Baker, Cook, Writer, Pursuer of Gastronomic Joy

Butter & Scotch – Hotline Bling Cake

Butter & Scotch has been on my list for quite some time. This bar/bakery seems to have all one could want from both its components – cake, pie, milkshakes (with and without booze), cookies, brownies, and a wide variety of cleverly named cocktails including “I Want a Dyke for President” and “Stop Telling Women to Smile”. They even have brunch! It seemed to be a multitasking machine. But with so much going on, could it really excel in all areas? Whatever the case, I knew I was reserving it for a special occasion. Especially given that it is situated in Brooklyn in an area that is not so convenient for me to get to. Butter & Scotch was going to be a special outing.

Little did I know that my pals Ndeye and Linnea had been ordering cake from them on occasion for some weeks! Upon this discovery and the rave reviews that followed the reveal, I knew that I must experience their goods sooner rather than later.  So at the next hang out at their house, we had a special night and ordered some Butter & Scotch. For what could be more special than hanging with friends?

There was however, a conundrum on two fronts. First, they were on my list for multiple things. Their cake was there of course, with both their flavors looking absolutely delicious, as well as their S’mores Pie, and their Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie. Second, came when we learned that they were out of birthday cake. This made for an arduous decision process. As I am typically one to opt for chocolate over vanilla, I easily got what I wanted with their Hotline Bling Cake (A dark chocolate cake with dark chocolate frosting, salted caramel sauce, and golden glitter rock-lets on the side). Ndeye and Linnea on the other hand had been planning on birthday cake, and were unsure if they should resign themselves to chocolate, or order a non-cake menu item. The decision was eventually made to go with three slices of chocolate and make up the loss with some cookies (two salted chocolate chip and one Unicorn Treat – a browned butter cookie with a heck ton of sprinkles) However, for the sake of this review I will only be discussing the cake and leave the cookies for another post.

After what felt like an eternity due to our overflowing excitement, the goods arrived and we swiftly gathered the necessary utensils, snapped some hasty pics (explanation for the pic above), and situated ourselves with our treats as we settled in for a movie.

I could not help but be struck primarily by the rich dark brown of the slice. Against the glistening gold crust of the side, the cake seemed to glow in its darkness and envelop you in a vortex all its own. It was sturdy, yet not dampened with its own weight. The icing also looked promising, a fair amount spread both on the side and in between layers (though I can almost always do with more), and not overly-shiny indicating hope for something thick and creamy. The way it was layn upon the cake also told me that it was working perfectly in tandem to create a cohesive dish.

My first bite started, as it often does with a cake slice, with the tip of the bottom layer of cake. Instantly, I was filled with joy and relief. It was every bit as moist as it had visually promised. It sprung with all the life a sponge should and had enough substance to give the eater opportunity for constant exploration. I cannot think of the last time I had a cake so moist. When it came to flavor, it was pleasing but was not as an intense a hit of chocolate as I would have expected or desired from such a dark chocolate cake. It was a tasty chocolate certainly, but it did not fill my mouth with a rich wash of flavor, though it had a stellar textural vehicle to do so. While I would not say that it disappointed flavor-wise, it did not live up to its fullest potential. But I could only have this hope for more flavor because the textural groundwork was so well executed. I have made a fair amount of moist chocolate cakes in my time and in a variety of ways, but I have never been able to make a cake with a texture like this. I am mystified by it, and deeply appreciate the marvelously unique experience it brings.

Where flavor was perhaps lacking in the cake, it was made up for in the frosting. Creamy and malleable, the icing was exactly what my eye had promised. On its own it had enough chocolate punch to be enjoyed alone, and with the cake it added a sort of grounding force for the moisture of the sponge and an enhancer of the chocolate. I was ecstatic that my favorite part of cake, the frosting, was all the smooth, cohesive, richness that crave yet rarely find.

There was only one snag in my experience as I reached one of my favorite parts: the outer wall of icing. I am someone who tends to leave the best for last, and for me that means eating the cake’s interior while leaving most of the frosting blanket for the last bites of glory. The problem with this cake came with its bling. While pretty, the golden rocks encrusting the side were not as pleasant to eat as they were to look at. This was an added crunch that I was not so pleased with, and would happily opt to have the cake sans crust for uninterrupted icing pleasure.

There are some cakes you eat, enjoy, and forget about. There are some that you remember for all the wrong reasons. Then there are some that you cannot get off your mind for wonder of how they were achieved. The cake at Butter & Scotch is definitely the latter for me. While not the perfect slice, it was unlike anything I have had in recent memory, and was an experience I relished to the last bite. I will definitely be doing more exploration of their menu in the future, that is if I can get myself to eat anything other than that satiny smooth cake.