Monday, January 31, 2011

Cake O's by Cakes Suzette

Inspired by a post I read on 5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures featuring a product review of Cake O's, I meandered over to the company website to check out what these scrumptious looking bites of dessert were all about. I discovered Cakes Suzette an online bakery based out of Los Angeles. Their signature product is the Cake O, a tasty treat measuring about 1 1/2 inches in diameter made in small batches to ensure freshness, with flavorful frosting coated in rich velvet chocolate. Cakes Suzette prides itself on the use of quality ingredients including cage free eggs, rich Belgium chocolate, fresh picked lemons and vanilla from the Sonoma Syrup Company. Impressed with what I'd discovered, I sent the company an inquiry and was contacted by Ira, the VP of Sales and Marketing. The thought of trying Cake O's had me extremely delighted and I was happy my inquiry was met with such a welcome response. Less thank a week later, I received a gift box fastened with a lime green bow that revealed a Cake O's Assorted Sampler.These cakes were not what I expected, in a good way. A very good way. A dense batter strikes a balance of semi moist cake that is just shy of being considered overly rich; in some instances containing bits of the feature ingredient melting into each bite of cakey goodness. Natural frosting that is void of any overpowering or artificial sweetness is infused and the round nugget is coated in chocolate that cracks gingerly in your mouth before melting into your taste buds. This is not your typical light and fluffy batter or whipped cake frosting. The cakes, to me, are an innovative play on a classic box of chocolates. In the Red Velvet Cake O, tiny chocolate chips are laced within the red batter infused with cream cheese frosting and topped with white chocolate.
First impression: That's a damn good cake.
Mocha was up next, the chocolate cake has cappuccino and espresso chips inside, is infused with coffee butter cream icing, coated in chocolate and topped with an espresso bean. The coffee flavors were mild, taking a backseat role, or perhaps were overpowered by rich chocolate. On the contrary, the Chocolate Peanut Butter was bursting with creamy nutty flavors. The peanut butter frosting graces the taste buds right off the bat. The chocolate cake has peanut butter chips baked in so even more bursts of the feature ingredient is laced throughout each bite. Chocolate Peanut Butter takes the cake! (In other words, it was my favorite.) Next up was the Lemon Cake, where the aforementioned fresh picked lemons come into play. Tart citrusy batter mingles with sweet raspberry frosting, followed by rich white chocolate that shatters into a melty crumble. If you prefer fruit to chocolate, this bright and refreshing flavored Cake O is for you. The classic Vanilla Chocolate is vanilla cake baked with chocolate chips, combined with bittersweet chocolate frosting and covered in milk chocolate. This cake embodied a lighter fluffier texture in comparison to the others.
And finally, the Carrot Cake, decorated appropriately, combines traditional cream cheese frosting with a white chocolate finish. This cake was exceptionally moist and super flavorful. I enjoyed sampling these over the course of the weekend (way to filling to eat all in one sitting) as well as Cakes Susette's Mallomore Bars made with organic gram cracker, homemade marshmallow, and rich dark chocolate. The products tasted unbelievably fresh, especially having traveled all the way from the West Coast. You can purchase Cake O's in quantities ranging from 6 to 36 pieces in flavors including what I've sampled above as well as Chocolate Mint, Brownie, Coconut and Spiced Pecan. Many thanks to Ira for providing me the opportunity to sample Cakes Suzette's truly unique and amazingly flavorful signature products.

Friday, January 28, 2011

January Round Up: Eats

You got the round up of drinks yesterday, today lets focus on the food! So far, I've been keeping good on my new years resolution. Pictured are of some of the meals I prepared this month that didn't involve a post all their own. They don't require a detailed recipe, but were photo worthy all the same.


