Apparently, a Pop-Tart and a slice of Red Velvet had a very intimate evening in the breadbox, because this is completely not a joke. It's true. For a limited time only, taking their place in your heart next to the red velvet donut at Dunkin', something that actually exists is Red Velvet Pop-Tarts.
Image: Biggest MenuAs the official Pop-Tarts website says,
Sweet cream-cheese-flavored filling enveloped by a red velvety crust and topped with vanilla icing and sprinkles. Toast it for a delicious treat your taste buds won't soon forget.
Although I haven't tried them yet, I found a helpful review on Foodette Reviews, who reports:
Surprisingly, they are actually good and taste like their namesake. Albeit, you're not going to find a distinct resemblance to Aunt Sarah's homemade from scratch, vinegar in the batter red velvet cake with mounds of frosting, but these will definitely save you the time and labor you would normally take in making a red velvet cake from a box. They have that raw flour, not-sweet cake batter flavor that I personally adore, and the filling adds a touch of sweetness and a little creaminess, too. Warm, they fared somewhat less successful and tasted like pancake batter, probably because all the frosting evaporated out.
It's that magical time of year when the Deathcake Royale comes to play at Cupcake Royale. As they describe it,
In a laboratory explosion of sheer genius, the Cupcake Royale scientists created the cult fave Deathcake Royale: Theo Chocolate decadence fused with Stumptown Espresso Ganache and accessorized with a pinch of fleur de sel.
Bonjour, sweeties! Here's a food byte that may be of interest to those who love to eat--a limited run play about FOOD, in NYC! Here's the 411 from the press release.
FOODACTS: A New Play Conceived and Directed by Barbara Bosch.
FOODACTS is a culinary stage adventure which explores our primal connections to food and its power to unite. Through an entertaining encounter with established novels, colorful poetry, historic essays, personal letters and other literary works by Langston Hughes, Proust, Homer, and Dickens, among others, FOODACTS serves up the joys of food and eating. It goes beyond the mere palate, revealing how human beings relate to and obsess over food from as far back as The Bible to today. In this era of myriad reality television shows devoted to virtuosic food preparation, and vast amounts of newsprint concerned with the latest cooking innovations and restaurant reviews…now is the time for FOODACTS!
Sounds like fun to me, doesn't it to you? Here are the deets, in case you're interested:
Where: The Lion Theatre – Theatre Row, 410 West 42nd Street, NYC
When: February 6-24, 2013 – 16 Performances: Wednesday-Saturday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm & Sunday at 3pm (no performances on Sun. 2/10 or Wed. 2/13) The run time for FOODACTS is approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.
Cost: Tickets are $18 (+fees) and can be purchased by visiting Telecharge.com or by calling 212-239-6200.
If you're gluten-free, and you're in Seattle, then it's time to let out a big cheer.
Why? Because Trophy Cupcakes is now offering their splendid Red Velvet cupcake in a gluten-free variety!
As they put it,
"We've got lots of gluten-free friends. So we've been busy developing, testing and tasting recipes for a truly "Trophy worthy" gluten-free cupcake. And we've finally done it! Gluten-free Red Velvet is here.
Traditional Red Velvet has always been our top selling cupcake, so we wanted it to be our first gluten-free flavor. Available throughout January, these g-free masterpieces feature moist gluten-free Red Velvet cake, topped with our super yummy cream cheese frosting. They're gluten-free and fabulous!"
And on the best day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:
Pringles and OMG they're sweet!
That's right sweeties. Pringles has debuted a batch of holiday flavors that bring sweet and salty together in flavors that some may consider awesome, some may consider awful.
I was first tipped off to the trend by Java Cupcake; I then researched it more and found a fantastic article entitled "Holiday Flavors Keep Getting More Weird" which told me: "Pringles now comes in Cinnamon & Sugar, White Chocolate Peppermint and Pumpkin Pie Spice. Reason: The brand has great success with new flavors the rest of the year, says Angela Gusse, associate marketing director."
For more information, visit Pringles.com or just go to the supermarket!
If you want to eat some rainbow cake, you MUST go to Cupcake Royale on Capitol Hill tomorrow.
