. All three winners also receive a ribbon, an award certificate and an apron.

2nd Category:  Whole Grain Bread –Any type of recipe with yeast may be submitted from bread or rolls to pizza or cakes. Recipes should contain at least 50 percent whole grains, such as whole wheat flour, rye flours, and/or other whole grain ingredients (oatmeal, flax seed, bran cereals, bulgur, etc). All-purpose or bread flour should be limited to 50 percent or less of the flour in the recipe. The first place honoree receives $100, and second place $50, and both receive a ribbon, an award certificate and an apron.

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King Arthur Flour “Great Cake Contest”

Online Registration By:  Thursday, Sept. 1, 10 p.m.

Bring Your Entry:  Wednesday, Sept. 7, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

This year King Arthur Flour Company is hosting the “Great Cake Contest”! All entries must use King Arthur Flour. The first place winner takes home a $200 gift card, second place is a $150 gift card and third place wins a $100 gift card. King Arthur Flour Company will also choose a grand prize winning cake out of 15 blue ribbon cakes at official host fairs, offering the grand prize winner the choice of either a $500 shopping spree online at or a complimentary trip to Vermont for a one-day class at the King Arthur Flour Baking Education Center.

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Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust “Dessert Pie” Championship Contest

Online Registration By:  Thursday, Sept. 1, 10 p.m.

Bring Your Entry:  Wednesday, Sept. 7, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Got a great pie? Pillsbury® invites pie lovers to enter their best dessert pie made with Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust (one or two crusts).  Make a pie to marvel at with meringue, cream, custard or fruit.

The first place winner will also be in the running to receive a $5,000 award selected from all the first place winning recipes from Pillsbury’s contestants nationwide. Last year’s Puyallup Fair blue ribbon winner, Angie Battle won the online voting contest choosing “America’s Favorite Pie” from all first place winners for her recipe, Triple-Threat Coconut Cream Pie.

The Puyallup Fair first place winner receives $200, a commemorative gift, ribbon, award certificate and Pillsbury apron, and a chance to win the national prize. Second place receives $100, and third place $50, and both receive a ribbon, certificate and apron.

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Wilton Decorated Cake and Cupcake Contests (Amateur)

Online Registration By:  Thursday, Sept. 1, 10 p.m.

Bring Your Entry:  Wednesday, Sept. 7, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

If your friends tell you that your cake and cupcake decorating rival that of a professional, then, you should enter this contest. The first place decorated cakewinner takes home $100, second place $50, and third place $25. The first place decorated cupcake winner takes home $50, second place $30, and third place $20.The best of class winner will receive a choice of one of the following:  Pops! Sweets on a Stick! (book), Cookie Exchange (book), or Cake Decorating Basics (DVD).

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Ghirardelli Chocolate Championship

Online Registration By:  Sunday, Sept. 11, 10 p.m.

Bring Your Entry:  Monday, Sept. 12, 5 - 7 p.m.

Calling all chocolate bakers of treats, snacks, cake, candy, cookies or desserts! Create your mouthwatering recipe using at least one of Ghiradelli’s premium baking products (chocolate chips, bars, and/or cocoa). First place is $150 and a Ghirardelli chocolate gift basket, $50 for second place, or a gift basket for third place. Judging:  7:30 p.m

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The Great American Spam Championship

Online Registration By:  Monday, Sept. 12, 10 p.m.

Bring Your Entry:  Wednesday, Sept. 14, 10 a.m. – noon

The first meal of the day is the most important one. Let your culinary creativity soar with the Great American SPAM® Championship. Enter your best breakfast entry using at least one 12-ounce can of any variety of SPAM product. There are two categories in this creative Spam contest:  Adults (ages 18 and up) and Kids (ages 7-17). First place honor in each category is $150, second place in both categories is $50, and third place is $25. Judging:  1 p.m.

Winning recipes will go on to nationals, where the National Spam Grand Champion Prize is a trip to Waikiki Spam Jam, valued at $3,000. The National “Spam Kid Chef of the Year” grand prize is $2,000.

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C&H Sugar Parent-Child Christmas Decorated Cookie Contest

Online Registration By:  Wednesday, Sept. 14, 10 p.m.

Bring Your Entry:  Friday, Sept. 16, 10 a.m. – noon

It’s not too early to think about creating a Christmas cooking with your child. A parent (mother, father, grandparent, legal guardian or step-parent) and child (6-16 years) will compete for the best Christmas decorated cookies using C&H Sugar. Parents may enter two different recipes with two different children. The first place team wins $100, second place $50, and third place $25. Judging: 1 p.m.

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Salsa Showdown

Online Registration By:  Wednesday, Sept. 14, 10 p.m.

Bring Your Entry:  Thursday, Sept. 15, 5 – 7 p.m.

Wake up the judges taste buds with your special salsa recipe. It can be any fresh, healthful, easy to prepare, intensely flavored mixture of vegetables or fruits, herbs and spices. First place is $100, second place $50, and third place $25. Judging: 7:30 p.m.

