Thursday, March 24, 2011


Herewith: Various up-and-coming goings-on in Asheville and environs.
AND: A Synopsis of the most beautiful nuptials of beloved friends C. Michael Frey and Timothy Campbell.

1) Cupcakes for Cures!

Short Street Cakes will be competing again this year to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The competition begins at 1pm this Saturday at the Grove Park Inn. While I will not divulge the details of our submission, I will tell you that we're baking this year in honor of our friends Patrick and Danielle Fitzgerald and their two sons. This month Pat celebrates 10 years in remission from Leukemia and a bone marrow transplant! This cupcake's for you, Pat, for being a warrior, and for you, Danielle, for being a warrior priestess. We love you and are so grateful for you in our lives.

[editor's note: We are proud to have won first place in the Retro Cupcake Category for our Banana Pudding Pound Cake. Winning!]

2) Old School Cake School Baking Classes at Short Street Cakes!

Short Street Cakes is now offering Cake School! This one-time, 2 1/2 hour class will take you step-by-step, hands-on to create your favorite cake from the Short Street Cakes menu. All tools and ingredients are provided by the Cake Shop, and you get to take your creation home with you! Classes take place on:

Wednesday, march 30th 5:30pm - 8pm
Sunday, April 3rd 3pm - 5:30pm
and Wednesday, April 6th at 5:30 pm to 8 pm

Registration is $75 per person per class, all tools and materials included. There are just a few slots left!
Call 505-4822 to register.

3) Palm Springs, baby.

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to attend, and bake the cake for, my dear friends' Michael and Tim's wedding in beautiful Palm Springs, California, at the Ace Hotel. The Ace Hotel is like what would happen if the Admiral took over a giant Howard Johnson's hotel from the 1950's: It's uber-mid-century-modern, with excellent food, comfy beds, really strong cocktails, and nobody seems to care if you go swimming at 1am in your underwear. But I digress.

Michael and I are from the same town in Georgia, though we didn't meet until 1997, after we had both moved to Athens, GA (actually, it was Michael who introduced me to Duncan that same year, but that's another story). We've been lucky to enjoy a friendship that has endured over several cross-country road trips and relocations, lots of tears and laughter, and much more growth and change.

Michael also has been gracious enough to create ALL of Short Street Cakes' designs- our logo, our menu, our business cards- and I am so grateful to him for his generousity and amazing talent. (oh, he also once did this live painting thing for Conan O'Brien:

Also, Michael is an amazing painter)

But, ANYHOO, Michael Frey has been intimately involved in making Short Street Cakes what it is today. (by the way, if you would like Michael to be intimately involved in YOUR graphic design project, go here) I am deeply grateful, and was so happy to have the opportunity to repay him in some small way: I made a cake, with the help of my friend Carrie-Welles. It was a Lemon Pound Cake marbled with Buttermilk White Cake, with a Lemon Curd filling and a White Chocolate Ganache (the White Chocolate was Michael's idea- I would never have thought of it, but it worked perfectly).
I flew to LA on Monday and spent some time visiting friends, and catching up on sleep. Michael and I went to the LA Flower Market to get succulents for the arrangements for the rehearsal dinner:

And then Carrie-Welles and I were off to Palm Springs to make the cake in the luxurious Palm Springs rental house that Tim and Michael's families were so gracious to provide for us.

Friends came from far and wide, and the ceremony was gorgeous. It was exactly what a wedding should be: a tribute and a celebration to each one as an individual, and a blessing on their lives together, with their friends and family there to bear witness.

Dinner and dancing were magical, and then there was the cake:

And my date for the evening. Thanks, CW! Girlfriend knows how to throw down for cake, and for friends.

I feel blessed to have been a part of this beautiful ritual.

4) Gratitude.
And, I feel so grateful to Duncan for being such an awesome dad that I have the space in my life to journey to distant lands for fun and profit. I also want to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to Emilou, Lucy, Hannah, Shannon, Anna, and Adam at the Cake Shop for creating the space for me to go on this adventure: not only did I come home to a beautifully clean, organized, happy, and well-run Cake Shop, but I came home to this:

And it reminds me again that I adamantly refuse to buy in to the cynical belief that work and community relationships, even within a variety of structures of leadership, cannot be loving, reciprocal, and mutually beneficial. But again, I digress. Thank you, Thank you, thank you.

To Life and to Love,


PS: Thank you to Dawn Campbell and Charlotte Frey for some of the images used in this post.

PPS: Also, there were these strange and beautiful windmill farms all over the place:

And the day after the wedding I got to go on a margarita-soaked picnic to Joshua Tree with Michael's entire family. (it was really cold)

Post Script: Here is a video Michael made of the "photo booth" that was set up at the wedding. Which I, obviously, mistook for a "kissing booth." Because I love love.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Beignet Day!

I've been promising my little one that I would teach him to make beignets for quite a while now. But now that he is currently obsessed with "The Princess and the Frog," a Disney movie set in New Orleans with a Mardi Gras plot theme and beignets figuring centrally in the story, he's become more persistent. Today being Tuesday AND Mardi Gras (my day off coinciding with a holiday for once!) we decided it was the perfect day for Beignet making. It's Beignet Day, if you will.

My mom taught me how to make beignets- most every Saturday morning growing up we would make them for the family. It always delighted me how the little fritters would flip themselves over when they were done on one side (if the fat was deep enough in the skillet), and making, and eating beignets was such a special treat that signified long, lazy pajama mornings. Making them today, and sharing it with my son, was a special treat, too. Here's my mom's recipe, and its wonderful. (we're from Georgia, so we make no claims to be making authentic, NOLA-style beignets- my understanding is that traditionally, beignets are yeasted, whereas Sally's is leavened with baking powder. Well, my mom's recipe is awesome so I don't want to hear about it.)

Sally Rhoden's Beignets (or French Doughnuts, as her recipe is titled)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
pinch salt
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 beaten egg
1 cup warm milk

Fill a deep skillet with vegetable oil and set on medium high heat. (you'll know the oil is hot enough to fry when a drop of water dropped into the skillet pops)

Sift together the dry ingredients.
Add all other ingredients, beat with a wooden spoon until combined but still a little lumpy, and drop by spoonfuls into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove from skillet, drain, and sprinkle (actually, douse) with powdered sugar. If you are out of powdered sugar like I am today, cinnamon sugar works just fine.

My first batch, the oil wasn't hot enough, so the dough sort of broke up in the skillet and didn't fluff up (but was still delicious in that funnel-cake kind of way). The second batch was PERFECT, making fluffy little pillows of soft, moist, light crumb. Observe:

The perfect specimen, along with one that was shaped like a duck:

The next generation of Beignet makers, eaters, and appreciators:

Joyeux Mardi Gras!