I’M NOT A GLUTTON • I JUST BAKE A LOT

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IF I’VE LEARNED ANYTHING FROM BLOGGING IT’S YOU ARE WHAT YOU BLOG. So when I wax poetic on brownies, deep-fried turkeys and show more interest in food than people, it’s easy to assume I’m eating it all too.

I like the way my friend Melody of Gourmet Fury put it: “On the surface, I appear to…spend a third of my day eating, one third cooking, and another third drinking. While one third of that lies true, the rest is merely an illusion...” (Read Mel’s thoughtful post here.)

Those of us who maintain personal blogs are like ducks – calm on the surface, but paddling like mad underneath. If I told you it took me fifteen minutes to photograph Midtown Manhattan behind a bottle of 2006 Ingle Vineyard Cabernet Franc (pictured above left), you might think twice before trading your badge of normalcy for front row seats to the Foodie Freak Show. When I dine out, five-minute photo shoots with the entrees are routine before my date can dig in, as are Twenty Questions with the server.

One blogger, Kerry of NYCMenuGirl, recently asked me how she can turn food blogging into “something real” and “more than a hobby”. Eager to share my infinite wisdom and turn dreams to dust, I replied: Zach of Midtown Lunch is the only blogger I know who makes an income from maintaining his blog full-time.

I went on to extol the virtues of (multiple) day jobs, the possibility of gaining sponsorships, the chance to sharpen the writing blade, and the inimitable satisfaction of enjoying what you’re doing even when it doesn’t pay the bills. Besides, some bloggers get a buzz from seeing themselves listed first in a Google search.

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Sometimes the brownies I bake are too sweet (this happens when I use semisweet chocolate in a recipe that wants baking chocolate); other times, the frozen maple mousse pie I make for Thanksgiving (pictured above right) just doesn’t taste that good. The truth is: my photography skills exceed my baking abilities and I should make smaller batches because I never eat it all. I’m not a glutton, I just bake a lot and it’s making my boyfriend fat. amy january 20, 2010

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January 20, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . Blogs, brownies, Dessert, Wine. 9 comments.

KUMQUAT CUPCAKE Wednesday

Kumquat coffee caramel bourbonI ARRIVED EARLY TO SELL CUPCAKES ON WEDNESDAY. It was the first job I’ve had to physically report to in a year so I was anxious I’d be late. But thanks to actually leaving the apartment on time, I made it to the corner of 4th and Lafayette with ten minutes to spare! (Cue the happy dance.) If you’re wondering why I left my life of leisure for cupcakes, well, read on.

My new friend Keavy Landreth – proprietor and baker extraordinaire behind Kumquat Cupcakery – was in hot pursuit of a funny-sounding thing called sweet wort that beckoned her to Brooklyn on Wednesday. Unable to be in two boroughs at once, Keavy needed someone to sell her fantastic product at Gifted, the pop-up holiday flea market in Soho, in her stead. She sent out an SOS; I answered. And that’s how I found myself sitting with 400 mini cupcakes between a table of vintage knick knacks and an Australian skincare line the next day.

bacon mapleLast weekend, I stopped by Gifted when the space teemed with holiday shoppers jockeying for elbow room. In contrast, hump day customers came in drips. But I didn’t mind as I’m well-practiced in self-distraction and brought along the New Yorker food issue. I’d been meaning to read the Michelin guide article, anyway, so that’s what I did while waiting for sugar fiends to snatch up coffee caramel bourbon (left), peppermint chocolate (below), lemon lavender, red velvet, and maple bacon cupcakes (right). When passersby saw Kumquat’s small-scale cakes, their faces lpeppermint chocolate kumquat 3it up and the women cooed. Cupcakes are like puppies – they make you very popular.

At 3 p.m., my neighbors – the other vendors – descended. One after the other, they came by with dollar bills and a palpable look of relief. “We were holding out for three [p.m.],” they said, implying I would’ve been swimming in money earlier had it not been for their awesome self-control.

The pace picked up at 5 p.m. when the after-work crowd filtered in to poke around and hide from the rain. Some commonly-heard phrases: “These are the perfect size! Just small enough so you don’t feel bad about eating one.” “Debra, look at this. Aren’t they beautiful?” “These would be perfect for a party.” “Maple bacon!?” “I’m coming back for another one.” By 6 p.m. I was pretty confident in my cupcake-selling skills and was able to put maple-bacon skeptics at ease, reassuring them “the maple bacon cupcakes are kinda like pancakes with a side of bacon. There’s no bacon in the cake.” (According to the Kumquat website, the maple bacon cupcake is “maple cinnamon cake topped with vanilla frosting and a thick cut of bacon.”)

At seven, having successfully procured sweet wort, Keavy returned to Soho. She sent me home with a dozen cupcakes, which Jason happily ate for dinner as I already had my fill during the day. (Someone had to eat the six accidentally-squished cupcakes.) I ordered Japanese takeout, put on some socks, watched the new episode of Glee and filed it all under Happy Day. amy december 5, 2009

Visit the Kumquat Cupcakery blog! Pictures of me from Wednesday here.

December 5, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . cupcakes, Dessert, SoHo. 5 comments.