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Entries in Cake Hag (4)

Tuesday
May282013

The Doughssant

Introducing the Doughssant, a cross between a doughnut and a croissant and the answer to NYC baker, Dominique Ansel's wildly popular and original version, the Cronut. The Cronut has become so in demand, Dominique had the name trademarked. 

Cronut Mania has created lines that stretch out the door and into the street at Dominique's popular Manhattan bakery. These inventive pastries often sell out less than an hour after the doors open.   

Atlanta resident, Cristy Lenz, brought the Cronut to the attention of her favorite baker, (and mine too) Ms. Maggie Sweeney of Cake Hag. She thought if anyone could make the Cronut taste as delicious as it does up north, it's Maggie. Lucky for the both of us, Maggie was up to the challenge. 

It took Maggie three hours to skillfully craft over 50 layers of croissant dough. This extra time and effort was well worth it in the end. As Maggie shared, "The layers are deliciousness." After the croissant dough was ready, she popped the doughnuts into a deep fryer to brown. 

Next, she topped them with brown sugar...

Then filled them with vanilla bean pastry cream. Kill me with goodness... but wait, there was one more step. 

Maggie's final touch was a dollop of homemade brandied peach puree. Her sweet, southern version is the answer to the northern Cronut...she calls it the Doughssant. 

If you would like the southern made Doughssant, you can order them in batches of 15-18 in various flavors. Contact Maggie here. Just please prepare yourself, there's no way you can eat just one...

 

Photos: Sweet Peach. Cronut pics: Dominique Ansel Bakery    Content: Sweet Peach


Thursday
Dec062012

Christmas Munchies....

Shell and Emily are a mother and daughter team in Charleston, South Carolina. In their little bakery, Butter Blossoms, they create all manner of tea and shortbread cookies. These are perfect for the Christmas munchies...and makes a great hostess gift. 

Rosemary Pine Nut and Chocolate Espresso shortbread cookies sound simply divine ($13.50). All of Shell and Emily's cookies are baked fresh to order and can be shipped anywhere in the US. 

There's something to be said for simplicity done well. These Vanilla Bean shortbread cookies are filled with hundreds of vanilla bean seeds and finished with a light sprinkling of white sanding sugar.  

There are dozens of tasty concoctions to choose from on their site. Don't peruse hungry, you'll want to buy one of everything...

 

If you live in Atlanta, you'd be remiss if you didn't try the incredibly tasty concoctions of Maggie and Katie Sweeney of Cake Hag. They make the best cakes I have ever tasted, hands down. There are many holiday cakes to choose from but Maggie shared her current top three. The above is their Ginger Spice Apple Berry Cake, made with layers of citrus and ginger cream cheese, carmelized apples and cranberries ($30).  

Her 14 Layer Cake, pictured left, is Maggie's sponge cake made with premium chocolate and Grand Marnier liqueur ($35). The Buche de Noel, pictured right, is actually a set of two cakes. One is white chocolate with raspberry mousse and dark chocolate ganache (above) that's paired with a milk chocolate with mocha mousse and milk chocolate ganache ($40 for two). 

 

It's amazing how many options Tookie has in her shop. Based in Arkansas, she has hundreds of tasty jar cakes, gourmet marshmallows and cookie-wiches to choose from. All she does is bake and create, bake and create, and I love her for it. Some of my favorite Christmas offerings from her shop this year are the cookie-wiches. These are two handmade cookies sandwiched together with a big dollup of hand whipped buttercream and ganache in the middle. From top, Christmas Confetti, Green velvet chocolate ganache and the Brownie Peppermint Krunch cookie-wiches. Order them by the dozen, and merrily, merrily, begin to curb the Christmas munchies...

 

Photos: Butter Blossoms; Sweet Peach; Tookies     Content: Sweet Peach


Tuesday
Nov202012

The Best Thanksgiving Pie Ever!

Last time I visited Maggie and Katie Sweeney at my favorite bake shop, Cake Hag, I heard Maggie mention her Caramel Apple Bacon Pie. I immediately said, "Oh I need to shoot that." And I'm so glad I did. I have never tasted a pie as good as this. And it's good timing as Thanksgiving is just around the corner...

INGREDIENTS: 3-4 pounds (weight before peeling) of Granny Smith and a second, less tart apple like Honey Crisp, Mutsu or Crispin; 3/4 cups + 1/2 cup light brown sugar; 3 oz of lean, natural bacon; 2-3 tablespoons unsalted, sweet creamery butter; 1 tablespoon unbleached, all natural, all purpose flour (Whole Foods 365 brand or King Arthur are great choices); 2 teaspoons good quality ground cinnamon; 1/8th teaspoon fresh ground ginger. 

Maggie highly recommends that you use organic apples and split them 2-1, (2 granny smiths for every one Honey Crisp, Mutsu or Crispin apple) Slice these thinly the length of the apple. You'll also want to use a lot of apple. As Maggie shares, "This isn't one of those 'mostly liquid with a little fruit' pie." 

