Thursday, November 27, 2014

Whiskey Cake Bakery & Cafe - Bangkok, Thailand

Happy Thanksgiving! Here's another throwback from my travels in Southeast Asia last fall! Enjoy!

After a hectic few days in Bangkok I found myself with a free day to explore. I hoped to find cupcakesbut my adventures took me to more touristy destinations like the giant golden Buddha temple and Asiatique.

After spending time walking around and almost melting from the heat I happened upon whiskey cake bakery & cafe! Lucky me!!

They had a red velvet with rum cream cake so I jumped at the chance. The cake was served cold making me fear it would be more dense and hard but it was surprising light and airy. The cream frosting lacked a real rum taste but it was smooth and sweet, a perfect addition to the cake.

Red Velvet Cupcake from Whiskey Cake Bakery & Cafe
Sadly the cake had only the slightest hint of chocolate, leaving me wanting more.

Overall it was a good end to a very now night in Bangkok!

Price: 70 baht ($2.13)
Cake: light, airy
Icing: smooth, sweet, not cream cheese
Decorations: simple
Overall Rating: 6/10

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Charly's Bakery - Capetown, South Africa

Another throw back from my travels through South Africa:

After a few days of touring I had another free day to explore the city. I decided to try and find a bakery I had seen when touring the District Six museum, Charly's Bakery. It has been a huge success in Capetown as it is the location for Charly's Cake Angels, a popular TV show on Food Network South Africa.
Outside of Charly's Bakery in Capetown
I loved this bakery right off the bat because they tell their story if how they came to be, showing their pride in their humble beginnings:

"As with most great things, they start far away and humble.
So it was with Charly’s Bakery. It all began with Charly, a 16 year old boy looking for work in a small desert town called Swakopmund. He swept the floor, made puff pastry and washed dishes under the stern guidance of the German Master Baker, until he was allowed to learn the cakes: classics like Black Forest Cake and Sacher Torte.

As with most good stories, there is a woman with long dark hair and a helluva cleavage, who shows up and stirs the pot. Her entrance and their union resulted in two beautiful daughters and a move to Cape Town. First it was Charly’s in Thibault Square, with food made to German perfection. Then onto the V&A Waterfront, where they were famous for “those quiches” and “those cakes!”, “that salad buffet”, not to forget the Eggs Benedict that had people queuing up for hours over long weekends and holidays. It was crazy, so they decided to sell and go smaller.. Yeah Right! You can’t keep a good thing small (or down).

Petit four: Now they have this crazy classic bakery and the girls have joined them.

The colours are brighter, so is the future.

The cakes are sexier, so are the women. The German perfection and standard? Well turn around, it’s still here.

The story unfolds when the woman with the long dark hair and a helluva cleavage had a dream.. A dream of our story in a building where stories were born – Cape Town’s old Jewish bookstore.

This is a story of no fear, of boldly baking where no one has baked before. This is a story of gaining a new daughter. Of hearts making space for new people to love. A story of “magic”, of things working where science says it shouldn’t. Stories of Oompa Loompas, of Luf Luf and Gooi Gooi.

2011 came and a star was shone on the Bakery.
Our story needed to be shared.. and Charly’s Cake Angels was born. Our story came to life with music and pictures. A peephole into the magic of the family of Charly’s Bakery creating cakes in the beautiful City of Cape Town was shared with the world. The public watched with smiles on their faces, glitter in their eyes & love in their hearts. They were inspired!

 2012 and a time of great sadness came upon us.
Our Tata Charly, who brought us all together and taught us so much, became ill and left our world, but not our hearts, on the 25th May 2012. WOW! Heaven scored BIG TIME! We miss our Charly every day & continue to create the magic he inspired in our lives.

Tata Charly, we will meet you again… Somewhere Over The Rainbow"

Charly's Bakery - Mucking Afazing Cakes
I set off around 1 pm on a Saturday which seemed problematic since everything shuts down around noon in Capetown on weekends. I called ahead, thankfully I had that foresight. My hostel helpfully gave me a map and I was on my way! Luckily the walk only took a few minutes, unfortunately it was in the cold wind and I had only a thin sweater. I made it to the bakery in one piece though and was met with a friendly, funky atmosphere. The place was very crowded, signaling to me that the products would be worth the wait. There were many cupcakes available with fun names like the Cookie Monster and the vanilla fu fu.

