Whoopie for Whoopie Pies!

At Baked, our all natural dessert menu is ever changing.  Of course, we stock our tiny bakery with what we call “fan favorites”!  Shelly’s Apple Crumb Pie and Snickerdoodle Cookie, along with my Red Velvet Cake and Mad Bourbon Vanilla Cupcakes, but we also love experimenting with new flavor combinations and  researching “old school” dessert recipes.

Recently, we began baking Whoopie Pies!  Traditionally chocolate, this “part sandwich cookie, part cake” is a delicious concoction whose origin is quite  controversial.  Some say it’s Pennsylvania Dutch while others insist  that it’s was introduced by an Amish sect in New England.  Whoever or wherever the genius, the Whoopie Pie has quickly propelled itself to a place on our permanent menu board.

Most of the recipes we found for the Whoopie Pie used vegetable shortening in both the batter and buttercream filling.  Although, sometimes they are filled with “marshmallow fluff”.  We never use shortening, so the first “order of business” was to make a cake and filling that meet our “all natural” criteria.  After a couple of passes and after customer “taste testing”, we believe we have achieved success.  Our Chocolate Whoopie Pies, filled with homemade Marshmallow Cream have SOLD OUT everyday!   A variety of gourmet Whoopie Pie flavors are coming soon, so stop by and get “BAKED” at the beach!

If you have a favorite recipe that you would like us to try, feel free to share!

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Thanks Java Bay Cafe’!

Baked Dessert Cafe’s all natural goodies are now available at the Java Bay Cafe’ inside the Yacht Club in Ocean Pines, Maryland.   Thanks to the progressive thinking of their management team, their commitment to all natural products and to local sourcing, we are thrilled to deliver fresh, handcrafted goodies and desserts to be enjoyed daily.   The delightful atmosphere of the internet cafe along with the picturesque views of the water and marina, make it the perfect spot to get “BAKED” at the beach.

We’ve had a lot of fans ask if we are interested in selling our products to other local restaurants and hotels in and around Ocean City, Maryland.  Of course we are!   Although in this economy, it’s difficult to compete with the price of  products that are offered and distributed by the local food service companies.   These products are cheaper because they are made in mass quantity, usually on an assembly line and utilizing less expensive ingredients.  We understand that profit margins are a main concern when running a business and that not everyone cares about all natural and handcrafted, but those who only compare price are not comparing “apples to apples”.

My sister Shelly and I do all of the baking.   We use only the finest, all natural  ingredients like Valrhona chocolate, unbleached, unbromated flours, real vanilla and sweet cream butter.  We bake our desserts and goodies in small batches to insure the ultimate in freshness.

Could we bake at a cheaper price?   We could, but we won’t because we are committed to the high quality of serving all natural greatness!  We’re confident that when you find us and get “BAKED” at the beach you will taste the difference for yourself.  We guarantee, it’s worth it!

What’s all the fuss about artificial food colorings?

 

It goes without saying that color additives or food coloring are substances that are added to food items or beverages to make them a certain color.   There are also natural variations in the color of foods due to the effects of storage and processing.  Manufacturers use colors and dye to mask those changes which in turn makes the item more appealing to the consumer.   Then there is the “psychology of color marketing.”   We could spend all day on that one.

In our “bakery” world, coloring is most often used for decorative purposes like matching the cake frosting to the color theme of a wedding.  Some of you might not know this, but most bakeries add “gobs” of artificial red food coloring to make Red Velvet cake.  At “BAKED”, we are committed to baking without the use of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and trans-fats.  The colorings that we use are fruit and vegetable based therefore 100% natural.  You may be asking, “So what, why fuss about artificial food colorings”?

Although there are varying opinions, claims of attention deficit, hyperactivity and behavioral disturbances occurring in children due to consumption of certain food additives and food coloring agents have been reported and  studies have shown that allergies result from certain food dyes.  In addition, research studies have found definite connections between behavioral problems and hyperactivity in children. Other effects on health from food dyes are allergies, headaches, asthma, fatigue, nausea, concentration problems, agitation and nervousness. In addition to this, there may also be an increased risk of developing Hodgkin’s disease, multiple myeloma and lymphoma.  The use of D&C red 33, red 40, blues 1 and 2, FD&C yellow 5 and 6 appear to be the most problematic and are found in everything from drinks and dairy products to cake mix and cereals.

The bottom line…educate yourself.  If you or anyone you know is experiencing health problems, eliminate processed and artificially colored/flavored foods from the diet for 2 weeks.  Keep a food journal and observe your physical and emotional well being.  Read food labels and ask questions about your food purchases.  You might be amazed at the results.

 

 

Could the end of the cupcake trend be around the corner?

What has made the cupcake so popular and is the trend toward “cupcakeries” fading?  Jacob Goldstein atNPR posed that question in response to a Wall Street Journal story that linked the popularity of cupcakes to growth in the New York City job market. Goldstein asserted that we are in a cupcake bubble: “‘Did they really think cupcakes were different than cake?’ the world will ask after the cupcake market implodes.

