Archive for October, 2010


Buffy the Vampire Slayer Cupcakes

This recipe comes courtesy of the ladies across the pond at Eat Me. Drink Me. While Cadbury Flakes make a great addition to any dessert, they’re hard to find here (try World Market or Dean & Deluca) or substitute a Kit Kat. Also, for those who don’t want to do the measurement conversions, we recommend whipping up your favorite red velvet cupcake recipe and adding some red food coloring to the icing. Because a Red #40-stained mouth is a genuinely scary thing.

Cupcakes Buffy would approve of.


Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Under Wraps”

I was disappointed at how badly the sweets were outnumbered by the savories on this episode. What, no turnovers? No croissants? No filo-wrapped goodies or strudels? The only sweet that got a nod was the baked pear crepe with chocolate ganache and chestnut sauce from Philly’s Creperie Beau Monde. And let’s hope it wasn’t just the fishnet-stockinged waitstaff that sold Alton Brown on this.

Creperie Beau-Monde / L’Etage
624 South Sixth Street
Philadelphia, PA 19147

(215) 592-0656


It’s impossible to leave the Costco bakery empty-handed

That’s why Mr X-sXe came home with this pie for just the two of us (!) Too good a deal to pass up at $5.99. I’ve paid that much just for one slice in a bakeries before.

Even more shocking than the price tag was the fact that we polished it off within 4 days. Ugh. Don’t shop hungry at Costco. It’s dangerous.


What can you get for 50 cents these days?

That’s right, this adorable Tiramisu whoopie pie from Potenza was only 50 cents. In a world of $2 French macaroons, they’re a steal. Too bad they can’t decide whether they’re a whoopie pie or 2 cookies glued together with vaguely coffee-flavored filling. I’m usually a fan of anything that comes out of the ovens of the Potenza bakery, but these were forgettable–definitely not good enough to scratch my whoopie pie itch.


Pants for stuffing your pie or cakehole

Appropriately named “gluttony pants,” these enable you to gorge without that uncomfortably tight feeling afterwards. They’re also whole lot classier than anything with an elastic waistband. I wish more pants came with three “settings.”

Via Betabrand


Mel’s homemade Pop Tarts

At my previous job, a coworker called “Sugar Mama” used to sell snacks she’d pick up from Costco at her desk. (Not for the money, but as a favor to the rest of us–our vending machine options ranged from overpriced Funyuns to expired bear claws.) I never did understand why the Pop Tarts at Sugar Mama’s sold like crazy, but they do, and people seemed to go into withdrawal whenever she was out. Maybe that explains why the Kellogg’s product has been around for nearly 5 decades.

Pop Tarts made by Mel.

For those who want to try their hand at a homemade version, we highly recommend these Pop Tarts a la Mel. You can find a recipe here. She made these with store-bought pie crust and strawberry jam. They were such a hit that Mr. X-sXe insisted we “doggie bag” some to bring home. To my taste buds, these beat the Kellogg’s version by miles, and don’t have that artificial smell to the icing/pastry/filling that makes my stomach turn.

PS: If you’d rather have someone else make your homemade Pop Tarts, head to Ted’s Bulletin in Eastern Market. Pie’s been talking up their brown sugar version like crazy lately.


Cupcakes for breakfast: The scientific justification

Pie brought over these goodies from Baked and Wired last weekend, and Mr. X-sXe thought I was crazy for having them for breakfast. But I’d read some studies like this one that show that fat metabolism genes are most active in the morning. So if you’re going to gorge on cupcakes, try to have them right after you wake up!

As for the cupcakes, they’re our new favorites. I’d had Baked & Wired a while back and remember not being particularly impressed, but this time around, I’m a fan. The ratio of icing-to-cake feels right. It doesn’t leave me wanting for more cake to balance the icing, or make my heart race from the sugar shock. These are the largest of the DC cupcakes and, for our money, the most gratifying.