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Puyallup Fair Peach Pie Contest

Online Registration By:  Saturday, Sept. 17, 10 p.m.

Bring Your Entry:  Monday, Sept. 19, 10 a.m. – noon

Sweet and juicy peaches come alive when made into a tempting pie. Bakers will compete for the blue ribbon in the Puyallup Fair Peach Pie Cecipe.  First place winners receive a $100 cash prize, second place receives $50, and third place receives $25. Judging: 1 p.m.

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The Original Famous Fair Scone Contest

Online Registration By:  Monday, Sept. 19, 10 p.m.

Bring Your Entry:  Wednesday, Sept. 21, 10 a.m. – noon

This is the 100th anniversary of Fair Scones, so winning this recipe contest using the Original Famous Fair Scone and Shortcake Mix as part of the recipe would be especially memborable. The first place winner receives $125, second place receives $75 and third place receives $50. Each winner receives a ribbon and a gift basket. Judging: 1 p.m.

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Puyallup Fair’s Best Jam and Jelly Contest

Online Registration By:  Wednesday, Sept. 21, 10 p.m.

Bring Your Entry:  Friday, Sept. 23, 10 a.m. – noon

Whether you like to make jam or jelly, you’re in luck. We’ve got just the contest for you. The first place winner in each category receives a $75 cash prize, second place winner receives a $50 cash prize, and the third place winner receives a $25 cash prize. Judging: 1 p.m.

To obtain the list of conditions of entry and awards and to register online, visit, and select Exhibit Entries. To review contest rules in the premium book, click on the desired contest. Or, to enter, click On-Line Entries. Then click Login/Logoff and choose your Type (Exhibitor), then Create Entries. You will select the department and division. For further questions, contact the Puyallup Fair Entry Office at (253) 841-5074, M-F, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. or

Cake Byte: CakeSpy and Bake It In A Cake Bake Sale on August 20!

That's right. It's happening. Again. Save the date for Saturday, August 20th, 2011, because...

CakeSpy and Bake It in a Cake are having another sweet-filled bake sale! Come buy an assortment of stuffed treats, from pumpkin pie-filled cupcakes to Twix-filled brownies! Those Nerds cupcakes might make an appearance, too.

Bring cash for the 'cakes (they'll be cheap, just a $2-$3 donation to cover the cost of ingredients) and stay to shop! CakeSpy has TONS of great stuff in the shop, including new baby onesies and cupcake underpants! CUPCAKE UNDERPANTS!

The bake sale will start at noon and go until 5 pm, or until the cupcakes run out. (Last time, they sold out before 2 pm, but don't worry, I plan on baking even more this time around.)

Details: Saturday, August 20 · 12:00pm - 3:00pm

Location: 415 E. Pine Street, Seattle WA 98122

Cake Byte: The Second Annual Whoopie Pie Bake-Off At Oddfellows Ruled

Fact: The second annual Whoopie Pie Bake-Off at Oddfellows Cafe in Seattle totally ruled.

Don't believe me? Well, tough, because I have photo evidence. Here are just a few snapshots from a very sweet afternoon:


Judge Michael Wells takes his job very seriously.Celebrity judges. Megan Seling of The Stranger and Bake it in a Cake, Michael Wells of the Chamber of Commerce (also, Capitol Hill's premier bon vivant), Jennifer Shea of Trophy Cupcakes, just to name a few--plus, members of The Presidents of the United States of America and more!

There were so many delicious whoopie pies, and so beautifully presented. They were delicately sliced into fourths so that everyone could sample multiple types.

Rainbow whoopie pies, made by staffers at Linda's Tavern. Now, if this isn't my soul in Whoopie Pie form, I don't know what is.

Whoopie pie meets strawberry shortcake: a delectable strawberries and cream specimen.

So many flavor varieties. Here's a sampling of what you might have had on your plate had you been there. Not just chocolate whoopie pies here!

As a judge in the Gluten-free / vegan category of the bake-off, I was entitled to sit at a reserved table, and the judges all got pink champagne. YES!

Also, as a judge, I got a special name tag.

Some of the whoopie pies were even made with beer in the batter! These ones were made with a porter beer, I believe.

Just one example of a creative flavor: Lemon-coconut whoopie pies. NOM.

Pinkies-out: is that sea salt garnishing this whoopie pie?

There were even whoopie pies made with meringues!

Lucky someone: one of the winners won the original artwork I created for the poster! Sweet!

Thanks to the entire staff at Oddfellows (especially Tallulah!) as well as Audrey at Babeland for making this sweet event happen! For more awesome photos and a roundup including winners, visit Capitol Hill Seattle!

Cake Byte: Cupcake Royale's Gay Cupcakes Raise Money For a Sweet Cause

Yo, sweeties! Remember a while back how I posted about Cupcake Royale's totally gay cupcake for a totally sweet cause? Well, I have an update from the Royale folks:

During the prideful month of June, we wanted to use our super powers for good and we set a goal to raise $5,000 for the It Gets Better Project. Turns out the community went wild for the idea and gobbled up The Gay cupcake so we decided to double our donation.

