Sweet, Lemony & Bursting with Blueberry Sass – A Photo Spotlight on the Blueberry Lemon Cupcake From Desmond & Beatrice!

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Have any of you ever felt that your to-do list, whatever it may pertain to whether it’s errands, chores, or a bucket list on life, is never-ending?  I’ve been writing this blog for nearly 4 years and I still feel so behind on everything I want to eat, photograph and write about.  I suppose that’s just the nature of blogging.  So much to do but so little time.  And money.  And, well, person.  If only I could clone myself so that I could be in multiple places at once!  That way, I could be at multiple markets at the same time, check out all the Summerlicious spots I want within that tiny 2-week window, and take advantage of festivals that happen on the same day.  How accomplished I would feel!

Case in point: when I started Ate by Ate I wanted to knock it out of the park by posting lots and lots of yummy coconut, lemon and blueberry things (coconut and lemon desserts and blueberry breakfasts for the most part) among other delights but when I look at my current catalogue of posts I think, “pft, SO not good enough.”  I was hoping to have at least 1 post on coconut cake (or pie or something), 5 on blueberry pancakes and a ballpark of around 10 on lemon cupcakes.  Cue disappointed shake of the head accompanied by tsking.  I’m getting closer to that benchmark on the lemon cupcakes front but I’m nowhere near where I want to be in the blueberry department.

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So I’m, shall we say, putting pedal to the metal on this one and ramping things up a bit.  Since we’re on the topic of awesome lemon and blueberry sweets (re: my recent post on the lemon blueberry scones from Cobs Bread), I’m continuing on with a photo spotlight on the fantabulous and yummylicious blueberry lemon cupcake from one of my favourite bakeries and cupcake shops, Desmond & Beatrice!  The blueberry lemon cupcake ($2.75) is a vanilla cake studded with juicy blueberries topped with a generous amount of lemon frosting and a cute little dried blueberry.  Perfect for lemon lovers and blueberry muffin lovers who want to jazz things up cupcake-style!  If you haven’t already, check out Ate by Ate’s Cupcake Chronicles feature page on Desmond & Beatrice or enjoy some picturesque scrolling fun through all the D&B posts HERE!

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Desmond & Beatrice Bake Shop and Cupcakery is located at 750 Queen Street East, just one block east of Broadview Ave. in the Riverside District.  They are open 7 days a week from 10am-7pm.  You can visit their official website at https://desmondandbeatrice.com/ and follow them on Twitter @dandbcupcakes

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The Magical Marriage Between Milk & Cookies (& Ice Cream!) – Moo Milk Bar on Queen East in the Beaches!

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Raise your hand if you love ice cream.  Raise your other hand if you love cookies.  Okay, awesome, you’ll love this post then!  *slaps you two high fives*  I present to you all, Moo Milk Bar on Queen Street East in the Beaches!  Seriously, this sweets and dessert bakery is one of the most fantastical places in the entire city.  If you’ve never been, you have to go.  And if you already have, drool right along with me.  And for those who are skeptics thinking, “well, I can get ice cream and cookies at other places too”, I understand.  Fair enough.  But do those other places offer 16 different kinds of cookies on any given day?  Do those other places offer Banana Chocolate milk?  Strawberry milk?  Caramel milk?  Cinnamon milk?  VANILLA BEAN milk?!  And a few different kinds of ice cream to make ice cream cookie sandwiches with any one of those 16 different kinds of cookies?  Nah, I didn’t think so.  Moo Milk Bar is such a special place because it is devoted to the sweet and innocent, tried and true, childhood staple of milk and cookies,  with the addition and option of ice cream.  Which just makes it all even more amazing than it already is!

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In truth though, I’ve always been in love with milk and cookies on paper and in theory more than I’ve been in love with milk and cookies in actuality.  How can that be?!  You all know how much I adore cookies, eating them and baking them.  There’s never been any question about that.  And I love the concept of milk and cookies so much that I even have an adorable pair of socks with an image of a glass of milk with chocolate chip cookies on the ankles.  But milk?  Eh.  Ever since I was a baby, milk straight up has never sat well with me and it’s not because of lactose intolerance (cheese, yogurt, and ice cream all make my belly feel quite happy), it was just something that I didn’t digest well when I was little and over time, I stopped drinking cow’s milk because it wasn’t enjoyable to drink and primarily just drink almond milk now.  I even developed an allergy to soy milk in my teens.  I couldn’t catch a break.  But Moo Milk Bar has honestly given my aversion to milk a talking-to with all their yummy different flavours.  There’s no reason to be apprehensive about it now because I can try a flavoured milk every once in a while and actually enjoy it!

