Today’s post comes from Dolores, the manager at our Gifts and Stationery store and a very talented baker!
I have never written a blog but was encouraged to do so when my co-worker here at Vroman’s, Anne, saw a picture of the Lemon Debutante Cake I created for one of my staff members’ birthdays, and so here my story begins….
As the song goes, I left my heart in San Francisco… not in a mournful, lost love way, but in a the-city-will-always-be-a-touchstone way. I was fortunate to live in the Bay Area for almost 20 years before returning to southern California, where I grew up. There are a million tiny things that lift my spirits when I think of the Bay Area, not the least of which are the amazingly talented chefs and bakers who give so fully of their talents to all who choose to partake of their creations. A never-miss favorite, whenever I visit San Francisco, is the Saturday Farmers Market at the Ferry Building. It was there in 2003 that I discovered the charmingly delicious gem of a bakery Miette. So to say that I was thrilled when Meg Ray published a cookbook of some of her bakeries’ delights is a major understatement.
When I joined Vroman’s in 2005 as the manager of the Fine Writing, Gifts and Stationery store, I decided to use my love of baking to start a tradition with my staff. I offered to bake any dessert of choice as a birthday gift. This offer, needless to say, was enthusiastically accepted. Over the years I’ve made many a cake, pie, cupcake, cookie and bar. When we received the Miette cookbook in our store, my co-worker Cara promptly chose the Lemon Debutante Cake as her choice for this year’s birthday cake.
Ms. Ray has written a well defined, steps-to-follow book that gives exact instructions even a novice baker can understand, (albeit a confident novice baker!). Above is a picture of the resultant cake and, as you will see when you look through the book, it does not quite have the same refined, polished look a professional baker can produce. Nevertheless it was a delicious, rich cake in which a small slice will leave you feeling completely indulged and satisfied! By the way, all the cakes in the book are designed to be made in a 6×3 cake pan because, as Ms. Ray says, she adopted the principle of less is more, taking a page from the Japanese: Small is better, balance is everything. I couldn’t agree more!