As owner Jody Hall writes,
WE DID IT!!!! I'm so elated that Washington State was on the right side of history in passing referendum 74 to bring marriage equality to all couples! Love is undeniable! To celebrate, our amazing bakery team is making the "world's biggest rainbow cake" made in the shape of Washington State!
LET US EAT CAKE we say!
To celebrate everyone being free to love and marry who they wanna, hit up Cupcake Royale on Capitol Hill - 1111 E Pike Street – for a slice of equality on Friday, starting at 3 pm. It's on the house – so come one, come all! We're working to try to get both Gov Gregiore and Gov-Elect (I'm calling it early!) Jay Inslee at this event, along with other state representatives who worked so hard on this. We want EVERYONE to join in and have a slice of this amazing cake!
So. To review:
What: Let Us Eat Cake – free slices rainbow cake!
Where: Cupcake Royale – Capitol Hill – 1111 E Pike Street
When: Friday, November 9 from 3 pm until the cake is gone!
Gaybies (baby rainbow cupcakes) as well as ObamaCakes will continue to be available at
I'd like to introduce you to The ReTrailer, the cutest little tea and spice store this side of the Mississippi. It's a mobile retail operation run by someone I am proud to call a friend, Lisa Govro.
As you can see, Lisa is just as cute as me. Here we are together. Hottt, right?
We became friends during the time in which we both lived in Seattle. Now, Lisa lives in St. Louis, MO; while I miss her, I am so happy for her and her new business.
Here's the 411 behind this adorable store on wheels, according to Lisa:
All tea and spice products are inspired by Ayurevda (a really old lifestyle largely considered the sister science to yoga) and developed with optimal digestion and balance in mind. If I only had 3 words to describe our teas and spices they would be: organic, sustainable, and love. Our signature items are:
Farm Fresh Turmeric Tea – fresh, organic turmeric sourced direct form Hana Holistic Farms in Hawaii, grated and brewed with ginger, black pepper, tulsi and sweetened with local honey.
Ball of Energy – raw cacao, tulsi, sesame and almond smashed together with local honey. Makes for the yummiest mint chocolate treat your inner hippy could ever imagine.
Drop it Like It’s Hot Hibiscus Tea – hibiscus, yerba mate and orange peel. So named for Hibiscus’ known effects in helping control body temperature – particularly in hot weather.
I also asked Lisa an important question: if a magical unicorn appeared and was going to grant you one wish for your business, what would it be? She said:
I am such a daydreamer that while I was dreaming up this business idea it never occurred to me that I would have to tow the damn thing until the moment I got er’ hitched up. I had to drive all the way from Kansas City to St. Louis with the poor girl. I went 40 mph the entire time – it took me 6 hours! (it is typically a 3 hour drive). If a magical unicorn could grant the ReTrailer one wish it would be that the trailer could hitch and tow itself. That shit is unbelievably stressful.
p.s. On opening day I wore my unicorn belt- so this question seems appropriate for a few reasons.
Hi, sweeties. CakeSpy-Jessie here. And boy, oh, boy, do I have some big changes to tell you about!
Some of them might sound serious but dudes, dudettes, chill out. Everything is gonna be ok. Actually, it already is.
First order of business: my location. I'm in Philadelphia now! After 8 years in Seattle, I had an exciting opportunity to move back to the East Coast (I'm originally from New Jersey, did you know that?). I was doubly excited because it is wonderful to be closer to my family again (they're still in NJ). For the first time in 8 years, I am having a proper summer (like, where I can wear short sleeve shirts). It's pretty cool. Will I stay here? Time will tell, sweet friends. But living right near the Reading Terminal Market, one thing is for sure: I am having a very delicious time in PA.
Second: the store! You may be asking "um, what about your gallery in Seattle?". Well, in my absence, the store has been wonderfully and ably run by my business partners Natalie and Danny. However, after a few months, the whole process has proven pretty arduous -- and paired with the fact that I am now focusing more on writing cookbooks, it was actually getting pretty confusing. Many people would come to the gallery expecting cakes and a wonderful bakery, and they'd find art. Not that it's ever bad to find art, but gosh, was it confusing! So we've decided to let go of this part of the business. So, that means, if you've been meaning to visit the adorable store, DO IT NOW. Because it is not going to be there for too much longer. Our ultimate hope is to sell the consignment gallery business -- everything but the name! So if you are in Seattle or even know someone in Seattle who might be interested in getting into the retail business, please, let them know about this opportunity. If we do not find a buyer, we will lease the space out, but we'd so love to see the awesome art tradition carry on in this magical retail space. Please, read about it here, and spread the word!!
