Sea-FAT-tle Eatenings

OH SNAPPPPPP So when Kat and I travel, our meals go like so:

If you don’t have a seasoned sweet-tooth, I can’t exactly recommend a diet that consists primarily of sugary goods. It was almost too much for us, but the pastries were just DEMANDING that we eat them. So, thanks to the magic of Yelp and Cakespy’s ‘Seattle’ tag, we managed to hit up…

Twede’s Cafe–CONSUMED: Cherry Pie, Coffee

Kendra: As a Twin Peak’s fan, I couldn’t pass this up; the diner (and it’s ubiquitous coffee and pie) feature prominently in the series. The original place burned down, and the remodeled interior looked quite different (no more wood paneling, the red booths were now blue) but the central serving area remains. The woman who originally made the pie while the show was shooting (about oh, around twenty years ago) is also gone, but hey, when in Rome…

Kat: Worth it for the beautiful North Bend countryside. A rewarding stop after our hiking. Quite upfront about being a tourist trap.

 

Mon Hei Chinese Bakery–CONSUMED: Egg Custard, Coconut Bun

Kendra: Yelper’s liked it, we tried it–the egg custard was too eggy, but the coconut bun was sweet and satisfying.

Kat: The coconut bun was a meal unto itself, although not really my thing. Egg custard was definitely on the hearty side rather than the sweet side.

Fuji Bakery–CONSUMED: Orange Chocolate Brioche, Twinings Brioche, Pear Tart

Kendra: I initially mourned the passing of Unicorn Crepes (mochi in a crepe? yes!), but at least Fuji Bakery is a worthy replacement. A French-style Japanese bakery with immaculate presentation–everything just looks PERFECT. It tasted good too–everything was great, but the pear tart was flaky, creamy, and delectable.

Kat: Everything was presented impeccably, and the designs were sometimes quite unexpected. I was quite taken with the perfect cylinders of whole wheat bread. They have mainly dough-based offerings, covering savory through sweet. The Twinings Brioche, with quite detectable bergamot flavor, straddled the line between the two. With the cream cheese, although this pastry is lightly-sweet, it almost seems like an appropriate lunch item. Chunks of candied orange peel embedded in the dough of the chocolate brioche elevated it to above-ordinary. And the pear tart was outstanding, definitely A-plus material. I should also mention that the staff behind the counter were quite friendly.

 

 

 

The Confectional–CONSUMED: White Chocolate Lemon Mini-Cheesecake

Kendra: Usually cheesecake is too much for me, but these mini-cakes (almost like cupcakes, in a way) were the perfect size and ratio of cheesecake to topping. This lemon-based flavor was pretty refreshing!

Kat: Really, really good, and the individually-formed and garnished presentation was quite appealing.

 

Piroshky Piroshky!–CONSUMED: Oscar’s Star

Kendra: The line was so  long, and I was so caught up in wanting to get a marzipan piroshky that when I was informed they were out, I stupidly ordered something that WASN’T a piroshky. Whatever fried-dough pastry I got wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t worth finishing (!!!). Kat: Not quite as exciting as it appeared from a distance. Messy.

 

 

Cupcake Royale–CONSUMED! mini vanilla/vanilla, white chocolate blackberry chocolate chip, triple threat (chocolate^3)

Kendra: Pretty solid cupcakes here! The mini vanilla/vanilla turned out to be the dark horse, and I was kicking myself that we didn’t get a normal sized version. The chocolate blackberry and triple threat were still pretty tasty; I can see why this is Seattle’s  #1 cupcakery. NO FILLED CUPCAKES THOUGH ;_;

Kat: Dense, spongy cakes with airy frosting. I agree, the vanilla was the most satisfying.

 

strawberrrrry

Honoré Artisan Bakery–CONSUMED: Strawberry Danish

Kendra: This was quite off the beaten path, and doesn’t even have much signage to help you out–but the danish we split proved why it’s fun to explore.

Kat: The flaky crust of the danish was top notch. A good pick-me-up on the way between the Ballard Farmer’s Market and Larsen’s Bakery.

Larsen’s Danish Bakery–CONSUMED: Smorkage, Mazzarine, “Potato”

Kendra: SMORKAGE. Just say it out loud. SMORKAGE. An amazing name for what amounted to a breakfast sweet roll that was stuffed with almond paste. DELICIOUS. I have to say, this place was by far my favorite sweet-spot on the trip. This is due in part to the fact that ‘Swedish’ is shorthand for ‘stuff/cover everything with almond paste or marzipan. I LOVE MARZIPAN. The ‘potato’ was amazing–it’s basically an eclair that also has apricot jam, which is then wrapped in marzipan, coated in cocoa powder, and decorated to look like a potato. We ate it for breakfast, paired with ‘cupcake-flavored coffee’ from Caffe Lieto. The mazzarine was almond paste, chocolate, raspberry jam, pastry….need I say more?

