Friday, May 03 2013 05:10 PM

The Dish: Cupcake bakery on the move

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Sheila Heninger frosts cupcakes at her shop Frosting Ink.

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    By Michael Fagans / The Californian

    Kenny Cotton, center, and Alton Patterson use giant paddles to move the corn and potatoes from the boil into a cooler at the 14th Annual Crawfish Festival held at Prime Cut in Bakersfield.

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Frosting Ink, one of Bakersfield's top cupcake bakeries, is moving from its current location northwest of the Padre Hotel and the downtown post office to 1913 Eye St., right in the middle of Bakersfield's growing arts district.

Owner Sheila Heninger, who appeared on "Cupcake Wars" on the Food Network in 2011 and has been at her G Street location for five years, said the move will come with a lot of changes. The whole ambience of the shop will change to a more "Breakfast at Tiffany's" look.

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"We want something more sophisticated, more grown-up," she said in a phone interview. "We'll be open later in the evenings, and for sure on the First Friday events. We'll be changing our flavor schedule, and making cobblers and pecan pies more available."

Heninger said she originally was shooting to have the new location open for May's First Friday, "but the building is so old we've had trouble getting things up to code. At this point it looks like we'll have a soft opening at the end of May and be up and running for June's First Friday."

Frosting Ink has had great success recently with its miniature cupcakes, she said, "though some say they're not much smaller than the regular-size cupcakes at other places. The smaller cakes let people try three or four different flavors without feeling guilty."

Though she didn't win in the "Cupcake Wars" episode, she said it has been a solid boost for business.

"I've had people from as far away as Utah come in the shop saying they had to try the cupcakes," she said. "It's definitely helped business."

Visit the shop's website, which includes a regularly updated flavor schedule, at frostingink.net.

Crawfish Festival

It's time again to get your fill of authentic Louisiana cuisine at the 15th annual Crawfish Festival Saturday at The Prime Cut. Owner Merv Crist will be serving crawfish boils enhanced with fresh onion, lemon, garlic, cayenne pepper and enough salt to make the shells crispy.

Along with shellfish, your ticket ($50 for adults, $15 for kids 12 and under) includes sausage, spare ribs and jambalaya. The northwest restaurant and bar will also be selling hurricanes, a Southern favorite for those 21 and over. Performing throughout the day will be musical acts Bonne Musique zydeco, Foster & Friends and The Aviators.

The event runs from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at The Prime Cut, 9500 Brimhall Road. Call 831-1413 for more information.

Cooking with Popping Sugar

We ran across a new product that makes sense for the pastry chef trying to add some punch to routine items: Popping Sugar, available from a Canadian company called Molecule-R. It's carbonated solid sugar. Think Pop Rocks. There are recipes on the company's website that use the sugar with chocolate to coat strawberries. The product varies in color from beige to brown and the granules are a variety of sizes. Just the thing for jaded taste buds.

Website: Molecule-R.com

Reader recommendation

Reader Alice Egelston wrote to remind all of us that the staff and cooks from Grand China (which was displaced from its Ming Avenue location by an expansion of Chuck E. Cheese's) is still going strong at the Hong Kong Kitchen on Chester Avenue. "It has been such a treat to have the same great food and service in a new place," she wrote. "I want to support their effort so I was hoping you would mention this in the paper."

New and different

El Torito is serving Yucatan-style tacos called Poc-Chuc tacos, with pineapple-soy marinated grilled chicken and orange-achiote based corn tortillas. Another temporary special is wild Mexican shrimp with jalapeno butter and capers ... Macaroni Grill is offering bottles of wine for half price on Thursday nights. You can view the list at www.macaronigrill.com/menus/vino ... Chick-fil-A has dropped the four salads on its menu in favor of three new choices: Cobb, Asian and Grilled Market. In addition, the chain is adding a low-calorie Grilled Cool Chicken Wrap and will offer kitchen tours to curious customers ... Wiki Wine Dive & Grill has opened at 11350 Ming Ave., near the Dewar's drive-through, or as the sign says outside "popped" ... Coseree's Kitchen, a breakfast and lunch spot, has moved from Niles to an office-heavy area of the southwest off Harris Road behind Sam's Club across from Cintas Uniforms. Exact address is 8700 Swigart Court, off Young Street ...

Plaza food court changes

Earlier this year we reported the closing of the Dairy Queen in the food court. Sarku Japan and Schlotzsky's Sandwiches were shuttered recently, though Sarku opened on April 25 after a remodeling. The Subway there is now under new management, and had a grand reopening late in April. Outside the former Dairy Queen location is a sign promising a new food provider in fall 2013. Mary Gamino, an administrative assistant at the mall said Ruby Thai Kitchen will be opening in the DQ spot, though no date has been determined. The search is on, she said, for another food vendor for the remaining open space.

News at Freddy's

Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is still busy months after opening its first Rosedale location, and plans are proceeding to open another restaurant on Ming Avenue near Sports Authority. They've also got two interesting temporary specials: a Philly Steak ($4.89) and a strawberry shortcake sundae ($3.99 for a mini). It's also available as a concrete. The sandwich uses some of those amazing, seriously caramelized onions that you can get on the burgers, with lightly grilled green pepper strips and a gloopy yellow cheese sauce familiar to anyone who's ordered nachos at a sporting event. In short, it can't compare to the quality of the cheesesteaks at Sequoia or Jersey Mike's, which offer more natural cheese choices (I'm aware that in Philly, Cheese Wiz rules, but that doesn't make it tasty). The strawberries are frozen in the sundae, but the shortcake is busting out of the sides, looking like wings on the cup. And that simple vanilla custard tastes great with anything.

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