sometimes you just need a symphony of sweet

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After a tough morning, I decided to return to my beloveds: flour, sugar and butter. I scrolled through a few years of baked goods to rediscover the sweets that made me smile when I unearth them from the oven. Here are a few of my favorites.

From L-R: Sir Francis Crumb Cakes {how stalwart + regal!} | Blueberry Muffins {the moment when I didn’t screw them up.} | Chocolate Ganache Birthday Cake {probably the best cake I’ve ever baked} | Chocolate Babka {this was a three-day Odyssey} | Kouign-Amann {the notion that I’d baked something resembling a croissant was a personal triumph} | Orange Olive Oil Bundt Cake {this cake made me a bundt believer} | Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting {my favorite cake in miniature!} | Chocolate Chunk Cookies {best ever} | Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread {you’ll wake at 3AM craving this}

chocolate whoopie pies

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Children, of course, begin life with an untarnished sense of wonder, a capacity to experience total joy at something as simple as the greenness of a leaf; but as they grow older, the awareness of death and decay begins to impinge on their consciousness and subtly erode their joie de vivre, their idealism — and their assumption of immortality. The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death — however mutable man may be able to make them — our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light. — excerpted from a 1968 Playboy interview with Stanley Kubrick by Eric Nordern

I was a ransacker, dime store marauder and a bodega regular. My drug of choice was bags of cheese doodles, coconut ice cream, snake-long plastic tubes of ice, whose colors bordered on psychedelic, and cartons upon cartons of Little Debbie cakes. The cakes were delicate, individually wrapped, and unlike its scrappy doppelgangers, the Ring Ding, Ding Dong, and Ho Ho, Little Debbie cakes had class, a certain elan. I fashioned stories about the freckled girl in the large hat, imagined her living in the Swiss Alps or somewhere foreign, like Montana, and this foreignness, this immutable sense of innocent pleasure, made me love the cake more.

I got surgical with my after-school treats. Kicking the bags of orange puffs off my bed, I maintained an exclusive, almost obsessive relationship, with the Cocoa Creme. Back then the packaging was a stark white box festooned with a smiling Debbie — my secret confidante — and a cake with a chocolate lattice exterior, and insides that yielded to the tongue. The cake crackled, gave way to luscious sweet cream and pillows of cake.

Sometimes I’d save the plastic wrappers — my affection was that deep. When my local bodega or drug store sold out of my favorite cakes, I was apoplectic, on the verge of frenzy. Forced to settle for the wretched Devil Dog, I regarded my sweet with disdain. What kind of low-rent subversive devours a dessert named after a DOG? Never mind the devil. What kind of feeble-minded simpleton takes pleasure in a Ho-Ho or Ring-Ding — cheap monikers that held none of the poetry of my beloved Debbie, and her hair that gleamed red.

Those days were dark, my friends, and I often ate my second-tier sweets in silence, writing stories about little girls falling out of windows. I was ten then, and my writing set off five-alarm fires with guidance counselors. My mother was routinely called into my guidance counselor’s office to talk abut my stories. They were disturbing, dark, and my mother proceeded to read them aloud, and pronounced them good. Maybe something was happening at home, they politely queried, as I sank lower into my seat. Of course something was happening. Something was always happening in my house, whether it was my mother’s face shoved through a glass table or strange men pounding on our door asking for the money we always, inevitably, owed.

But that wasn’t why I wrote about girls hanging from shower rods or falling out of windows. That wasn’t why I ballooned from eating boxes of Little Debbie cakes until I got sick. Teachers begged me to write about flowers and ponies and all of the fanciful stock, but I was confused. I thought a story wasn’t a story unless someone died in the end. Because someone always dies, I said. After a while, the guidance counselors stopped asking questions and I ate my cakes and wrote my stories.

Decades later, I’ve replaced the Little Debbie cake with the whoopie pie, and I’m balancing the thing that comes natural to me — writing out the dark as if it were a sermon — with mouthfuls of light. I’ve been thinking of assembling a book of stories, recipes, illustrations, photo journeys — a life lived for food. This wouldn’t be the sort of book that offers a poignant story and a recipe at the end (eh-hem, my blog posts), but recipes, images, quotes, songs, illustrations, food, would be woven throughout. All told in vivid, wondrous color.