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Moo Milk Bar, located at 1918 Queen Street East just east of Woodbine Ave. in the Beaches neighbourhood, offers a huge selection of cookies including banana chocolate chip, mocha, red velvet, salted caramel dark chocolate and peanut butter coconut among others ($1.90 each, $11 for half a dozen, $21 for 1 dozen, and $31 for 1 dozen and a half or 18 cookies), milk from Hewitt’s Dairy Farm in Ontario flavoured in-house by bakery staff like the ones I listed at the beginning of the post up top ($3.33 each in a 355 mL milk jug-style bottle), brownies and bars ($3.33 each), ice cream cookie sandwiches ($3.10 for a scoop of ice cream sandwiched between 2 halves of one cookie, and $5 for a scoop of ice cream sandwiched between two cookies), milk and cookie combos ($5 for a cookie with a milk), cakes, and cookie gift bags.

It’s a cute and small bakery with baking tools tacked up on the walls, faux picnic grass on parts of the floor, and some side counter space for folks to sit by to stuff their face.  While I would loooove for them to be in Markham (or just closer to me in general), their location really is great because the Beaches is such a walkable neighbourhood and it’s such a nice, fun summertime spot.  You can grab some cookies or a bottle of milk to enjoy during a leisurely stroll, you can grab some some goodies and enjoy them on the beach or at a picnic in the Kew Gardens, or you could come by after a weekend brunch at one of the many Queen East spots for a delicious dessert.

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For the my first Moo Milk Bar experience, I went all out with an ice cream cookie sandwich AND a flavoured milk.  Go big or go home, right?!  I had myself a Cookies n’ Cream cookie with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and vanilla bean flavoured milk and ugh, for the cookie and vanilla loving freak in me, it was PERFECT.  Who wouldn’t love a big and fresh cookie with cold, creamy ice cream and a sweet and delicious drink?

The great thing about it as that it’s not too difficult to handle, even for messy eaters!  You drink your milk from a straw (like a little kid!), the ice cream is dead center so you can work your way in without having to lick drippy ice cream from the edges (or from your fingers) from the get-go, and the milk bottles are capped and portable so you can bring or carry it around with you if you don’t finish it right away (granted, in hot weather it might be a good idea to just finish it in one seating unless you’re planning to bring a mini ice pack along with you while you’re out!).  There are so many possible combinations and so many different ways to mix things up and that’s the beauty of it.  You can be like me and keep it “themed” or you can go wild and try the wackiest of combinations, all in the name of yummy fun.  And that is what Moo Milk Bar is all about, the joy, fun and innocent behind the magical marriage of milk and cookies.

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Moo Milk Bar is located at 1918 Queen Street East just east of Woodbine Ave. in the Beaches neighbourhood.  They are open 6 days a week (closed Mondays): Tuesday-Saturday 11am-7pm, Sunday 12pm-6pm.  You can follow them on Twitter @moomilkbar

J’Adore Macarons! Bringing Home Sweets for Grandma from J’Adore Cakes & Co – Macaron Day TO 2014 Adventures, Part I

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4 stops, 2 dozen macarons, 1 memorable, wonderfully delicious day.  Macaron Day TO 2014 came and went last Thursday and despite the chilly, windy weather it was everything I hoped it would be!  Even though I didn’t surpass last year’s total of 5 stops, I truly had so much fun and in addition to raising money for Red Door, that’s the point of Macaron Day: to have fun and to build passion, excitement and awareness for these mouthwatering desserts that we love so much.  I hope everyone had a really great time noshing on macarons and being swept up in the excitement because I sure did!  I was raring to go early in the morning with my trusty Hello Kitty tin lunch box in tow, waiting in the wings to be filled with luscious macarons throughout the busy day and I’m happy to report that the highly anticipated day didn’t disappoint.

I passed by so many macaron-happy folks out and about with their baggies and boxes and I’m excited to find out if our final total for Red Door this year exceeded the one from last year.  I’m hoping – fingers crossed!  I had been anticipating this day for so long, not only because I was looking forward to having a ridiculous amount of macarons in my mouth and belly but also because March 20 is my anniversary with my sweetheart.  Macaron Day, my anniversary, and International Day of Happiness – it was meant to be.

