Thursday, January 24, 2008


I don't like to get too "whole-cake-centric" here. I like to give the
cupcakes their due, so here's just a little cupcake inspiration to get
us through January. Then we'll have... uh... February. Damn, its gonna
be a long cold winter.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

As promised: A Recipe!

All right, here's a recipe. If it looks hauntingly similar to vegan chocolate cake recipes by say, The Grit in Athens, or the Post-Punk Kitchen, or, i dunno, the West End Bakery, that's because recipes are folklore, they get passed around and tweaked and reappear in various guises. Who's the first person who thought to make an icing out of melted chocolate chips and tofu? Not me, but whoever it was, I'm sure glad they did. Another note about this recipe: it will blow you mind, whether you are vegan or not. I've been accused of lying about this being vegan, because its so good (not that vegan can't blow your mind, its just that some people don't believe that). Without further ado, I present to you:

Sugar-Free Vegan Mexican Chocolate Cake
From Short Street Cakes, Asheville, NC

Makes 18 cupcakes or 2- 8” round layers

Sift into bowl of stand mixer:
2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup dark cocoa powder
1 ½ t. baking soda
½ t. cayenne pepper
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. salt

1 cup rice syrup
1 cup applesauce
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 T. vanilla extract

Combine liquid ingredients with dry ingredients and mix until combined.
Add and combine:
1 c. strong brewed hot coffee
Add and combine:
2 T. apple cider vinegar
Quickly pour into cupcake liners or parchment-lined baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until the cake comes away from the sides of the pans and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Vegan Mexican Ganache
In food processor with blade attachment, puree:
1 package silken firm tofu
2 cups melted grain-sweetened vegan chocolate chips
½ t. cayenne pepper
1 t. cinnamon
Cool until spreadable.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Wheat-Free Pumpkin Spice Wedding Cake

I just delivered this cake to a delightful couple who are about to
exchange their wedding "wows." This is a wheat-free cake, made with a
combination of rice, garbanzo and spelt flours.

Addendum: from the Bride:
Dear Jodi,
I just want to tell you how fantastic your cake was!
Thank God there was enough to nibble away over the
hours of the evening and even have some for Breakfast!
Every last bite was delightfully enjoyed. I will highly
recommend you to anyone needing a wheat free cake..
Thank you Thank you YUM YUM YUM.
love and Light
Hilarie and Ratus

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Fabulous Flair

I wanted to tell yall about my oven. I bake all my cakes in a 1963 Frigidaire Flair. Not familiar? Please refer to for more information. It's beautiful and modern and all chrome and glass and has the ovens on top, with doors that come up like a Delorian. (remember back to the future? That's my oven.) This amazing appliance was a gift to me from my friend Elaine Posenecker, who was my next door neighbor growing up in Georgia. When she went into a nursing home in her (i think) 80's, my mom and I helped clean out her house, and she and her kids offered for us to take whatever we wanted. I got a couch, a beautiful stereo cabinet, lots of baking equipment, and the Flair. I'm happy to report that Elaine is doing well in Texas, close to her son and grandkids, and the Flair has seen more cake in the last 4 years than in its previous 44 years of existence.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Imbolc Cupcake

This week in cake, and Candlemas

its been a busy week in cake. I threw my back out sometime last week, and couldn't breathe without feeling like someone was stabbing me in the back for days. This despite a delightful last minute escape to Hot Springs with some lovelee ladies and yoga with kaoverii. But then i got an adjustment from Cloud 9 chiropractic, and damn, it was like a miracle! all this is to say, you don't know what you got til its gone- i was so grateful to have my back back.
I had alot of orders over the weekend, and some wedding tastings. One of the highlights was making 5 dozen cupcakes with sun designs for the ribbon cutting for NC's largest solar power system- Deltec homes built it, and it means that they are generating as much energy as they are using at their Asheville factory. Pretty f-in cool.
OK, so this is the part of the blog where i reveal myself to be the witchy woman that i am: the new moon in january. its a powerful thing. the new moon is the time to plant seeds of intention that you want to grow in the coming cycle (think: farmers almanac, but with ideas and feelings instead of actual plants). So I put some stuff out there, especially the dream of finding a space in town for my bakery. The cool thing about the new year new moon is that you are effecting many cycles: the short-term lunar cycle (ie, your seeds bear fruit at the full moon), but also the 6-month cycle (when the moon is new again in the same sign, in this case, capricorn) and in addition, you are planting seeds for the whole new year. so, again, let me say how happy i am that it it 2008.

