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Archive for September, 2010

I’m Baking Too

In addition to my reviews, I’m going to take a “stab” at baking! See all my baking attempts on my new page!

https://thesweettruths.wordpress.com/baking-2/

Enjoy!

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What Might Have Been

Like any young grad out of college, I had big plans. I was going to take the summer off—travel, lay by the pool, hang out with friends, relax, and do whatever my heart desired. Then, in August I was going to move to Kansas City and find a job. Simple, right?

Well, I did check off many things off my to-do list, except one thing… find a job. When August rolled around and I was moving my belongings to my new apartment in the city, I stumbled across an interesting job:

Wanted: A morning assistant for a cupcake bakery

My eyes glistened, my heart smiled. What an amazing job that would be! Granted, the pay wasn’t great (would need to find a second job) and the hours were a bit difficult (early morning hours). But still, I could work in a bakery… with cupcakes!

To make a long story short, I ended up not getting the job or even applying. I was offered a more “big girl” job before I even hit SEND on my application.

“Why all the history?” you ask. It leads me up to my next review. The place I “seriously considered trying to work for” was BabyCakes and is the next one in the hot seat!

BabyCakes is located in the River Market, just north of downtown Kansas City. The River Market is the city’s oldest neighborhood and is home to many shops and restaurants, and hosts the city’s (and I believe, country’s) best farmer’s market.

For today’s sweet taste test, I chose the vanilla buttercream and vanilla cupcake.


Taste

Cake
Very dense and heavy.

Frosting
Creamy, but VERY buttery! It was almost as if I grabbed a stick of butter, drenched it in vanilla and flavorings, and whipped it up for a bit. For this reason, I’m sure they’re using the real stuff! The sugar sprinkles on top ruined the frosting. Frosting is meant for savoring, but with little crunchy things, it was hard to enjoy.

Presentation
The little cake looked like a ray of sunshine. The frosting looked so cute sitting on top the cupcake. Looking in the glass case was like looking at a litter of little puppies. Each one looked adorable, had their own personality, and was just hoping to go home with you.

I thought their storefront was great. They had a sign with a cupcake drawn and an arrow pointing to their door. How clever! Inside, they had great merchandise too. Books, candles, cupcake stands —just about anything a cupcake fan would swoon over.

Customer service was superb. Immediately when I walked in, Paul who works there and knows one of the owners really well, started chatting up a storm. What was supposed to be a couple-minute “in and out” thing, turned into a ten minute conversation and left I smile on my face! It’s sad to report that in today’s world customer service is something that is put on the back-burner, when in all reality, it should be number one. Very impressive, BabyCakes!

Sweet Endings
Although, I loved the store and the people, I wasn’t sold on the cupcakes. Were they good? Yes. Would I eat them again? Perhaps. Are they my favorite? No. Also, I felt that the price was a little too much for the size of the cupcake ($2.25 plus tax for a regular size. Jumbo and mini’s are also available).

If you happen to be down in the historic River Market, swing on by. You’ll be greeted by many smiling faces—both from the cupcakes and BabyCakes staff!

BabyCakes
108 E. Missouri Ave.
Kansas City, MO 64106
http://www.babycakeskc.com/

For more information about the River Market, visit http://kansascityrivermarket.com/

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Cupcakes on Wheels

“Why go to the cupcake, when the cupcake can come to you?”

I first discovered 3 Girls Cupcakes through a blog I tumbled across. Instantly, I became intrigued. So, I ventured to their website, where I learned that they are Kansas City’s first mobile cupcakery.

A mobile cupcakery? I didn’t know there was such a thing. I like what I’m reading, so I continue on. Next, I see that 3 Girls Cupcakes is a van that roams Kansas City’s central corridor during the lunchtime hours. They come out with daily “cruise” schedule to inform customers of their whereabouts. Then, at the designated times, the van shows up and the people walk up to order their afternoon treat. By this point, I couldn’t sit still, I had to try their cupcakes!

The very next day, I wrote down their entire cruise schedule, watched the clock like a hawk, and headed out to find the van during lunch. I first drove by a stop location at Grand and Pershing. As I was pulling up, looking for parking spots while keeping my eyes peeled for the van, I finally see the van as it was closing up shop.

Darn.

I slow my car to a steady pace, position my rearview mirror on the van, and creep towards the next stop on the list, 17th and Main. By now, I’m giggling like a little school girl. This was the point I realized that I just crossed the line from being a “curious bystander” to “stalker”! After circling the block, I park a few cars behind the van. Once I see the awning open, I casually get out of my car and make my way to the window.

I get to chatting with the owner, hearing all about her cupcakes and how she got started. I review her menu and immediately pick out a vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream.

Taste
Heavenly.

Cake
The cake was very light, tasty, and fit perfectly with the flavors of the frosting. It was the right consistency, not dense but still full of flavor. I could immediately tell that this is a “made-from-scratch” cake unlike any other that I have tasted.

Frosting

The frosting was so light, so creamy with a perfect balance of vanilla. I could taste butter that made it a buttercream frosting, but didn’t feel that I was eating a stick of vanilla flavored butter. Again, the frosting and cake were perfect compliments to each other.

Presentation
The vanilla frosting was neatly decorated on top of the cake, with a dollop of chocolate frosting on top. And this was no small cake either! It was definitely a jumbo size cupcake. All of the individual cupcakes came in white paper lunch bags. This is where it got tricky… I had to be very careful transporting the cupcake back. One false move, and bam—it’s gone. One cute thing was the note stamped on the bag… “So, guess what’s inside… 1 cupcake!” That made me smile.

