Dog Tag Bakery

brownies and coffee

Dog Tag Bakery Brownie

The Dog Tag Bakery Brownie is a rich, decadent brownie, dipped in chocolate and gently rolled in a potato chip crumble. This delicious twist on Dog Tag Inc.’s classic brownie recipe offers the perfect combination of chocolate indulgence with a hint of salt.

Dog Tag Bakery Brownie at Starbucks from May 1 - June 4!

I am so EXCITED about this Dog Tag Bakery Brownie!  It’s been four years in the making for Dog Tag Bakery to reach this level of national success.

Founded in 2014 by Fr. Rick Curry, SJ and Ms. Constance Milstein, Dog Tag Inc. was born out of the shared conviction that no veteran, military spouse, or caregiver who wants to work and pursue their career goals should be unemployed.

Their founders drew on their experiences as social innovators and advocates for veterans and persons with disabilities to create a national model to support veterans and their families as they begin a new chapter in their lives.

Together, Father Curry and Ms. Milstein have convened educators, experts, and leading entrepreneurs to ensure that Dog Tag Inc. remains a robust, enriching, and sustainable social enterprise.

My journey with Dog Tag Inc. began in July 2016 when I was selected as a Fellow in Cohort 4 of their Entrepreneurial Fellowship Program.  We had only moved to the DC area a few months earlier, my husband was in the middle of the Medical Board process to get out of the Army, and I was trying to figure out what was next for me in this transition.

The Dog Tag Inc. Fellowship Program allowed me the space, time, and support to find myself as an individual.  I learned what my strengths were outside of being a military spouse and caregiver.


I took the skills I had learned in the 10 years as an Army spouse along with the 8 years of blogging and turned it into a consulting business.   I now teach other small businesses and non-profits how to manage their own social media and online marketing.

So today – I’m proud to announce the launch of the new Dog Tag Bakery brownie to be sold in Starbucks stores Nationwide!

brownies and coffee


Georgetown’s favorite pastry destination, Dog Tag Bakery, will launch the Dog Tag Bakery Brownie on May 1, 2018 at Starbucks locations nationwide in honor of National Military Appreciation Month. This brownie is a delicious twist on Dog Tag Bakery’s classic recipe, topped with a salted potato chip crumble, and will be available in over 8,000+ participating Starbucks locations nationwide starting May 1, 2018 until June 4, 2018 (or while supplies last).

Inspired by a shared commitment to helping our veterans and military families, Dog Tag Bakery developed this special limited-edition brownie for Starbucks customers to help raise awareness for veteran causes. Dog Tag Bakery’s entrepreneurial fellowship program combines education with hands-on experience to create a living business school, to build a bridge to employment and to help veterans, military spouses and caregivers find fulfillment in their professional and personal lives. To learn more about Dog Tag Bakery’s program, please visit

Together we’re #BakingADifference in the lives of our veterans and military families.

Product Name: Dog Tag Bakery Brownie. The packaging will state “Salted Potato Chip Crusted Brownie”
Unit Price: $3.95
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Availability: Available in over 8,000 Starbucks locations nationwide
PR Contact: Meghan Ogilvie / 202.527.9388 / and Hilla Narov / 212.995.1833 /

Hummingbird Cake | The JavaCupcake Blog

Hummingbird Cake

This nut-free recipe for Hummingbird Cake is full of pineapple, banana, and sunflower seeds!  There’s so much flavor you won’t miss the nuts! Hummingbird Cake | The JavaCupcake Blog

I’m allergic to nuts.  I mean, I can have peanuts because technically they’re a legume, but almonds, walnuts, cashews… they make me swell up and honestly I don’t want to know what happens after that.

Since Hummingbird Cake traditionally has nuts in it, I’ve never tried it because of that.

Hummingbird Cake | The JavaCupcake Blog

I was recently at an event where the Hummingbird Cake was made by Dog Tag Bakery.  DTB is a nut-free bakery and when I realized that the cake would have no nuts I jumped at the chance to try it!

This recipe actually is the same recipe they use at Dog Tag Bakery!  I’m so blessed to know the pastry chef there and she was so gracious to share it with me!  Thank you, Rebecca!

