Cowpatty, cowpie, cow poop or cow flop — whatever name you use — it just doesn’t sound like a tasty treat to most folks.
If it’s made out of chocolate cake and covered in chocolate ganache, however, people are willing to give a cowpatty a try.
Once a slice of a Carrie Stevenson’s Cowpatty Cake melts into their mouth, they are never going to be the same and it may not be wise to eat more than one of Carrie’s chocolate chipped Chortbread Cookies.
One bite, a big one, is guaranteed to blow out your tastebuds and the buttery aftertaste lingers on the back of your tongue like a fine wine. Two of them would fulfill the butter quota for a day.
Last April, Carrie Stevenson, 50, was asked to make a cowpatty decoration for a friend’s retirement cake because the retiree had been tossed by a mothering cow.
“I made a 9-inch cake and then messed it up to look like a cowpatty and I mixed some chocolate into it,” said Stevenson. “Then I used regular chocolate frosting on it.” It wasn’t quite right, so the second cake had chocolate ganache frosting and chocolate covered cocoa nibs. It was such a whopping success that Carrie’s Chocolate Cowpatty Cake Co. was up and running before the cow could jump over the moon.
“I took a cowpatty cake over to a friend’s house and we started laughing about it, ” said Stevenson. A few glasses of wine and a few udderly delightful hours later, she and her friend had drawn up a business plan and come up with the idea for Cowpatty Chips on a stick — perfect for the upcoming El Dorado County Fair, other fairs and rodeos.
Sharing her creations at fundraisers like the Amador/El Dorado/Sacramento Cattlewomen’s Association Branding Fundraiser and donating the proceeds to the organization, Stevenson picked up some loyal fans. One cowpatty cake sold for $300 at an El Dorado County Legal Professions fundraiser.
The business started stampeding when Stevenson went into Graphix Inc. and asked owner Robin DeBruler to help her with business stationery.
“Robin and Layla made this happen,” said Stevenson. They designed the colorful Website, did an e-mail blast, and came up with the logo — a dancing cow wearing red cowboy boots and sporting a pear instead of a bell around her neck because Carrie and her husband own a pear orchard.
The cowboy boots reflect Carrie’s love of horses and everything on the Website and in her business reflects her sense of humor and love of baking.
The cow doesn’t have a name, but Stevenson plans to run a “name-the-cow” contest on her Website, cowpattycakes.com.
Stevenson rented the newly remodeled commercial kitchen at the Pollock Pines/Camino Community Center.
“It’s gorgeous and the equipment is the best,” she said.
The confectionary batches are kept small, so she can use the best of ingredients — lots of browned butter, brown sugar and chocolate.
With a background as a chocolatier for Dove Chocolate Discoveries and weekends at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in the Napa Valley, as well as personal experience with cows and horses through 4-H, FFA, rodeo and quarter horse cutting and showing, Stevenson makes some truly decadent and authentic looking creations.
Stevenson’s husband got into the act when he proudly brought home a dried cowflop to serve as a model. Daughter Rachel,12, helps out too, even whipping up Cowpatty Cakes in an emergency, and friend Cheryl Pintar is her baking buddy and biggest cowpatty cake fan.
Although Stevenson has had the same full-time job for 25 years and plans to continue it, the Cowpatty Cake Co. is her future.
“I’m able to do this because I get up very early and I’m pretty hyper,” she said,” but I’m having a blast. ”
Afire to add new creations to her product line, Stevenson keeps constant notes trying to keep track of all the ideas she wants to try.
In addition to the brownies, shortbread cookies, cowpatty cakes and cake balls, there are bacon cheddar soft crackers infused with a hint of maple and she’s adding brown butter and brown sugar infused coffee beans.
Another new offering is Cowpatty apparel — T-shirts, sweatshirts and children’s tees with the happy dancing cow logo.
With Valentine’s Day approaching how about some deliciously moist Rocky Mountain Cake Balls infused with cinnamon red-hots or a Stable Stack of road apple brownies for your Valentine sweetie?
A full-size Cowpatty Cake to feed 10 sweeties or a calf size Cowpatty Cake to share with a few good friends or even an individual cowpatty cake for your own personal indulgence is available.
Then there are the chocolate covered, sea salted, olive oil roasted almonds, with or without coconut. It’s a lot of action for one little nut, but the finished product is amazing.
Chocolate covered wine infused berries made with local wines are decadent enough for the most sybaritic soul.
The almonds are carried at the Wine Smith and Flowers on Main in downtown Placerville.
All of Stevenson’s products can be ordered from her directly by calling 530-919-3615 or by going to cowpattycakes.com or e-mail at [email protected]
Stevenson will arrange for delivery or pickup. Order by Feb. 9 for Valentine’s Day delivery.
Of her original Cowpatty Cake, Stevenson offers a bit of advice: “Serve it with a spoon because like all cowpatties, it’s messy. You’ve got to have a sense of humor about this.”