Even since it has been made known that I love to bake I have been getting a few birthday cake requests. I am by no means a professional (yet!) and my skills quite limited that I was shocked that someone would ask me to perform such a task! However, I felt very flattered and was most of all excited to have the opportunity to play-ette the role of “baker” to a “client.” I had so much fun planning and researching recipes that I think I probably enjoyed making the cake more than everyone who ended up eating it.
Valentine’s Day is not for another few months but thoughts of love and cupid filled my head when I went to the Chocolate Room in Park Slope. It’s a very cozy but not crammed spot in Brooklyn and feels like the perfect date spot. Too bad I didn’t go with a boyfriend, a lover, or a secret crush, because it would have been very romantic, a piece of dark, chocolate cake and spoons knocking together. But! I went with a very, very wonderful friend and had a fabulous time. So, I guess a boy wasn’t very necessary at all!
I like chocolate, but wouldn’t say I’m a chocoholic. However, for the Chocolate Room I might convert. Each dish had just the right amount of sweetness and cocoa intensity. There was sophistication but also homey, comfort as well. When we sat down we were welcomed with a little taster of a dark chocolate sorbet. I like to say that I like dark chocolate, but secretly I prefer milk. The sorbet was exceptional though, refreshing with just enough of cocoa aftertaste. It made you yearn for me.
I really love baking for birthdays. Cakes, cupcakes, frosting, sprinkles, piping…is there anything more delightful than that? My cakes never turn out as pretty and whimsical as I imagine them, but I try not to let that get to me, it’s all part of the fun. I do though get stressed out a little bit before I start baking, when I’m trying to decide what cake to bake. There are so many different recipes out there and so many resources to get them from, that I find it overwhelming to say the least.
There is a sort of thought process that I go through when a birthday starts to approache. I first think of what kind of sweets or desserts this person likes and try to create a list of flavor profiles like: chocolate and strawberries, or lemon and almonds. Then I start the “research.” I look everywhere. I go to food blogs, the Food Network, my cookbooks, magazines, and I also go to the bookstore where I grab any cake/baking book I can see and look through each one of them. This thought process lasts for hours, days, sometimes even weeks and in the end I usually end up with two or three recipes that I like. There’s always one cake candidate that models the flavor profile list pretty well, while the others are more geared towards something I would like or something I think would taste amazing. I mean, don’t some people say you should give a gift you would like for yourself? Well, in the end I usually do the right thing, and pick the right cake.