The Secret Life of….

I met Jessie years ago when she invited me to her birthday party that they were having at a local cupcake shop. I had already loved her Cakespy blog and we had communicated via email and what not but meeting her in person was the best. If ever there was a more happy person (for real not the fake happy crap) and a more genuine person it is Jessie. When MDP and I went out to Philly she just happened to be living there at the time. She met up with us for lunch one day while we were there. After she left (she gave me great recommendations before my trip on where to eat and every place was spot on delish!) MDP turned to me and said that’s the type of person you hope succeeds in life. And indeed I do!

To help her succeed I went down to see her while she was here in Seattle. You know I love someone when I drive at the peak of traffic into town and then have to parallel park. :) She was decked out in head to toe turquoise…right down to her turquoise cowboy boots! And me I was wearing my Optimus Prime T-shirt and Hello Kitty Vans because that’s just how we are, we are both pretty confident in who we are as people. She gave a cooking demo at the super cute Book Larder where she told the Secret Life of Better Then Sex Cake while making samples for us to eat. Yeah, it will make you giggle, but it’s tasty all the same. She made the more traditional version (but also gives the chocolate version in her book…but I like this pineapple version the best).

Her new book, The Secret Lives of Baked Goods: Sweet Stories & Recipes for America’s Favorite Desserts looks at the stories behind some famous and not so famous desserts. It’s interesting to learn the origins of the desserts, as if you are anything like me you like a good story to go along with the recipe. This book is all that and more.

When I went to get my copy signed I brought my unicorn that she had made for me awhile back because it’s so darn cute and instead of getting my copy signed I asked for her to draw me a unicorn playing hockey. And she did! I’m pretty sure this is the coolest book signing I’ve ever attended. There are not too many cookbook authors who can draw you a hockey playing unicorn!

So in honor of Jessie while she is out promoting her book I made my version of the Better than Sex Cake but in Cupcake Form. The pineapple goes in the cupcakes as does the toasted coconut. Instead of white sugar I went with pineapple juice and brown sugar (so glad I did) and instead of pudding and then whipped cream I just combined the two together and topped with pecans. I’m not sure how close these taste to the original but I will say they are darn good. Better than sex….well…I guess that depend on who you are partnered up with. ;)

And even more exciting than these cupcakes is the fact that I am giving away a copy of The Secret Lives of Baked Goods! All you have to do is leave a comment and tell me what baked good you think has the most interesting history OR what baked good do you wish you knew how it came about. You need to live in the United States and have a working email address so I can get a hold of you. You have between now and May 29th 2013 5pm pst to enter. For an additional entry you can go and like Sasquatch Books on Facebook and come back and leave it in the comment section on here.


And don’t forget that Jessie has her first book CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life which is as fun and whimsical as she is. To see my interview with her about her first book go here.

Why yes that is a unicorn playing hockey. :)


Pin It


  1. I actually wish I knew who came up with buttercream. Fat + sugar = yum? We know that now, but I can’t imagine having thought of it if nobody had already.

  2. Beth Brown Shorey says:

    Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts. Who came up with the idea that you could actually bake a dairy product and make such a delicious dessert?

  3. I am curious how cheesecake came about. Or a cream cheese frosting. Both are awesome

  4. I like the story of the pie that’s a cake, Boston Cream Pie.

  5. That is the most awesome signed book I have seen. If you asked me to draw a unicorn playing hockey I doubt you would even know it was a unicorn or a hockey stick. So, if I was ever to write a book and you wanted a signed copy could you please ask me to draw a stick figure – I am amazingly good at that ;)

    I just love ANZAC biscuits and the history behind them, and I would love the know the real history behind the Streamliner cake.

  6. Peabody says:

    @Beth- I’m amazed at how most things got invented. Who was the brave person to come up with half the stuff. I was eating something with maple syrup the other day and thought? Who was the first person to decided to try poking a hole in the maple tree and eating the sap that came out? How did they not know it wouldn’t be poisonous?

