Baking Chocolate Covered Honey-Rosemary Cake

With my days now full of savory banquets rather than the pastries I had grown so accustom to in the 2 years past, I come home with a craving. Not a sweet tooth, per se, rather an overwhelming urge to bake. Cookies, brownies, cakes, you name it, I have been a home baking fool.

However, just picking up a recipe and making a few cookies isn’t the kind of satisfaction I come home burning for. No no no. My urges stem from my years developing recipes in a business setting, creating conceptual desserts. Thus, rather than making a few cookies from a recipe I have been looking to try, I have redefined my banana bread. But that wasn’t enough.

I started building a custom cake business. I couldn’t help it, really. It just happened! It’s been two months without a pastry outlet, and I have managed to come up with DC Customs. I even have business cards!

The concept is that I take on very few customers, making it possible to consult with each individually, and create a cake unique and individual based on the event and the person the cake is to please most. Starting from the inside out, I talk about flavors the client likes best, their favorite food as a kid, the bakery they trekked across town weekly to, just for their monkey bread, the cherry lime-aid from sonic that they guzzled in college. I have been building the cakes from the inside-out, choosing flavors and textures first. Then, we can decide how the cake is to look later, based on the limitations and allowances of the flavors, and the emotions you’d like the cake to elicit.

It’s taste I want to inspire each unique creation, not a picture seen in a recent wedding magazine.

To make my image reflect my mission, I have chosen to model it after a custom auto body shop. I am meeting with a tattoo artist soon to design the logo, and have chosen the simplistic name DC Customs to let everyone know, I’m not Martha.

Looking back, it’s almost silly. 2 months without a menu, without flour in my hair and chocolate under my nails and I have come up with a business.

Last weekend I developed a cake for a simple Sunday evening dinner party. Tim the cook, a friend and cohort at the Rainer Club, created his menu using the first of springs ingredients. The cake was to reflect the shifting season, to be elegant, sophisticated, yet humble enough for the intimacy of eight.

Because the world of desserts spends early spring in limbo, this was a challenge. The rich, comforting flavors of winter are no longer desired, yet the bright, acid pop of citrus didn’t fit the relaxed setting of the dinner. Rhubarb, the first hint that fruit is coming, is not quite here.

I chose to use Rosemary, and to scent a Brazilian cornmeal cake with it’s distinct flavor. The cake was split in two layers, soaked in a sweet rosemary syrup, and filled with honey mousse. To bring elegance to this rustic cake, I covered it in dark chocolate glaze. A crown of candied pine-nuts, which share the essence of rosemary, garnished the cake. I don’t often use inedible garnishes, but the petite lavender flowers blooming on rosemary bushes right now were to much to resist.

Thus, Tim’s cake was born.

You can see from the pictures, I had an expert taste tester. Bianka liked the cake so much she had to be sent to “time out” in the bathroom until the cake was safely on it’s way to it’s destiny.

6 Responses to “Baking Chocolate Covered Honey-Rosemary Cake”

  1. Britt says:

    Looks delicious!! I love the picture of your kitty sampling the goods, they’re so cute when they are getting into trouble!
    The honey mousse sounds and looks amazing…would you be willing to post the recipe or the basic components of it? My mother, a honey freak, would go nuts over it…
    Love your blogs!

  2. Britt says:

    Honey mousse….oh my GAWD that sounds delicious!! Would you be willing to post the components of this delightful conconction? My mouth is watering thinking of all the yummy spring fruit to eat dunk into it….
    I’ve missed your phat duck blogs, but I am thrilled to see you here @ the tasting menu!


    PS- your kitty is so cute when she’s getting into trouble!

  3. Erik says:

    No recipes? :(

  4. Libby says:

    That wouldn’t have been the first time that a cat had ruined your cake. Remember how Muffin used your peanut butter torte for the Kodak end of the year party as a seat cushion? When Shadow licked in the center of a pumpkin pie, Grandma Eva scooped out perfectly around the “contaminated” area while scolding the cat. You have to love them anyway, though.

  5. Mindy says:

    Beautiful cake. Your cat is obviously a foodie with great taste. :)

  6. Teresa says:

    That cake is beautiful. You really should post the recipe when you get a chance, I would love to make it.
    I noticed that honey and chocolate are two key ingredients of the cake (obviously). A reccomendation I would add for the health conscious is to use carob in place of chocolate.
    I personally buy my honey and carob from a compnay called Holy Food Imports ( which produces thier products in Israel and sells them in the US. Since I first started buying from them, I have never been disapointed with the items I bought.

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