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I switched up my Macaron Day route this year.  For the last two years I generally stayed close to Yonge Street, attacking several different patisseries each time with a few repeats thrown in: in 2012 I hit up Patachou, Daniel et Daniel, La Bamboche and Petit Thuet and in 2013 I paid visits to Patisserie La Cigogne, Rahier Patisserie, and Yorkville Espresso Bar with return visits to Petit Thuet and La Bamboche.  This year I really wanted to choose either an east or west end area and swing back central so I chose to start out east and I’m so glad I did because I FINALLY made my way to J’Adore Cakes & Co. on the Danforth after all this time!

Located at 3308 Danforth Ave. in the east end of the city near between Warden and Victoria Park, J’Adore Cakes & Co. is a beautiful and sweet cake and dessert boutique and cafe specializing in cake design and all the fresh, homemade sweet treats dreams are of made of: cupcakes, donuts (owner Isabelle was a winner on Food Network’s Donut Showdown!) and macarons!  In addition, the shop serves plenty of hot drinks and panini sandwiches for the times when you need some food to round out the sweetness.  The sweet-as-pie shop is painted in pastel blue and pink-and-white stripes with bursts of sleek and modern black and white designs adorning their decorated cakes and beautiful framed watercolours of yummy desserts on the walls.  It’s a lovely space bursting with beauty and delicious things to eat.

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Macarons are $2.25 each with half a dozen coming in at $13 (tax inclusive) and a dozen at $25, also tax inclusive.  On Macaron Day, 8 macaron flavours were on deck, ripe for the picking and patrons were allowed to choose any flavour of their choice as their free one so I chose their Flavour of the Month, Apricot Ginger with chocolate drizzle!  In addition to my free macaron, I bought a dozen to take home with me (L to R): 2 each of their Yuzu, Blood Orange, Praline Crunch, Earl Grey, Guava, and Apricot Ginger.  The only two flavours I didn’t choose were the Pistachio and Peanut and it certainly wasn’t because I didn’t want to!  The peanut one sounded delicious, like a peanut butter cookie with creamy peanut butter filling or something and I’m always up for Pistachio but I wanted to try something different so I chose the flavours that were most different to me.

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Their macarons are so beautiful and colourful and yes, delicious!  They’re about the size of a typical macaron (comparable to an Oreo cookie) and their fillings are mouthwateringly yummy.  While I didn’t try all 6 flavours (remember I took these home for my family with the intent of sharing – I had to keep my word and save some for them!) I did try their Yuzu (the bright yellow with black sesame seeds), Guava (the lovely pinky-coral one), and Apricot Ginger with chocolate drizzle and I enjoyed them all.  The fillings were light as air and so soft and creamy.  If I had to choose a favourite I’d choose Guava simply because it’s extremely true to the fruit and also because it’s very unique.  I haven’t come across another guava at any of the other patisseries thus far so it totally gets my vote!  I can’t wait to go back to J’Adore Cakes & Co. for more macarons and to try their cupcakes and donuts.  An honest-to-goodness sweet tooth like my self wouldn’t do justice if i didn’t!

Macaron Day this year was extremely special.  I got to visit a beautiful sweets boutique I had never been to before, I got to try a plethora of new flavours, and I got to enjoy the special day with my sweetheart.  And you know what else?  This Macaron Day enabled me to share my love and passion for macarons with my grandma on her birthday.  6 of those macarons were for her because I knew I’d be seeing her the next day and I wanted her to try these amazing sweets and to be a part of all the fun I had.  Because of Macaron Day, I got to give my grandma her first macaron at the tender age of 81.  And she loved it.

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J’Adore Cakes & Co. is located at 3308 Danforth Ave. between Warden Ave. and Pharmacy Ave. (west of Robinson Ave.), walking distance from Victoria Park subway station in the east end of Toronto.  They are open 5 days a week from Tuesday to Saturday (10am-6pm Tuesday-Friday and 10am-5pm Saturday).  They are closed on Mondays and only open on Sundays for consultations and appointments.  You can visit their official website at  http://www.jadorecakesco.com/, ‘Like’ them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter @jadorecakesco

The Cupcakes, Cookies, & Cakes in the Hat – A Photo Spotlight on Dessert Oasis, Bakerbots, in Bloorcourt Village, Part I!

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Bakerbots is located at 205 Delaware Ave by Ossington subway station, nearest major intersection being Bloor Street West and Ossington Ave. in Bloorcourt Village.  Bakerbots specializes in all things sweet with desserts and baked goods being churned out by the truckload!  They are part bakery, part design studio, part ice cream parlour, and full on dessert emporium!  Their hours of operation: Tuesday-Thursday, 6pm-10pm (ice cream treats only); Friday, 4pm-11pm; Saturday, 11am-11pm; Sunday, 11am-10pm.  You can visit their site HERE.  Part II full write-up post coming tomorrow!