  7. Pudding cakes. Those have got to be a happy accident, I’m thinking! I’m in the mood for a lemon pudding cake right now…

  8. I always think Red Velvet has one of the most talked about and misunderstood histories

  9. I really want to know who the evil person who first made Monster Cookies is, I’m quite sure I would be super skinny if it weren’t for Monster Cookies!

  10. She sounds like a delight! The dessert origin I am currently most interested in is probably the bee sting cake. I just tried making one from smitten kitchen and the back story Deb provided was super fascinating. I like how “romantic” dessert histories of European ancestry are.

  11. Sounds like you two had a great time!! I honestly had never thought about where a recipe came from until you brought it up in this post. That would be interesting to learn…I know I’ve learned different recipes from my Mother, Aunt and Mother in Law but where did it originally start…Sweet!

  12. Croissants.There are conflicting legends about their origin. As a French fanatic/teacher I need to find out so I can use my time machine opportunity to go hug them.

  13. I have a jam cake recipe that I love the story on. It’s written on the back of an envelope in my great-grandmother’s writing. It is one of the recipes that her sister baked for the society ladies of her southern city. It is one of the cakes that put shoes on the feet of her four children. But I have to wonder how Aunt Ida got the recipe!

  14. My mom makes what we call pudding cake. it goes in layers. first layer is yellow cake, then butterscotch pudding, some of our family members add vanilla pudding and then cool whip. Whenever I take it somewhere its a hit and no ones ever had it before. I just always wondered whee the recipe came from because no body knows.


  15. Delicious looking! I’m pretty sure they are quite addictive.



  16. I really want to make the pudding frosting, but I think the sugar measurement is missing in the frosting ingredients:

    “While cupcakes are cooling make the pudding whipped cream frosting. Whip heavy cream and remaining sugar until stiff. Add the pudding and whip until fully incorporated.”

    What type of sugar and what remaining sugar? The brown sugar was incorporated with the pineapple juice.

  17. I love rhubarb pie. It always interests me to know why someone would pick something that looked as strange as rhubarb and cook it. I love the idea of pudding and whip cream as frosting and this can be changed up with so many different flavors. I’m always looking for something different than buttercream. Thank you!

  18. Yum!

  19. I’m interested in the back story behind Better Than Sex Cake. I always loved the traditional version (I didn’t even know there was a pineapple and chocolate one!) and giggled when my mom would make it – even though she called it something different when we were little.

  20. I would love to know the story behind baked Alaska. I have a feeling that it would be pretty interesting.

  21. Peabody says:

    Oops, no sugar…the pudding has enough.

  22. Stacy T says:

    Anything with Rhubarb – it’s like a celery stick looking and tarter than a lemon in taste… I love it but can’t imagine being that adventurous with it on my own

  23. I’m having one of those days..what kind of pudding, instant or cook? Do you make the pudding first or add it dry? I’m sure in the morning I will say DUH!
    I always wondered about rhubarb in general. “look, Sam ate the leaves and isn’t doing so well so let’s try another part of the plant (that is crazy sour)”haha

  24. Peabody says:

    Instant pudding and dry not cooked

  25. jacquie says:

    oatmeal – who would of thought of making cookies w/ it? or meringue – whipping up egg whites and then baking???

  26. I don’t think I can pick one, the whole book sounds like an interesting read.

  27. erin m. says:

    I would like to know who came up with the Texas Sheet Cake. It’s amazing.

  28. I love Jessie!!! I have to get my hands on her new book! And these cupcakes? They look perfect!! :)

  29. I want to know the history behind red velvet cake. Some receipes use red dye, and others use beet juice. I want to know what the original receipe used.
    And just on a personal note, I love reading your blog. I just had a baby, and my body isn’t anywhere near where I was before ( I had extra to begin with but now I have an abundance!), but you are always so confident and just cool with who you are and it helps me to read that you try to eat healthy but you’re not starving yourself to fit into a size -1000 jeans and you’re ok with that. It gives me a boost when I’m having a “fat day” or when I binge on something I probably shouldn’t. Tomorrow’s another day and another try to be healthy. I just appreciate it. Thanks!