Kat: So many baked goods. Cases after cases. And nothing has name cards, which makes for extra adventure. Toss-up between whether I miss this or Fuji Bakery more. The raspberry mazzarine thing was everything I want in a pastry, and extra-satisfying after 6 mile walk around Ballard. Definitely an A+. Smorkage is a big, ring-shaped coffee/breakfast-like thing. Tasty, but more snacky than satisfying. The Potato was a behemoth of a dessert. Quite nice, in that ‘will this kill me’ way. A heavy-hitter of the pastry league. Potatoes from Larsen's

The Crumpet Shop–CONSUMED: Crumpet with Maple Butter

Kendra: After three previous attempts to buy a crumpet from here ended in failure, we had a SUCCESS. Was it worth all the trips? Hey, cross an english muffin with a pancake, cover it in maple butter, and try to resist it! YOU CAN’T. It was delicious.

Kat: Quite nice, but not necessarily worth going early for.

Yellow Leaf Cupcakery–CONSUMED: Lavender cupcake, what was the other one…Dulce de Leche?

Kendra: This place reminded me of Lavender Moon back home; creative flavors, light cake base, cream cheese-esque frosting, tiny shop. Pleasant.

Kat: I actually can’t remember these cupcakes at all, but I did appreciate the range of flavors available.

 

In CONCLUSION… Miles walked: Many Calories consumed: countless Seattle: Only partially conquered!

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Seattle preview!

We just got back from Seattle, and boy did we eat a lot! Once we finish digesting we’ll put up a proper post. We ate smørkage, drank cupcake coffee, and even met Cakespy!

ponies and robots and cupcakes, oh my!

More to come!

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Baked & Wired – Smurfette, Strawberry, Raspberry Cloud

FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT

Well, it’s that time again, kiddos! We finally managed to find some time to make our pilgrimage to one of our favorite DC cupcakeries for a review threesome! Here’s what the website says about this week’s contestants:

l-r: Smurfette/Raspberry Dream/Strawberry

From left to right, we have…

the Smurfette: “Fresh blueberries are baked into vanilla cake, topped with lemon buttercream”

the Raspberry Cloud: “Lemon cake with a raspberry cream cheese frosting”

and Strawberry: “The bestseller! Vanilla cake with fresh strawberries folded in the batter and finished with a swirl of pink buttercream”

Kat:

Smurfette: I am a big fan of lemon and I quite enjoyed this one. Lemon buttercream frosting, sweet vanilla cake, with blueberries in the batter. The inclusion of whole berries made this one feel a lot lighter and healthier than it’s near cousin, the raspberry-preserve-filled lemony Rasmanian Devil. Still sweet, but you won’t feel so guilty. The berries had sunk to the lower half of the cake, so you have to make an effort to get all three tastes in one bite. A-

Raspberry Cloud: The lemon cake was as good as usual, but the flavor of the raspberry icing did not quite work for me. Tasted more like candy than fruit. C

Strawberry: The cake was unflavored but had strawberry bits mixed throughout. Also not as moist as most of the B&W cakes. Taken on it’s own, it was much more muffin-y than cake-y. The frosting was strawberry-flavored and supersweet. Together they made a pretty good cupcake. C+


Kendra:

Smurfette: I love blueberries in my baked goods–it’s hard to resist a freshly-baked blueberry muffin for breakfast. I was pretty excited to try out the Smurfette, since not only did it feature blueberries, it had a vanilla cake and lemon frosting (which makes it the delicious Rasmanian Devil’s bosom buddy). It’s a nice, fresh taste, though the blueberries end up being a bit  overwhelmed by the intensity of the lemon icing. B+

Raspberry Cloud: One of the cashiers told us that this was better than the Razzmanian Devil. UM, NOT SO MUCH. It was okay–can’t go wrong with the lemon cake here, nice an’ tart an’ moist, but the raspberry-cream cheese frosting does not beat out the raspberry jam-filled/lemon buttercream-frosted combo of the Razzmanian Devil. It’s certainly not bad, just very, very sweet. Cashier fail. C+

Strawberry: Er, I’m not sure how it’s labeled as the ‘most popular’ of the cupcake flavors on the website, because…well, it’s not that great. But I guess that’s the moral of the story here–WHAT IS POPULAR IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT, that’s how it goes, right? Anyway, the cake was dry and bland, and the frosting was sugary-sweet, and I didn’t get any strawberry flavors out of this at all.  D

 

And a special guest review from an honorary Sugarvamp, Miss Mary!

