Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Blue Note Bakery

Blue Note Bakery
4201 S. Congress Ste. 101
Austin, Tx 78745

A few weeks ago, I went to the Hill Country Food and Wine Festival. It was a great day - food, wine, sun, mud - how can you go wrong? We even decided to up the ante and rented a limo to drive us safely (and stylishly) home. We spent a wonderfully drunk afternoon walking from booth to booth sampling the wine and food fares. That, however, is a post for another day.

One of the fine food vendors I happened to meet that day, were the lovely folks at Blue Note Bakery. They had provided delicious samples of their homemade smores and heavenly bourbon balls to all us hungry and drunk fair go-ers. As I stuffed my face with bourbon balls, I talked to the ladies that run Blue Note, and we hatched a deviously delicious plan. I would supply a few food bloggers and local business people and they would give us a tour of their bakery. Dastardly!

I was able to talk a few of the local food bloggers into taking a tour with me. There was Addie of Austin360 Relish, Teddy of Fun with Your Food, Rachel of The Friendly Kitchen, and Kristina of Girl Gone Grits as well as a few of my friends and more faithful readers (just a reminder to check my Facebook Page, I post fun activities there from time to time). We all met up a few weeks ago at the Blue Note Bakery's office and kitchen on Ben White and South Congress. We were immediately barraged with beautifully decorated sample cakes and a case full of delectable to-go desserts.

We met the head "The Cake Artist" and "Confection Composer”, Angela Jiles. She's been a pastry chef all over town (like Vespaio and an instructor at The Culinary Academy of Austin). After the meet and greet we were shown into the kitchen where the magic happens.

We were introduced to, what I will refer to affectionately as, the line of cakes. Angela had arranged for us to have a slice of their seven favorite cakes. There was the tie-dyed vanilla (featured in Rachael Ray Magazine), a gluten-free chocolate hazelnut, a carrot cake, a pistachio cake with an espresso butter cream and a honey rum fondant, a chocolate cake, a red velvet cake, and a chipotle chocolate cake with a salted caramel butter cream.

The "line of cakes". Have you ever seen anything more beautiful? It brought a tear to my eye.

I tried each cake individually. They were all excellent. The tie-dyed vanilla was so innovative and Austin-y. Have you ever seen a tie-dyed cake? The gluten-free chocolate hazelnut was nice with a wonderful crumb. Totally unlike any gluten free cake I've had before. The carrot cake was tasty and the pistachio cake was so different. Who would have thought pistachio and espresso would go so well together? The red velvet was amazing, one of the better I've had. The chocolate was moist and delicious. However, the real star of the show was the chocolate chipotle cake with the salted caramel butter cream.

I have a confession. I love salted caramels. Its been a bit of an obsession of mine for a few years. So when I tried their chocolate chipotle cake with the salted caramel butter cream, the world started spinning, fireworks went off, and my chi became officially aligned. It was amazing.

But it didn't just stop at the cakes. Blue Note also let us sample their butter creams. There weren't just a few butter creams, there was a line of over 10. Everything from American Vanilla to Orange Dreamsicle.

There were also those delicious chocolate bourbon balls. I stuffed 2 in my mouth when no one was looking. Shh.. Don't tell anyone.

We set about doing a purely scientific cake tasting - I am an engineer, you know. I tried to dot each of the cakes with as many flavors as I could muster. My cakes ended up looking less like slices of cake and more like cake dominos.

Most of you would only ever encounter Blue Note Bakery if you were ordering a custom cake from them. If you do, this would be the sample plate they'd let normally put together for you to try. Makes you want to order a cake from them, right?

When it was all said and done, I had eaten eight slices of cake with every combination of icing imaginable. So what combinations went well together? The tie-dyed vanilla went well with every flavored butter cream. The gluten free chocolate hazelnut went well with the Bailey's Irish Cream butter cream. The carrot cake and red velvet went best with the creamed cheese butter cream, big surprise there. The chocolate went best with the raspberry or the fresh strawberries. And the pistachio didn't go well with really any of the butter creams, but that was ok, it was tasty all by itself. And what was my favorite? Still just the plain old chocolate chipotle with salted caramel butter cream. It was and still is the mark of cake perfection. But I totally took one for the team and tested all those combinations just so you'd know which ones were the best.

The cake carnage.....