This Thursday, we'd like to invite you to come celebrate with us as Cupcake Royale founder Jody Hall presents Dan Savage with a check for $10,000 for the It Gets Better Project. Jody, Dan and a Pride Foundation scholar will all say a few words about the personal importance of this project. And if you didn't get a chance to sample The Gay during the month of June, it will be making a limited reappearance for this event.

If you want more information on this effort, please give Amanda a call (206-883-7656) and she can tell you all about it. Jody and company are super proud of the effort and our ability to rally the community around this to make a difference for our young LGBT people.

Here are the details:

Thursday, July 14th at 4:30pm

Cupcake Royale, 1111 E Pike Street

What to expect:


  • Welcome and brief remarks
  • Jody Hall speaks
  • Dan Savage speaks
  • Pride Foundation scholar speaks
  • Presentation of check
  • Q & A


And after, since it is Art Walk night, stick around to enjoy the art of Benjamin Blackletter.

Cake Byte: Artist Reception with Kelly Brownlee at CakeSpy Shop on July 14

What's totally sweet but a little saucy too?

The artwork of Kelly Brownlee, that's what! And (lucky you) this talented Seattle-based illustrator is going to be showing work at CakeSpy Shop in July!

Now...The art will be up all month but the reception (and your chance to meet the awesome artist!) is on the art walk eve of Thursday, July 14th, 2011!

Here's a description of the show, from the artist:

Summer brings sunny days and sweet nothings whispered on a porch as the sun fades after a long and lazy day. Kelly J. Brownlee's original all new works of art for "Sweet Nothings" are inspired by play on words and anthropormorphic sweet and savory treats, this time, with a summer theme sprinkled in! Cakewalks, chicken strips, and unicorns may never again look the same.

And here's the artist's bio: Kelly Brownlee is a local freelance illustrator who balances her time between her clients, making fanciful wearable items and showing her work at local and national venues. She is currently showing artwork in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

Come to the artist reception at CakeSpy Shop on Thursday, July 14th from 6-8 p.m.; the artwork will be up from July 5th through the end of the month! To see more of Kelly's work, visit her website here.

Sweet Memories: A Slideshow of Sugar Overload from CupcakeCamp 2011

CupcakeCamp 2010 was totally awesome. Nobody's arguing that.

But if I were to write in the yearbook of this year's followup,  CupcakeCamp Seattle 2011, which took place at The Canal House in Ballard, what I would write would be this: UR 2sweet + 2B = 4GOTTEN. No, really.

Organizer and cupcake genius Carrie Middlemiss of Bella Cupcake Couture couldn't have put on a sweeter event, with proceeds going to HOPE Heart Institute.

I mean, for one thing, New York Cupcakes made a cake tower on which they decorated the cake to look like the artwork I did for the event poster! OMG!

And for another, I got to be a judge in the cupcake competition. I took this job very seriously, as did co-judges Rachel of Cupcakes Take the Cake, Melody Biringer, and Keren Brown (aka Frantic Foodie).

But don't take my word for it alone, because I have plenty of photographic evidence. And to celebrate the sweet memories (or, if you weren't there, make you jealous), here are over 100 sweet snapshots from this amazing event, during which over 800 cupcake enthusiasts ate many thousands of cupcakes (including, notoriously, a Monte Cristo cupcake comprised of french toast cake, swiss cheese buttercream, raspberry preserves, and salty ham; also, a Chicken n Waffles cupcake).

Note: These photos are not listed in any particular order of awesomeness, just sort of as they happened. Here's the slideshow:

Cake Byte: CupcakeCamp Seattle 2011 is Tomorrow, April 17

This poster will be for sale at CupcakeCamp!Hey, sweeties. Remember what an awesome time CupcakeCamp 2010 was? Well, forget about that, because CupcakeCamp 2011 is coming--TOMORROW!--and it promises to be bigger, badder, and buttercreamier than last year.

Here are the details:

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. Also, be sure to check out Cupcakes Take The Cake's great roundup of the sweet times ahead.

Cake Byte: The Bakesale For Japan Was Totally Sweet

Like, OMG, dudes and dudettes.

Thanks to all of the great bakers and shoppers who made the Bakesale for Japan happen at CakeSpy Shop this past weekend, we were able to raise over $3000 for Peace Winds America. But seriously, Leslie Kelly said all that needed to be said on the Voracious blog:

On Saturday, tables at Jessie Oleson's adorable Cakespy shop on Capitol Hill were heaped high with all sorts of goodies: cookies, cakes, outrageous brownies, cupcakes, and, oh, what's that? Almond brittle? YUM. Harvest Vine contributed bags filled with cinnamony rolls labeled "buns of love." 

