Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Business

October 27, 2011

TIM PRESTON: Cupee Cakes, Angry Frenchman, Halloween and hot dogs

ASHLAND — I’m not suggesting this as a way to get your food-related news into this column, but somebody at Aunt Emme’s Bake Shoppe in River, certainly landed the top spot this week by dropping by the office with a big box of beautiful Cupee Cakes with my name on it.

The box contained two flavors, strawberry cheesecake and raspberry (drizzled with chocolate), each adorned with a little pink ribbon on top and creamy/fruity filling inside.

I opened the box and immediately set about making myself and 11 others in the office quite happy by sharing the unexpected bounty of frosted goodness, leaving several others to wander into the newsroom and find only an empty box after saying, “Is this where those good-looking cupcakes are coming from?”

After destroying the contents of the box in a matter of seconds, I called the number on the card taped to the top and spoke with baker Marla Carter, who described herself as “Just the wife that has the bake shop” inside Black Barn Produce.

I had been hearing about “Cupee Cakes” from my food-loving friends in Lawrence and Johnson counties, although I had no idea that’s what we were sampling until Carter explained the decadent treats resulted from too many birthday cake orders and a suggestion to substitute jumbo cupcakes to-go in a big cup.

The product began with only two flavors and has now grown to a selection of 33, with weekly contests on Facebook to name the latest creations.

Carter said a few of her most popular Cupee Cakes are the Stairway to Heaven, a chocolate cake with peanut butter filling, butter cream frosting and a Reese’s Cup on top; as well as the strawberry cheesecake model we sampled in the office last week; the cookies-and-cream Just Add Milk model, and one called Karrrizzzmmma, a chocolate version with baked-in cream cheese filling topped with buttercream icing and drizzled with caramel.   

“It’s a gooood one,” Carter said of the Karrrizzzmmma Cupee Cake.

As part of Black Barn Produce, which specializes in all sorts of hard-to-find items and foods and related items for making and preserving those products, Carter said many of the people who seek out their shop, just off of U.S. 23 near the Lawrence/Johnson County line, are big fans of their natural peanut butter and nut blends, including almond butter, cashew butter, as well as butterscotch and cappuccino combos.

In truth, the store has more than 10,000 items from Amish hoop cheese to children’s toys and UK apparel to functional bear traps and there’s now a way to quickly describe the place. I saw candy bars brands there that I haven’t seen since my own years standing behind the counter of my Preston’s Grocery (and post office and VW garage) in Thelma.

If you’re looking for an easy drive with great potential rewards at the end, jump into the vehicle and take the family to Black Barn Produce — about 45 minutes down U.S. 23 from Ashland. The local business is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

For more information about Aunt Emme’s Bake Shoppe at River KY, visit the blackbarnproduce.com website (where you’ll find a list of all 33 flavors of Cupee Cakes if you click on the cupcake icon), or call (606) 792-8611 for the bakery, and 606-297-2600 for the store.

Halloween for families

With four kids “and one on the way,” the owners of the recently opened J.J.’s Halloween Outlet, across the hall from EJ’s Guitar Shop at the Kyova Mall on U.S. 60 in Cannonsburg, understand the need for affordable Halloween costumes and accessories.

Jennifer Phillips said she and her husband Jason (which explain’s the J.J.’s title) and their children are big fans of the holiday, and have previously been selling their costumes online, but this year decided to try their first storefront operation and have stocked their space with 500 costumes priced at $20 or less.

“We make a lot of them,” Phillips said as she worked alongside her mother, Connie Krupp, hanging princess costumes near the front of the shop. Among the hand-made costumes they offer are versions of the many princesses adored by younger girls, as well as outfits from The Corpse Bride and Little Red Riding Hood.

They also have a selection of classic costumes for would-be werewolves, vampires, jesters, Power Rangers and Transformers among others, as well as a variety of wigs, accessories and make up.

Phillips said her own kids have already selected their Halloween alter-egos for this year, with one transforming into a Tasmanian Devil, another becoming Spongebob Squarepants, one opting for Little Red Riding Hood and the last remaining undecided.

J.J.’s Halloween Outlet is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information call (606) 922-5305.

Angry Frenchman still coming

I spoke to Chef Paul Runnels during the recent Oktoberfest celebration as part of this month’s First Friday celebration in downtown Ashland and he assured me things are still in process regarding the opening of The Angry Frenchman cafe inside the Pendleton Art Center on Winchester Avenue in downtown Ashland.

The chef said they are dealing with a few unexpected issues, but hopes to be offering deli-style lunch sandwiches and more at the cafe inside the collective studio-and-gallery space as soon as everything is approved.

An elusive hot dog stand

If you read this column regularly you’ll remember the recent quest to locate Papaw’s Hot Dogs, which several readers reported is in Greenup near McDonald’s. Several others said they went looking for it, but were unable to find the roadside stand.

Bud Matheny of Greenup, who admits he is biased when it comes to hot dogs and compares all others to an unapproachable standard, said “On the day we celebrated Columbus discoverering America ... I made a discovery of my own. I discovered the hot dog stand on U.S. 23 in Greenup that you mentioned in your article last month. PAPAW's is a small stand in the parking lot of Wright Carpets on U.S. 23 just past Kinner Lumber. They are open 10:30 till 7 Monday thru Friday. They have hot dogs, BBQ beef, pop and chips. Their menu says that delivery is available 10:30 (a.m.) until 1 P.M.”

Matheny, didn’t offer any review of the food, but advises you can call (606) 922-4718 for more information.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

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