  30. stephanie says:

    I live in Albany, NY and we have a cookie here called Fudge Fancies. I would KILL to be able to make them. Here’s a picture – they are similar to the originals. This has opened up a can of worms for me…my research continues!! Everyone wants em…

    (By the way, your last post “Choppin’ Broccoli’ made me laugh right out loud. I sang that the ENTIRE day! :)

  31. stephanie says:

    I might have to mail some to you!

  32. Peabody says:

    @Stephanie- never even heard of those but they do sound good! And I totally had that song in my head for days. :)

  33. P-bods, just had to drop by to see what you’ve been up to in the kitchen and wish you a happy Memorial Day weekend. Love this post! And, your piping on your cupcake looks phenomenal. I need Jessie’s cookbook. (Just clicked it into my Amazon cart.) Can’t believe she actually drew a unicorn playing hockey for you at her book signing, LOL! xo

    P.S. Oh! Recently posted my spin on “Magic Cake”. (Made it into a coffeecake with salted caramel sauce.) Did my due diligence online as to its history. My mother was given the recipe by my grandmother and it was a newspaper clipping. She made hers with coconut. Apparently “Magic Cake” or “Smart Cake” is of Romanian origin. Come to think of it, we should probably ask Roxana of Roxana’s Home Baking. She may know! But, it would be interesting to know more about this magical one batter, three layer custard cake once baked!

  34. Heather says:

    Desserts can be fascinating and time consuming! The history about just about any of them appeals to me. Who took the time to go through many laborious steps to create something that in the end seems almost magical in its execution.

  35. Maggie Wallace says:

    Hmm I’ve always been curious of how people came up with putting in black beans or avocado in desserts like brownies or cookies. Guess don’t knock it till you try it!

  36. I’ve always been curious about how peanut butter and chocolate first met. Where I’m from (Sierra Leone) peanut butter is always in spicy and savory dishes and never combined with sweet until I moved here…and discovered its perfect match.

  37. Megan P. says:

    Rice Krispie Treats…

  38. Snickerdoodles??? I have always Ioved these yummy things and really love the gluten-free version I created but am still puzzled why anything would be so named! They are fun though!!!

  39. Mary Red says:

    Hi Peabody, one of my first baking attempts was chocolate pudding cake – the cake with “magic” chocolate sauce. There is a batter layer, then sugar/cocoa are sprinkled on top & boiling water is poured over – no stirring allowed. I’d love to know the history of this favorite childhood dessert.

  40. I really want to know how red velvet cake came about. Seriously, what a funky idea!

  41. Lisa G. says:

    I enjoy the history behind king cake, especially since there are so many versions of it.

  42. Stephani says:

    I’ve always been curious about the origins of the dump cake. Whose hair-brained/genius idea was it to just dump some fruit and a dry cake mix in a pan with some butter and bake it? Was it a drunken mistake? Or some mad-scientist baker who just decided – “Let’s see if this’ll work!”?

    I love a good dump cake and the combinations are endless!

  43. I would love to learn how the No-Bake Cookie came about. I love those darn cookies and remember making them as a kid! Would love to learn some history about how it came to be!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  44. I love the history behind Neiman Marcus cookies. Although legend has it that the story is a hoax, it’s fun to think of sweet revenge as it pertains to a cookie recipe.

  45. Chocolate Chip Cookies. Just because there are so many variations, I’d love to know how it all began. It’s my comfort food cookie.

  46. I would love a copy of this book! Always been a huge cakespy fan! I would love to know more about how a macaron came to be. It’s one of my favorite sweet treats! :) Ty!

  47. How about the Whoopie Pie? There has GOT to be a great story behind them!

  48. Nanaimo bars!

Log In