It was all part of a nationwide movement to hold bake sales, with the proceeds going to benefit survivors of the deadly earthquake and tsunami more than two weeks ago.

The steady flow of sale-goers added up to big bucks. More than $3,000 was raised. Sweet! Let's make this a regular date, huh? Say, once a month? Because this is going to be a huge recovery effort!

Thank you so much to all of the excellent bakers, who, if you have forgotten, included:

The Sated Palate 

The Harvest Vine 

Not Martha 

Sugar Rush Baking 

...and of course the shoppers and eaters who made it happen, with an extra-special sugarcoated thanks to Courtney Keen, the organizer!

Cake Byte: CakeSpy To Teach a Class at Cornish College of the Arts

So, officially I attended a magical sort of college known as Art School. And if you've seen Art School Confidential, you have a pretty good idea of what it was like. Without the murder and stuff.

But unofficially, my college years at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn were spent as a part time bakery stalker--when I moved to NYC, I came toting a list of every bakery in the city and Brooklyn, and during my NYC years I made a pretty considerable dent in that list. 

So it brings me extreme pleasure to announce that now, things are coming full circle, and I am teaching a one-day class at Seattle's Cornish College of the Arts, which is designed to mimic my art school foundation year--but with a foodie twist.

Here's the course description:

Revisit the foundations of visual communication, trading in your pencils, brushes, and clay for the sweet stuff! In this afternoon intensive, you’ll return to figure drawing and still lives, but this time with cakes. Explore the principles of light and color theory by mixing primary, secondary, and tertiary food coloring and frostings. Have you always wondered the difference between aserif and a san serif? Exercise design strategies by creating typography with cakes. And no foundations course is worth its salt, or sugar, without some nod to art history. We’ll also look at how the masters (Wayne Thiebaud, Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo) have used sweet foods in their art. 

Yeah, the course is $100, but you know, I need to buy supplies and stuff, and it's very true that the memories will last forever. I totally promise. Sign up here!

Cake Byte: The Bake It In A Cake Bakesale Was Awesome

Yarrr! There's a tiny cherry pie hidden in that there cake.If you came to the Bake it in a Cake bakesale at CakeSpy Shop today, awesome.

If not, I want to let you know how much awesome you missed (sorry). It was so rad that we sold out by about 3pm. That's right.

There were brownie cupcakes filled with snickers bars, with salted buttercream:

and brownie cupcakes filled with pretzels, M+Ms and salted caramel buttercream:

and cupcakes filled with lemon bars, with raspberry frosting:

and cupcakes filled with banana pies and topped with butterscotch buttercream and Nilla wafers:

...let's see the innards of that one:

and cupcakes filled with Easter candy (as enjoyed by superhottie Morgan of Mini Empire)

and cupcakes filled with Thin Mints:...I shouldn't have to tell you how much fun everyone had, but I will show you some pictures:

 I know, you wish you were there, right? Well, don't despair. Next week there will be another Bake Sale, this time to benefit Japan; there is also a bake sale coming up in April with Max of The Piecycle!

Keep updated on the CakeSpy Events Page! You can also stay updated via Facebook.

Pie Slam Profiles: A Post-Pie Slam Story from Sarah Spiller

CakeSpy Note: This is part of a series of Pie Slam Profiles, featuring the recipes and stories of each of the 9 entrants in last week's Pi(e) Day Pie Slam! This follow-up entry comes from Sarah Spiller, a Seattle University Student and dorm baking expert, who writes about the humbling experience of her first pie-baking experiment and how she brought it all back home with a second pie.

Like my gnocchi dinner party disaster of December ’10, my entry to the Pie Slam last week can only be described as an epic fail. While I thoroughly enjoyed the company and stories of the other entrants, I could not help but be haunted the entire night by my personal pie fail. What started as a pumpkin cream pie somehow melted into what can only be called pumpkin soup during the journey from my dorm room to the judging table. I could blame it on my weak dorm fridge or the hot lights of the CakeSpy gallery, but ultimately the pumpkin soup can only be blamed on myself.

Not one to wallow in my baking failures (since mistakes – both massive and minor – are inevitable in a baker’s career), I set my sights on redeeming myself. Not for anyone else, not even for the pie gods, but to prove to myself that I could again master the pie – that I would not fall victim to its pastry challenges.

Spring break has been the perfect opportunity to get my pie redemption. Living in a house of hungry college friends on Whidbey Island, and finally blessed with a beautiful, fully equipped kitchen, baking was my first priority. I whipped out the lime green Kitchenaid mixer within hours of arriving and got to work on a classic apple pie recipe from Martha Stewart.

Just my luck, the pie that was not for judging or consumption by well known bakers of Seattle, turned out beautifully. Warm, aromatic, and simply stunning in the late afternoon light, it was the pie of my dreams. However, like all my pies, it was not picture perfect. My lattice crust had some gaps, and rolling out the dough was certainly a challenge. But after slicing and serving with vanilla ice cream, I didn’t hear a single complaint from my friends. No one minded that my crust wasn’t as perfect as Martha’s, or that I didn’t have any lemon juice to add to the apples. All they cared about was the taste and the effort that went into the pie.  

