Cakes, meringue are specialties at Sweet Sensations

September 28, 2011 10:12:22 AM PDT
Nearly every bakery these days offers cupcakes of some kind. While they make up a small portion of the front case at Sweet Sensations, a tiny new bakery in Ravenswood, the cupcakes are overshadowed by some of the other items on hand, like the Black Bottom Cakes, which owner Sharin Nathan first tried in Florida.

"This was my interpretation of it and I made it into individual cakes and kind of made my own batter and my own filling, but took on that interpretation and people walk in here and say, 'oh, I've had this before,'" Nathan said.

Her homemade chocolate batter is topped off with a cheesecake batter, then simply baked until they've risen and set. Another chocolate star is her cookie, which begins with hand-chopped Belgian Callebaut bittersweet chocolate, which is eventually tossed into her batter and then simply scooped and measured. They're two-and-a-half ounces each and then baked.

"I've just played around with the chocolate, I've played around with the different ingredients in it, the salt levels the flour the sugar, adding different kinds of sugar," Nathan said.

Nathan also plays with an assortment of bars, like honey-almond-cherry-orange flavor, or even something as simple as caramel.

Yet of all the homey things she bakes, it was her giant meringue that left the most lasting impression on me. Sugar and water are heated and added to beaten egg whites until they turn almost glossy in appearance. Toasted coconut flakes are gently folded into the mixture, and finally, they're baked off, creating a sweet, light-as-air indulgence that is as much about texture as it is flavor.

"It's really a recipe that I've played around with and I've adapted from the one I originally found," she said.

Sweet Sensations Bakery

1918 W. Montrose Ave.


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