Cookie Monster Cupcakes
Elmo Cupcakes
Chocolate Cupcakes with some fun sayings
The decorations were well done, artistic and tasteful. The red velvet cupcakes had a cream icing with a rise petal garnish, giving an elegant look to the cupcake.

The glorious red velvet cupcakes

Red Velvet Cupcakes from Charly's Bakery

Red Velvet & Chocolate Cupcake
With high hopes and fork in hand I dove in. Sadly the top of the cupcake was very hard, not quite burnt but definitely over cooked. The icing was very sweet, almost too sweet for the cake itself. The middle of the cake was soft and airy but still a bit over cooked. Overall the cake was disappointing because of the texture and taste. There was still no chocolate taste!

Chocolate Cupcake - I ♥ SA!

Price 19 rand
Cake: overcooked, slightly burnt top, overcooked and dry throughout middle
Icing: very sweet
Decorations: simple, elegant
Overall: 5/10
Website: Charly's Bakery

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

La Segunda Bakery - Tampa, Florida

One of the greatest advantages of working in a smaller clinic, is being able to get to know my co-workers more personally. Whenever I'm working at the Ybor Youth Clinic (YYC), I have the opportunity to work with some really amazing people, who are nothing but sweet, just like cupcakes!

Sometimes we get special treats, my teammates here at the YYC bring some bakery sweets. This time, we got to enjoy some delicious baked goods from La Segunda Bakery in Tampa. I had previously tried when a co-worker from DACCO was leaving, we threw her a goodbye fiesta with treats from La Segunda. This time, instead of cookies and pineapple cake, I got to try the red velvet cupcake! I didn't even know they had cupcakes!

Red Velvet Cupcake from La Segunda Bakery
The cupcake looked delicious. No doubt I was excited for this treat. When I took my first bite, I noticed that the frosting wasn't the traditional cream cheese. I quickly got over my disappointment and moved on to the cake. I had to take a few bites of the cake alone since the frosting was really sweet. The cake itself was very light and airy, some bits were almost underbaked. The taste was hinting at a cocoa flavor, which I enjoyed. I wish there was a little more though.

Red Velvet Undressed - Scandalous!
Overall, the cupcake was great. It was really delicious and quenched my desire, temporarily, for a red velvet cupcake. It's not perfect, but it definitely got me back on track to find the one red velvet to rule them all.

The adventure continues!

Price: $1.25
Cake: light, sweet, airy
Icing: sweet, vanilla frosting
Decorations: simple
Overall Rating: 6/10
Website: La Segunda Bakery

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ybor Saturday Market Annual Cupcake Festival

Recently, I got the opportunity to visit and write about the Ybor Saturday Market Annual Cupcake Festival for CakeSpy, a huge baking blog!

Here's a sweet sample of the post:

Ybor Saturday Market Annual Cupcake Festival 
Saturday, October 18th, 10:00am – 3:00pm

Since I moved to Tampa, I have been looking forward to this day. As a cupcake enthusiast, I have been searching for a festival that honors the glory that is the cupcake. After returning to the U.S. from Uganda, I did a great deal of research, looking for festivals or special days for cupcakes. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very successful…until I looked in Tampa.

Every Saturday, the city of Ybor hosts a Saturday market. Most Saturdays it a market where individuals promote their small businesses by selling items. There is also a fresh produce market and various food stalls. Once a year, in the fall, there is a special themed Saturday Market especially devoted to cupcakes. On this day, cupcake bakeries from all over the Tampa Bay area are welcome to show off their best and most delicious treats.

This year amateur bakeries were also encouraged to join in the festivities, including a cupcake competition. Bakers were judged on presentation as well as taste.

For the full posting and more great photos, please check out Sweet Scenes from the Ybor Saturday Market Annual Cupcake Festival