Sweet Endings
This cupcake was the epitome of what I believe cupcakes should taste like. One bite, and I fell in love. Also, the concept of the mobile cupcakery is just too much fun! I do believe that half of my fun and intrigue was the fact you can only get them at certain locations, certain times, and certain days. I felt that I had to work for my cupcake!

However, their concept and livelihood is in part a downfall. Unless you work or live right next to the locations it stops at, or have a flexible lunch schedule, the van is easy to miss.

All in all, these cupcakes are worth a midday trip to downtown Kansas City. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

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Love at First Sight

I fell in love with sugar at a very early age. Growing up, I loved eating frosted sugar cookies, aka Nancy’s cookies, from Nancy’s Cake Creations in downtown Independence, Kan. Immediately after walking in, my eyes were filled with rows and rows of her bright-colored, frosted sugar cookies. I would stare through the glass case, intently sizing up each cookie. Which color looked the prettiest, which cookie looked the freshest, and the deciding factor, which one had the most frosting. Every visit was heavenly.

Well, like most small town shops, Nancy’s time had come to close. Since then, a few bakeries took its place. Today, the shop is Uptown Sweets.  Still staying true to the store’s history, it is a specialty cake shop that offers a daily selection of cookies, cupcakes, and candy. And, of course, you can still buy the infamous frosted sugar cookie.

For today’s sweet tooth satisfaction, I order the vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting.

Presentation
Disappointing. The frosting look sloppy, a few sugar sprinkles were thrown on top. Looks like something I would find in the average mom’s kitchen, who has little or no experience with baking. I’ve seen some of their beautifully decorated cakes, so I don’t understand how this could be that sub par.

Taste
Different than what I had expected.

Cake – very light and fruity, with a lemon twist. Tastes exactly like a common wedding cake flavor – lemon with raspberry filling and white buttercream frosting. I was half-expecting to find some raspberry filling sneaked inside this cake!

Frosting – Crisp top, with a very smooth and creamy center. Very light vanilla taste, wasn’t overbearing (again, still thinking I might find some raspberry!). Great thing about this frosting is it would make for easy transporting. With the stiff top, you wouldn’t have to worry about the cake falling over in your container, smashing the beautifully decorated cupcake. (Although in this case, it may have helped the cupcake.)

The taste of the frosting was very familiar to me. Have you ever made the traditional frosting recipe from Wilton? If you have, then that’s what this particular frosting tastes like. If you haven’t, go to Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, pick up the Wilton Course 1 Kit, make the frosting, and then imagine it with a lemon wedding cake, and bam – you have a cupcake from Uptown Sweets.

My favorite thing about the store was the Kid’s Cupcake Coloring Korner. Kid’s could color their own cupcake artwork, and if desired, put it on the community display board. A very nice touch for the little visitors.

Sweet Endings
It’s worth a visit. Like any small town bakery, it has charm, character, and friendly people. Go for the sugar cookie. Nothing on their menu can top my favorite childhood memory. After all, it was the first time I fell in love.

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My Backstory

Sugar is addicting.  Just like any other drug out there on the market, sugar is a drug.  Have you ever gone through sugar withdrawals?  Headaches, dizziness, and visions of chocolate, cookies and candy dance in your dreams, an uncontrollable desire to devour some sweet, anything sweet (even something as sweet looking as a little baby)?  Well folks, it’s true.  I’ve gone through the pain and torture of giving up sweets.  This spring, I realized that I should take my health and nutrition into my own hands.  So, I started seeing a holistic nutritionist, who was going to help me develop a personalized nutrition plan.  How cool is that?!  As the day approached for our first meeting, I started getting really pumped.  I had daydreamed about all the amazing things she was going to tell me, show me, and teach me to revamp my eating habits.  It was going to be a perfect symbolic relationship.  

Our first meeting—after extensively going through my current eating habits, eating habits as a child, family history, personal life, external life… you name it; she assigned the task of keeping a food journal for two weeks.  Piece of cake.  Done and done.  

Our second meeting—“Emily, I need you to complete a natural three week cleanse.  First week, eat just fruits and vegetables.  Second week, go ahead and add in some good ole whole grains.  Third week, let’s move you up to the proteins.”  

I’m sitting there, a little bit uneasy, but hey—this is only for three weeks; it can’t be that bad, right?!  

“Oh, and by the way, you must avoid at all costs sugar, alcohol, coffee, and anything processed.”  

WHAT? Hold the phone.  You’re telling me to do what now?!  Processed food? Fine, I can remove that.  Alcohol?  Well that will make for a mellow weekend, so okay.  Coffee? You must be completely out of your mind?  I’ve been drinking a half pot of coffee daily for the last “who knows how long” and now you’re telling me to go cold turkey?  Sugar?  You mean everything sweet and delicious that is sitting right next to the vegetables in the pecking order of my food chain?  You must be crazy… absolutely crazy.  

Thinking back, I don’t know who was most crazy… her, for assigning the plan or me, for agreeing to it.

So, for all you out there that don’t believe me when I say “sugar is addicting,” you haven’t try to give it up for three weeks straight.  No baby steps, no three week step program, no sugar patch (side note, that could be a good idea.  If you run with it, I’ll give it a try), nothing… zero… zilch.  Only then will you understand.

So, where does that leave me now?  I’m off to find the best, the worst, and everything in between, sugar sensations to satisfy my sweet tooth.  I’ll be sampling the finest sweet creations and giving you a full report of my sweet findings.  I know it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it!

Sit back, relax, and come back to see what “truths” I’ve discovered in the world of “sweet”.

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