Desserts inspired by dates: The good, the bad & the salty
Audrey Shulman recently published a cookbook/memoir based on her blog by the same name in “Sitting in Bars with Cake”. Fed up with online dating and setups and not having any success, Shulman had an idea as she celebrated a friend’s birthday at a bar with a cake she had made. She could talk to guys at the bar by going up and offering a free piece of cake. So why not do that and write about it? Baking 50 cakes and going to 50 bars in a year, Shulman wrote about her experiences with the cakes and the men she met.
The book is divided into five chapters: Sweet, Salty, Bitter, Fruity and Savory. Each chapter has seven recipes and seven stories to go along with it. There is also a playlist of songs for each chapter to listen to as you bake or date. Whichever you want.
Sweet is stories of guys and “cakes for pleasant surprises, thoughtful gestures and full-on victories.” There’s The Guy Who Made Contact with My Mouth (a kiss as a thank-you gesture for cake) and a recipe for Sticky Maple Kiss Cake with Pumpkin Frosting.
Salty is stories of guys who were a little off, from bad pick-up lines to just never calling again, or as Shulman puts it “cakes for jarring impressions, embarassing run-ins and conversations with a kick.” There’s The Guy Who Asked If I Was a Grandmother (ouch!) and a recipe for Peanut Brittle Cake with Old-Fashioned Frosting, as she puts it, “for young and old alike, especially young people with old people interests, e.g., puzzles, bridge and my personal favorite, the domino train game.”
Bitter is stories of rude or bad behavior, or “cakes for crushing losses, sour realizations and frustrated efforts.” Shulman says, “these are cakes for eating your feelings.” There’s The Guy Who Was Engaged with a recipe for Hidden Layer Chocolate-Raspberry Torte.
Fruity is stories of erratic behavior or odd experiences. Or as Shulman says, “Cakes for inappropriate times, unlikely scenarios and ridiculous company.” The best example of this is The Guy Who Licked Elizabeth’s Leg (her poor friend!) with a recipe for Puckering Lime Cake with Sour Frosting “for sour candy fans or people who have just suffered through a rather sour experience.”
Savory is cakes to accompany stories of people Shulman says influenced her the most. The last cake and story in the book is The Guy Who Pointed Out the Obvious with Sage Cake with Ricotta Frosting.
I decided to make one of the cakes for fun and made White Chocolate Gravel Cheesecake from the Sweet chapter that accompanied the story of The Guy Who Told Me He’d Send Me His Recipe. The cheesecake was pretty simple to make actually, and had a chocolate cookie crust and white chocolate cheesecake filling. I’d have made mine a bit more sweet next time, but everything seemed to turn out OK, just like in the book.
“Sitting in Bars with Cake” is published by Abrams Image. It is $24.95.