Monday, March 31, 2014

With the Irish Cream Cheesecake a Keyla piece is defined

This was something new.  An Irish Cream cheesecake!!  Maybe it was a leftover from Saint Patrick's Day.  Maybe we should have checked the stale date - not that it would have mattered. Basically this was a cheesecake with some Irish Cream Liquor according to the ingredients. We assume that is the same as Irish Cream Liqueur. As a cheesecake it was perfectly adequate and as could be expected the taste of the "liquor" was not in the least overpowering. This is probably so they can sell it in graocery stores in the first place.
Irish Cream Cheesecake is something new!
Made with real Irish liquor.
The cake looked good with the top decorated with what seemed to be a chocolate swirl on the top giving it a marbled effect. There is no cocoa in the ingredient list, however, so maybe it is a molasses swirl?  Or food coloring? The cake itself was pretty dense and had a light tan color.  Again we conclude that is due to the molasses. Regardless it was good as cheesecakes go but wasn't as memorable as we expected. The Cheesecake Factory is in no danger of being supplanted.
There was plenty to go around because even though it was pre-cut into 16 pieces, most people only ate half of a piece.  It seems everyone watches their weight these days! 
Do you think it was commercially packed?
Take away the cardboard and we're ready to go.
Great swirl for a marble effect but what is it?
Something to really stick to the ribs!
One of our recent colleagues is known to come to cake hour and remark how good everything looks only to decline to actually eat anything. This time she agreed to eat a piece but insisted it be small. We obliged and gave her a really small piece thinking it was a joke.  The person thought that it was perfect, however. Since we had never dealt with someone wanting something this small we adopted the size of the piece as a new standard. IHO the person wanting the teeny piece we now refer to it as a Keyla piece.
She said she wanted a tiny piece!
From here on this is a Keyla piece!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Farewell to another colleague from the Middle Kingdom!

Today we cake hour also featured a celebration IHO one of our visiting scholars from China. He had come to spend some time observing American clinical technique but also to get his feet wet - so to speak - in basic research.  Now it is time for him to return the clouded skies of Beijing and reminisce about his time in a place where science was admirable and the air was clear if cold.
Presentation of certificate of accomplishment
Celebrating another success!
Memento shot with the mentors!
For the cake hour treat we had a favorite from a favored bakery - the Vienna Bakery from Barrington, RI. This is their version of a chocolate cake and it is really good.  Why is that?  Well, the fact that they use a chocolate whipped cream frosting instead of the usual butter or shortening based cream frosting probably had a lot to do with it.  This is a good solid layered chocolate cake with the whipped cream between the layers and plentiful with decoration on the top.  You really cannot go wrong with this cake unless you are not a fan of chocolate.
A favorite!
Good solid chocolate cake!
Ready to roll!
The crowd awaits the makeover.
We shared the cake and then presented our homeward bound colleague with some parting gifts. As usual it was a Brown University insignia makeover. This consisted of a solid sweatshirt with Brown logo and info embroidered on it and it was topped of with a baseball cap displaying the name of the Medical School. 
All set for the Brown Quad!
Proudly showing off his academic affiliation and certification!
 Our colleague was quite happy with his new look and also with the official certificate of accomplishment. He was also very grateful to have been part of the whole experience and looked forward to welcoming us all to and guiding us through China one future day.  The is certainly something to look forward to.   Till then!
Next year in Beijing!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

And it's Mardi Gras again!

Time for another cake hour Mardi Gras celebration. We got another king cake from New Orleans and celebrated another year of this traditional cake.  We also had the obligatory hunt for the baby in the cake.  When we placed the online order, despite the varied menu, very few came up available. The choice was pretty much chocolate king cake or apple.  At first we didn't understand as we usually were able to order the preferred cream cheese or praline cake.  We finally concluded that we waited too long and all the other types were sold out four days before fat Tuesday which was when we ordered it.
This year's Mardi Gras Treat -  a chocolate King Cake.

Orpheus starts to serve!
Got my beads and a doubloon!
Beads but no topless ladies!
This chocolate version of the famous pastry was not bad.  The cake itself is a basic coffee cake with some embellishments if desired - as mentioned apples, pralines etc.  There was a good amount of chocolate filling in this cake and although it looked so, it was not overly sweet. We all enjoyed it but some people expressed their preference for the usual cream cheese version so I guess we will have to order more promptly next year.
Lots of chocolate filling!
After about three fifths of the cake we found the baby sticking its butt into the air.  It was embedded in the chocolate filling so it required a little cleaning.
The baby is mooning us!
Typical birth - the baby is covered in gunk!
Guess who found the baby!
We had several newcomers to the Mardi Gras experience and we were hoping one of them would find the baby but it didn't happen. It took a little explaining the whole Easter, Lent self denial business for some to grasp what was going on. We also explained the business with the beads and doubloons. Some of them actually come with the cake for us to toss around. It is interesting that two people in the group, not the newbies, associated the fun in New Orleans with topless women.  Where did they get that idea?
Mardi Gras??
Can't wait to tell the folks back home!
We hope they understood. If not, they probably think we are a little odd to be eating cakes with small plastic toys baked in them. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Comeback treats and the first mini-egg sightings!

Growing up everyone has dealt with Hostess Snack Cakes. Hostess cupcakes, Hostess snowball, Hostess Ho Hos, Ding Dongs and of course the all too famous Hostess Twinkie. The company however went bankrupt, most recently in 2012, and it seemed that might be the end of all these unique sweets. However as in most bankruptcies someone stepped up and bought up the brand and the right to produce the signature cakes and on it goes.
Classic Hostess Snacks threatened by bankruptcy!
Absent someone signing up for a cake today we had to rely upon the vending machine where for the first time we found a few Hostess Brand cakes proudly emblazoned with "The Sweetest Comeback Ever" on the wrapping.  How could we not give them a try.  So we picked up some of the cupcakes - you know the chocolate ones with the cream on the inside and the squiggle on the top.  Also we got some Zingers which where chocolate cake strips, also with cream filling, with a milk chocolate frosting on the top.
Today's contingency treats!

The post bankruptcy slogan for Hostess snacks!

It's on the Zingers also!
We are happy to say that with the sale to a new owner and the comeback of the brand, everything now tastes ---- exactly as it did before! The cakes had the same consistency, the cream in the center the same vegetable shortening taste and the frosting was as hard as ever. It's too bad there were no Twinkies for us to try. They might have tasted a little bit different given that they now have a 45 day shelf life. We can't imagine how they managed to pull that off. We are not in a rush to try a 44 day old Twinkie for sure!
The cream filled Zingers out of the package!
If you think this frosting is smooth and creamy - think again!

The classic Hostess cupcakes - around since long before the cupcake craze!

The classic squiggles are still there!
Fortunately Cadbury Mini-Eggs made their first appearance of the upcoming Easter season. Since they were already on sale we picked up a few bags.  The fact that they are awesome and almost addictive was a nice counterpoint to the Hostess Snack Cakes that we were happy to tray but probably not going to try again.  Some things never change!
The first of the season - hopefully we will see a lot more!