A cake slice so good, you’ll nibble around the edges of the melted candle wax just to get the last crumbs: This year I wanted a classic, 3-tier, vanilla bakery cake for my birthday. I have seen multiple accolades and reviews for the birthday cake at the Crown Heights, Brooklyn bakery called Butter & Scotch. (including here and here) Despite being a little skeptical of something so praised, I went ahead and placed a full cake order. Especially since I wanted to try something that wasn’t from standbys Momofuku Milk Bar, Baked, or Magnolia this time around.
We picked it up on a dreary Saturday afternoon, cutting it up a short time later. Everyone started with a thin slice but kept going back for seconds and thirds. Can I call a cake perfectly balanced? If so, this one seems to be: perfect sweetness, perfect frosting, perfect dense-and-moist cake crumb. (yes, I will note that you do need to enjoy a denser cake for this to be your thing.) It’s the sort of dessert you might binge eat for the next couple of days without remorse.
I also picked up a slice of the S’mores pie to try out, which is also a fan pick from the shop. It was beautiful to look at but not my thing, dessert-wise. As much as I love real s’mores, the pie version is more about the overly sweet parts of the combination – i.e. the burnt marshmallow top and the chocolate cream center – and personally I wanted more of a graham cracker taste as a counterpoint.
If you ever find yourself around Franklin Street in Crown Heights, you can always stop by and eat a birthday slice at their sit-down bar and bakery space. I do, however, think it’s ideal to order the entire cake for a special event. There’s something special about opening up the box and seeing the whole concoction- the fluffy pink frosting artfully covered in sprinkles, patiently waiting to be passed out in small slices – with potential for leftovers.
Order online here.
I might live too close to the Sugar Club.
Kanom Ba Bin (coconut cake)
Anything called Sugar Club might be a tough thing for yours truly to avoid. This is the name of a Thai-dessert-spot-slash-small-Thai-grocery located in Elmhurst, Queens. Although half of the space is dedicated to sit-down treats, I have yet to stay and eat their recommended Romeo Toast or a classic mango with sticky rice. What has made me happy so far is the craziness that is their to-go section. So. Many. Options. If you’re looking to try new Thai snacks, they have a massive array of homemade choices ranging from savory to sweet, from the familiar to the new (that is, if you’re not a Thai native or super-well-versed in Thai cuisine).
The first time I went into Sugar Club, I felt like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory reworked for tropical flavors. The grocery area was filled to the brim with take-home containers full of food. The flavors of taro, pandan, coconut, and tapioca were everywhere. I almost jumped for joy, ready to carry a tower of plastic boxes home for taste testing, but decided to practice some restraint. “I’ll come back soon,” I promised to myself, choosing a single container of black sticky rice for the road. “I will try to return every other week and pick up 3 new options to try.”
Of course it ended up that my take-home options for trip #2 were more limited in scope. It seemed like they were awaiting a new batch of food on that day. I decided to bring home a container of Woon jelly- basically a Thai Jello- if only because it looked so pretty, as well as a Taro pudding and a coconut cake called Kanom Ba Bin.
The bite-sized jellies were basically what I expected: not too exciting flavor-wise, but pretty to look at. The Kanom Ba Bin were pretty tasty, but my favorite was the taro pudding which was soft and starchy, flavored with coconut, and felt like a very eggy bread custard. The black sticky rice dessert from my first trip, by the way, was also excellent.
I’ll be sure to post another round in a couple of weeks. (remember, practicing restraint…)
Sugar Club is located at 8118 Broadway in Elmhurst, Queens.