Third: a big development for CakeSpy artwork sales. As you may know, I have a big, sparkly heart. I like to help people. And a cause very close to my heart is Eating Disorders. Once again, you must be thinking "Jesus Christ! Is this the same CakeSpy who posted a recipe including 7+ sticks of butter, for behemoth crumb cake?" Well, yes. During my youth and young adulthood, I suffered from an eating disorder. Which one? Part anorexia, part bulimia, part something else, I guess (eating disorders, like snowflakes = all unique?). It still haunts me from time to time, but honestly, CakeSpy has been my lifesaver - my permission to create, love and indulge in sweets of all sorts and sizes. Because one powerful lesson that I have learned is that when you give yourself permission to enjoy whatever food you'd like (and I am talking about sweets in particular here), there might be a fear period, but ultimately, you don't have to under-or-overdo it. And yes, going back to aforementioned 7+ stick of butter Behemoth crumb cake, I ate the whole damn thing. Just not all in one sitting. :-)
But I digress. What I am trying to say here is that from now on, a percentage of proceeds from ALL CakeSpy online sales will be donated to eating disorder awareness and recovery programs, to NEDA (the National Eating Disorder Awareness Association). I am *so* excited to be contributing to such a wonderful cause. What does this mean for you? Not much, other than that if you buy something from the CakeSpy online shop, part of the sale will be donated to a tremendously wonderful cause.
And that's sweet news you can feel good about, sweetness.
As a minor internet celebrity cake website writer, I get press releases about food from people who want me to write about the food they make, or the foods that their clients make.
I'll tell you the truth, most of these press releases are boring and I delete them.
But occasionally, one will capture my interest. This one caught my eye right away because it had some keywords I quite liked: Kingfish Cafe, cake, and...well, I was already drawn into the thing. As it turns out, Violette Tucker, the current pastry chef at Kingfish, home of the small baby-sized slices of glorious Red Velvet and Hummingbird cakes I love, is branching out with more specialty cakes. That's great news! Here's the 411 (the press release). Good stuff.
It’s a well-known fact that one of the not-to-be-missed signature dishes at the southern inspired Kingfish Café has always been the multilayered, moist, deliciously iced slices of cake that often sell out before the evening ends. A little known secret is that a sumptuous line of made-to-order celebration cakes is available for order from the Capitol Hill dining icon. Pastry Chef Violette Tucker, whose desserts have titillated the taste buds of many a guest, has created an extraordinary line of custom-made cakes to mark any celebration. Perfect for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays or at-home dinner parties, these fabulous confections are no light weights. Depending on the flavor, a cake, which yields about 16 very tall, extremely generous restaurant servings, can range from 20 pounds for lemon to 35 pounds for German Chocolate. Customers consult with Violette to design the dream cake of their choice using their favorite flavors and go through a tasting. Arrangements are then made for pick-up or delivery to the party venue.
As an apprentice at a Chicago bakery, Violette started working the counter and when an opportunity opened in the kitchen, she took it and never looked back. She loves creating “big homespun American cakes and wedding cakes, just like mom and grandma served”. While the hands-down favorite at The Kingfish is the Red Velvet cake, she is hard put to think of a combination that she hasn’t created for someone’s special occasion.
Tucker looks at her job at The Kingfish, where she has worked for 7 ½ years, as pretty luxurious for a pastry chef. She works four days a week, arrives around 7:30 to 8:00 am and leaves by mid-afternoon. In addition to her mile-high cakes, she creates an ever changing seasonal dessert menu. During the summer, guests flock to the restaurant for her incredible strawberry shortcake – a huge portion overflowing with fresh berries and whipped cream, which can easily feed two or more.
When not baking, Violette is dancing. A professional, she performs modern dance and dance improvisation. She is also working on an upcoming website which will focus on gluten free desserts to be called tuckerstreats.com
To inquire about ordering a special occasion cake from The Kingfish Café (602-19th Avenue East in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood) call (206) 320-8757.
