Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Piece of Cake Story

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This past weekend was the big 4-0 birthday for two of my friends, and beforehand, I was enlisted by one of the party hosts to coordinate the dessert. Now, as many of you know, dessert (in particular making cakes), is not my strong point. As a reminder, here is what Conor’s 7th birthday cake looked like…

P1300029I mean, it did the job, but I wouldn’t call it a visual masterpiece. So I decided to delegate the making of the desserts (which also included two friends who baked over 100 cookies for chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches, and these miniature s’mores that went so fast I didn’t even get one), specifically the making of the birthday cake. Which leads to the favor…

Lately I’ve found myself embracing the barter economy more and more (this will be the topic of another post in the near future) and that includes trading favors and food for services from multi-talented friends. So for the cake, I reached out to my very gifted CSA farmer, Bennett Haynes of Ralston Farm, who is spending the winter season as a pastry chef apprentice at a swanky new restaurant called Jockey Hollow Bar and Kitchen. Luckily for Bennett, the pastry program at Jockey Hollow is being run by Andrea Lekberg, who owns and runs one of the loveliest little bakeries around, The Artist Baker. After sending out my dessert S.O.S, Andrea gamely agreed that the birthday cake could be Bennett’s pastry “homework” for the week. After sharing a few details (a garden theme for the decorating, since the birthday friends share a vegetable patch; no chocolate), Bennett got to work, and I eagerly awaited the cake.

IMG_4237Here’s Bennett delivering his homework, which ended up being a phenomenal 3-tiered buttermilk cake (using Ralston Farm eggs) with a citrus-cardamon jam filling and a rich frosting which everyone agreed was the best frosting they’d ever tasted. It tasted as good as it looks and combined the best of professional pastry making with the thoughtfulness of something homemade (and everyone was spared my janky, sparkly blue, single-tiered brownie thing). So thank you Bennett and Andrea! And may I suggest exchanging your skills in the kitchen (or elsewhere…get your mind out of the gutter!) for something wonderful sometime soon?

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