One of the things I love about cake is its symbolic use in seasonal celebration. Somewhere along the way I remember reading that the first cakes were actually triangle-shaped offerings to the goddess of somewhere-long-ago meant to symbolize the yoni. Now that's my kinda cake. Also, the word "lady" originally meant "baker." So one of my hopes with this blog is to give ideas and suggestions on how to use cake to celebrate the cycles of life. And first off is: Imbolc! also know as Candlemas, Groundhog day, and the feast of St. Brigid, "February 2 is one of the great cross-quarter days which make up the wheel of the year. It falls midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox and in many traditions is considered the beginning of spring." "Certian foods are traditional for Candlemas, including crepes, pancakes and cakes, all grain-based foods. Pancakes and crepes are considered symbols of the sun because of thier round shape and golden color." (Waverly Fitzgerald, This reminded me of the solar-panel party cupcakes I made...see next post for a picture.
Next holiday recipe i will post, as per miss "hottdish" elyse's request, will be king cake for mardi gras, along with some lore. even though, being a yeasted dough, is not what we now consider to be "cake." But I'm JUST THAT CRAZY. Speaking of lore, I consider recipes to be folklore, meant to be passed around hither and thither. i just don't have time to transcribe one right now. but soon. I think that's all for now. xo jodi

Monday, January 7, 2008

Brides Magazine!

I'm so happy to announce that Short Street Cakes is featured in the February/March issue of Brides magazine! Its on newsstands now. Its on page 182 in an article called "Brides Finds" about environmentally sustainable options for wedding vendors. So much thanks goes to my friend Kristen Walsh, who works for Brides, and got my name into the right hands to get into the magazine. Despite an almost disastrous journey of 24 cupcakes being shipped overnight to NYC, the pictures and blurb made the cut! What an amazing thing. Thanks to Kristen, and all the other angels and fairies that made it happen.Photobucket

Saturday, January 5, 2008

2008 is going to rock.

My name is Jodi. I have a son and a husband and a little pink house on Short Street in Asheville, NC. I've been a butcher, a baker, and a candle-stick maker (no, really. I have.) I've been an activist for alot of my life. I've been a pizza driver, a social worker, a camp counselor, and once I had a job dealing blackjack at casino parties in Atlanta. I've been a waitress. ALOT. Apparently now I'm a "blogger." But most of all I've been a baker.
I, in fact, have a bakery in my house. It is called Short Street Cakes. I started it when Jasper (my son) was 3 months old, because people kept asking me to make cakes for them. After the 3rd unsolicited wedding cake job, I thought to myself, "what if I actually TRIED to work for myself as a cake baker? what would happen then?" Thus, Short Street Cakes was born. I still work out of my kitchen, on Short Street, with various children and other vermin underfoot. (Just kidding about the vermin. I love children and my kitchen is impeccably clean.) I make wedding cakes, ALOT of birthday cakes, cupcakes, and I sell frozen cakes to greenlife grocery. I work in the early mornings, before Duncan (my husband) goes to work, I bake at night after bedtime. I bake with the little guy sometimes, but it takes the whole process into a different realm- and goes really slow, so I try to avoid it. Anyway, there will be more on all of that later.
So: my life in cake. This is how my life in cake started: I used to bake bread when I lived in Athens, GA. They were these terrible bricks of gluten, that my friends graciously pretended to enjoy. Then I got a job as a professional baker when I lived in Boston, from 1999 to 2001, baking bread in the Haley House Soup Kitchen/job training program. It was basically a social work job that required me to learn how to be a baker in order to teach people job skills through baking. That's where it started. Monica Contois taught me everything I know. Then I moved to Asheville, and worked at the West End, where Cathy Cleary and April Moon taught me everything I know. It was also in Asheville that I first met Elyse Manning, who taught me everything I know. Elyse is a force of nature in the kitchen, a terrible witchy mess of a mind-blowing baker. She's a legend. Whenever I'm stuck, having trouble with an icing that won't set right or a wedding that's starting too soon, I hear Elyse's voice, telling me to ease up, and let the cake be itself.
I have a website (, and a brochure, and fancy business cards that Michael Frey made for me. I have big dreams too, of lots of good cake for the people of asheville. it involves buying lots of eggs and flour and fruits from local farmers. It involves meeting, befriending, baking for, and working with lots of people that I would otherwise not know, and whom, furthermore, I LIKE. It involves the hope of making a living at my craft. It involves integrating many different parts of myself, my past, my ancestors, my friends, my future, my family, my values, and my love of cake. It involves transformation (of the firey kind). Cake is art: its the the little extra that you don't "need" but that makes life sweet. Cake is the celebration, the sacrificial lamb at the feast. Cake is my medium and my muse and it reminds everybody of their mama. So, this is my blog: my life in cake.
Look out for pictures, experiments, recipes, cookbook reviews, anectdotes, and general cake-related hilarity. I plan to spend LOTS of time procrastinating quickbooks here. Also, I look forward to meeting other cake-minded peeps.
happy new year, to my newfound friend, the "blogosphere."