You heard it here first, sweeties. Trophy Cupcakes is embracing bacon in baked goods! As reported from the owner's Facebook feed,
I was against jumping on the bacon bandwagon...but then Bacon Brittle came into my life. Chocolate Bourbon Bacon Brittle starts monday...and for those who just can't get enough of the brittle (damn, it's good!), we will be selling that on the side! YUM!
So, starting in just a few days, look out for this sweet treat in Trophy Cupcakes boutiques.
The best way to find out what's trending in the world of wedding desserts? Ask someone who makes them. Dianne's Delights is a custom dessert-maker in Washington, and recently I hit them up to ask about some of the most requested items at celebrations. The most interesting ones, in my opinion? Wine-infused cake balls and dessert bars. Here, the sweet folks at Dianne's Delights were kind enough to share more information and thoughts on the trends:
The ultimate wine lover’s dessert: Wine-infused cake balls! What’s better than wine and dessert? How about putting them together in a unique and delicious way. Recently wineries have been featuring these delectable infused desserts as part of their latest wine events. It is a way for wineries to create a unique experience for their customers. These wineries have been singing the praises of Dianne’s Delights who created this concept at last year’s Taste Washington event. Dianne takes the wine and infuses it with her cake balls making a wonderful bite sized treat that balances the flavors perfectly. This idea is catching on quick and more and more wineries are asking for Dianne’s Delights to make them their very own dessert from their collection.
Dessert Bars Gaining in Popularity! Move over, five-tier cake….there is a new trend brewing and it is catching on quickly: dessert bars. What are they? Well imagine a table filled with different dessert options that are sure to please everyone. As weddings evolve and people continue to look for creative ideas they are more and more looking to flip the old wedding stereotypes on their heads.
Having two flavors of dry cake that only a percentage of your guests will actually enjoy is one of those old traditions we are glad to see going bye-bye. Instead, more and more brides are opting for a small topper cake (for the cutting ceremony) and a full dessert bar. This approach guarantees that more guests will enjoy dessert and is a fun and creative way to solve the dreaded wedding cake reality.
Find out more and feast your eyes on photos of of dessert bars and wine-infused cake balls at www.diannesdelights.net.
June is totally sweet at Seattle's Cupcake Royale--just take a look at their upcoming special flavors for the month!
First off, for dads, the "Stash" - a chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting rolled in salty pretzel bits, topped with a handmade mustache topper. Adorable, sweet, and ever manly. Well, as manly as a cupcake can get I guess.
Next up is perfect for grads, dads, moms, children, and anyone who loves awesome stuff: the Rhubarb Crisp! This is a vanilla cake topped with a buttercream made using locally produced rhubarb puree, topped with a brown sugar oat crumb topping. They're so good that you might suspect they're crack-filled!
Both varieties will be available in Cupcake Royale boutiques, the 'stache through Father's day and the Rhubarb all month long; go early in the day to ensure that you'll get one! Visit cupcakeroyale.com for locations and hours.
Hey, sweeties. You'd better be buying the June issue of Taste of Home Magazine. Of course, the recipe is full of wonderful recipes and entertaining ideas.
But...even more so because I'm featured in it!
That's right: They asked a bunch of bloggers "Who is the American icon you would most like to invite to dinner and which dish would you serve?"
My response, clearly, they found clever and amusing enough to feature: "Dustan Hoffman, Graduate-era. To feed his cute face, I'd raid Mrs. Robinson's pantry for ingredients to make sultry red velvet cupcakes with (Philly) cream cheese frosting!"
See my response and the other bloggers' responses (including my pal Joy the Baker!) here; for a better view, buy the magazine!
Now, it's always cause for celebration when a new bakery opens.
But when that bakery is opened by famed pastry chef Neil Robertson, it's cause for bells, whistles, and a unicorn parade.
This talented and adorable fellow, who has honed his pastry skills at the likes of fancy restaurants such Canlis and Mistral Kitchen, is now operating his own retail space, called (love it) Crumble & Flake.
While not all of us might be able to afford the likes of the fancy restaurants which featured his desserts previously, Crumble & Flake offers an affordable taste of this pastry chef's fine work, including croissants, cream puffs, and macarons.
