Monday, April 26, 2010

Take Me to Your Cake Lady!

Or: The Official Call-out to Find Southern Cake Ladies.
Or: I'm Writing a Book!

I am very pleased, happy, and proud to announce that, by the forces of serendipity, good luck, and clean living, I have signed a book contract with Lark Books! This summer, I will be researching and writing a book about the lives and recipes of Southern Cake Ladies. This is an idea that has been germinating for quite some time, and there will be more information about it to come, but for now, I will just say that I really do feel that it was a magical alignment of the spheres that led me to this point, aided by the support, advocacy, and general awesomeness of Lark Books in general, and Nicole McConville in particular. I'm very grateful, very honored, and very excited to take on this project, and I vow to put my heart into it, to do my very best to represent the beauty and depth and breadth of what it means to love people in this one particular way.

I need your help.
All my cake ladies live in Georgia.
I need more.

I need names, phone numbers, and directions to the women in the backwaters and big cities of the South who are making cakes for their families and loved ones; the women who hold the culinary secrets passed down to them in deathbed confessions by the matriarchs of their families. I need introductions to the women who brought their recipes to Chicago, Detroit, and New York City when they moved there mid-century to build a better life, and the women who know the history of your hometown because they've made every single birthday cake for sixty years. Rural and urban, young and old, professional and labor-of-love, of every one of the many cultures- Black, White, Latina, rich, poor (you get the picture) that make up the South- I want to meet them, interview them, bake with them. Jasper and I (and hopefully Gracie and Susan) are going to Texas and New Orleans and Alabama and Miami and Virginia, and everywhere in between and beyond. We're going on a soul journey to hang out with Mountain Cake Ladies, Piedmont Cake Ladies, Atlanta Cake Ladies, and Bayou Cake Ladies. I hope to spend some time camping and hanging out in rivers, lakes and streams, too, along the way.

So... I need your help, in two ways.

1) Would anyone like to lend me a camper for this very worthy endeavor? Something like this, perhaps:

Just putting it out there.

2) But very most importantly: take me to your cake ladies! Below find a brief questionnaire. I would be so grateful if you would fill it out and return it to me if you know a special Cake Lady that you think I should meet. Also, please pass the questionnaire along to friends and family who you think might be able to put me in contact with special Cake Ladies. Really, y'all, this is going to be amazing. And don't worry, the Cake Shop will be in very capable and competent hands during the days when I'll be on the road, and I'll be there to bake your wedding cakes on the weekends.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Family, Love and Community

Friends, you may have noticed the conspicuous absence of my husband from these pages in the past year, and you may have read in the very excellent recent article by Barbara Blake about my history that my son's father and I are no longer together. I am choosing to acknowledge the end of my marriage here because, as the story of my life in cake unfolds, I cannot totally separate my work from my life (it is something I learned at summer camp)- so much of my inspiration in my work with the Cake Shop is rooted in my home and family that it would be disingenuous not to briefly and respectfully address it here.
My son's father and I separated this past July. We shared a beautiful and successful thirteen-year relationship that culminated in the birth of our son, and we have now chosen to let go of each other and our relationship in order to continue on the divergent paths that we have forged. Obviously, this loss has been deeply, profoundly, and cataclysmically painful, and that has taught me a lot: so many people around us every day are experiencing exactly the same kinds of grief and loss, and we may not know it, and we have to be tender with each other, and the things we think we know we might shouldn't be too sure of. Life can get very surreal when your foundation unravels, but I know that we will all be OK and that many good things are to come.
What is to come for me? I'm getting to know myself. I'm loving my home and my son, and I am kicking ass (along with my totally excellent employees) at the Cake Shop. This summer I am writing a book that involves travelling the South to meet Southern Cake Ladies, my 4-year old in tow (more on that to come). I'm thinking of it as my soul journey. My definitions of community and family have changed. I feel a greater sense of aloneness in some ways, but at the same time, a greater sense of togetherness within myself and with others. I am grateful to my son and to Short Street Cakes for grounding me. My apologies to those friends and family members who might just be hearing the news in this venue, and my thanks to the many friends who have loved and supported me through this process. And my deepest love, respect, and gratitude to my friend Duncan- for the time we shared and the things I have learned.