Hummingbird Cake | The JavaCupcake Blog

Holy cow… I’ve been missing out in my life!!  The combination of the banana and pineapple together make the Hummingbird cake incredibly moist and flavorful.

Add the crunch of sunflower seeds and the richness of the cream cheese frosting and  OH MY this cake is out of this world!

Hummingbird Cake | The JavaCupcake Blog

Making this cake was fun too.  It was the first cake I assembled at my photographers studio so it was a challenge to decorate it without all my tools at home.

Fanette of Frenchly Photography did an amazing job capturing the beauty of this Hummingbird Cake!

Hummingbird Cake | The JavaCupcake Blog

The recipe that Rebecca gave me didn’t include a recipe for frosting.  So, I used my pipeable cream cheese frosting recipe and doubled it to have enough to finish off the cake.

Happy Baking!

Hummingbird Cake

Hummingbird Cake

Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes



  • 1005g cake flour
  • 1065g sugar
  • 14g salt
  • 14g baking soda
  • 8g ground cinnamon
  • 366g eggs
  • 511g vegetable oil
  • 560g crushed pineapple, drained before weighing
  • 32g vanilla extract
  • 1136g banana, mashed
  • 295g sunflower seeds


  • 16oz full fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp for 30 minutes before using
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp heavy cream, as needed
  • Sunflower Seeds, for decoration



  1. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Line, grease and flour 3 8in round cake pans.
  2. Weigh the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the eggs and oil.
  4. Sift the dry mixture into the bowl with the eggs/oil. Mix on low for 1 minute, making sure the bottoms and sides of the bowl have been scraped so all the dry is combined into the wet. Do not over mix!
  5. Fold in the banana and pineapple. Mix on low for 30 seconds.
  6. Add the sunflower seeds and mix an additional 15 seconds. Scrape the bowl.
  7. Measure 1660g of batter for each prepared pan.
  8. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a tooth pic comes out clean from the center of the cake.
  9. Allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes until removing to cool completely on a wire rack.


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the slightly room temperature butter and cream cheese just until combined.
  2. Sift the powdered sugar then measure out 5 cups. One cup at a time, add the sugar and slowly mix to combine. Do not mixer longer than it takes to combine.
  3. Pour the vanilla evenly over the frosting and mix slowly to combine.
  4. Scrape the sides of the bowl then mix on high for 5-7 seconds. STOP MIXING!
  5. Test the consistency of the frosting, if it is too thick add a teaspoon of heavy cream and mix only until incorporated. If the frosting is too soft, chill for 20 minutes before frosting.


  1. Trip the hump/top of each cake so they are relatively level.
  2. Place the first layer of cake on the cake stand and spread frosting evenly over the top. Add the second layer and repeat. Finish by placing the their layer, cut site down, on top.
  3. Frost a very thin crumb coat over the outside of the cake. Chill cake for 30 minutes. (Leave frosting in cool place while the cake chills).
  4. Once the crumb coat is chilled firm, frost the sides and top of the cake.
  5. Using a star tip, pipe swirl dollops of frosting around the outside top edge of the cake.
  6. Sprinkle sunflower seeds on each swirl to garnish.
  7. Chill until ready to serve. When ready to serve, remove from fridge for 20 minutes before cutting.


Recipe courtesy of Dog Tag Bakery.


Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program – Week 5

This week was the end of the first round of classes and rotations of the Summer 2016 Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program!  I can’t believe it’s already been 6 weeks of the program, time has flown by and so many memories have been made.


That handsome man in the blue shirt in the center of this photo is my Georgetown University Professor Charles Skuba.   I had the pleasure of being in Professor Skuba’s Principles of Marketing class and learned an incredible amount from him about branding, marketing, and so much more!

Top 3 Marketing Lessons I Learned from Professor Skuba

  1.  Your Customer is #1 – Everything you do as a business owner needs to be centered around who your customer is, what is important and valuable to them, and what they want.  Once you figure out those things, you can create a product or service that will not only bring more customers to you, but will give you repeat and loyal customers!
  2. Develop a Marketing Strategy – A business can’t just expect to open up shop and hope for the best.  Identifying your strengths and weaknesses as well as any external opportunities or competition are essential to helping develop an effective marketing strategy to grow your brand.   Then, you must decide what your objectives are and make obtainable, measurable goals.
  3. Branding is Key – Not only does the name of your company matter, but the colors, fonts and logos you create all become essential to creating equity in your brand.  Make sure to create a logo that means something to your customer that is not only ascetically pleasing, but is memorable as well.


