Sugar Daze

Two big things happened in my life this week:

I reached the weight loss
goal I’d set for myself earlier this year …

… and I celebrated that fact with the best cupcakes
an American can find in Paris!

Back in July, you see, a blogger friend embarked on an epic a quest to find the best cupcakes in Paris and document the results for the world. Incidentally — perhaps fortunately for me — this all came about when I was also embarking on an epic quest … to lose the 25 pounds I’d packed on since coming to live in France. (Blasted croissants!) I say “fortunately” because I was forced to indulge vicariously in my friend’s cupcake caper … instead of following in her wake and packing on yet another 5 pounds!

Nevertheless, as soon as I reached my weight loss goal on Thursday, I knew exactly how I was going to celebrate. I dug out Nikki email’s announcing the champion of the cupcake competition, and I went in search of my victory prize at Sugar Daze! Continue reading Sugar Daze

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Carrot Cake, Part Deux

Photo: Michel‘s first carrot cake © 2012 Samuel Michael Bell, all rights reserved

We have an expression to describe something that’s quintessentially American: “as American as apple pie.” The truth be told, though, apple pie isn’t all that American; they have apple pies in every culture where folks grow apples, and the French themselves make some pretty amazing variations of this “American” dessert. On the other hand, it’s pretty difficult to find a dessert more American than carrot cake. Even though it’s known here in France, it still has an air of mystery about it. It’s not at all easy to find, except in some American bakeries (like my favorite, Sugarplum) and at Starbucks (although I don’t recommend a mass-produced carrot cake that’s been deep-frozen, shipped from who knows what cake factory, and then thawed out in a display case).

If you’ve been following my story here on je parle américain, you probably remember that last summer, when Michel and I were babysitting our niece and nephew in Metz, we introduced the kids to this dessert that had recently become a favorite of their Tonton Miko (that’s Michel). The kids had a great afternoon helping us mix the cake but, when it was finally out of the oven and iced with homemade cream cheese icing, they refused to even taste it. A cake with CARROTS in it? Yeah. Not so popular with the four- to seven-year-old crowd. It wasn’t half bad for a recipe from the internet, but it wasn’t a great success either — even with the adults. Continue reading Carrot Cake, Part Deux