Wednesday, September 30, 2009

70's Swedish Pop Group?

After taking my Abba Zaba cupcakes to work yesterday, I discovered that almost no one had ever even heard of the candy. What? Abba who? Apparently one of my favorite childhood confections is found almost exclusively West of the Rockies. They were well received though, and compared favorably to the clearly nationwide treat "Fluffernutters." Who knew?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Last Sunday, I took a trip to Economy Candy to pick up some old-school classic candy. I gave myself an assignment: to find inspiration from and then create a cupcake based on what I had purchased.

One of my items.

The result: Abba Zaba Cupcake. Vanilla Cake, Peanut Butter Filling and Marshmallow Fluff "Taffy," Frosting.

I was pleased with the peanut butter filling, but the frosting isn't quite what I had hoped for. It doesn't have the right consistency. I was hoping for something light and sticky. More like taffy. I think a whipped meringue frosting would have been a better choice.

Don't Mess With Texas!

Red Velvet Texas Flag Sheet Cake with Cream Cheese and Buttercream Frosting.

This is one of my first "commissioned," cakes. My friend Cody is moving back to Texas and his girlfriend Val wanted to surprise him with Red Velvet cake. This cake took longer than I thought it would for such a simple design, but I think the work paid off. Most people commented that it was moist, yet dense and that the frosting wasn't too sweet. David even gave it two thumbs up.

Mission Accomplished.

Black Mission Fig Tart on Phyllo Dough Crust with Honey Glaze.

Alexander The Grape.

Concord Grapes. Vitus Labrusca (aka "fox grape").

The skins need to be removed before they can be cooked.

The skins.

Fish eggs? Grape innards. Devoid of their skin, the smell of these grapes was so intense and perfume-like. Amazing and almost indescribable, their pungent scent filled my apartment.
The seedless pulp and the skins cooking down.
The finished product.

This tart was definitely an acquired taste. It was bold, rich, jammy, tart and chewy from the skins with a very concentrated flavor that I really enjoyed.

It's The Great Pumpkin...Cheesecake?!

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Cinnamon Cookie Crust and Caramel Topping.

Cookies and Milk, Please....

Chocolate Chip/Toffee Cookies.

"Birthday At Tiffany's"

Tiffany Blue Cupcake. In honor of Kine Ndiaye's birthday. She's classy. I thought her cupcake should be too.

"No, David...It's Not Lasagna!"

Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Montgomery Cherries, Caramel Sauce and Pecans. A certain David I know sometimes thinks my sweets look like savory food items. I assure you, there is no ricotta, tomato, garlic or basil in this pudding.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


This morning I made Whoopie Pies. This is new to me and I was concerned that because of the stickiness of the batter, that they wouldn't turn out. To my surprise, they rose into perfect domes ready to be filled. I took a dozen to Justin "Squigs" Robertson at the Broadway Flea Market. He was sketching all day long and selling his artwork for charity. He is an amazing caricature artist. Check out his work at

After that, I went to the Lower East Side to shop at Economy Candy. I went to get ideas for turning classic candy into cupcakes inspired by those flavors. I left with a bag containing Charm's Fluffy Stuff Cotton Candy, Abba Zabba, Junior Mints, Bit O' Honey and for myself I picked up some gummi teeth and a wax moustache. I'm particularly psyched about the Abba Zabba. We'll see what I come up with.

I next met friends at Chikalicious I had heard of this place for years. It's a dessert bar. I'm currently fasting, so it was torture to finally be there and unable to eat anything. I basically paid to sit, drink a pot of tea and have a dessert teasingly placed in front of me. I admit that the show alone was worth the price. They assemble the desserts right in front of you and we had the pleasure of having Chef/Owner Chika Tillman herself make our desserts. Such care and skill was taken in preparing each piece of "art," and I will definitely be going back there soon. For a $14 prix fix (described as American desserts, French presentation and Japanese tasting portions) you get an amuse, choice of dessert and petits fours.
Our dessert selections included:
  • Fromage Blanc Island "Cheese Cake."
  • Caramel Panna Cotta with Earl Grey Tea Sorbet and Banana Salad.
  • Warm Chocolate Tart with Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream and Red Wine Sauce and finally for my viewing pleasure only.....
  • Steamed Fig Pudding with Vanilla Anglaise and Fresh Figs.

I'll be taking a couple of days off from baking but have a large order of cupcakes to fill for a girls' birthday party this weekend. I expect to be covered in pink and purple buttercream frosting. Until then, keep living sweetly!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I've decided to begin a blog to share my baked goods and celebrate all the sweet things in life. Follow along, if you will, as I post pictures, experiences and thoughts about food and life. Enjoy!