Footnote: as I was contemplating publishing this post, I browsed into the My Life in Cake history, which I never do, and I found this little interesting gem from a year and a half ago.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thank you, Citizen Times, for profiling "The Woman Behind Short Street Cakes!"

This article appeared in the living section of Sunday's Asheville Citizen-Times. I feel honored to share my story, and I know that we each have a beautiful story to tell.

Click to view the full article:

"From scratch, with love: The woman behind Asheville's Short Street Cakes cooks up community with her creations" by Barbara Blake

Spring Cakes

Wedding Season is upon us and I'd like to share with you some of what we've been up to!

Cupcake wedding at the Grove Park Inn

Cupcake Wedding at Table Rock State Park in South Carolina

May Baskets!
Last weekend at the Grove Park Inn, the Cupcakes for Cures Competition ruled. Our entry (for which we won an honorable mention for flavor) was the celebration of spring that is the May Basket. Here is the explaination that was included in each May Basket:
May 1st, or May Day, has been celebrated since ancient times as the beginning of spring and started as a feast in honor of the goddess of flowers, Flora. It is a time to celebrate the joy of spring and the sweetness of love. Celebrations have grown through time to include dancing around the Maypole, crowning the Queen of the May, and honoring the Virgin Mary with flowers. In 19th century United States, celebrants would leave May Baskets, small baskets filled with sweets and flowers, on doorsteps, knock, and then run away. The recipient of the basket then would try to chase the giver and, if they were caught, the giver would have to give the recipient a kiss.

(Let us know if you would like for us to create a May Basket for your mayday shenanigans, by the way)
Love, and Happy Spring!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

This Weekend in Cake: Green Drinks and Record Store Day!

From the Lovelies at Asheville Grown, who will be presenting at Friday evening's Green Drinks at Bobo Gallery on Lexington:

Come out this Friday after work for some local brew, local treats, good company & good conversation. Asheville Grown Business Alliance will be presenting. Find out how you can get involved in the Buy Local Campaign!

We'll also be presenting ideas and ways in which we can help grow the local economy, boost local business and create more job opportunities.

This is a free event open to everyone, so bring your friends and show your love!

From those boys over at Harvest Records:

THIS SATURDAY, April 17th, 2010

Harvest will be participating in the 3rd annual "Record Store Day" in a major way this year...

First & foremost, there are literally almost 200 different exclusive & very limited releases, only available in indie stores on Saturday -- on any format imaginable (LP, CD, 7", DVD, book...)
Examples include Modest Mouse's "The Moon & Antarctica" reissued on LP, Flaming Lips doing "Dark Side of the Moon" on limited vinyl, Budos Band & Sharon Jones splitting a 7", Bon Iver &Peter Gabriel covering each other, and on and on and on...

We will also be providing you folks with some major freebie action. Not only will the first customers of the day receive a free bag'o'swag with all sorts of interesting nuggets, and not only will we have some treats to snack on while flippin' thru the stacks, BUT we will be giving away free raffle prizes including a
"Beatles In Mono" 13-disc limited box set (retail price = $274.99!!!)...

And of course, the cherry on top is (most likely outdoors) live performances by Drive-By Truckers and Langhorne Slim!

PS- the treats? Cupcakes.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Short Street Cakes' Brand New 2010 Menu!

The long-awaited menu has arrived! View and print it as a pdf here, or check it out on the website here, or read it in plain old text below. We're really proud of our new menu items, and happy to build on the menu we have created through the 4 years of Short Street Cakes! Let us know if you have any questions, feedback, or comments.

Buttermilk White Cake
Classic Vanilla White Cake, with your choice of Vanilla or Ganache Buttercream Icing

Deep Dark Vegan Chocolate Cake (V)
Rich, Chocolate Layer Cake with Silken Dark Chocolate Icing

Vegan Vanilla Cake (V)
Rich Vegan Yellow Cake with Vegan Vanilla Buttercream or Cream Cheese Icing (can be made Lemon or Almond flavors, too)

Sour Cream Pound Cake
Buttery Vanilla Yellow Cake Iced with Vanilla Buttercream or Cream Cheese Icing (can be made Lemon or Almond flavors, too)

Ashevelvet Cake
Our version of the classic Light Chocolate Buttermilk Cake known as Red Velvet. Naturally reddish-brown, without the food coloring, and with a Cream Cheese Icing