I’m still mulling this over, the kind of form this book would take and the sort of stories I’d write, but it’s exciting to see a small girl with her cakes and her pen grow into a woman with her cakes and her pen.

INGREDIENTS: Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented.
For the cookies
3½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
1¼ tsp baking powder
1¼ tsp baking soda
¾ cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp instant espresso powder (ground coffee is just fine)
1/2 cup hot coffee
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar (or coconut cane sugar is fine)
3/4 cups grapeseed, safflower or canola oil
1 large egg, room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature, shaken

For the Swiss vanilla filling
5 large egg whites
1½ cups sugar
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, cool but not cold
¼ tsp salt
1½ tsp pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, and set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together the cocoa and espresso powder. You can also use coffee grinds {I typically don’t have espresso on hand, so I’ve got some yummy ground coffee} and the flavor will be just fine. Add the hot coffee and 1/2 cup hot water and whisk until both powders are completely dissolved.

In a medium bowl, stir the brown sugar and oil together. Add this to the cocoa mixture and whisk until combined. Add the egg, vanilla and buttermilk and whisk until smooth.

Using a rubber spatula to gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. I didn’t dump in all the flour at once, rather, I folded in the flour in three batches. When each batch was absorbed by the liquid, I added more in. Make sure to scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl as you fold. Your dough, once smooth, will become a little tight to mix. Don’t freak out, this is how it’s supposed to feel. This is not the pouring batter, it’s thick, much like regular cookie batter.

Use a small ice cream scoop with a release mechanism to drop heaping tablespoons of the dough onto the prepared baking sheets about 1-inch apart. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to crack on top and a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean. I made my cookies quite large (I made 8 in total), so the cooking time ran to approximately 17 minutes.

Let the cookies cool completely on the pans while you make the Swiss vanilla filling. Onward!

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites and sugar together. I use cane sugar rather than granulated. I say this because when you heat the sugar the mixture won’t be milky white as the recipe prescribes, and that is OKAY. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water but do not let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Heat the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved and the color is milky white, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium-high speed (start slowly at first) until smooth and fluffy, about 5-6 minutes. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with the paddle attachment. Add the cubed butter and beat on medium-high speed (start slowly at first) until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. If the buttercream looks like it is breaking, don’t worry, it will eventually come together. In retrospect, I think I could’ve gotten away with much less butter, possibly saving a whole stick. I plan to try this again in the future, and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Add the salt and vanilla and beat for 5 seconds to combine. Now you’re ready to assemble your whoopie pies!

Turn half of the cooled cookies upside down (flat side facing up).

Use an ice cream scoop or a tablespoon to drop a large dollop if filling onto the flat side of the cookie. Place another cookie, flat side down, on top of the filling. Press down slightly so that the filling spreads to the edges of the cookie. Repeat until all the cookies are used. Put the whoopie pies in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up before serving.

The whoopie pies will keep for up to 3 days, on a parchment-lined baking sheet covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator. Bring the whoopies to room temperature before serving.

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blueberry poppy seed butter cake

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To say that I’ve overdosed on blueberries would be an understatement. This weekend alone, I made a blueberry galette, a free-form pie and this luscious butter cake. I have to confess that this cake was my favorite among the three. It harkened back to lemon poppy seeded muffins and freshly-picked wild blueberries boiled hot, spilled onto the top of the muffin or spread as a layer of preserves on the insides. The cake is austere in its simplicity, and balanced in taste. This is the sort of dessert you rationalize as breakfast, so much so that I’ve decided to quarantine the CAKE, the PIE, and the GALETTE.