It’s hard to imagine what territory might be left for Neil Robertson to cover. But after having led the pastry departments of some of Seattle’s best restaurants, he’s renewed his career once again with his first solo venture, a bakery called Crumble & Flake that will open in April. The focus here is classic French pastry, executed with precision and a bit of whimsy. Expect cream puffs filled to order with pastry creams in flavors such as chocolate, goat's milk and bourbon, as well as that current darling of the pastry menu, kouign-amann.
A word for the wise? Do not miss the basics, such as croissants and kouign-amann (which, roughly translated, means "fulla butter and love").
Books of Wonder, the Chelsea bookstore that bills itself as the "largest and oldest children's bookstore and the city's leading specialist in children's literature," can now lay claim to another distinction: It is playing host to the Baconery, a previously online-only outfit that specializes in bacon-themed sweets. Its unambiguous creed is "Everything tastes better with bacon."
This is a marriage made in lard.
While Books of Wonder already has a cafe that supplies, among other delicacies, treats from uptown's Alice's Tea Cup, it is now entering a whole new world of grease.
So, what can we expect to see on the menu? A visit to the Baconery website suggests bacon brownies, chocolate peanut butter bacon cookies, Bacon Marshmallow bars, and -- wow -- chocolate covered bacon "with bacon".
Well. It's a baking contest run by Pillsbury, celebrating home cooks, which has been run since 1949. Cooks can't be professionals, and must employ Pillsbury products in the finished products. When it first started, the prized was $50,000--nothing to sneeze at.
Today, it's even bigger: One. Million. Dollars.
Along with my friend Rachel (you may know her as Coconut & Lime), I was invited to attend this awesome-fest in its home at the Peabody Hotel of Orlando.
First, a week before, I received a packet in the mail. It included a program, a booklet with all of the recipes of the finalists, and general info.
On Saturday, March 23, I took a flight to Orlando. When I arrived, there was a fellow holding a sign that said "J. Oleson". I said "Hey, that's my name!" and he told me to get into his car. Sadly, he offered me no candy. But he did give me a ride to the hotel. And when I arrived, I stopped and got some ice cream before checking in. I also learned of a regional specialty: coconut patties!
I was there with a group of other "press" people, including magazine and newspaper writers, news people, writers for grocery store publications, and a sprinkling of bloggy types.
That night, we had a really great dinner at a place called Luma on Park. We ate a bunch of delicious savory stuff to warm up for the real highlight, rosemary panna cotta with strawberry sorbet and black pepper sable cookies for dessert. They paired it very nicely with a dessert wine called "Sweet Bliss", which made me smile thinking of my dessert wine tasting with Jameson Fink.
The next day, Sunday, we were delivered breakfast in bed. It included yogurt, topped with an edible wafer with the bake-off logo. Also: I don't want to alarm you, but at the Peabody Hotel, which has a storied past with ducks, they mold their butter to look like little ducks.
After cooing at the ducks for like 2 hours, I attended something called the Food News Seminar. This was an action-packed day of learning. The first part of the day I learned that family meals matter (I already knew this, because it's the best way to warm up an appetite for dessert), that flavor trends include healthy substitutes, international flavors.
I took very good notes, especially on the size of the silverware we used to sample the flavor trend tastes.
Then we had lunch, which included more butter ducks (!) and some panna cotta. There was other stuff too, but I think you know what I care about.
(hint: butter ducks)
Photo: Julie DeilyJeff, a newspaper writer in Tampa, really loved the butter ducks. Like, he ate an entire one loved them. Related: I like Jeff.
After lunch, we got to meet several of the higher ups at various Martha Stewart publications. They talked about Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook. You know, internet stuff.
After that, we got treated to a delicious pitch for the new line of ranges by GE. They were smart, because instead of just telling us about them, they demonstrated them with a famous chef who then fed us, then they gave us his book. Now that's a smart way to make me like a stove. I want one--if you'd like, please buy me one. I'll totally owe you.
After that, we had a short break then met for more food--at a restaurant owned by Emeril Lagasse. Guess who was there too--Martha Stewart! That is kind of like having dinner with the Queen, made by the King.