Many people consider pie to be an unattainable holy grail of baking – too many challenges and chances for failure. But really, any pie that tastes delicious and makes people happy is no failure at all.

To find the recipe for the pie featured in this post, visit Martha Stewart's site!

Cake Byte: Bake Sale with Bake It In A Cake This Weekend at CakeSpy Shop

OMG! It's happening, this weekend, people!

The two awesomest blogs on the internet (hey, modesty is not my strong suit) are teaming up for a super sweet bake sale at CakeSpy Shop!

That's right. CakeSpy and Bake It In A Cake are having a bake sale on this Saturday, March 26!

There will be dozens and dozens (and dozens!) of cupcakes! Filled with delicious things! Available for your purchase (bring cash, sweeties!) and eating! At a shop full of adorable cards, art and gifts! What other information could you possibly need?

Oh, ok, details.

Date/Time: Saturday, March 26, 12pm - 5pm

Location: CakeSpy Shop, 415 E Pine Street, Seattle WA

This event is open to the public.

Learn more about Bake It in a Cake here; shop for awesome art in advance at

Pie Slam Profiles: Pumpkin Pie in a Gingersnap Crust by Sarah Spiller

Note: This is not Sarah's pie, but it gives you an idea.CakeSpy Note: This is part of a series of Pie Slam Profiles, featuring the recipes and stories of each of the 9 entrants in last week's Pi(e) Day Pie Slam! This entry came from Sarah Spiller, a Seattle University Student and dorm baking expert. Sarah was disappointed with the end result as the pie was soft when served-- but when put into cups for individual servings, it was very delicious, and nobody complained one bit.

Here's her story:

My Grandma Brennan was a no frills baker. An amazing baker, but a no frills baker. Snickerdoodle, oatmeal raisin, molasses, and gingersnap cookies were right up her alley. Classic birthday cakes and summer fruit pies were always top notch. She was a master at canning, piecrusts, and putting hot, wholesome meals on the table. Dessert was always present, even when it was just a dish of Tillamook ice cream (Brown Cow was her favorite, and mine too). I picked up a lot of things from my grandma, namely my love for green beans that have been cooked into soft submission, probably a result of many days spent with my grandma as an infant.

I also seemed to inherit her love for baking and even greater love for pumpkin pie. Never ever a picky kid, I picked up on the greatness of pumpkin pie at a very early age. Around kindergarten, when the buildup before Thanksgiving was big – full of hand turkey crafts and talking about being thankful – all I could think about was pumpkin pie. I WAS OBSESSED. When the day finally came, all I could do was wait – wait those torturous hours before I would receive my beautiful, luscious, perfectly spiced piece of creamy pie.

When it FINALLY came time to slice the pie, my grandma sliced and handed to me what may have been the BIGGEST piece of pie I had ever seen in my six years of life. My eyes lit up with excitement, thrill, and disbelief that this huge amazing piece could possibly be for me! But I didn’t dare say a word and quietly started back to my seat at the kids’ table. Suddenly, my grandma looked up and realized what a large piece she had given me by accident and said, “Oh that’s far too big for Sarah,” and took it back. My eager grin turned to sheer disappointment in the blink of an eye. My parents were watching the whole thing and trying very hard not to burst out laughing. Grandma cut my piece in half and gave it back, still a fairly large portion for a little girl. It was delicious in all ways possible, of course, but I was still hankering for more.

That other half slice haunted me the rest of the evening. Being a very observant mother, my mom picked up on this and offered me a solution = pie for breakfast, possibly some of the greatest words to come out of her mouth. I was unsure if my mom would follow through, but the next morning when I asked for pie for breakfast, I was greeted with a beautiful piece of pie, even better the next day. This blossomed into a family tradition that I am always happy to participate in each year.  

Things haven’t really changed at all. I’m still obsessed with pumpkin pie and Thanksgiving, waiting for weeks in anticipation for the big meal. This being my first year away from home, I made several phone calls to my mom before my trip home, making sure EVERYTHING would be exactly the same. I told her all menu changes must go through me – the president of the Thanksgiving Board of Trustees. While my grandma now has Alzheimer’s and no longer bakes the pies, she can still remember this story and chuckles at it every year – jokingly reaching for my plate. Now the baking responsibilities are in my hands – but so is the serving knife, guaranteeing a very big slice for me, both after dinner and for breakfast.

