For those of you who live in NY, I'll be speaking at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum tonight (May 10th) at 6:30pm. Russ and Daughters will be speaking as well as Clinton Street Baking Co., so it should be a really cool crowd! And they'll be free food so there's that too. RSVP here. Note that space is limited so don't put it off! Hope to see you there...
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Yesterday I came across an interview in the WSJ with Fanny Singer, daughter of the legendary Alice Waters of Chez Panisse. Although I felt a little guilty for my non-organic fruit eating habit and not making daily trips to the Farmer's Market to shop for unexpected produce I then felt strong feelings of love for her. And then I got nostalgic.
I never really mention this but if I did one of those 25 Things You Don't Know About Me in US Weekly, number 1 on the list would say, "I worked behind the bar at Chez Panisse when I was 21 and pretended to be allergic to wine so I didn't have to learn about it". Yeah, true. Alice didn't really care about my "allergy" because she liked the way my dark hair and red lipstick looked behind the bar. Worked for me! Even worse, I also thought it was incredibly weird that people called 1 month in advance (1 month!) to reserve a table in the downstairs dining room where they would be served a set menu. They didn't even care what was on the menu! They just wanted IN! The mature woman who took reservations (she worked for dinners, not pay) explained that the people that were calling were "foodies" and when I grew old like her, I'd be a "foodie" too.
Even though I look back and think I was a terrible employee, Chez Panisse marked me for life. It was the first restaurant I worked in where the kitchen staff was not allowed to swear and everyone had to say "please" and "thank you" when addressing each other. Instead of staff meals slopped together by the kitchen before service and eaten hastily standing up, Alice had us sit down in the courtyard with all the leftover specials of the evening and half drunken bottles of wine. We were cherished.
The thing that threw me off while I worked there was a very strong tug to be involved in pastry for the first time. I remember it happened one afternoon as I lugged a case of wine through the pantry and I saw all the pastry girls working around a table, quietly making truffles. I told them I desperately wanted drop the bar and come work in the kitchen with them and make cookies and cake all day. One of them told me I could come in early and work with them without pay and I remember feeling honored. I promised to be there bright and early the next morning. Of course I never showed--I was 21! Getting up early just was not happening. I shrugged off the opportunity and convinced myself it was better to make more money faster by sticking with my position behind the bar. Looking back now, I realize how profoundly I was missing out.
We all know how the story ends, though, and it is happy! Here I am with my dream bakery spending Saturdays in the kitchen alongside the other baker girls making cake balls and dipping donuts. I have no idea how I found my way here but I am very grateful and can't help but credit Alice Waters for showing me what is possible when you stand firm by your vision. So thank you Alice! I learned so much from you even though I didn't know I was paying attention. BabyCakes wouldn't have been molded this way without you so thank you for not firing this terrible employee.
I've been keeping this news hushed up for months now but today I want to spill the beans. Beginning this Friday (if all goes well) I'm launching our very first online store! I know, this is not as big news as when I casually told you we opened in Disney but it's still cool, right?
Over the last few months I spent a whole bunch of time designing what I think will be the perfect souvenirs to show your BabyCakes love: BabyCakes knee and ankle socks, mugs, and the most perfect fitting BabyCakes apron that you see us wearing in the cookbook there on the left. We'll be adding different accessories and trinkets as inspiration comes (we're working on a floaty pen!) but I promise not to oversaturate you with product--I want each item to feel special and perfect.
Ok, well that's the news! Please let me know if there's any ideas you have for merchandise that you'd love to have. I'm all ears.
Funny how worlds collide! Just as I'm in the midst of redecorating my apartment (read: finally putting adult furniture in it) BabyCakes Cookbook is featured on Apartment Therapy Kitchn, the website that I've been referring to obsessively as I plan my apartment's new look. They've shared the Cinnamon Sugar Toastie with you so be sure to check it out when you're in the mood to bake!
And don't forget! BabyCakes Covers the Classics, my new cookbook featuring Donuts, Waffles, Thin Mints and more will be perched on every bookstore's shelf on April 12--or you can pre-order on here to get first dibs on a copy!
Picture this. It's 9:52pm and you're just getting all tucked in and cozy on your La-Z- Boy for the latest episode of Celebrity Rehab, Project Runway, or Top Chef...maybe it's Monday Night Football or what not. Your pajamas are on, hair's in a ponytail (or maybe a messy bun?) and clicker is ready to go. All of a sudden it hits you like the flu: the totally unexpected, uncrushable craving for a BabyCakes cookie sandwich, cupcake top, or cinnamon sugar donut. You're heart falls when you realize two things: 1) There is no way you are putting your snow boots on and catching the train to the Lower East Side 2) BabyCakes closes at 10 and you wouldn't make it anyway. There's nothing you can do and you are sad.
Thanks to Clementine Courier you can get those cookie sandwiches at midnight if you so hanker it or even the odd donut order at 1am if it's in stock. No job is too big or little, and they'll always show up with a good attitude because they love what they do. New York Magazine even commended Clementine on their skills when the boys delivered an awkward and high maintenance order faster and cheaper than the other couriers put to the test.