Sometimes it’s possible to have too many desserts in one day. {epic sigh}

INGREDIENTS: Adapted from Alice Water’s forthcoming cookbook, The Art of Simple Food II. Watch out for my forthcoming review on Medium.
For the cake
1 large egg, room temperature
2 lemons, zest grated (2 tsp)
2 cups blueberries, stems removed
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour + 1 tbsp flour for mixing the berries
2 tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup creme fraiche, room temperature
8 tbsp (1 stick) of unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar

For the glaze
1 cup of powdered sugar (the original recipe called for a 1/3, but this didn’t work)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp milk (or just enough to reach a drizzling consistency)

DIRECTIONS
Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9inch springform pan and dust with flour. Gently stir the blueberries, sugar and nutmeg in a medium bowl and set aside. In another medium bowl, stir the flour, poppy seeds, baking soda and salt until all the ingredients are well mixed.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the egg and lemon zest and keep mixing. When well mixed, alternate adding the flour mixture and creme fraiche, starting and ending with 1/3 of the flour. Stir just until the flour is incorporated. Spread the batter into a prepared pan, spreading the mixture one inch up the sides of the pan to make a depression in the center. Stir the berries and add the tablespoon of flour. This will ensure that the berries don’t just sink to the bottom. Pour the blueberries into the center of the batter and bake for 45-50 minutes.

While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze. Drizzle it over the warm (not hot — let the cake cool for 3-5 minutes) cake. When cool, run a knife along the edge of the pan and lift out of the form.

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rose bakery tea room at le bon marché, paris

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She was calm and quiet now with knowing what she had always known, what neither her parents nor Aunt Claire nor Frank nor anyone else had ever had to teach her: that if you wanted something to do something absolutely honest, something true, it always turned out to be a thing that had to be done alone. ― Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road

In the end, all cities bleed back to New York. All cities are a great, sweeping metropolis where the motley lot stack horizontal in subway cars and pretend to ignore the downtrodden who’ve taken shelter in makeshift homes constructed of cardboard boxes on the sidewalk. They sleep with pets or in pairs, but mostly alone. We’re told not to give, to report, to move right along, and whether we know it or not, we’ve become expert editors, excising all that is not beautiful out of the frame. The uncomfortable, the unsightly, never stays in the picture.

In the city, we wait on an endless succession of lines. We’re told to complete forms, bring identification, and you’ll notice we’re closed nearly twenty-four hours a day. We wake up, we work, we complain about work (and sometimes explore our options, but never really deviating too far), we work out and get drunk and go to sleep. We travel in packs; rarely do we drift from our spheres of influence unless it’s strategic. We’re card-players without ever having learned the rules of the game. But we play, and we sometimes win (dumb luck) or blame others for a bum hand (what the fuck?). In the city, we ridicule other cities and treat them like they’re quaint and provincial specks on a map should we ever visit. The country is for sleeping and the ocean is for taking pictures of our feet. Our constant struggle is the weather, and how, like the porridge, it’s never just right. We subscribe to dozens of newsletters, follow and befriend the right people, so that we’re constantly informed, always connected. Interesting how we’re vociferous about our left leanings, but keep close to the class that binds us.

There are no accidents. Arbitrary is a word that doesn’t exist in our vocabulary. This is the formula, the regimen to which we’ve subscribed, and the days become photocopies of themselves with minor variation.

But I swore Paris was not like this. It somehow escaped the drone of mobile phone alarm clocks and a rain that chills you to down to bone. PARIS! NOT PARIS!

I’ve spent the greater part of the past decade writing an ode to Paris. From the peonies painted pink to clusters of blush roses, to steamy baguettes wilting paper sacks and pink skies settling on the Seine, from cobalt blue doors and balconies for which arias were written, to manicured gardens and trains that hurtle into the countryside — it’s easy to romanticize Paris. It’s new, all talcum powder on the body and cut grass. We’ve yet to develop our blinders; we haven’t lived in the home that refuses to heat. We haven’t dragged four pieces of luggage through the underground metro system in the middle of rush hour.