Here's the recipe:

Recipe for Pumpkin Pie (Adapted from Joy the Baker)

For the Crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham crackers or crisp ginger snap cookies
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  1. In a medium bowl, combine crushed graham crackers or ginger snaps with sugar, salt and melted butter.  Toss together to coat the entire mixture in butter.  Press into a 9-inch baking dish, a tart pan with a removable bottom or 8 individual ramekins.  I like making these no bake desserts in a tart pan or in individual ramekins so I don’t have to fuss with fighting to remove the sliced pie from the pie pan.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool completely before adding the filling.
For the Filling:
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon molasses
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
  1. Beat cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer until smooth and creamy.  Both fats should be well softened to ensure the filling is lump free.  Add the powdered sugar to the mixture and beat until smooth and fluffy.  Add the vanilla extract, molasses, pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree and beat until thoroughly combined.  If you find that your filling is lumpy, pass it through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl.  I did that.  No shame in that game.
  2. Spoon the filling into the cooled pie or tart shell, or divide into individual ramekins.  Let pie chill in the fridge overnight.  This is actually important… the pie won’t be settled enough in 2 hours.  Overnight is best.
For Topping:
  • Cool Whip
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  1. Beat together cool whip and maple syrup until cream is in soft peaks.  Spread over the chilled pie. Slice and serve.

Pie Slam Profiles: Fig, Apple, and Walnut Pie by Aharona Ament

CakeSpy Note: This is part of a series of Pie Slam Profiles, featuring the recipes and stories of each of the 9 entrants in last week's Pi(e) Day Pie Slam! This entry came from Aharona Ament, a recent Chicago transplant to Seattle, who has the sweetest smile in the world, is a very good story-teller, and makes a mean pie (making her a big winner, in this spy's book).

Here's her story:

Fig by Aharona Ament

Arthur Wendell “Fig” Newton,was born on March 14th at almost two in the morning, 1:59 to be percise.  His parents, both math teachers, were very happy to have thier son born on such a special day, Pi day! They dreamed that their son would grow up in their footsteps to torment confused adolecents with numonics about dear Aunt Sally and cosines laws that could get you arrested in some states. 

No one in Fig’s class knew that he was a desendent of Issac Newton and that an apple falling on top of a math equastion was part of his family’s coat of arms. Maybe if they knew that, they wouldn’t have given him the nickname of “Fig”, mocking both his heritage, and the fruit and cake concoction.

Fig, liked that he was born on Pi day, but favored the word of a different varerity. P-I-E! Fig spent most of his time in the kitchen. While his parents toiled away at number sequenices imported all the way from Italy, Fig was working at making the perfect pastry crusts with imported Danish butter.

Fig’s baking talents grew and grew. His ability to figure out fractions improved one whole half because of his love for making treats. He could double, triple and even quadruple recipes without the aid of a calulator or counting on his fingers. He knew that 2/3 cup = 1/2 cup plus 2-2/3 tablespoons and that 5/8 cup = 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons and he even knew that 7/8 cup=3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons. There wasn’t a numurator or demoninator that Fig couldn’t place perfectly in line and all of his cakes, pies, lemon bars, quiches, cupcakes, brownies, breads, muffins, croissants, tarts, paczkis and danishes came perfectly out of the oven, tasty, sweet and bursting with symmetrical sweetness.

When Fig decided that he wanted to be a famous pastry chef instead of a famous mathamatician, his parents, fat from miscalculations over caloric intake were upset. (yes, that extra piece of triple chocolate fudge goo cake cut in a perfect 45 degree angle of 250 calories will result in one pound or 3, 500 calories gained per week. Especially if it was so good that you ate two.)

“How can you not do real math problems all day?” his mother asked him? “You know, with a pencil and piece of paper and lots of head scratching”?  Fig’s father was a bit more upset. “ Baking pies for a living is as irrational as pi itself, because its value cannot be expressed exactly as a fraction! Fig’s father growled confusing pastry with the mathematical constant and making no logical sense whatsoever.

No, said Fig. I like to bake pies and treats, you like to do math. There is nothing wrong with either.

But they suddenly realized that Fig’s baking talents were also his gift with numbers. How else could they explain the ongoing assembly line of mathmatically perfect confections coming out of the kitchen and in to their mouths? They were so excited that they joined him in the kitchen to learn math problems with flour, sugar and butter, but couldn’t figure out how to work the flour sifter.  Fig sent them off to see if they could figure out the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter with a whole number. He knew that that would make them hungry, so he started to prepare a perfect treat.

Here's the recipe:

 For the Crust

  • 12 tablespoons cold salted butter
  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
  • a few tablespoons ice water (about 1/2 cup)
  • Egg (for brushing) 

For the filling

  • 3-4 apples
  • 1 cup of walnuts
  • 2 cups figs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar


  1. Make the crust: Mix dry ingredients together. Cut up butter into cubes and add along with vegetable shortening and mix in mixer.
  2. Add water slowly and pulse mixer until dough forms a ball. Wrap in wax paper and chill.  
  3. Meanwhile, prepare filling. Cup up apples and mix in walnuts, figs and sugar in a bowl.
  4. Roll out dough and fill pie pan. There will be enough to make a top layer Add mixture. Brush pastry with beaten egg.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees F. Yay!

