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.

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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:

 

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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:

 

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Ube, Pandan Coconut, and Jackfruit with Fruity Pebbles

 

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

 

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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)

 

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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.

 

 

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Banana Bread and Miso Butterscotch Trifle For 2

 

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I appreciate the casualness of a trifle. It is created by simply stacking 3, 4, or maybe even 5 elements in a glass bowl a few times over to create a pretty and tasty final product. Traditionally a British dessert, the internet is full of versions that transcend the normal custard/sponge cake/fruit/jam combination. You have lots of room for improvisation with a trifle- it allows you to have a certain freedom that isn’t always available when making more specific desserts. (As long as you have properly cooked your cake/bread, puddings/custards, and various other pieces in the first place, layer away however your heart desires). This is also THE dessert to make when you thought you were baking a cake for a dinner party but the cake fell or you don’t have time to frost and decorate the final product. Nothing makes for a better use of an ugly cake.

Enough about using cake as a base, as my version calls for quick bread instead. After making 2 loaves of banana bread the other day, I decided to use part of a loaf for my own individual-sized trifles. I also had a strong urge to bake with miso, mainly because I had purchased a rather large bag of shiro miso the other week. So this trifle is both banana-and-umami heavy, perhaps not for everyone but try it if it sounds like your sort of thing.

Banana and Miso Butterscotch Trifle for 2 

Note: this trifle does not contain a pudding or custard, making it slightly drier than other versions. (It shouldn’t be an issue with the whipped cream and butterscotch, though.) If you’d like to add a pudding layer, I say go for it!  

1/3 loaf banana bread, cooled to room temperature and cut into 1 1/2 inch slices (*recipe below)

8 teaspoons of Miso Butterscotch Topping (I used the recipe from Christina Tosi in Lucky Peach)

Homemade Whipped Cream (I like mind unsweetened, but feel free to add a bit of sweetener if you’d like)

1 banana, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preparation:

Start with 2 wide rimmed glasses (I used rocks glasses from my bar set). Cube the slices of banana bread. Take enough bread cubes to cover the bottom of one glass.

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Top this banana bread layer with a heaping teaspoon of miso butterscotch. Add a few slices of banana to rest above the butterscotch layer. Next add a heaping tablespoon of whipped cream and spread evenly over the bananas.

Start this process all over again with a layer of banana bread cubes, a teaspoon of miso butterscotch, banana slices, and a tablespoon of whipped cream. Repeat with one more layer if you have enough room. Finish off the trifle with a tablespoon of toasted chopped walnuts.

Repeat the same steps with the other glass. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

*Banana Bread (adapted from Epicurious) 

1 2/3 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup mashed ripe banana

3 tablespoons yogurt or sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (plus additional butter for greasing the pan)

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1/4 cup shiro miso

Preparation:

Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a medium bowl, combine the mashed banana, yogurt, miso, and vanilla.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until fully incorporated, 1 minute.  Add the banana mixture and beat for 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture in 2 batches and stir on low until just mixed together.

Bake for about 50 minutes.

 

 

 

When I Begin To Try Everything At Sugar Club

I might live too close to the Sugar Club.

Anything called Sugar Club might be a tough thing for yours truly to avoid. This is the name of a Thai-dessert-spot-slash-small-Thai-grocery located in Elmhurst, Queens. Although half of the space is dedicated to sit-down treats, I have yet to stay and eat their recommended Romeo Toast or a classic mango with sticky rice. What has made me happy so far is the craziness that is their to-go section. So. Many. Options. If you’re looking to try new Thai snacks, they have a massive array of homemade choices ranging from savory to sweet, from the familiar to the new (that is, if you’re not a Thai native or super-well-versed in Thai cuisine).

The first time I went into Sugar Club, I felt like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory reworked for tropical flavors. The grocery area was filled to the brim with take-home containers full of food. The flavors of taro, pandan, coconut, and tapioca were everywhere. I almost jumped for joy, ready to carry a tower of plastic boxes home for taste testing, but decided to practice some restraint. “I’ll come back soon,” I promised to myself, choosing a single container of black sticky rice for the road. “I will try to return every other week and pick up 3 new options to try.”

Of course it ended up that my take-home options for trip #2 were more limited in scope.  It seemed like they were awaiting a new batch of food on that day. I decided to bring home a container of Woon jelly- basically a Thai Jello- if only because it looked so pretty, as well as a Taro pudding and a coconut cake called Kanom Ba Bin.

The bite-sized jellies were basically what I expected: not too exciting flavor-wise, but pretty to look at. The Kanom Ba Bin were pretty tasty, but my favorite was the taro pudding which was soft and starchy, flavored with coconut, and felt like a very eggy bread custard. The black sticky rice dessert from my first trip, by the way, was also excellent.

I’ll be sure to post another round in a couple of weeks. (remember, practicing restraint…)

Sugar Club is located at 8118 Broadway in Elmhurst, Queens.

 

 

New Year, New Pineapple Cakes

I’m starting off 2017 by breaking open a special gift from the in-laws: a box of SunnyHills pineapple cakes from Taipei. If only I knew about this place when I visited Taiwan in ’14. (Or maybe it’s best that I didn’t, considering how many boxes I might have tried to bring back at once…)  Pineapple cakes aren’t for everyone, nor are they very consistent in quality, flavor, and texture across brands. You kind of have to do your own research to find out which versions you enjoy the most. To me, SunnyHills is one of the best I’ve tried so far. The cake is buttery and crumbly, the fruit filling not too sweet and fresh-tasting. Speaking of fresh-tasting: note that these cakes are preservative-free, making the shelf life extremely short. Works for me as I prefer my dessert not ready to last the ages, Twinkie-style.

SunnyHills ships stateside from Singapore and they even have a cute limited edition 2017 box adorned with chicks here.