Now, since you couldn't be there, I'll show you a picture of what it was like when I met Martha Stewart. So glad someone caught this on camera, but it kind of made me regret eating all those butter ducks the day before.
But back the dinner! There was not one dessert, but three. Coconut Creme Brulee, Kahlua Chocolate Cake, and Fresh Apple Strudel. The whipped cream had little candied apple peel bits in it. Thank you, Martha, Emeril, and Pillsbury!
But you know what...after we got back, we discovered that they had another treat I hadn't yet seen at the hotel: duck cookies. They were butter cookies topped with preserves, then piped with more butter cookie dough, then dipped in chocolate. Score!
After this, we all waddled off to bed (not unlike a butter duck would).
Photo: Julie DeilyThe following day--Monday--was the Bake-Off! OMG! We got to see 100 bakers at work, simultaneously creating their delicious treats.
I got to meet all of the contestants whose recipes I'd been covering on this very site. They were all incredibly sweet. A few even recognized me! One, Joanne, even had a unicorn story for me. I like her.
A few of them hugged me, and then one guy even elbow-bumped me. I felt so cool. His name is Brett, and here were some of his thoughts on the contest and his entry:
Then, I saw the most beautiful sight I've ever seen (and I have seen butter ducks, people!): THE PILLSBURY DOUGHBOY.
We absolutely had a moment. A beautiful moment. It's pictured at the top of this post.
After that, we got to taste some yummy stuff. At first, when we arrived on the floor, there had been these signs up:
...but then, miraculously, they changed to this:
After they were done baking, the entries were all lined up on a delectable table (it was protected by a velvet rope).
And then, we had a dinner and dance party at the hotel. The Pillsbury Doughboy was in attendance.
I also observed that they had a fancy opera cake at the Peabody, with chocolate ducks(!) on top, painted with edible silver paint. Fancy!
The next morning--Tuesday--we got to attend a live recording of the Martha Stewart Show. How cool is this: they actually built a set in the Peabody Hotel (home of the butter duck) just for the show. It was pretty good-looking.
Oh, what a tasty treat these were. Made by one of the cutest contestants, everyone was very happy to see this deserving dish win the million dollar prize, and I personally felt glad that it went to a dessert.
After that, we got to attend a little press conference and talk about how awesome the entries were, and to learn more about the winners.
I'm very happy to know that the winner's children will have a nice college nest egg now.
Well, pretty sweet, judging by their newsletter! They're debuting some sweet new stuff.
First, the cupcake of the month: Compost Cupcake! Like a good Seattleite, this cupcake uses up all the excess stuff, making for a wonderful result: a chocolate cake filled with chips, oats, chocolate, coconut, cake crumble, and maybe a few more secrets too! It's all topped with chocolate frosting which is then rolled in coffee, more chips, and more chocolate. Like whoa!
But wait...there's more! Cupcake Royale is at long last debuting a vegan cupcake, too! Here's what they have to say about it:
To get these sweet treats, hit up a Cupcake Royale location in Seattle! For more information, visit cupcakeroyale.com.
The cherry blossoms are in bloom, Creme Eggs are in abundance...and in Seattle, Trophy Cupcakes' most anticipated cupcake of the year is returning Easter weekend: The Marshmallow Hi-Hat!
Appearing just two days per year, the Hi-Hat Cupcake is made by "topping Trophy’s decadent Valrhona chocolate cupcake with a sky-high swirl of pastel-tinted marshmallow frosting, and then they are hand-dipped in semi-sweet Callebaut chocolate! Pretty pastel marshmallow, rich Belgian chocolate, and moist Valrhona cake all rolled into one amazing confection."
This epic sweet will be available at all Trophy locations on Saturday, April 7, and at the University Village and Pacific Place locations on Sunday, April 8!
The treats can be ordered in advance. For those interested in a Saturday, April 7 delivery, orders must be confirmed by Friday, April 6. Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/trophy.cupcakes and Twitter at @trophycupcakes for delivery specials!
Curious about the life of a Spy? Well, you can find some sweet details--including the secrets of my sweet life, including my baking essentials, secret wish list, and the guilty-pleasure ingredients I cannot live without!
Hint: the color hot pink, and rainbow-hued food, are included.