Pie Slam Profiles: Apple Pie Recipe and Story by Stephanie Crocker

CakeSpy Note: This is part of a series of Pie Slam Profiles, featuring the recipes and stories of each of the 9 entrants in last week's Pi(e) Day Pie Slam! This entry, for one of the tastiest apple pies I've ever tried, came along with a good story from Stephanie Crocker, who you may know as the owner of Sugar Bakery + Cafe in Seattle (where this pie will be joining the menu soon!).


The Only One

By Stephanie Crocker

First, you’ll have to ask which one? Should it be the one that's over 50 years old and therefore antique? Or is the correct term retro? Shall it be the tart one, the crisp one, the green one, the light green one, the round one, or the biggest one? Or perhaps it should be the new fangled cross-bred that marries the best of the best with the best of the best? Or perhaps it should be a blend, each fruit hand chosen with the help of the tall messy haired produce guy?

And once that’s decided, how will it make you feel? Will it be what you think it would be like to sit on your grandmother's porch on a late summer afternoon? Or will you remember working your way through a large box of them with the other girls from the neighborhood, everyone’s tiny fingers all pruney from the juice? And don’t forget the stickiness of the kitchen on a hot afternoon, with frequent dips in the pool next door to rinse off and cool down. Will there be visions of a red checkered curtain, flapping over it as it sits in the window sill?

And what will it be like when it’s ready, this perfect circle of warmth? What will it do for you besides fill the room with spicy goodness as it sits on the counter waiting for ice cream? What will those cute little chunks of goodness swimming around in a sea of cinnamon goo taste like? And how about that dark crunchy crust, as it crumbles apart with every bite?

And then when should you eat it? On a summer picnic? After the meat and potatoes have moved along? Or maybe sneak some at breakfast before everybody wakes up? It really doesn’t matter, the moment is now.

It's the only one I'll ever truly love to eat. It's the only one I truly love to make. It's the best version of an everyday fruit that I can think of. It’s one of the most difficult ones to make just right. And though this sounds pretentious, I really only love my own. I’m so sorry to the other’s I’ve tried. But don’t just run away and cry, I’ll be happy to share my love with you. Let me tell you how to make my apple pie.

...and here's the recipe! 

Apple Pie


  • 2 cups (10 oz) all purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons (3/4 oz) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon (2.5 oz) vegetable shortening, preferably chilled
  • 1 Stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1/8-1/4 cup (2-4 oz) cold water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla* 

Yield: Crust for one 2-crust pie or two 1-crust pies. 

  1. Using stand mixer, blend flour, sugar, and salt with paddle attachment in mixing bowl. Slowly add shortening and butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add vanilla. Slowly add water until dough just comes together and is slightly wet.
  2. If mixing by hand, blend flour, sugar, and salt with a fork. Add the shortening and butter and blend with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add vanilla. Slowly add water and blend with your fingers until dough just comes together and is slightly wet. Be careful that your hands do not warm the dough too much.
  3. Form dough into a flat disk, wrap with plastic and let dough chill for about 1 hour or overnight.
  4. Dough can be stored in the refrigerator for 1-2 days, or frozen for up to a month. Crusts can be rolled out and stored in the freezer as well.

Apple Filling 

  • 2 each Golden Delicious (about 1 lb)
  • 2 each Granny Smith Apples (about 1lb)
  • 1 cup (7 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Peel and core apples* and cut into ½” chunks. Toss in granulated sugar and cinnamon and blend with lemon juice. Pour into unbaked pie crust and top with 1 cup streusel or second crust. Bake 40-50 minutes until mixture is bubbly.

*Peeling apples is optional.



Pie Slam Profiles: Lunchbox Pie Recipe and Story by Brook McDonald

CakeSpy Note: Here's the first in a series of Pie Slam Profiles, featuring the recipes and stories of each of the 9 entrants in last week's Pi(e) Day Pie Slam! This entry, for a toothsome concoction of banana, honey, whipped cream, peanut butter, and chocolate covered potato chips(!) was made by Brook, a freshman at Seattle University, who is "getting a business degree so that I may open my own bakery one day, which is my greatest dream and passion."

Here's the poem Brook read to introduce her pie: 

Lunchbox Pie by Brook McDonald

There was once a girl who loved to bake pies
And for her age, she was quite wise
So with a twist of her wrist
And a flick of the whisk
She began to improvise.
She went to school in the city of Seattle
Though only elementary she was quite tactful
Her heart was full of love for the food that she would create
Especially her pies now that was no debate.
At school everyday she ate the same lunch
Her stomach still grumbling as she began to munch
In the box were ruffles and milk chocolate chips
With a sandwich so delicious she could not stop smacking her lips.
Her eyes gleaming bright as she began to stare
Peanut butter banana and honey a sandwich with some real flare
A carton of milk to quench her thirst
And an idea that popped into her head that was just about to burst.
She ran straight home with idea in hand
Bursting through the door with ingredients that were anything but bland
She grabbed her crayons and soon began to draw
This was to be the best pie ever, the greatest of them all!
Her mother first helped her by rolling out the dough
She mixed her ingredients and watched her idea grow
Flour began to fly and her hand grew sticky still
As she twirled and spun with the greatest of thrill.
A dollop of honey and spoon full of peanut butter
Cream whipped so high, it began to flutter
Bananas all chopped up and glazed with sweetness
But the ruffles dipped in chocolate were the true greatness.
She layered the pie with the greatest of skill
Only to wait till the pie could stand still
She jumped around, waiting for her masterpiece to be complete
At last her hard work was finished and she could not wait to eat!
She pulled out a piece with the greatest of care
And took a big bite completely unaware
That she had created the most delicious tasting pie
Lunchbox pie she called it, a one of a kind, “Oh My!”