Smurfette: the clear winner out of the three, and in a way, Smurfette combines the best qualities of the two that came before it.  The lemon buttercream is zingy and delicious, and the cake is perfectly soft and moist.  The cake part actually reminded me of a muffin, but while that was bad news for the Strawberry cupcake, Smurfette reminded me of the packaged blueberry muffins I used to get at the convenience store in college: amazingly moist but never soggy, and with just the right ratio of blueberry-to-cake parts.  A

Raspberry Cloud: At first, I was convinced that this cupcake reminded me of a candy flavor I couldn’t quite place – a lemon or lime jolly rancher, maybe? – , but after a few more bites and input from Kendra, I changed my mind – this cupcake is remarkably like sherbet.  The raspberry cream cheese frosting is smooth and light and almost melts in your mouth, but has a hint of a kick that really does mimic tangy, refreshing sherbet.  Add in the lemon cupcake base and you’ve got your summer treat.  I was surprised that I didn’t notice cream cheese overtones as I often do with cream cheese frosting.  This cupcake’s weak point is the actual cake part.  Not bad, per se, but it’s a little bland.  A solid B.

Strawberry: Katie observed that this cupcake is really more like a muffin, and not in a good way.  The texture of the actual cake is pretty coarse, and I wasn’t impressed with the frosting, either.  Forgettable.  I give it a C mainly because I tend not to like strawberry-flavored things, so someone who does might not be so turned off by this one.

…and here’s the Smurfette showing off her goodies:

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Twinkie, twinkie, little star…

So the fried twinkie has been done to DEATH.  It’s so old meme that it makes the Rickroll look fresh! That said, I still wanted to try it out–but with a twist.

CHOCOLATE-COVERED deep fried twinkie.

Oh, and I didn’t end there–

–deep-fried chocolate covered Twinkie. SEE, I INVERTED IT!

And then my  lovely guest assistant Taylor and I fried some Twinkies old-meme style to round out our ‘healthy’ snack.

What did we fry them  in? Well, from my blogosphere travels, I’d seen someone who was deep-frying things in Funfetti cake batter. YES AND YES. So if you want to recreate this, just buy a box of Twinkies, a box of Funfetti cake mix, and a ton of chocolate chips. We sliced the Twinkies into thirds, just to make everything more manageable (and bite-size!).

KEEP IT CLASSY, LADIES

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Factsheet & Review: Buzz Bakery

Buzz Bakery has always been on our to-review list, since they’re the ones behind the delicious 9:30 Club cupcake (a cupcake while watching the Dismemberment Plan? score!). They recently opened up a new location right across from the Ballston mall, which is way more metro-accessible than the original Slater’s Lane location.

nice display

Location:

For Alexandria: 901 Slaters Lane
Alexandria, VA 22314

For Arlington:818 N. Quincy Street

Arlington, Virginia, 22217


Transit:

Alexandria– about a mile from the Braddock Road station on the Blue line.

Arlington– a few blocks from either the Ballston or Braddock Road stations on the Orange line.

Seating: Quite a few tables, chairs, benches, couches…pretty nice set-up in either location!

Sweets: Since it’s a bakery, it runs the gamut–brownies, pies, cookies, cupcakes, homemade pop-tarts…there’s also homemade granola bars, homemade ice cream, and savory things like paninis and waffles (well, waffles are still pretty sweet).

We split…

…a lemon-meringue pie with white chocolate shavings and poppyseed whipped cream, a homemade pop-tart…

…a 9:30 Club cupcake…

…and a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough cupcake.

We’ll stick to reviewing just the cupcakes (though the pie and pop-tart were definitely worth trying).

Kendra:

9:30 Club Cupcake–This cupcake is the reason why I make sure I get to concerts early, since the club always inevitably runs out within thirty minutes of opening the doors. It’s basically an adult Hostess cupcake, complete with squiggle frosting (not evident from our photo–alas, these two cupcakes spent thirty minutes outside in 90-degree heat). Chocolate cake, chocolate ganache on top, and cream inside–an most excellent combination! The chocolate cake is moist, the ganache adds a nice bit of richness, and the cream filling takes you back to the days where you shoved any number of Hostess cupcakes/Twinkies/Ding Dongs/etc. down your maw. Drawback? It’s a bit expensive for the size, especially compared to Baked & Wired’s whoppers ($3.50).

