WLW: ready for layers

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It’s hot again. I was ready/still am ready for layers. LAYERS OF CAKE.

Specifically, the Russian Honey Cake from 20th Century Cafe in San Francisco. But then also these tortes:

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Just your usual walnut & apricot, coconut & orange, AND (/or) hazelnut cream layers.

Oh, but then also this:

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Dobos Torte with a little brûléed top.

Forget extended summer weather, forget early PSLs. Today, in my dreams, I’m headed to cloudy San Fran and wrapping myself in these layers. That is all.

*pics by: @ohhappydaily, @monbraee, @chowhall_

 

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WLW: Goldenrod Pastries

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It has recently come to my attention that Nebraska has more than just corn and cornhuskers. Gone are the days of just passing through, because about two years ago a baking blog became an actual bakery, and Goldenrod Pastries became a reason to stop in Lincoln.

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Basically, it looks like they have it all. Cardamom or lavender poundcake, sour cherry or honey turmeric macarons, lemon curd or rhubarb crumble buns, lime sherbet or raspberry rose or peanut butter/cashew brittle cupcakes, turtle cheesecake made with goat’s milk caramel and local pecans, cosmic brownies with fancy sprinkles. Dairy-free, gluten-free, paleo, whatever dietary situation you endure, you will not be restricted here. And whatever you want to write on a custom cake, you will not be restricted either.

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I generally like a wandering road trip where I have the ability to stop and see the world’s largest ball of twine or pick blueberries at a roadside farm. But the next time I’m making a cross-country trip, I’ll have to be a bit more precise with my schedule. Because I either need to call ahead for my custom cake order (prob a reasonable 6″ round confetti cake with mocha frosting, fresh fruit and glitter that says HERE FOR IT) and/or stay at least a night in ol’ Nebrasky in order to maximize the quantity of pastries I’ll be able to put away. I mean, really, f a Sbarro’s oasis and canisters of Pringles. Imma need some fancy fuel to keep me awake and happy on my next car trip through the plains. And this colorful, crazy, sassy bakery has now been added to my road atlas.

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*all photos by: @goldenrodpastries

 

at Jennivee’s, I’m the girl with the most cake

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If you’re driving near Sheffield/Roscoe in June, you’re probably looking for Cubs parking/cursing yourself that you’re in the neighborhood on a game day. Well while you’re navigating one-ways and praying for a win, please kindly drop me off at 3301 N. Sheffield and just text me when you’ve found a spot. Because my new pre-game (preferably NOT on a game day) is eating all the cake at Jennivee’s Bakery.

Located somewhat surprisingly where it’s located, Jennivee’s is a delicious cake mecca in an ocean of Old Style and peanuts, street fests and strollers. I love these cakes so much I will fight my way past ZZ Top cover band groupies and spilly frat boys to get a slice or 3.

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This Filipino bakery is open latelate. They continue to bake throughout the day. The slices are BIG (and – IMO – are preferable to the cupcakes). You will be caught off-guard by how light and fresh and not dense everything is. You’ll want to faceplant, but let’s keep it classy – there are floor-to-ceiling windows in this bakery and they don’t need that kind of advertising.

After much deliberation, I, along with my hardworking assistant, got:

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a slice of mango cakesupermoist mango chiffon with mango mousse and a layer of fresh mango slices. Can cake be refreshing? It can. This was like a cake version of a mango lassi.

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a slice of blackout cake – dark chocolate cake with chocolate pudding layers. Deep cocoa-y intense but not overly rich. Like, no prob, let’s eat the whole thing.

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a slice of purple velvet – ube chiffon cake with ube mousse with fresh coconut strings mixed into the mousse layer. Like a goddamn springy cloud. If you’ve never had ube and are thinking “WTF is this, a potato loaf?,” do yourself a favor and learn about it and then get this cake for your gateway slice. There’s no going back.

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We also had a pistachio cupcake and a citrusy tres leches cupcake – whipped cream NOT buttercream frostings, thank the heavens, bc Jennivee knows what’s up. I will be going back for a slice of spumoni cake, a slice of red velvet, a slice of caramel cake, a slice of Nutella cake, a slice of Sansrival cashew cake, a slice of EVERYTHING.

 

 

breakfast box:

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Portillo’s Lemon Cake: a modern love story

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Oh the power of the internet…… Forget about match.com, eharmony or even Tinder, because thanks to a plea on Reddit, Ben and his true love, Portillo’s Lemon Cake, are back together again after a loooong 10 years of separation. And we can all share in his joy because, well, we can all share in some lemon cake.

Basically Ben was just sitting around missing Lemon Cake one day (no judging, we’ve all been there), so he took to the interwebs to see what could be done. He promised to pay $300 to anyone who could obtain the recipe. And Portillo’s heard his desperate cry.

