I’m not one to make green or Shamrock-covered sweets in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. If anything I might end up with a loaf of Irish soda bread and be done with it. But this week I’ve been spending time with elementary-aged kids, and they wanted nothing more than a bright and cheerful dessert for what they were calling “Leprechaun Day.” So green cupcakes it was. What can I say: welcome to the USA, where the population has their own, only slightly vaguely Irish way of honoring St. Patrick.
I went with a straightforward Mint Chocolate Cupcake recipe from the Food Network. It calls for chopped up Andes chocolate mints in the batter. This addition really makes an otherwise standard cupcake recipe shine. The frosting was not what I would usually make (as it calls for a cup and a half of marshmallow cream!), but it ended up being a soft and pleasantly tasty topping. Perfect for an after-school treat.
The only substitution I made was to use unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa instead of regular cocoa powder. It went nicely with the mint flavor.
The leaves were created by rolling out marzipan that I dyed green with gel. I used the tops of fluted round cookie cutters to help with the leaf shape. It’s not a perfect job, but it worked in a pinch.
Dessert delivery: the option where you can taste test 20 different sweets in the privacy of your own home. Why haven’t I tried this before? For my inaugural dessert delivery test I bought “Cakies” and “Tarties,” courtesy of Jae NYC Eats.
Jae NYC Eats is a Queens-based startup bakery making more creative versions of your standard childhood nostalgia treats. The company currently has 3 types of sweets available for purchase: Cakies, based on artisanal Twinkies, Tarties, based on Pop-Tarts, and Mankies, which are described as mini cakie donuts. The founder, Janice de Castro, started the business a year ago. Within this time she has showcased her baked goods at many of the local food markets and coffee shops while expanding the menu along the way.
I’ve been following @jaenyceats on Instagram for at least half a year, hoping to run into the business at some random food market or pop-up. (they operate out of a commercial kitchen as of now) Since I am not one to line up at food stands on the weekends, this tactic didn’t work well for me. Eventually, I decided to email the bakery direct to get a bunch of items delivered at once.
The hard part was deciding what to try. The Cakies come in almost 20 flavors, all extremely inventive, with the option of ordering sets of flavor packs that come in 2 or 3 flavors. I placed an order for the following sets:
The New York Starter Pack, which includes Rose Cake with Lemon Buttercream topped with Macadamia Nuts, Chock-Full-O-Nuts Coffee with Cinnamon, and Cannoli:
The Halo Halo Starter Pack, Filipino-inspired flavors including Ube (AKA Purple Yam), Pandan Coconut, and Jackfruit Topped with Fruity Pebbles:
and The Kid at Heart Pack, including Funfetti (Birthday Cake) Sandwiches and Cookies & Cream:
I also ordered a special Mango Saffron Cakie that was not part of a flavor pack.
For the Tarties order, I decided to try 3 varieties in the following flavors: Matcha Marshmallow Creme, Banana Cream Pie, and Turon (Fried Banana with Jackfruit)
Don’t expect any of these to be a Hostess replica in the slightest. The only thing Twinkie-like about Cakies is the shape. (Same with the Tartie/Pop-Tart reference) Luckily these homemade treats are much more charming than the shrink-wrapped Hostess versions.
I found it hard to pick an absolute favorite from the bunch, but I really loved the Rose Cake with Lemon Buttercream, as well the whole group of the Halo-Halo starter pack. I tend to obsess over tropical flavors, including most Filipino desserts, and this group of cakies really hit the spot for me. I’m not even a huge Fruity Pebbles fan, but it worked great as a Jackfruit topping! My favorite tartie was the matcha marshmallow, but now I feel like I missed out on many flavors. Time to plan my next order.
You can find out more about Jae NYC Eats by visiting their Instagram page.