Birthday Cake from Butter & Scotch

A cake slice so good, you’ll nibble around the edges of the melted candle wax just to get the last crumbs: 2017_04_03_Bruah144This year I wanted a classic, 3-tier, vanilla bakery cake for my birthday.  I have seen multiple accolades and reviews for the birthday cake at the Crown Heights, Brooklyn bakery called Butter & Scotch. (including here and here) Despite being a little skeptical of something so praised, I went ahead and placed a full cake order.  Especially since I wanted to try something that wasn’t from standbys Momofuku Milk Bar, Baked, or Magnolia this time around.

We picked it up on a dreary Saturday afternoon, cutting it up a short time later. Everyone started with a thin slice but kept going back for seconds and thirds. Can I call a cake perfectly balanced? If so, this one seems to be: perfect sweetness, perfect frosting, perfect dense-and-moist cake crumb. (yes, I will note that you do need to enjoy a denser cake for this to be your thing.) It’s the sort of dessert you might binge eat for the next couple of days without remorse.

I also picked up a slice of the S’mores pie to try out, which is also a fan pick from the shop. It was beautiful to look at but not my thing, dessert-wise. As much as I love real s’mores, the pie version is more about the overly sweet parts of the combination – i.e. the burnt marshmallow top and the chocolate cream center – and personally I wanted more of a graham cracker taste as a counterpoint.

If you ever find yourself around Franklin Street in Crown Heights, you can always stop by and eat a birthday slice at their sit-down bar and bakery space. I do, however, think it’s ideal to order the entire cake for a special event. There’s something special about opening up the box and seeing the whole concoction- the fluffy pink frosting artfully covered in sprinkles, patiently waiting to be passed out in small slices – with potential for leftovers.

Order online here.

Advertisements

Twinkie-Inspired Dessert: Cakies from Jae NYC Eats

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.

2017_02_22_Bruah260

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:

 

2017_02_22_Bruah055
Cannoli, Chock-Full-O-Nuts Coffee, and Rose Lemon

 

The Halo Halo Starter Pack, Filipino-inspired flavors including Ube (AKA Purple Yam), Pandan Coconut, and Jackfruit Topped with Fruity Pebbles:

 

2017_02_22_Bruah127
Ube, Pandan Coconut, and Jackfruit with Fruity Pebbles

 

and The Kid at Heart Pack, including Funfetti (Birthday Cake) Sandwiches and Cookies & Cream:

 

2017_02_22_Bruah296
Cookies and Cream, Funfetti Sandwich (yes, this one is a double decker) 

 

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)

 

2017_02_22_Bruah343
Tarties.

 

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.

 

 

Review: A Vegan Cream Cheese Worth Eating.

2017_01_13_bruah079I’ll start by saying that I’m not vegan- the times I’ve tried in the past did not work out for my body-  but I wholeheartedly respect people that commit to a cruelty-free lifestyle. I also think it’s important for our food systems to come up with new ways of making the world less dependent on animal protein. (even if many people don’t give it up completely…)

I always enjoy trying new meatless and nondairy options that become available in local grocery stores. Though the dairy-free cream cheeses I’ve tried in the past have been, well, less than stellar. (Sorry Tofutti, but you have an aftertaste I just can’t enjoy.) For a while now I have hearing great things about the brand Kite Hill; how they were focusing on creating nut-based vegan products by using the same techniques as traditional cheesemakers. Their cream cheese style spreads are made from cultured almond milk instead of the soy-based varieties I’ve tried and disliked in the past.

I finally took the time to pick up a container of the Kite Hill chive cream cheese, a couple of bagels (admittedly, not great for NYC standards), and headed home to toast up some tests.

Let me tell you, this is a product I will 100% end up buying again. The cream cheese is soft and smooth and glides easily onto a bagel half.  Just taking off the plastic covering is a wonder in itself- it reveals an aesthetically lovely product that is studded with tons of green chives.  It has a creamy, dairy like flavor and mouthfeel that makes me not miss the real version, which is important when trying to gain fans of vegan food. I also liked the spread sprinkled with castelvetrano olives – the overall combo made me forget that the bagels I had bought weren’t the best.

 

 

2017_01_13_bruah035So omnivores, I say try this one out for taste. I’m excited to try out their version of plain cream cheese to see if it holds up to this one, as well as their other nut-based cheese products on the roster. An added bonus: if you buy one container, Kite Hill gives you a manufacturer’s coupon in the packaging for your next purchase if you decide that you like it.