Happy Monday everyone! Since it's a Monday, and most of you are reading this from work, I thought I would start your week off with something sinfully sweet, sans sin.
I recently had the immense pleasure of meeting with the truly lovely Michelle Poole of CakeKraft. Michelle recently relocated to my neck o' the woods here in the Brandywine Valley and "is lovingly and masterfully baking cakes, cupcakes, vegan cakes, gluten-free cakes, cookies, and other treats with all-natural ingredients and the best local, organic, and free trade ingredients whenever possible." Taylor from Mac-and-Cheese said it so well and so succinctly, why mess with perfection? It was Taylor, a Philly area food critic and my go-to restaurant guide that introduced me to CakeKraft, so thank you Taylor!
Michelle and I met at Terrain for a tasting, talking and a general get-to-know each other. My good friend and B2B Amy met me there earlier to gab about weddings, and Amy was generous enough to stick around and ruin her admirably healthy everyday diet by indulging in Michelle's delicious cupcakes, and to be a second set of taste buds to review the baked goods of CakeKraft. Michelle brought 6 delectable samples, which Amy and I happily devoured. The samples were simple, yet so unique and flavorful that in lieu of wolfing it down like most woman do when given chocolate after a long suffering diet, we had to savor it. Amy and I split 4 cupcakes. The first, a signature chocolate with cappuccino icing, the second, a vanilla with a hint of maple, the third a vegan carrot cupcake, and the 4th a vegan dark chocolate cupcake. Flavor review a little later in the post. And what was our consensus of these 4 culinary delights? Amy was so smitten with the assorted cupcakes that she was ready to sign her cake contract right then and there. And that, in a nutshell is what makes CakeKraft my new obsession and why everyone should try to book CakeKraft for their next wedding, party, event, weekday...whatever.
Michelle is so nice and adorable, she looks like she was plucked directly from an Anthropologie catalog-and she can bake. She's everything a bride could want. She is kind, soft spoken, honest and easy to talk to, and as soon as she sat down, a few waitresses from Terrains Cafe hustled over and squealed "You're the cake lady, right?" Michelle graciously chatted with the girls, who raved about her baked goods, begging her to bring more samples, and exclaiming their passionate love for her cupcakes. Terrain might actually carry CakeKraft, and they should for every possible reason. CakeKraft makes flavor art.
Michelle uses all natural, all organic ingredients, and she buys the most conscientious products she can get, going green and supporting local farmers, free trade and all around positive attitude whenever possible. Her products are delicious, but they are also healthy, something not often found in the world of desserts. She offers gluten-free and vegan options as well, and you cannot taste the difference. I had a friend growing up who was vegan, and most things tasted like cardboard, or, like vegetables mashed up with some sugar thrown on top. Michelle's vegan options were wonderfully complex in the most subtle way. The carrot cake cupcake was sweet and light while having a very hearty, earthy flavor, and I was amazed at the Vegan chocolate cupcake. Velvety and smooth, rich and dark without being overly sweet. It was perfect, and I don't know how she does it, but God Bless her for being able to make something so chocolaty, so yummy, and so healthy without using anything animal.
The regular cupcakes were spectacular, again, in the simplest way possible. Michelle's decoration of the cupcakes are playful and whimsical. Nothing overly fancy. Michelle relies on the taste to sell her work, rather than a ton of over the top visual shenanigans. The regular chocolate with coffee icing was incredibly moist and flavorful, and the icing was smooth and creamy, while still tasting very light, almost like a homemade whipped cream with a hint of, just a hint, of indulgent cappuccino. The flavors worked so well together, and I found myself wondering what else Michelle could make that would taste this satisfying. Then I tried the vanilla cupcake with a hint of maple syrup. I'm not a big vanilla fan. Vanilla to me is, well, vanilla. I usually go for big impact flavor like chocolate. When Amy and I bit into the vanilla cupcake, our eyes widen in surprise as the flavors unfolded. We looked at each other and both remarked that, despite having lukewarm feelings for vanilla, we were digging the CakeKraft spin on this often ignored flavor. Michelle uses a bit of maple syrup to add sweetness and a little something different. Again, moist, fluffy, light and a feast for the senses. Nothing overly sweet, but just sweet enough.
I left a few crumbs behind, and felt very satiated, but without the regret and heaviness that usually accompanies eating 4 halves of cupcakes. Michelle hopes to have her own bakery storefront in the Philly/Brandywine area soon, and she is currently available for weddings, parties, events, weekdays. I could go on about how wonderful Michelle is, how awesome CakeKraft is, but the truth is, give her a call and meet with her. Once you do, I'm sure the search for the perfect cake will end right there.
The beauty of CakeKraft and Michelle's kitchen genius is all about simplicity. Simple, healthy, all natural ingredients. Simple, pretty and elegant presentation. And simply put, CakeKraft is simply the best cake I've had in years.
Stay tuned, on Wednesday, I'll have an Interview with "That Cake Lady", Michelle Poole of CakeKraft!
All photos by Me, for Jubilee Photography at Terrain at Styers