{Breakfasts}
Eggs In A Basket are a pretty self explanatory not to mention super fun breakfast.
Last time I made them with Scali bread, which in comparison holds up to the runny egg better than this flimsy brand of wheat bread I had on hand.
In retrospect, I probably could have toasted them in the pan a little longer.
Don't forget to toast the punched out holes. I smeared them with a touch of blackberry jam.A two egg and Swiss cheese omlette with spinach, onion and tomato hits the spot on Sunday morning.
So I make messy omlettes. It happens.

{Dinners}
Crispy fried Eggplant Parmesan rounds are an addictive meal. Hot off the saute pan, I pop them like potato chips.
Eggplant parm was a staple in my Mom's kitchen; these are her inspiration and always bring back memories of childhood.
To prepare, first I peel an eggplant, then slice it width wise. Next, I dust the individual slices with flour, drench them in a whisked egg and coat in an Italian breadcrumb and Parmesan cheese mixture. Finally, I fry them up in vegetable oil, about 3 minutes per side or until golden brown. These are best served hot with pasta and red sauce. They do keep nicely as leftovers for lunch, however, the texture will be softer and subdued compared to perfectly crispy bites from the night before. On this particular night I paired rottini with a butter-garlic-tomato-basil sauce. Are you ever in the mood for butter and pasta like that picky 8 year old child who won't eat anything else? Because sometimes I am.
Tacos! Always tacos!
For a 100% no fuss week night meal.
Corn shell, ground beef + seasoning packet, cheese, sour cream, tomato and avocado. Done.I even spiced up the latest edition with leftover Nacho Corn Soup!
Perfectly ripe avocado for the win!
A smorgasbord meal included leftovers + a baked potato + roasted brussel sprouts. The potato was baked for 1 hour at 450 degrees and smothered in sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese. Near East boxed rice pilaf always leaves leftovers. And from my Bourbon Apple Pork Chops dinner I created a side of green apple & corn salsa.The best part of this meal is tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted along with the potatoes but only for about 15 minutes. Yes, that would be the brussels sprouts.

Happy Friday! This felt like the week that would never end. Hope you all have fun plans for the weekend. Mine include a trip to the Sam Adams Brewery and an evening out with friends.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

January Round Up: Drinks

Winter brews, red wines and hot cocktails top the list this month!
From the Wine Bottega on Hanover Street a Gianna Bonarda Vivace 2007 which is a mildly tannic, slightly sparkling frizzante from the Oltrepò Pavese region of Lombardia, Italy. And how cute is the St. Bernard on the label? A regular old Beethoven if you ask me! I love shopping at the Wine Bottega because they seek out an unusual selection of wines from around the world. This Italian bottle had my interest peaked this month. From Hanover Street Liquors a Jade Mountain Merlot.
I find this Merlot to be a well balanced approachable wine with a rich texture that bodes well for wintertime sipping. It features flavors of dark cherry and plum that mingle with hints of exotic Asian spices and cinnamon. (Note the BCAE wine topper from BFB Launch Swag bag!) Harpoon Winter Warmer is a dark copper ale that is smooth and medium bodied spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. It is a staple six pack in my winter rotation along with Brooklyn Brewery Winter Ale. Released in 2009 this beer influenced by Scottish ales boasts sweet malty flavors balanced by brisk hops and rich notes of bread. My goodness my Guinness! No explanation necessary. Except maybe this post. Pretty Things created a seasonal winter brew and named it Our Finest Regards giving thanks to those who love and support great beer and their project. Described as an English Barleywine this beer is seriously unique and intensly flavorful. It tastes of sweet flavors like caramel and malted milk balls, intermingled with juicy fruits. It finishes with a mild bitterness that balances the initial sweet flavors. It's definitley the type of beer where you can drink one (large bottle) and be done (buzzed / full). A new favorite this month includes the Hot Toddy.
The soul warming whiskey and green tea based cocktail deserved a post all it's own.And last but not least, be sure to check out my guest post on Travel Wine Dine where I shared my recipe for a Hot Buttered Rum!
What are you drinking to stay warm this winter?