Wednesday, January 28, 2009

She's One Tough Cookie!

There really is some goodness in giving, and I don't mean the confectionery kind. As you know, each month I work with Operation Baking Gals to organize women from all over the country who fire up their ovens to bake, pack and ship goodies to our troops overseas. I have found unbelievable joy in this process and each month it gets even bigger and better with January increasing the momentum. That's because this month I had the utter joy of being honored by my company (Grey New York) as Giver of the Month for my baking effort with OBG. But the true icing on the cake was the full size posters were hung on every one of our 38 floors raising awareness and praise for the great work we do.

WOW, what an honor.

You see, December was our holiday round of baking so I knew we had to go above and beyond our own personal call of duty to really make this holiday away from home as comforting as we could for our soldiers...this meant more cookies than we ever thought possible! When faced with this mission I knew I had to recruit even more than my current on-line network of chefs, so I set out to transform my companies annual cookie exchange into a major bake session for the troops. And boy did they bake. In total Team KelseyKakes sent a whopping 85 pounds of cookies, bars and treats all the way across the world and into the hands of the men and women who we should thank most during the holidays. They work to keep us safe and in turn its our job to keep them well loved, plenty fed, and endlessly supported.

I feel so blessed to be recognized by my company for our efforts on behalf of Operation Baking Gals and a BIG thanks goes out to all the bakers who make Team KelseyKakes such a sweet success each and every month, it is truly humbling.

*To find out how to get involved in Operation Baking Gals please visit or feel free to email me and join team KelseyKakes at*

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sweetness Down Under

The cupcake craze has headed down Australia that is!

I recently had the luxury of heading to the magical world of Sydney to spend the holidays with my fiances family and soak up a little summertime Christmas. But I knew that this was going to be so much more than a vacation, I was going to use this trip to dig into the sugar coated culinary scene of the Southern Hemisphere.

Packed and ready to go, I armed myself with the best research on cookies, rolls and cupcakes - Australian style - and boy was I in for a journey. The biggest surprise of all was that the now famous little New York cupcake had made its mark on the downtown Sydney landscape. Amped with anticipation to study, critique and taste every cupcake I could get my hand on, I set off with an empty stomach and an open wallet.

Cupcakes on Pitt...
Now I have to admit, I was really looking forward to digging into the frosting coated world of Cupcakes on Pitt. I had read about the famous little treats all over the Australian blogosphere and I was counting down the days until one of them hit my taste buds. Walking with anticipation, I knew when we were close by the familiar 'cupcake line-up' of people. Growing more eager by the second we rounded the corner and in the front door...and what did I see? No wait...this cant actually be the bakery and these can't actually be the size of the cupcakes?! The interior was less of a cozy bakery and more of a sweatshop for sweet treats, with no oven in sight (unless you count the microwave in the back left corner). It was cold, and rushed, and very mass produced. I was losing hope for my Australian cupcake shop, though I kept the faith as I purchased a tiny little vanilla cupcake...surely they would make up for their lack of bakery charm and micro-cupcakes with flavor, pure flavor. Nope. The cake was dry and the frosting tasted like pure butter. It might have been a waste of one cupcake, but not to fear! We were on to the next bakery in 10 minutes flat!

The Cupcake Bakery...
Now this is a cupcake shop! I walked in to The Cupcake Bakery and immediately felt the familiar cozy feeling of light pinks, chocolate browns and the sweet sight of big, fluffy, delicious, pastel colored cupcakes. YUM. I ran to the counter anxious to clear my memory of the previous cupcake let down and I could feel it, I just knew, that this was going to be one amazingly tasty cupcake. Sometimes sweets are funny like that, you can tell just by looking at them. Sure enough, my eyes were as right as my stomach...these were good, really good. And best of all they were cute, and isn't that why we all love a cupcake?

The Neighborhood Bakery...
We cannot leave Australia without a special mention of a little local bakery in Manly that cooks all kinds of baked goods daily. We walked by this shop many times during our visit but this day was different. This day just happened to be my birthday and it also happened to be the day that a distant phone call came through the line telling me my grandmother had just passed away. I was sad. I hurt. I did know what to do, or how to feel.
As we walked passed the very traditional bakery window, Haydn's hand holding tightly to my smaller and far more fragile one, I spotted an incredibly homemade looking cupcake. It wasn't fancy, it didn't even have fluffy frosting, but it made me smile. Cupcakes do that, they add a little bit of light and laughter in even the darkest tunnel. I stood staring in the window and suddenly I knew this would be my special birthday cake...tiny, imperfect and yet completely wonderful. We bought two, one for each of us and strolled the short walk back home. Sitting down we took them out of their crinkled paper wrapper, one by one, and the future, to us, to births and to deaths, to the cycle of life and to little cupcakes who's only gift is to keep on giving.

**A little bite of sweetness in memory of Goose**