Cut bacon into small pieces and render on low temp until just browned. Remove bacon from pan but leave the rendered fat and add the butter, maintaining low temp, until butter is just melted. Add thinly sliced apples and turn temp to low-medium. 

Add cinnamon, ginger and 3/4 cup brown sugar, strirring frequently to mix and prevent apples from browning on the bottom of the pan. 

Mix the remaining 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon flour. Add flour mixture to the apples when the apples have all started to soften. Pull from heat and keep mixing until all juices, flour and sugars have incorporated into a thin caramel. Allow to cool while you make the topping and crust. Preheat oven to 325 f. (Tip: If your carmelized juice and sugar combo is too thick after adding a small amount of flour, add 2 tablespoons of organic apple cider.) 

Use the same crust recipe as we used for Maggie's other incredible dessert- the Brandied Peach Pie.

Instead of a pie top, use a streusel topping with 1/2 cup flour, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/2 teaspoon of salt. 

Bake the pie for 30 minutes, then check in ten minute increments for done-ness. If you are using a glass plate, you can see if the bottom crust has started to brown. 

If you have no time or desire to bake and live in Atlanta, you can order the Caramel Apple Bacon Pie from Cake Hag today...just in time for Thanksgiving. Maggie is like the mama who makes the best pie in the whole world. If I tried to make this pie 50 times, it still wouldn't taste as good as how Maggie makes it. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am forever grateful to the ladies of Cake Hag...

 

Photos and Content: Sweet Peach 

 

Tuesday
Apr032012

Cake Hag

As soon as I read about mother and daughter team, Maggie and Katie Sweeney in Atlanta, who make delicious and innovative cakes, many with a southern twist, I found my way to their shop Cake Hag. I ordered a piece of their Carolina Carrot Cake filled with incredibly delicious carmelized pineapples. It was, as they say, love at first bite. 

Maggie and Katie recently moved from their storefront location in downtown Atlanta to a kitchen behind a local church in Grant Park. They no longer have their retail space but you can stop by or call to order a cake. And if you do stop by, I bet they'll offer you cake scraps of whatever yumminess they're concocted for the day...

In all her cakes, Maggie uses Swiss and Italian buttercream and stays away from hydrogenation. Her favorite is the butter sponge cake with dark chocolate ganache and a blood orange sangria marmalade. She is known for her Jameson Irish Whiskey pudding cake but I'm dying to try their brandied peaches cake with honey butter or Katie's favorite, bourbon chocolate cake with cookie dough filling. Hungry yet? 

Maggie took a night class on the principles of baking 26 years ago and has been hooked ever since. Her flavor combinations, that have been perfected over time, are spot on. Maggie loves to come up with a new cake idea, sharing "The real fun comes from creating unusual recipes and combos." 

Each week you'll find something different in their kitchen and as all true chefs will attest, it depends what's in season and what tastes best at the time. They source as many products as they can from local farmers. Their strawberries and apples come from R & A Orchards in Ellijay, Georgia and all their peaches from Sunny Hill Farms in Gaffney, South Carolina. 

A couple weeks ago, Maggie let me know of a really wonderful event that her and Katie were asked to be a part of at Morehouse College. It was a luncheon to celebrate the 100th birthday anniversary for Dr. Dorothy Irene Height.  

Dr. Height led an extraordinary life. Known most as a civil rights advocate, she fought tirelessly for equality for both African Americans and women. My favorite part about her career was her creation of Wednesdays in Mississippi, which brought together women from the north and the south and encouraged a dialogue about race and equality. She received a bachelor and masters degree from New York University and has amassed over 30 honorary doctorates from prestigious schools such as Princeton, Harvard and Morehouse. Miss Height passed away in 2010, just two years shy of her 100th birthday. 

As Dr. Height came up in a time when women wore hats and gloves, it was common to see her impeccably dressed...from her tailored church suits to her extensive collection of signature hats. For the 100 year anniversary of her birth, Maggie and Katie were asked to make 16 hats to serve as centerpieces for the event. 

Maggie decided on four different varieties of cakes; white chocolate raspberry, chocolate covered cherry, butter coconut with mango and Carolina carrot. 

This is freshly made raspberry curd for the white chocolate cakes. You have to have a lot of willpower in this kitchen not to lick every bowl...

Maggie and Kate prepared the hat accessories ahead of time which include an array of colorful flowers...so pretty. 

Maggie sketched out all the stylish hats beforehand. She also created a color chart to signify which hats would be the chocolates, carrot or butter coconut. 

I love the all-white theme to this party, which helps the vibrant and eye catching hats be the centerpieces that they are. 

This hat was Maggie's favorite and I have to say, I have to agree... the little bows are just too perfect. 

It was wonderful to learn more about the astounding work of Dr. Height and quite fun to read about her love for staying stylish through the years. Her personal bravery in fashion complemented her couragous fight for equality and justice. Click here to see a look at Dr. Height's style throught the decades. And to learn more about the fabulous cake duo Maggie and Katie over at Cake Hag, click here. Their cakes, I promise you, will not disappoint...

 

Photos and Content: Sweet Peach    First photo: Aharon Hill Photography