On Thursday morning, Professor Skuba gave us our Final Exam which I got 100% on! I was incredibly worried I wouldn’t do well on it and actually surprised myself with a perfect score!  I guess I really did learn a lot from this class!

I also found out that I passed the Principles of Management final exam I took last week!! We’re graded on a pass/fail basis only, so I won’t know what my exact grade was until I see Dr. McCabe again, but HALLELUIA!!! I passed both my finals!


Monday, we had the fabulous Jackie Nedell teach our class how to speak in front of a camera for media appearances.  Jackie was a television news reporter for more than a 16 years and for the last 15 years has been a national communications expert with focus on broadcast media training/messaging and outreach.  She was also on two episodes of House of Cards on Netflix!

This training with Jackie came at the most perfect time because I am going to be the feature of a mini documentary put together by Boeing and the USO and that filming begins later this month!

in front of sign

On Thursday afternoon, Dog Tag Bakery hosted a VIP! Mrs. Ellyn Dunford is the wife to General Joseph Dunford, USMC, the current Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Mrs. Dunford had 3 guests with her from Israel and were treated with a tour of the bakery along with a visit to our classroom.

Group Shot1

I was asked to give my final presentation (with my small group including Sharod and Meche!) for my rotation while Mrs. Dunford and her guests visited.  Kyle & Megan (our Program Director and CEO) wanted to give them a sense of what the program does and what better way than with our presentation!


Our presentation recapped all the things we learned during our 5 week Product Development Rotation with Executive Pastry Chef Rebecca Clerget. I won’t hash through everything I learned, but you can check out the slides from my presentation if you want to get an idea!

Just so you can get an idea of how excited I was to work with Rebecca… check out her credentials from the Dog Tag website!

Rebecca has worked in Five Star restaurants, Relais and Chateaux properties, and luxury hotels in the United States and in Europe. Rebecca has worked with some of the most accomplished pastry chefs in England, France and Spain. She won “best young pastry chef” in the United Kingdom in 2006 from the Academy of Food and Wine and represented England in the first ever Roussillon Dessert Trophy in the south west of France. She has worked part time at The White House since the end of the Bush administration and spent the last four years as Executive Pastry Chef and beekeeper for The Fairmont Hotel, Washington DC, Georgetown where she ran a successful and creative pastry department. Rebecca is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America.

So yeah, she’s pretty awesome and I learned SO MUCH!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

Top 3 Bakery Lessons I Learned from Executive Pastry Chef Rebecca Clerget

  1. Running a bakery kitchen is no joke! – In all seriousness, if I wouldn’t have had this opportunity to work side-by-side with Rebecca to see how incredibly difficult it is to be a the head pastry chef but to be responsibilities for the management of bakery operations, execution and implementation of menu items for our retail bakery, and overseeing the baking and pastry training for our veterans and their spouses.  After seeing all she does, it became clear to me that being a baker as a profession is not something that I want to do.  I want to run a business, but not from the kitchen.  I need to hire someone awesome like Rebecca to do it for me!
  2. I’m flouring my work space all wrong. – As I was rolling out dough, Rebecca stops me and says, “The amateur way to flour is by sprinkling it around (and demonstrates how I just did it).  Instead we toss it across like this (and with the whip of her hand like she was skipping a stone across water) she flours the counter with perfection.  My mind was blown and my life was changed.  It’s a simple thing, but for someone who makes hundreds of cookies, pies and doughs a year… it’s a game changer. I even made a video about it!
  3. Yeast is no longer scary! – For the longest time I’ve been afraid of yeast.  I could never seem to get the dough right and to be honest, I never knew how to treat the yeast or what it should look like or smell like.  Rebecca changed all that for me.  On the day we made yeast dough for pasty, I think I wrote down everything she said about yeast! In fact, a yeast pastry was our final project for our rotation and this Peaches and Cream Danish will be sold in the bakery!