Ring in sweater weather with Anna’s Norma’s caramel apple cake

Does that throw you off a bit, the way that Ruth’s Chris Steak House does? Lemme ‘splain. My coworker Anna (she of mustache cupcake fame) made a family recipe called Norma’s caramel apple cake earlier this week. Oh my, it was heavenly. The pairing of moist apple cake with caramel icing reminded me that apple season is upon us, and it’s time to bake!

With that, I’ll turn it over to Anna:

When the first falling, russet leaves brush against my collar each autumn, I immediately flip through my recipe box with one 4 x 6 card in mind: Norma’s Caramel Apple Cake. This recipe comes from my Grandmother Gunnells, who lives in a small mountain town in Alabama and makes this cake every Thanksgiving. I’m not sure who Norma is, but I’m grateful she shared this 13 x 9 inch pan of melt-in-your mouth, apple-y bliss with my grandmother. My favorite part is cooking the butter and brown sugar on the stove for the caramel icing because the smell is heavenly!

Norma’s Caramel Apple Cake

1 cup canola oil

1½ cups sugar

3 eggs

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. vanilla

3 cups peeled, diced Granny Smith apples (3 large)

1 cup pecans or walnuts, optional

Combine oil, sugar and eggs. Beat. Gradually add flour, soda and salt. Beat until smooth. Add vanilla. (Batter will be thick). Fold in apples and nuts. Pour in 13” X 9” greased. Bake 350° about 45 – 60 minutes. Cool before icing.

Caramel Icing:

1 stick of butter

1 cup of packed brown sugar

¼ cup milk

2 cups confectioner’s sugar

Melt butter in saucepan. Add brown sugar and cook until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Add milk and confectioner’s sugar and beat until smooth..


Pie’s rib-stickin’ shoofly pie recipe in the Runcible Spoon

Need a vegan-friendly shoofly pie recipe? Wondering what the heck shoofly pie is? Find out in the beautiful new issue of The Runcible Spoon. Malaka and Claire have put together a bunch of seasonal recipes that’ll keep you warm like that cozy, pilled-up sweater you unearthed from the closet last week.

Click to read it in all its digital format glory.


Great pie, Asian restaurant, yes really. We finally try Ritz Seafood’s coconut cream pie.

We’ve been drooling over this pie since it was featured on Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” In fact, our post on it has caused fights to break out in the comments room.

For ages I tried to figure out how we could get one shipped, but Ritz doesn’t do mail order (I’m guessing the whipped cream is way tricky to keep fresh/intact). Eventually we realized the only way we’d try this was to make the holy pilgrimage. So go we did, even if that pilgrimage led us to a strip mall in Voorhies, NJ.

A bit of background for those who haven’t seen the episode. There’s coconut incorporated into the filling, topping, AND crust (which is made with coconut water plus coconut rum, for extra flakiness). How could you go wrong? This is what it looks like in real life, not a beauty shot. It comes out with these big, gorgeous white chocolate shavings. But the real clinchers are the freshly toasted, crunchy coconut pieces and the salty crust.

This is the perfect mix of salty and sweet, crunchy and creamy. It makes me feel like I’m spooning coconut clouds into my mouth. If I have one critique for Chef Dan, Ritz Seafood’s pastry dude, it’s that the whipped cream doesn’t need that much sugar. And that I’d like twice as many coconut crisps, please.


These lobsters at Ritz would request coconut cream pie for their last meal, if they could.


While it wasn’t surprising that this is amazing pie, it is surprising that it’s from a Korean seafood restaurant. I guess good pastry happens anywhere, even at places with live fish tanks.

For those wondering whether the non-desserts are any good, the food was solid but overpriced ($12 appetizers), and I wouldn’t drive through 3 states for it. Go for the pie, and for the homemade ginseng-date-litchi tea.


Lots of Yelpers complained about the decor and ambiance here. Didn't bother us--we were too distracted by the pie.


Of course, we’ll need to hear from Pie to get her take on whether this lives up to the hype. Pie review from resident pie expert to follow.