Confectionery Magic: Magpies Cakes

May 1 2013

by Kate Spears

I’ve always had something of a sweet tooth and when the cupcake craze hit, I couldn’t have been happier. I guess you could say I’m a cake snob, especially where icing is concerned. Imagine how happy it makes me that my favorite southern bakery has the slogan of “All butter, all the time.”

I first visited Magpies Cakes in Knoxville, Tennessee while I was a college student. The brainchild of confectionery mastermind Peggy Hambright, Magpies offers a full menu of cupcakes, cakes and pies.

The shop’s wedding cakes are to-die-for. The celebration cakes (of which I’ve bought many over the years) are always a huge hit at parties & gatherings.

I once transported a giant vanilla butter cream sheet cake from Magpies across the state of Tennessee for a double-surprise birthday party and even yelled at my southern beau when I thought his driving wasn’t up to par for the cake. I take this stuff seriously.

There’s something so decadent about the idea of having your very own cake (even when you share it with others)…whether it’s your birthday or another special occasion. I always think about a passage from a favorite southern book of mine “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.”

In the book, the children (petite Ya-Yas) in the Walker family have a special bakery-made birthday cake for the big family party. But unbeknownst to their father, there is also a second cake….presented to the recipient in secret, first thing on the morning of his or her birthday and eaten right away.

According to the children’s father, this is what is known as a “whore’s breakfast” and completely inappropriate.

All through the year, I try to eat a healthy balanced breakfast…but when my birthday rolls around, I always enjoy a cupcake or two as my own “whore’s breakfast.” I like to think of it as my own little secret tradition.

Do you have any special birthday traditions that involve confectionery treats?


Kate Spears View More Blog Posts from this Author

Kate Spears is a self-proclaimed Southern belle who grew up in a tiny town near Nashville, but now calls Knoxville home. She graduated from the University of Tennessee (Big Orange Country!) with an undergraduate degree in art history and a master’s in public relations & advertising. In 2009, she started her blog, Southern Belle Simple, with the simple hope of giving herself a creative outlet. She continues to be amazed each time it leads to a new opportunity and cherishes the relationships that are formed along the way.

Kate is passionate about family history, time-honored traditions, and her Southern heritage. Her people hail from across the South, from the Lone Star State of Texas to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. She grew up spending summers on her great-grandparents’ Tennessee farm where she developed a deep appreciation and admiration for people who could coax beautiful and delicious things out of a mound of dirt. She comes from faithful men, devoted women, hard workers and wickedly good cooks.

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