For most people, a "guilty" pleasure is eating raw cookie dough. For Jessie Oleson, it's cupcakes or cinnamon rolls baked with cookie dough in their centers. Or a "Pookie," an entire apple pie wrapped in cookie dough and baked. Oleson takes your guilty pleasure and raises it a rainbow layer cake.
CakeSpy, the popular blog penned by Oleson, is known for its whimsical illustrations and whackadoo recipes--things like leftover Easter candy cookies, doughnut upside down cake, and Twinkie tiramisu. It's not all about silly sweets, though. Oleson is a serious spy when it comes to sniffing out regional sweets across the country, such as the Southern tradition of making fudge with Velveeta, and historic treats, like Battenburg Cake. Now Oleson has a new book, CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life.
The book is filled with recipes for some of Oleson's craziest concoctions, such as Cadbury Crème Eggs Benedict--crème eggs cut in half, served on a brownie, and covered with vanilla buttercream frosting. Oleson admits these aren't things you should be eating on a daily basis, but rather wants to bring fun and fearlessness to baking. There are cupcakes baked in ice cream cones, cakes baked in jars, and homemade toaster treats that are all achievable for an adventurous baker with a serious sweet tooth.
Most recipes include either a photo of the finished product or one of Oleson's illustrations. The captions on some of the illustrations are laugh-out-loud funny--next to the recipe for doughnut upside down cake is a drawing of a pineapple glaring at a doughnut and saying, "Can't you let me shine for once!!" Some recipes offer shortcuts like using a pre-made apple pie for the pookie, or store-bought toaster pastries, cookie dough, or pie crust. In sidebars, Oleson encourages experimenting on your own for things like the Red Velvet Cake shake with other cake slices or even pie.
Oleson even has serving suggestions just as sweet as the recipes. For the grilled cheesecake--a sandwich made of pound-cake slices filled with cheesecake and fried like a grilled-cheese sandwich---she suggests serving something akin to the tomato soup you would usually have alongside a savory grilled cheese sandwich: Melted strawberry ice cream.
Meet Jessie Oleson around town this month as she promotes CakeSpy. There is a book launch event at the CakeSpy Shop on Thursday, October 13, from 6-9 p.m. On October 14, she will be at Book Larder from 6:30-7:30 p.m. There is a sweet meet-up at the Cupcake Royale location on Capitol Hill October 15 from 7-9 p.m., and on October 17 at the location in Bellevue from 3-5 p.m.