My dad came to cooking late in life, when he’d gotten really disillusioned with practicing law and needed a hobby. Once he started cooking, he didn’t just dabble in it; he dove in headfirst and rarely came up for air.
One of his big successes was a Hummingbird Cake. I’d never heard of this particular cake until dad found the recipe, and he would bake the hell out of it for almost any occasion. Of course, we’d gobble it up appreciatively, but in all honesty, I loved my dad more than I loved the cake — a lot more — and I praised it so that he’d be happy. And he was.
Dad, I’m still your girl, OK? But I found a Hummingbird Cake that I really love.
It’s from The Cake Rack Bakery at Findlay Market (513-549-8623), one of two cake bakeries I tried recently.
The Cake Rack is by the northwest corner of the outer area of the Market House, near the Blue Oven Bread stand. It’s open 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays, but tends to sell out before the end of the day.
Here’s why — their cake is awesome. According to owner James Werle, it’s made from scratch using very fine ingredients, local if possible (free-range eggs and in-season fruit) and imported if necessary (Belgian and/or Swiss chocolate, vanilla from Madagascar, etc). According to my houseful of people last Saturday night — mmmmmm, it’s delicious.
The other cake bakery you ought to try is Cake Towne (911 N. Fort Thomas Ave., Fort Thomas, 859-441-8542). Here is where you will go shopping in advance of the high tea party you will throw for the Royal Wedding on April 29. Don’t say you’re not! I know you’ve already polished your tiara. And at your high tea, you simply must serve cake balls. You’ve heard about cake balls, right? They’re trendy little bite-sized pieces of cake dipped in frosting and decorated. Dainty cake. If the sight of skinny little Kate Middleton in her wedding dress makes you foreswear big desserts forever, a cake ball is the answer.
I presented a vast selection of Cake Towne’s cake balls and cupcakes to the aforementioned houseful of people last weekend and even though Kate was nowhere to be seen, everybody went for the cake balls first. Psychologically, they’re almost like eating an entire dessert, but they’re so little that you don’t feel the slightest bit guilty. The red velvet and carrot cake balls were a hit, with the dark chocolates right behind. At Cake Towne, they are all about pretty — they even make oversized cupcakes that serve 10, but still have the fun shape.
But the favorite treat we had from Cake Towne? Ironically, it was not cake and it was not dainty. It was a state-fair worthy moment of afternoon decadence — Pie On A Stick. Seriously — a tasty triangle of pecan or peanut butter pie, impaled on a popsicle stick and dipped in chocolate. If you decide to eat Pie On A Stick while watching the Royal Wedding, the Queen will be horrified. Kate Middleton, however, would like a bite.
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