Last fall, I gave serious thought to leaving a job that was slowly killing me. In three years I went from a person who created, who thrived off of the relationships I’d cultivated with others, to a person who sent all-cap emails that read, CASH MONEY. To a person who worked all hours, rescheduled, cancelled and spent months ordering take-out. In September, in Paris, I wondered about the woman I had become. Who am I? This realization was terrifying, it implied major alterations had to be made, and it was a reality of which I wasn’t ready to confront. Instead, I created this bombastic love affair with Paris. Much like April in Revolutionary Road — making Paris bigger than it is, so much so that she gets crushed by the enormity of her hope and the inevitability of her heartbreak — this affair was a cringe-worthy hot mess, replete with French lessons and culinary school research.

It took me ten years to realize that the luggage comes along for the ride no matter how beautiful the scenery.

While Paris is remarkable, magical even, it’s still a city that demands one live in it with eyes open. Part of me wishes that I would’ve taken that trip to Bordeaux, kept the romance alive for a little while longer. Stretch out the dream, slip into it, face full of childish sleep and wild hair. But I’m awake, band-aids ripped off and the bright lights flicked on. I leave Paris tomorrow for New York, ready to leave but not quite ready to go home.

Stop asking, stop checking. I don’t know. {emphatically} Start being there. Start accepting the in-betweens. {emphatically} I want to find my way back to myself. I want something sweeping, unsettling and great.

But first, a day of solitude. Of quiet. Of sitting uncomfortably in one’s thoughts. Inspired by infectious energy and beautiful photography on Paris in Four Months, Carin inspired me to take a trip to Rose Bakery, located on the second floor of Le Bon Marché. I spent the morning reading, eating muesli, scones, and banana chocolate loaves in a delightful tea room cloaked in effulgent light. While the tea room is decidedly expensive ($6 for a cappuccino?), it was a gift to myself, a lovely quiet morning before the impending storm.

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strong coffee: telescope, paris

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Who knew a coffee joint could accrue such mass adoration? That a single cup of brew could send the motley lot singing? Enter Telescope, the very revered coffee shop that has managed to elevate Paris’ once-tepid coffee game. Once you enter, you have your pick from a slim menu of espresso, filter coffee, noisette or white coffee, and watch as your coffee is ground to order using a Kalita Wave filter in concert with an Über Boiler. Pull up a chair and chat with the owners or friendly barista, who won’t admonish you for your appalling French, and fawn over the miniature cakes and a filtered coffee experience that feels borderline luxurious.

le loir dans la théière, paris

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You could say that I went a little crazy when I left CDG. As soon as I reached my hotel, I raced up the stairs, dropped my luggage, and fled out into the street. Hair matted, wearing a mismatch of pale blue, I armed myself with a list of places to go. I was ready for Paris because I was wearing elastic.

As a lot of blogs have fallen to blight lately, have become all starry-eyed over the foliage that is the American dollar and how many sponsored posts it affords you, I’ve pared down my daily reads considerably. However, Paris in Four Months is a mainstay, not only for the lush, bleached-white photography, but for the easy simplicity to which Carin presents her finds. When reading her posts, one feels as if they’re fingering antique jewels in a music box. Thus, I made a point of jotting down some of her favorite eats, and Le Loir Dans La Théière was at the top of my list.

Named after the dormouse who meets his peril when dunked in the pot at the Mad Hatter’s tea party in Alice In Wonderland, the cozy eatery is far from nefarious. The plush, mottled couches and counters teeming with sweets are nothing short of inviting. Located in the heart of the Marais, Le Loir is know for their lemon meringue pie (although they’ve an edited menu of light salads and sandwiches), which towers over you, daring you to finish it to the very last forkful of crème.

Believe me when I say I tried, but in the end, it was: Felicia = 0, Meringue = 1.

I chatted up the locals seated next to me to learn that Le Loir is a favorite. Locals come for long, lazy brunches and late afternoon sweet fixes. Clearly we got our fix as we wiped our plates clean and fled into the night.

