Results tagged frosting from David Lebovitz

A Visit to Babycakes NYC (Video)



When I was in New York City, I was delighted to spend some time with my friend Erin McKenna, owner and head baker at BabyCakesNYC, which is one of the sweetest places in Manhattan. And Erin may be the sweetest thing in all five boroughs – and beyond!

We had a nice chat, then headed to the kitchen where she taught me how to make gluten-free doughnuts (recipe included) and create the signature frosting swirl on their fantastic cupcakes, which I was anxious to master. Because those who succeed, have the distinct honor of proudly wearing the BabyCakes uniform.



Related Links

BabyCakesNYC (DavidLebovitz.com)

BabyCakes Covers the Classics (Amazon)

BabyCakesNYC

Start Your Own…Bakery (NY Magazine)

BabyCakes (Gluten-Free Girl)

Quit Your Job! A Q&A with Erin McKenna of BabyCakes (The Awl)

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

carrot cake

Admittedly, carrot cake isn’t something one normally associates with Paris. (Although if you want to see a Parisian go ecstatic, show them a block of Philadelphia cream cheese.) But when I had a slice of Barbra Austin’s carrot cake, I found myself polishing off the whole slice and begging for seconds. I met Barbra a few years back when she was shuttling back and forth between Paris and New York City, where she was baking professionally. I think I might have nudged her in the direction of making Paris her full-time home and I’m happy she’s here. Barbra blogs at BarbraAustin.com, updating readers about restaurants and bakeries, and is a terrific storyteller as well. So I asked her not only to share her recipe, but to provide this guest post. Merci, Barbra! -dl


If I had a FAQ page on my blog, “What brought you to Paris?” would surely be the first item. The problem is that I don’t yet have a clear answer.

I came to visit a couple of times in my 20s, and as a pastry cook I was surely inspired by Paris. But I didn’t start studying French until 2006, and my motivations for doing so, and for embarking on a two-month stay not long after that, remain shrouded in some mystery to me.

cream cheese frosting

(Not the reasons themselves, but how I could have possibly thought they were sound – something best discussed with lots of wine at hand.)

That trip was a bit of a disaster, yet I decided to come back the following year. And with subsequent visits things started to get easier. I used to think it was because I had become familiar with the culture and customs, and because I had made strides with the language and come to understand the rules of etiquette.

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Babycakes NYC

agave-sweetened chocolate cake

The first place I had on my list of places to go in New York City was BabycakesNYC. Ever since I saw the video of the staff having a blast, I was transfixed on going there to participate in the fun and frolic.

babycakes cupcakes vita spelt

Babycakes NYC is owned by Erin McKenna, and features vegan desserts made without gluten or refined sugar. There’s also treats for people who keep kosher, and those on soy, egg, and casein-free regimes. Not all desserts fit into those categories, but for people on various diets, this place is a godsend. When a few people I mentioned it to said to me, “Gluten-free? No sugar? Is the stuff any good?”

agave sweetened cakes

If you’re wrinkling your nose, if Salted Butter Caramel Doughnuts dripping with caramel syrup and Chocolate Cake, moist from sweet agave nectar don’t sound appealing to you (like they do to me), then fine. More for the rest of us.

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It’s Ready!


Today is the release of my newest book, Ready for Dessert—a hefty volume of my all-time favorite recipes!

Ready for Dessert

You’ll find everything I love in this book, from the Chocolate Chip Cookies that won over les Parisiens to a French inspired Apple-Frangipan Galette. I figured out the secret to truly chewy Peanut Butter Cookies, and frosted Black and Whites finally get their due. I riff on Gâteau Basque (okay, there are two riffs), there’s a cool and creamy Butterscotch Flan, and…at long last, the cookie recipe that I spent almost ten years perfecting.

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Devil’s Food Cake Recipe

Whenever an American friend in Paris has a birthday, I invariably offer to make the cake for the big fête. Not that there’s a lack of great bakeries in Paris, but Americans always seem to crave the same thing: a big, tall, all-American chocolate cake with an overabundance of swirls and swoops of chocolate frosting.

And who am I to deny them?

The Icing On The Cake

And what better to make than a dark, moist Devil’s Food Cake with thick, shiny ganache swirled all over the top and smoothed around the sides?

This Devil’s Food Cake is a happy compromise between those richer, flourless kind of chocolate cakes which would be too intense and inelegant stacked one on top of the other, and those jumbo, three-tiered extravaganzas which might shock a few folks around here with its all-American excess.

(Although the Rice Krispy Treats I made a couple of weeks ago were quite a hit. I tried to explain their cultural appeal to my Parisian friends, but decided just to them do the ambassador work themselves. I’m willing to let someone else carry the cross-cultural mantle around here for a while.)

This one has the heft and smoothness of a larger cake without scaring anyone anyway, and will appease everyone with it’s on-the-spot dark chocolate flavor. It’s delicate crumb is perfect when paired with a scoop of homemade ice cream or a pour of super-cold crème anglaise, but it’s also sturdy enough to weather a trip across the Paris, since if you remember, I don’t have very good luck carrying cakes on the métro amongst devil-may-care Parisians.

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