Mexican Chocolate Cake (V)
Deep Dark Chocolate Cake, with fragrant cinnamon and a hint of Cayenne

Lavender White Cake
Vanilla Cake and lavender blossoms, Vanilla Buttercream Icing

Classic Coconut Cake +
Coconut White Cake with Cream Cheese Icing and Toasted Coconut Garnish

Georgia Hummingbird Cake*
Pineapple, Pecan, Strawberries and Bananas baked in a rich cake with Cream Cheese Icing

Sweet Potato Spice Cake*
Rich Spice Cake with Flecks of Fresh Baked Sweet Potato and Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing

Carrot Spice Cake*
Carrots, Raisins and Walnuts, 5 spices, and Cream Cheese Icing

Strawberry Short Street*
Fresh Strawberries baked into layers of Pound Cake with a Strawberry Cream Cheese Icing

Aunt Tissy’s Italian Cream Cake
Buttermilk Coconut Cake, Cream Cheese Icing, Pecans

German Chocolate Cake
Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with a Cooked Coconut Pecan Icing

Blueberry Lemon Cream*
Lemon Pound Cake with Blueberry Cream Cheese Icing

Triple Chocolate Ganache
Dark Chocolate Layers with a Ganache Buttercream Icing and Ganache Topping

Marble Cake+
Marbled Layers of Dark Chocolate and Vanilla Pound Cake, with Cream Cheese Icing and Ganache Topping

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake+
Dark Chocolate Layers iced with a Peanut Buttercream Icing

Raspberry Almond Cake
Almond Pound Cake with a Crushed Fresh Raspberry Filling and Almond Buttercream Icing

Fresh Coconut Cake
Coconut Cake with Fresh Grated Coconut and 7-minute Icing

Wedge Brewery Community Porter Cake*
Chocolate Cake baked with Local Wedge Brewery’s Porter with Cream Cheese Icing

Bacon Apple Cake*
Pound Cake baked with Bacon Drippings, Iced with a Fried-Apple Cream Cheese Icing and Garnished with Crumbled Bacon

Banana Pudding Cake
Banana Cake with Pastry Cream Fresh Bananas and Vanilla Wafers

Mardi Gras Queen Cake
Pineapple Butter Cake with a Bourbon Soak and Coconut and Pecan Custard Icing

Caramel Apple Cake*
Apple Cake with a Cooked Caramel Icing

Daffodil Cake
Marbled Layers of White Cake and Lemon Pound Cake, with Lemon Curd Filling and Lemon Buttercream Icing

These cakes are only available in a single-layer, 8” round.
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Skillet Baked, with Pineapple Rings and Pecans
Flourless Chocolate Gateau
Incredibly rich, mousse-like Chocolate Cake with Ganache Topping (gluten-free)



Mini Cupcakes 1/2 $1 $1.25 $1.50
Cupcakes 1 $2 $2.50 $3
Small (2-layer 6”) 8-10 $20 $22 $24
Medium (2-layer 8”) 10-15 $25 $28 $30
Large (3-layer 9”) 15-25 $40 $45 $50
Quarter Sheet 25-30 $45 $52 $56
Half Sheet 40-50 $80 $90 $100
Full Sheet 80-100 $130 $145 $160

Please place your order at least 48 hours in advance by calling the Cake Shop at (828) 505-4822. Please tell us the date and time you would like to pick up your cake, your full name and phone number, the size and flavor that you would like, and the message that you would like written on the cake (writing on the cake is included in the price).

Delivery is available at the rate of $1.25 per mile round trip, with a minimum fee of $5. At this time, we do not offer shipping.

Any of our menu items (with the exception of the Banana Pudding Cake) can be made gluten-free, for an additional charge of approximately 50 cents per serving. Please be aware that we are not a dedicated gluten-free kitchen, and can therefore not guarantee a 100% sterile gluten-free product.

Short Street Cakes uses 100% all-natural ingredients and bakes each order fresh daily. Please check our blog for seasonal specials and inquire about other flavors that you would like; our in-house cake and cupcake flavors change daily and we will do our best to accommodate your request. Please call to set up a consultation for wedding cakes or for wholesale pricing. Our cakes are 100% scratch-made and represent the very best in the classic tradition of Southern Cakes. We thank you and we love you!

SHORT STREET CAKES (828) 505-4822