From today (June 13) until July 31 (and for much less than $300), all Portillo’s across the land are bringing back their long lost dessert. Available by the slice or by the whole cake (call ahead a few hrs if you want a whole cake), the legendary Lemon Cake tastes like if a kid in your 3rd grade class brought lemon cupcakes to school for his bday. Maybe the kid’s name was Ben?

*side note: as I took my first bite of cake “What a Wonderful World” came on over the loud speaker. Well said, Louis. Well done, Ben. #faithinhumanityrestored

 

Escape to Bia: part 1*

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Ever wonder what a fairy queen eats and drinks (aside from berries and fiddlehead ferns and dewdrops, of course)? Well wonder no more, because I’m about to reveal the secrets of the fairy kingdom…..and who would’ve guessed they’d have an outpost in LA’s Koreatown? Welcome to Bia.

(Side note: ever wonder what fairy monsters drink? THIS. #nothankyouverymuch)

Bia’s menu centers around two main ingredients: rose and lavender. Makes sense considering the cafe’s founder used to be a florist. Wanting to avoid synthetically sweet syrups, she makes her floral syrups in-house letting each jar infuse for two to three days. The limited quantities of syrup are then used in a limited number of creations; most triumphantly, lattes and cakes. (she also makes a vanilla syrup, and also makes italian sodas, muffins, meringues, croissants and scones, but we’re not here for that)

Easily blending in at the fairy cafe, due to my extremely large fairy tramp stamp, I was able to see magic in action. And by that I mean the jars of flower syrup are on display at the front counter:

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Listen, this is not like wandering into a Bath and Body Works and posting up for a soapy snack at the display table. This is more like roaming through a magical blooming forest only to be invited into a hollowed tree stump for a whimsical afternoon feast.

The carefully sought out coffee perfectly balances with the floral scents. The shop’s founder is the only one currently concocting the drinks, and you can tell she takes pride in the exacting details. The rose latte is topped with a fresh rose petal and ground rose powder. (the lavender latte is topped with a fresh lavender sprig and açaí powder) Like, this mug smells so good I want to just hang it from my rearview mirror.

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And now the cake. It is truly a special experience for all the senses. It’s beautiful, it’s delicious, and it smells SO GOOD that it’s basically singing to you. The double layered infused chiffon cake is doused with thick cream and again dusted with dried and fresh petals. (it can be ordered for dine-in only, though they will give you a box to go if you don’t finish. #qualitycontrol)

At first glance, you might think you’ve accidentally signed up for a Strawberry Shortcake pinky sweet extravaganza, but one bite and you’ll remember that no, no, you’re still dining on fairy food. How can something be sweet and floral without being too sweet and too floral? Tis the magic of the fairy kitchen.

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*part 2 re: everything lavender, will publish at some indeterminate future date

#MakeAmericaCakeAgain

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Important dates are meant to be celebrated. And what’s a celebration without cake?? In the backwater days before women could vote, let alone run for president, colonial gals got in on election day action by baking election cakes.

These cakes were spiced, studded with fruit and not too sweet. HUGE quantities of the cakes (like actually enough to feed the militia for a day) were made by communities of women for election days. On olde-timey colonial election days, everyone would gather not just to vote, but to socialize, play games and get their drink on. As if that wasn’t enticing enough, the promise of cake further encouraged the men to get off their ass and show up to town hall meetings and votings. I mean, geeeeez. #ifyoucakeittheywillcome

The owners of OWL Bakery in Asheville, NC are pushing to “make America cake again,” by calling on pro bakeries and home bakers to jump on the election cake bandwagon. These cakes take a bit of time to prepare, even if you’re not harvesting your own berries and stoking a wood-burning fire, so OWL was also kind enough to supply a list of all participating bakeries across the country.

Take a look to see if you’ve got a bakery in your precinct – I do! – or check out this recipe that will provide you with over 4 hours of baking distraction and will taste great when paired with a soothing cup of tea and/or entire bottle of whiskey – whatever the day calls for……

World Chocolate Day!

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Not just another “national” holiday – – – this one’s a WORLD celebration!!!

I suggest you start your day with s’mores, aka “a breakfast sandwich.”

For lunch, I’d go with chocolate pudding, you know, just like school cafeteria times.

At about 3pm, when it’s melting hot outside, it would be in your best interest to treat yourself to a scoop of chocolate ice cream.

For dinner, a hearty slice of chocolate cake. It just makes sense.

For dessert, come on. ALL THE CHOCOLATE.

And finally, for a nightcap, I’d recommend a chocolate martini with a bonbon garnish.

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