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough–I have mixed feelings on this one. The filling is delicious (actual raw cookie dough, yessss!), and the mini oatmeal-cream sandwich cookie on top even more so, but the cake and frosting? Eh. The cake mimicks a chocolate chip cookie with the chips speckled throughout, but it was somewhat dry and bland; the frosting is an empty promise, as it looks like cookies n’ cream yet tastes like nothing. A disappointment, especially for the most expensive cupcake at $4.00(!!!).

Kat:

9:30 Club Cupcake–I have had dreams about this cupcake. I think it’s a great flavor. Chocolate, chocolate, and cream! Much as I love it, I get taste overload from chocolate-chocolate-chocolate flavors (such as Baked & Wired’s Chocolate Doom). I like flavor variety within my desserts, so this a a good mixup of the usual chocolate cupcake.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough–Hm. Nice, but the cookie dough cupcake at Frostings (in Richmond, VA) was so perfect that this Buzz version seems to fall short. Nothing remarkable. As Kendra says, not a good deal, value for dollar. I wouldn’t order it again.

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Crepe Expectations

In the halcyon days of Kat and my college years, we forged a strong bond with the university’s crepe ladies. See, JMU‘s dining service is one of the things that it’s known for (apparently)–and goddammit, I’d rather have good food than a good football team! Fortunately, in addition to the normal buffet-style cafeteria in the middle of campus, JMU boasted dining options covering sushi, Starbucks, paninis, gyros, noodle bowls, and…crepes.

The crepes were huge, and you had the option of slathering them in nutella, caramel, raspberry sauce, whipped cream, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, ice cream…needless to say, all these would cost you extra. Well, they’d cost YOU extra, but since we were TIGHT, our crepes were made with extra ‘love’ FOR FREE (‘love’ being all them goodies).

Anyway, blah blah blah, we love crepes, and feeling lazier than usual, we decided to forgo any actual baking and settled on making a milles crepes cake. It’s basically a tower constructed of crepes, except replace ‘cement’ with ‘frosting’.

Of course, since it’s us, we decided to bust out every spread/topping from the pantry, and then cover the entire deal in a chocolate ganache.

I can sense your jealousy. Either that, or you’re thinking “Pff, amateurs, they don’t even have LEMON CURD!”

Yeah, suck it.

The following are delicious spreads I had in my pantry: marshmallow Fluff, Nutella, dulce de leche, raspberry preserves, cherry preserves, blackberry preserves, Biscoff spread, aaaaand mango butter. YEP.

Then, like most of our other creations, we covered the entire thing in chocolate ganache. YEP.

I’d post a recipe, but all you really need is a bunch of crepes, a bunch of delicious spreads/frostings/whathaveyou, and some chocolate ganache (this time I tried out Martha Stewart’s recipe). I recommend microwaving this sucker before eating it, since cold crepe texture is…not so great.

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Baked & Wired Razmanian Devil Cupcake Review

razmanian devil is a lover, not a fighter

From  now on, when life gives me lemons, I’m gonna shove some raspberry preserves in the middle of it if I can get it to taste like this cupcake.

looney tunes circa 1993

Website says it’s “Lemon cake with a raspberry jam center topped with lemon buttercream“.

So what’s that like?

Kendra: This is usually what Kat and I would pair the Chocolate Cupcake of DOOM with–the citrus tartness offsets the extremely rich chocolate nicely. On its own, it’s still quite formidable–the lemon buttercream doesn’t have the same sweetness as the regular buttercream (for obvious reasons), and the lemon cake flavor is cut by the raspberry preserves. This cupcake has actually brought to my attention the fact that ‘lemon’ and ‘raspberry’ can be added to the ‘goes together like peanut butter and jelly’ echelon. A

Kat: MY FAVORITE. This cupcake is one of the sweeter ones, but I love it that way! It’s very light and refreshing, if a cupcake can be light and refreshing. I can actually manage to finish one of these on my own without getting overwhelmed by the flavor. Possibly because it does include two flavors in one. The raspberry and lemon are a perfect compliment to each other. This cupcake airs well with the Chocolate Cupcake of Doom. A+

usually has more raspberry filling

note–Usually the amount of raspberry filling isn’t quite as scant as what we had for this review–if it was consistently like this, I’d lower my score. -Kendra

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