Will the consumer fall out of love with the cupcake?  I think not!  Will the shops that solely sell cupcakes survive?  I’m not sure.  What I do know is that the cupcake is the perfect individual dessert for both adults and children.  It’s single serve size allows for a guilt free indulgence, a personal mini cake at an affordable price.  The flavor combinations and decoration possibilities are endless and run the gamut from simple to gourmet and elegant.  They are the perfect dessert for every celebration including children’s birthday parties, showers, weddings, even corporate events.

No matter what the trend, ‘BAKED” will continue to create all natural cupcakes in various flavor combinations to be included on our  all natural  dessert menu.

shine.yahoo.com/channel/food/cupcakes-and-6-other-food-trends-that-have-lost-their-cool-2143737#photoViewer=1

The Social Network

MySpace… Bebo… Facebook… XangaFriendster… LinkedIn…Bing… Twitter…Chatter…the list seems endless.  Social networking sites are all the rage and have become an essential marketing tool for both large and small businesses.  Similar in comparison to the “six degrees of separation” concept wherein every person is only separated by five intermediaries, social networking exposes your business to like-minded people who in turn expose you to their like-minded friends,  who in turn expose you to their like-minded friends,  etc., etc…  Social networking existed pre-internet, however, it took much more time and effort, e.g. attending trade shows, conferences, and/or community events.  Now, the same results can be accomplished in the comfort of your home or office and literally within minutes.   Make no mistake, social networking is a powerful tool which speaks volumes for your business and should not be taken lightly.  It is essential that the information conveyed is accurate and appealing to a wide array of potential customers.   Approach it as you would “old school” social networking and meeting a client/customer face-to-face for the first time and remember “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.”  Get networked and get BAKED!!

Au Naturel

au na·tu·rel…French: au, in the + naturel, natural (state).  ADJECTIVE:  1.a. nude, b. in a natural state; 2. cooked simply.

All-natural (au naturel), a term used and abused in the food industry as a marketing tool, simply means naked, natural or in the simplest or plainest state.  In our business, we take that meaning to heart, using only the finest ingredients containing no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives and/or trans-fats and baking everything from scratch…i.e. plain, simple and naked.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, however,  allows the term “natural” to be used on a food label if it is “truthful,” “not misleading,” and when the food contains no added colors, artificial flavors, or synthetic substances.  Still, there’s a lot of gray area.  After all, arsenic is a natural ingredient, however, you wouldn’t eat it!!!  Therefore, with so much muddying of the waters, one must still diligently read nutritional labels.  Most likely, if you can’t pronounce it, it’s not natural.  

 In sum, although truly all natural ingredients/products are more expensive and sometimes harder to find, they are truly worth it both from a taste and health standpoint.  But don’t take my word for it, “the proof is in the pudding.”  GO AU NATUREL and GET BAKED!!!

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Flying Your Freak Flag

As a business owner, especially when just starting out, it is easy important to pay close attention to every aspect of your business, down to the smallest detail, so that your business mirrors your vision.   However, there is a fine line between being detail-oriented and a total control freak.  As one of three control freaks running a small business, I know this first-hand.  There comes a time when you must delegate responsibilities which are best left to someone else and focus on tasks that suit your own strengths.   As difficult as this may be, it is vital that you fight the urge to micromanage in order to grow your business as well as maintain your own sanity! 

Check out this great article on when control freaks own small businesses!!!

Celiac Disease and a Gluten-Free Diet

In running a small business, especially a food establishment, you must remain cognizant of food sensitivities, allergies and food-related disorders.  One such disorder/disease is Celiac disease.  Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food.  Persons who suffer from Celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley.  It is estimated that Celiac disease affects nearly 2 million Americans.  Given this statistic, the production of gluten-free products has become a billion dollar industry.  As a small bakery, we have witnessed this first-hand through a steady increase in requests for gluten-free products.  Hence, we now offer gluten-free cupcakes, macaroons and granola and are testing other gluten-free recipes to meet the needs/expectations of our customers.  If you’d like to learn more about Celiac disease, please check out the following article.  Also, if you’d like to learn more about our gluten-free options, check out our website, below.  Take care and get BAKED!!!

Article on Celiac disease.

Baked Dessert Cafe’s Website

The Pricing Dilemma

One recurrent dilemma in running a small business is determining proper pricing.  Whether it be retail and/or wholesale, proper pricing can make or break any business, especially a small one.  We are constantly tweaking and re-tweaking our prices to stay competitive and profitable.  Unfortunately, there is no special formula…no pricing guru to enlighten you as to the magic number.    However, there are several strategies/tools available to assist you in reaching your price point;  i.e. competitors’ price, ceiling price, and price elasticity to name a few.   In that regard, we’ve included an article we’ve found helpful…hope you do, too.  Take care and get Baked!

Check out this article on pricing strategies!

Hello world!

Baked Dessert Cafe is slowly making its way into the realms of cyberspace and to that end…here is our first blog.  We hope to keep you apprised of our progress as well as offer insight into the day-to-day operations of running a small business.  It’s definitely “not all cupcakes and sprinkles” but it’s quite a ride!!!