and here's the recipe. It's a monster, but it's worth it: this was a very, very delicious pie.


Lunchbox Pie

For the crust

  • 1 1/3 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick well-chilled Crisco® Baking Sticks All-Vegetable Shortening
  • OR 1/2 cup well-chilled Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening
  • 3 to 6 tablespoons ice cold water


  1. BLEND flour and salt in medium mixing bowl.
  2. CUT chilled shortening into 1/2-inch cubes. Cut in chilled shortening cubes into flour mixture, using a pastry blender, in an up and down chopping motion, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some small pea-sized pieces remaining.
  3. SPRINKLE half the maximum recommended amount of ice-cold water over the flour mixture. Using a fork, stir and draw flour from bottom of bowl to the top, distributing moisture evenly into flour. Press chunks down to bottom of bowl with fork. Add more water by the tablespoon, until dough is moist enough to hold together when pressed together.
  4. Tip Test dough for proper moistness by squeezing a marble-sized ball of dough in your hand. If it holds together firmly, do not add any additional water. If the dough crumbles, add more water by the tablespoonful, until dough is moist enough to form a smooth ball when pressed together.
  5. SHAPE dough into a ball for single piecrust. Divide dough in two for double crust or double deep-dish crust, one ball slightly larger than the other. Flatten ball(s) into 1/2-inch thick round disk(s).
  6. ROLL from center outward with steady pressure on a lightly floured work surface (or between two sheets of wax or parchment paper) into a circle 2-inches wider than pie plate for the bottom crust. Transfer dough to pie plate by loosely rolling around rolling pin. Center the rolling pin over the pie plate, and then unroll, easing dough into pie plate. Tip For ease in rolling, wrap dough in plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
  7. Thoroughly prick bottom and sides of unbaked pie dough with fork (50 times) to prevent it from blistering or rising. Bake crust in lower third of oven, at 425°F, 10-12 minutes or until edges and bottom are golden brown.

For the filling


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Two 3-ounce packages full-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 ¼ cups smooth peanut butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature


  • 1 package vanilla or banana cream instant pudding mix
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 2 bananas
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar


  • 1 bag of plain ruffles
  • 1 bag milk chocolate chips


  • 1 package cool whip
  •  1 ½ tablespoons honey

 Assembly and preparation for the entire pie

  1. Prepare the crust and press it into the bottom and up the
  2. Side of a 9 1/2 –inch deep-dish pie pan. I like to use Classic Crisco Pie Crust. Bake and let cool thoroughly before filling.
  3. Using a medium sized bowl and chilled beaters, whip the cream with an electric mixer until stiff but not grainy. Do not overbeat! Cover and refrigerate.
  4. In a large bowl cream the cream cheese and peanut butter with the mixer on medium speed until evenly blended. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar, then the brown sugar, until blended. The mixture may look lumpy, like cookie dough. That’s the way it is supposed to be, so don’t worry. Blend in the vanilla. Add the whipped cream, and slowly blending with the mixer until smooth.
  5. Clean and dry the beaters. Using a clean medium-sized bowl beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks. Fold them into the peanut butter mixture with a rubber spatula or gently beat them in with a mixer until evenly blended. Scrape the filling into the chilled pie shell until about ¾ full. Smooth with a spoon and cover loosely with aluminum foil and freeze until firm enough to slice cleanly but not rock solid, about 4 hours.
  6. While cooling, begin to cook the pudding and refrigerate until firm.
  7. Use a double broiler to melt one package of milk chocolate chips, dip ruffles according to your liking and place on a piece of wax paper to let cool, you may also refrigerate these if you choose.
  8. Cut 2 bananas into small silver dollar sized pieces, and gently mix with honey and brown sugar in a medium sized bowl, (If you choose, you may also cook them in a skillet for more of a glaze type banana.)
  9. Combine the pudding with the bananas, you only need to coat them graciously with the pudding, but not completely submerge them, do this by continuously adding dollops of pudding to the bananas.
  10. Gently Spread banana mixture over the Peanut butter Pie, place in fridge.
  11. Gently mix one tablespoon honey to cool whip mixture until fluffy, spread over pie until covered, place chocolate covered potato chips over the top, and cool until served.