Featured Food Blogger of the Week: Jessie Moore of Cake Spy
Jessie Moore is the writer, illustrator, baker, and brains behind the blog Cake Spy. She was born on Jersey Shore, honed her skills at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and lived in various cities including New York and Seattle where she worked as a refrigerator magnet operator. She quit her job in 2007 to start CakeSpy.com.
She has authored two books: CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life and The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America's Favorite Dessert
She has also appeared on several television programs, and she has also been enjoying success in teaching baking classes for children. She has recently released a coloring book for all ages, The Unicorn Coloring Book. Check it out here.
Below is our interview with this talented illustrator and baker.
1. You're a writer, illustrator, and baker - if you were asked to choose just one role, which of these three titles would you be willing to have for the rest of your life?
That's a great question! I often feel like which role is most prominent will vary from day to day, but in terms of which role I identify most with, I would say illustrator. Drawing and painting have always felt like a language in which I am fluent, from the time I was very young.
2. After suffering from an eating disorder for many years, how did you discover your love for baking? When and why did you start cooking?
Growing up, my mom was an extremely talented amateur baker--she did all of the cool cake decorating tricks like piping roses and buttercream scrolls on cakes. After a lifetime of watching her bake and licking the spoon, combined with receiving a stand mixer for a wedding present, I really began to bake in earnest.
As you mentioned, I suffered from an eating disorder--for a very long time. When I first started baking, at first I had a very tough time eating my own baked goods and couldn't eat more than a taste. But baking began to take some of the fear out of food for me - like, there isn't evil lurking in this cookie, it's actually just sugar and flour and butter, and they're not that scary once you measure the ingredients and see them going together.
Baking allowed me to forge a relationship with food unlike I'd ever had before. It allowed me access to food, the ability to handle and work with it without bingeing or purging or restricting, and that took a lot of the "forbidden" aspect out of it.
These days I will confess, I don't eat a ton of what I bake, mainly because I think everything tastes better when someone else makes it. But I always do try what I have made...and then go out and buy a brownie made by someone else. Isn't that funny?
3. If you could train under any pastry chef, who would it be?
Peewee Herman. Not a pastry chef, you say? I guarantee that we'd make magic in the kitchen nonetheless.
4. Tell me about your creative process when you’re inventing a new recipe.
First, I start with...let's call it, "what I know." For instance, if I have decided to make a sugar cookie filled with chocolate chip cookie dough, I will start with the aspects of the recipe that I already have under control: do I have a sugar cookie dough recipe? Do I have a chocolate chip cookie dough recipe?
Then, I will begin to tailor each recipe to how I think it needs to be altered to make the project at hand. Once I have done that, I actually try baking it. Sometimes it works great on the first try, more often it's attempt 2 or 3.
5. Do you have any humorous anecdotes from your children baking classes that you'd like to share?
The first time I ever taught a baking class, we were having a great time making cookies -- I knew enough from working with my nephew that everyone had to have a chance either cracking eggs or doing something cool during the process, so things were going swimmingly -- and then the cookies went in the oven. Wow, have you ever noticed how kids go from totally engaged to totally bored in like 10 seconds?
So, about 1 minute into the 9-minute baking, I started sensing a boredom revolt in the class. That's when I grabbed the dry erase board and said: "Kids, let me teach you how to draw a robot!". At that moment, my baking classes evolved into a sort of new and unique format of baking and drawing lessons. Now, I wouldn't dream of doing it any other way.
- Pratico Goods