Here's how it works. Call the bakery (212.677.5047) between the hours of 5pm-1am, find out what's in stock and we'll take it from there. The boys at Clementine deliver all over Manhattan and will cross the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges for an extra fee which is well worth it. Only one depressing thing: Clementine Couriers don't wear the cool pirate hats like the guy in the picture up there. Not yet, that is...
I'm in a sharing mood today (which is rare!) so I want to give you my absolute favorite thing to bake at home on Christmas morning--the BabyCakes Banana Bread. It's an easy recipe to follow and pretty versatile. Throw in a big old handful of chocolate chips or blueberries if you're the type that lives dangerously! You really can't go wrong unless you add something like pickles?
A few things before you begin. As you know, I am into unscented coconut oil (be sure to melt it!) but you can substitute any other oil that you'd like, just make sure it's high quality because it truly makes a difference. Second, only fill the loaf pan you have at home halfway high with batter. You can scoop any leftover batter into muffin tins as a bonus! Finally, not all ovens are made alike. Baking times tend to be different from oven to oven so my best advice to you is to let the loaf bake for 20 minutes then check it. If it's still really jiggly in the center it has a long way to go. Once it firms up a bit, insert a toothpick in the center and when it comes out clean, it's ready to come out.
The banana bread keeps for about 5 days--I know this because I brought a loaf of it to Ireland and snacked on it with my sisters the whole time! We never got sick of it. By the way, most health food stores carry all the ingredients below but you can be luxurious and order them all on Amazon to be delivered (no judgement). Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
PS--you can click this link and buy the cookbook here.
1 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour (gotta be Bob's, no sub)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/3 cup oil
2/3 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup rice milk
2 tablespoons of good quality vanilla
1 1/4 cups mashed bananas
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush your loaf pan with oil and set aside.
In a medium bowl, measure in flour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, cinnamon and whisk. Add oil, agave nectar, rice milk and vanilla and then mix again. Fold in bananas until nicely distributed.
Pour batter into loaf pan (only halway!) and set in the oven. After 20 minutes, check on the loaf and continue baking until it passes the toothpick test. Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes.
If you live in Los Angeles, you can sign up for a micro-mini baking demo with me next Tuesday, December 21st from 6pm-7pm at M Cafe in Beverly Hills. I'll be baking the Agave Brownies (yes, you can bring the recipe home with you) and then I'm around to chat with you about the book and answer any BabyCakes Cookbook baking questions you might have. Seating is extremely limited so sign up while there's still room! RSVP to Amy@mcafedechaya.com.
I'm not sure whose idea this was but the girls at the LA BabyCakes are on to something here: a donut adorned cake! I really wish this was around when I got married, it's the perfect balance for donut and cake lovers.
I can't tell you how proud I am that they did this, it makes me want one now. Yes, you can order one--call either our New York shop (212.677.5047) or Los Angeles (213.623.5555) for a quote! Sorry, not available for shipment just yet. Good job, LA!
Just a quick note to let you Floridians know that I'll be at our Downtown Disney location of BabyCakes signing copies of my cookbook, BabyCakes, this Friday from 1-2pm. We're giving away a little sweets pack for those of you who stop by. Now the hard part, how to find us. Our physical address is 1674 East Buena Vista Drive Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830 which is in Downtown Disney Marketplace. The closest walk to our store is from Parking Lot 2--you can find us in the building market Fresh A-Peel since we don't have any signage outside just yet. Still can't find us? Give us a call at 407.938.9044
See you there!
Oh hello there! I just found out that the BabyCakes Cookbook is now available on Kindle! All this new technology is way too advanced for me but I can't deny that it makes working with cookbooks so much easier. You can bring it to the store with you so you can round up ingredients without forgetting anything which is a big deal to me! I can't count the times I've gone to the store to grab my supplies and make it all the way home in the snow to find I forgot one tiny thing. It's also only $9.99 which is so cheap it's mental. You get all those recipes that I spent thousands of hours creating for about 20 cents each. Ok, now I'm getting mad.
Anyhow--this is a great holiday buy, right? Order them here to get them in time for your loves! Happy Monday everyone!
Well, well, well. Looks like Thanksgiving is creeping up on the bakery and I'm on silent panic mode. For those of you who haven't been to the bakery during the holiday season: beware! Lines tend to snake down the block so if you are planning on including some BabyCakes at your friends and family festivities, plan ahead! We'll begin taking orders on October 25th at 10am for pick up at both our LA and NY locations as well as shipments nationwide.
During Thanksgiving week, we'll have a very limited menu so we can better serve everyone. In lieu of some of your favorites like the donuts or special loaves and cookies we'll be stocking the shelves with party pleasers like pumpkin bread and cake balls (sorry! no pumpkin pie), savory cornbread, frosted brownie bites, and many others. We're going to send out our Thanksgiving menu to everyone on our mailing list this friday so if you haven't signed up I suggest you take care of that right away!
We're not finished firming up our holiday menu just yet so if you have a BabyCakes regular sweet you'd like us to consider offering that week, let us know in the comments. I'll do my best to squeeze in what I can.
My friend Alex told me about this new place called Terri on 23rd and 6th Ave that's all vegan and has a ton of gluten free options. I haven't been yet but the food looks pretty good! I especially appreciate that the menu isn't really heavy on the faux meats and uses organic, clean ingredients. I'll check it out this week and report back...