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living the sweet life @ little cupcake bakeshop, new york

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Chocolate Brooklyn Brownout Cake @ Little Cupcake Bakeshop, NYC
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I may have needed a crowbar or two, but suddenly my eyes are starting to open. I can see the shape of things, faces are coming into focus — was that you with that great mess of hair and skin that smelled of lilacs and tobacco?, — but I want to take it easy, easy and allow myself to look at the world as if it were the first time I’ve seen it. Over the years I’ve been in alternating states of chrysalis, and part of the journey is understanding and accepting the alterations. Life tailoring, if you will. Those eyes that you’d always known to be brown suddenly blink blue. That Madame Bovary, once a woman for whom you felt sympathy, is now a wanton trollop. That smiling baker who handed you a thick slice of Brooklyn Blackout Cake will transform into Luigi, a Soul Cycle zealot with an affection for batter.

But you have to be ready for the altering, ready to shed what you thought you knew to discover what’s next.

Today I returned to Little Cupcake Bakeshop (that’s my photo in the rotating slide show!), a magical place replete with towering cakes in glass domes and cupcakes with tufts of blond icing. I’ve been to this shop more times than I care to admit, but today was different. Today I paused, got to know some of the lovely folks who run the shop, and savored my cake and coffee.

And wouldn’t you know that the cake I’ve always loved tastes a little different, richer, smokier, sweeter. You just have to open your eyes to it. Each day, I tell myself, the world becomes clearer.

through kitchen windows: whoopie pies, old-school maine style

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My friend Mary is one of those bright lights who can whitewash a dark sky. Could convince you that the sky would be much better pink and you’d believe her. For as long as I’ve known her she’s been in a constant chrysalis, and I have to confess it’s a beautiful thing to see. We found one another at Columbia, and while I tend to write around my heart, Mary has a way with words that yanks that beating heart out of your chest and lays it out to pasture. While I prattle on incessantly about clocks under the floorboards {my fear of time, of death}, she’s spare, honest — unflinchingly so, and you want to be cast in her light, feel the warmth of it.

It occurs to me today that I now know why I’ve always loved The Shining the way I do, with an intensity that sometimes even hard for me to articulate. The whole movie is allegedly a fantastic journey into the heart of darkness, a macabre tête–à–tête, when really it’s about an alcoholic, abusive father who happens to be a terrible writer. As he attempts to write his way out of the mirror that is his own story, his son travels into the recesses of his imagination and he too conjures his way out. In the end, the son is the calculating architect of his father’s demise, while we all walk away and talk about the twins, the bloody elevators and Redrum. The Shining is a series of literary diversions from real, raw pain, and I tend to pick up words like cross-stitch to create a wall between me and you.

It’s not personal.

Perhaps this is why I adore Mary so much. There is no pretense, she plays out her hand. And this is perhaps also why she’s the first subject {perhaps unknowingly} of my mini-series, Through Kitchen Windows. Over the next year I’ll bake and cook the recipes that are near and dear to my friends’ hearts. I also learn the story behind the food {and share what my friends feel comfortable sharing} on this space.

My friend Mary hails proudly from Maine, and today we talked about a different sort of Maine. Not the one we think we know — all L.L. Bean, lobsters, glinting waves and whip-white sails — but of the poverty, the wrecked economy, of the folks who have lived in Maine their whole lives but will never own a boat. But my friend’s pride and passion for her home is infectious, so much so that she radiates when she talks about whoopie pies — a childhood treat. And although I’m tempted to alter this recipe, hide the Crisco, futz with Dutch Process cocoa, I would be doing my great friend a disservice.

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Because this is exactly how she remembers home, and one should never alter that…

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INGREDIENTS: Recipe {and words} courtesy of my sweet gal, Mary Phillips-Sandy, who culled this from two old New England
recipes I found online and some consultation with my mom
.
For the shells
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1 c. light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. salt
1 egg, room temp
1/2 c. cocoa powder (Mary uses and recommends Hershey’s, for that you’re-back-in-grade-school flavor)
1 c. milk (whole, or almond — unsweetened plain)
10 oz. all purpose flour OR 10 oz. Authentic Foods Multi-Blend gluten-free flour*

*Note: if you are using AP flour and don’t have a scale, it’s about 2 1/3c. if you use the gf blend, use a scale for best results. I have not tested this recipe with other GF blends so can’t vouch for them. if you want to experiment, note that the AF multi-blend is made with xanthan gum, so you’d have to add that if you are using a gf blend without it.