This Fellowship has been so incredibly challenging, fun, and emotional.  I can feel friendships for life forming and I have a great suspicion that I just may be beginning a journey of a lifetime!

I can’t wait for next week!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program – Weeks 3 & 4

I have really begun to think about the direction of my life during the past two weeks. Asking myself questions like… Should I try to start my own business? Can I even do that? Do I have the money or the ability to get money to start a business? Should I work for someone else? What would that work look like? Would any of these jobs provide me with enough money to stay in Northern Virginia?

With all these questions circling inside of me, I find myself even more confused than ever. When I began this program at Dog Tag, my life goals were clear… get to Georgetown every day, put in the work, and pass the course. Now that I’m here I’m finding that there is so much more than needs to be decided.

After I shared my frustrations with being a care giver to a soldier living with PTSD, a shift happened. Life in my house was happy for about 2 weeks. I thought hey, maybe things are getting better. However, I was swiftly reminded that things are not better that the joy was just a facade and I realized something very key…

I can only control myself and my personal future.

What a revelation that has been. Almost like a weight off my shoulders realizing that I do not have to have all the answers for my husband. In fact, I don’t have to have all the answers for myself either, at least not today.

When I walked into class this morning, this quote by Socrates was on the white board. “The secret of CHANGE is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but building the new.” It’s like every day I come to the bakery, another thought or idea is offered to me that makes decision making more clear and somewhat easier to make.

I can’t fight the past and I can’t control the past, but I can do something about the future. So, from today forward, building the new… building my new future is what I am going to do.

Let’s recap some of the highlights from the program over the last two weeks!
Dog Tag, Inc was awarded the Veteran Business Mentorship Award from the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce!  Meghan Ogilive our CEO graciously accepted the award on behalf of the entire Dog Tag family.  It was a great honor to see all the hard work of Meghan, Fr. Curry and Connie Milstein paying off!

My cohort is still on it’s kitchen rotation with Executive Pastry Chef Rebecca Clerget and we were very busy in the kitchen!

We made 200 cookies that we then put into goodie bags that we hand delivered in a grass roots marketing effort to spread the word about our bakery and catering options! We went to 16 hotels in Georgetown and Rosslyn and will go to another 7 next week in Dupont Circle. It was a really eye opening hands on experience that taught me the power of community networking!

In the classroom, our Principles of Management class ended with our first final exam. Dr. McCabe taught us the essentials for being effective managers, skills for leading and motivating and negotiation skills. It was a really great class and I learned so much from it!

Dr. McCabe requested a class picture, so we all dressed up and he wore shorts! He’s a funny man, that Dr. McCabe!


Our Marketing class is continuing on and I’m learning a lot about branding and how to position a company in a market with competitors.  It’s really interesting stuff and I’m beginning to think about how to incorporate what I’m learning to my blog now and a potential new business in the future.

Our CEO Meghan Ogilvie and her brother Dr. Chris Ogilvie were with us for a morning of Learning Labs. Meghan shared with the us the story of how Fr. Curry and Connie Milstein founded the bakery and where their vision started.

Father Curry passed away this last December and I never had the pleasure of meeting him in person. However, I do know how important his life’s work and his vision for Dog Tag were. I feel honored and blessed to be a part of this program.

Dr. Chris Ogilvie talked to us about nutrition and how we need to stop eating sugar and wheat and to start our day with more protein. We’re tying, but uhm… we work in a bakery. Ha!

Today’s learning lab with our great partners at Deloitte. Resume working 1-on-1! #bakingadifference

A photo posted by Kyle Burns (@illuminatelearning) on

Finally, we had one-on-one sessions with professionals from Deloitte who worked with us to perfect our resume. My challenges wasn’t figuring out how to layout the resume, but how to take what have done as a volunteer with the Army and my blog and put it into words that will best represent me on my resume.

This process has been a real eye opener… I found that I can actually call myself an Independent Consultant, a Brand Manager, and Consultant. Who know that my blog would translate into such great opportunities!

I’m really looking forward to seeing what next week brings me!

