The snow is coming down hard here in upstate New York, covering trees, hills and fields around the farm in a second coat of white this week. Meanwhile, if you're following us on Twitter, you might have seen a few more coats of white, freshening up furniture for a makeover story we're doing for The Nest. So with yet another snow day upon us and the shoot rescheduled for Saturday, here's a taste of sweet Serendipity to indulge your inner Cupid this Valentine's Day.
At a time when most magazines are shifting gears, cutting corners, or disappearing altogether, there's a new one on the stands—a real one—printed and bound in my very own hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut. Serendipity, it's called, and rightly so: Just when the future of magazines is at its bleakest in years, we score the win for a national brand, thanks in large part to you, then celebrate the arrival of a new local favorite. Conceived as a guide book for the young Greenwich family by editor-in-chief Suni Unger, Serendipity brings to town a voice—and a look—that's fun, fresh, and best of all, beautiful. Here, from the premiere issue, a story of irresistible appeal, where buttery cake and sugary frosting meld deliciously together from bakers that take the (cup)cake.
The Valentine one with the string, as though a gift just unwrapped from the bakery, reminds me of my days as a caterer back in Greenwich. I used to have Danny, one of the owners of Black Forest Pastry Shop, make all my wedding cakes for clients. Then I'd decorate them myself with extra icing and a piping bag. Buying cakes of graduating size from a bakery you love, then decorating them simply, is a great way of cutting costs at weddings.
Even though I spent my days at Culinary Institute cooking more than baking, I love decorating pastries for parties, especially miniature desserts like petits fours, fruit tarts and of course, cupcakes! Lisa from Sweet Lisa's Exquisite Cakes is also a graduate of the CIA. Her banana cupcake with dulce de leche frosting, pictured above, is pure heaven. To the right, Debra Ponzek from Aux Délices, where I used to cater on weekends, tops a vanilla orange cupcake with a candied orange wheel, like pretty stained glass. Decorate a dozen cupcakes with buttercream dhalias like the one below from Whole Foods, then pile them high on graduated cake pedestals, and they're the perfect centerpiece for a summertime party.
These two I love for their comforting, homemade charm. Back at Martha, whenever my friend Austin and I were having a bad day at work, we'd march down to Crumb for their raspberry swirl cupcakes, plant ourselves firmly in the grass at Bryant Park, and eat ourselves silly till we were sick.
But what's even better is that Alanna Jacobs, Creative Director of Serendipity, is actually an old colleague of mine from Martha! At the moment, we're working together to produce a dazzling table setting story for an upcoming cover, full of lush, vibrant color, just in time for spring! Stay tuned, everyone, and in the meantime, a question: What's your favorite bakery for irresistible cupcakes?