For the filling
1 c. Crisco (YES. CRISCO. MUST BE CRISCO.)
1-1 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 c. Marshmallow Fluff (if your store doesn’t carry this, you can order it online from Amazon)
2-3 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt dissolved in 2 tsp. of warm water

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DIRECTIONS
For the shells
Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter till fluffy. Add sugar, cream well. Beat in baking powder, salt, soda and vanilla. Cream well. Add egg. Guess what? Cream well again. Add the cocoa. Cream it. Add the flour and milk, alternating, beating well between each addition. Start and end with flour. Why? I have no idea but recipes always tell you
to do that.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment or Silpat and drop batter on it in scant 1/4 c. scoops. Leave room- these will spread as they bake. You can also use a tablespoon or smaller cookie scoop to make smaller pies. Bake 15-18 minutes (baking time will vary depending on whether you use regular or gf flour, and how big you made your pies). The tops should be dry and firm to the touch. Use a spatula to lift shells onto a wire rack to cool.

Cool completely before filling them, or the filling will melt and you will regret your impatience.

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For the filling
Beat Crisco and Fluff together at high speed until creamy and fluffy. Add dissolved salt and 2 tsp. vanilla. Beat well. Beat in 1 c. confectioner’s sugar. Taste. You might want to add another teaspoon (or even two) of vanilla, depending on how strong your extract is. Beat in another 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar if the mixture is not stiff enough–it should look like very stiff buttercream frosting. If it gets too thick, beat in another 1/4 c. Fluff. This filling is very forgiving–you can add more sugar/Fluff/vanilla to your taste, as long as you maintain the right consistency.

For assembling the pies
Pair shells in twos; try to make pairs of roughly equal sizes/shapes. Spread a healthy amount of filling on the flat side of one shell. Don’t spread all the way to the edge, or it will ooze, but you want the filling to be pretty thick. Sandwich the second shell on top of the filling and press lightly to adhere. These will keep for a day or two. For best results, wrap each pie in plastic wrap and refrigerate in an airtight container.

As we say back home: wicked good.
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fall into a river of earthly delights: little cupcake bakeshop, new york city

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For a day as dreary as this, I firmly believe that the only salve is chocolate — or banana pudding, or peanut butter + jelly cupcakes, or marble cake, or chocolate cloud cupcakes, and so on. Whenever I get a little blue, I escape to The Little Cupcake Bakeshop, because what could possibly go wrong when you’re surrounded by whipped cream, coconut frosting and clinking cups?

Today I took a sweet friend to indulge in some very necessary Brooklyn Blackout Cake. And as Sinead O’Connor so sagely sang: NOTHING COMPARES TO YOU. After sampling desserts in many eateries, I’ve never consumed a cake as rich and delightful as the Blackout served at Little Cupcake. From the rows of seasonal and savory cupcakes — decorated with terracotta sprinkles and pumpkin ganache — to the sinfully rich Oreo cheesecakes to the grandmother-approved banana puddings, I always feel at home at this local Bakeshop. Maybe because good things exist there. As we dove into layers of chocolate and frosting, fork-first, I was reminded of what lies ahead.

When people ask about my ten year plan, I say with conviction that I’ll open a bakeshop. This might be a flight of fancy, but it’s mine and I’m determined to make it happen. From creating digital menus to hunting down a warm, inviting, yet austere space, I dream of the day when I can serve pumpkin pull-apart bread while a friend of mine reads from her book, while another friend hangs his art in the loft above. If I were to create a life for itself, it would involve consulting in social media, baking to my heart’s content, writing books, and sharing my passion with others. Because I’ve learned over the years that I’m not satisfied with being only a writer, or only an executive, or solely a baker — I am happiest when I’m all of these things, at once.

So here’s to lofty dreams and the will and desire to make them come true!
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