I traveled to Quito, Ecuador a few years ago as a stopover on my way to the Galapagos islands. I knew nothing about Quito, and while many things were new and unfamiliar, I had a good feeling after my very first afternoon there. I'd strolled into a cafe for a cup of coffee and noticed a towering display of cake slices. The woman at the register confirmed what I thought: tres leches cake, my very favorite. Things were looking up.
Who: Keavy Landreth What: Owner and head baker of Kumquat Cupcakery Where: Brooklyn, New York
Inside a nondescript warehouse on a busy street in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Keavy Landreth makes some of the most delicious mini cupcakes I've ever had. When I visited her tiny, industrial kitchen she was about to frost a batch for a wedding delivery that weekend: chocolate peanut butter, coffee caramel bourbon, peanut butter banana honey, and (her bestseller and my personal favorite) maple bacon, which is every bit as sweet and salty and scrumptious as the name implies.
In the summer, there are often competing forces when it comes to dessert. First are all the wonderful fruit desserts that we can really only have during these three or four months. (Hopefully you've had your fill of crumbles, crisps and pies this season. If not, you've got a little time yet.) The other force, for me at least, are the overly-sweet, fluffy cupcakes and confections you find at weddings, graduations and other summer celebrations. Often nice to look at, they generally don't taste all that great. So by the end of the summer, I find myself craving something different, a not-messing-around dessert: chocolate cake.
When you read a lot of food blogs sometimes everything can start to look the same. You'll notice trends, when writers all seem to be cooking and baking similar things. Much of this is dictated by the season, and sometimes it's pure coincidence. But last week something caught my eye. Something different, something wonderful, something baked right into a skillet.
Q: My favorite childhood birthday cake was the Champagne Cake from a Virginia Bakery in Berkeley, CA. I'm now living in Boise, ID and there are no bakeries that make this cake here. My birthday is coming up and I would like to create this for myself. Can you help find a recipe?
Last week my sweet nephew turned one! As any culinary minded aunty would do, I set about to make something celebratory for my favorite little human. What I came up with has no refined sugars and is full of dates and bananas. Even the grown ups enjoyed a slice or two after the baby fest.
Within minutes of paging through the collection of recipes in Vintage Cakes, you will be desperately scanning your calendar for the next birthday, holiday, baby shower, or company potluck. Any excuse to bake a cake. With cakes like the Honey Bee and Coffee Crunch Spiral, how can you resist?
Q: My boyfriend's birthday is coming up, and I want to make it extra special. I asked him what kind of cake he would like, and he said "a moist cake, with strawberry and banana slices in the cream filling." Could you find me a good recipe, but that isn't too complex for a novice like me?
Q: One of my best friends is getting married in December! She is allergic to gluten, and her fiance is more a fan of savory than sweet. Do you have any suggestions for a dessert that can be used in the traditional "cutting the cake", fits the season (winter), and is made without wheat gluten?