Catch up on Week 1 and Week 2 of the Fellowship Program!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program – Week 2

Another fantastic week of the Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program has concluded and my head and heart are about to explode with knowledge, emotions, and ideas!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016
Testing soups from a vendor to potentially be sold at Dog Tag Bakery.

This week began my second class at Georgetown University – Principles of Marketing with Professor Charles Skuba.  Before this class, I never truly understood what the term marketing meant.  I thought it was only about how to best advertise my product or service but quickly learned it is much more than just that.  Marketing is branding, identity, research, and knowing your customer and what they want/need.  It was a very eye opening first lecture and I am excited to learn more!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016
Fallon, Megan and Betsy SO EXCITED about marketing! Ha!

One of the guest speakers this week were two Marine veterans who started their own coffee shop.  Harrison & Michael of Compass Coffee began dreaming about a business in coffee during their Afghanistan deployment when coffee was the one thing they always had to keep them sane and happy.

Harrison & Michael gave us the no bullshit hard truth about starting up a small business and kept it 100% real.  It’s hard work, takes a lot of money and time and is incredibly rewarding! They definitely gave me a lot to think about.

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016
Harrison & Michael – Co-Founders of Compass Coffee

My favorite part of this week was the rotation in the kitchen with Kyle, the savory cook at Dog Tag.  Kyle taught us knife skills while making gazpacho soup.  I learned how to cut an onion the right way.  It was life changing and I totally plan to do a blog post with Kyle about it just as soon as he gets back from vacation!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016 Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

I love how the guys in this picture are already tired of me taking pictures of EVERYTHING we do.  Ha!  It’s only week two fellas… get used to it!!

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016
Veggies ready to marinate overnight before being blended into soup

All those vegetables we learned to dice went into a gazpacho soup that was sold in the bakery this week.   I’d never made gazpacho before so this was really fun to see all the ingredients that went into making it.

Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016
Thanks Kyle for teaching us your mad knife skills!

Of course for lunch on Thursday, I had to eat what I made! Chilled Gazpacho Soup with roasted baguette croutons and fresh bread.


Dog Tag, Inc Fellowship Program - Summer Cohort 2016

Saving the best of the week for last…

During a reflection session, I was asked to think about the following question…

[bctt tweet=”What is your greatest barrier to achieving your dreams?” username=”javacupcake”]

I knew right away there were a few things that were holding me back

  • Money
  • Feeling scared
  • Lack of family support
  • Unclear what my dream is

That last reason was really holding me up from figuring out how to work through/around/with/over the barriers.   So I decided to write down what I did know about my dream… What it IS and what it IS NOT.

Here’s what my dream IS NOT: 

  • Working alone/being alone – I need interaction with people.  I crave it and it fills my soul and spirit.
  • Being a full time blogger – I know this may be surprising, but I do not feel fulfilled solely from blogging.  Blogging will always be a part of me, but I don’t want it to be the only thing.
  • Corporate life – Although knowing business and how to run a business are important, I know I do not want to work for a huge corporate company that has lost touch with the people.  No thank you.
  • Working for someone else – This doesn’t mean I don’t ever want to work for someone else, but I know that whoever that person is needs to share the same goals and dreams I do.  I am a self-starter and have a lot of great ideas that I’d want to become a reality, so I need to work for a person/company that can support that.

On the flip side, here is what my dream IS:

  • Helping others – In any shape or form
  • Being a part of a community – My neighborhood, the military community, the refugee community
  • Making a difference – I truly want to make a difference in this world, whether it be with an individual, group, company, community.
  • Providing a good/service that brings joy to others
  • Being a part of a team with like-minded people with the same goals
  • Being a leader – I want to inspire others to realize their own potential within the mission of whatever I do.

Learn To Create Your Dream | The JavaCupcake Blog

It felt so good to put this all down on paper and to really give what my dream looks like a shape.  I don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing, but I know that if it includes these things… I will be happy.

I am so excited to see how this Fellowship Program is going to help me shape what my dream is and in turn I will bring it to life!  Only great things are happening from here on out!!!

To learn more about the Dog Tag, Inc fellowship program at the Dog Tag Bakery check them out on the web and Facebook!