Jill Williams of Baltimore Cakery is charming. With an authentic Arkansas drawl, the Texarkana native has adopted Baltimore “because the city has so much personality.”
Jill has named each of the cakes for sale at Baltimore Cakery for someone or something in Charm City.Opened in March, the Baltimore Cakery, at 2005 Eastern Avenue is just west of Patterson Park. You can stop in and buy a slice of cake. They sell for two dollars and you can sit and enjoy it with a cup of coffee.
Jill set a platter in front of me with twelve perfectly slices rectangles of each of her cakes. I did my best to eat every bite and will tell you that I found several that I wanted to try again and again.
On the top of my list was the Cakery’s Ginevra Shay’s favorite: the cake named for John Waters’ movie about Cecil, the Peaches – B – Demented. The flavor of the peaches popped; surprising, sweet and delicious. The cake was filled with ginger moussee, iced with buttercream and garnished with wasabi croquants. Outstanding.
Ginevra keeps the business end of the Baltimore Cakery running while Jill bakes. Though Ginevra also likes to bake, “It’s the best of all worlds for me.”
Minnie the Mocha, the second on my favored cake list, was memorable because of the subtle coffee flavor in the chocolate. Minnie the Mocha is named for Cab Calloway’s song, “Minnie the Moocher” and it was chocolate cake filled with espresso buttercream and iced with chocolate buttercream.
The Nest of Pirates (named for Fells Point) was another memorable and tasty selection. Described as a spicy run and coconut cake, it was layered with mango mousse and iced with buttercream.
The Baltimore Cakery designs and bakes special order cakes, priced per serving. For those who are not planning a wedding or a special occasion that requires something elaborate, a two layer round cake with an inscription or single design is $18 and it serves ten to twelve. The Cakery’s largest sheet cake will serve eighty to one hundred for $85.
Jill Williams worked part-time in a bakery when she was in the Army, stationed in Germany. She also worked in a bakery when she came back to the U.S. and attended college on the GI Bill. Jill came to Baltimore to work for a baking ingredient company, H. C. Brill.
She’s been decorating cakes since the 1980′s and it’s the first thing you notice when you enter the Baltimore Cakery. The Oriole baseball cap cake looked so real, it was hard to believe you could actually eat it! The cake of a woman soaking in a bathtub had everything; cucumbers on her eyelids, pink slippers and a pretty pink towel.
“The quality of our ingredients is the difference in our cakes,” Jill explained. She added that she uses free range eggs, all natural flour, organic fruit and spices and purchases her vanilla from Tahiti.
A couple of lady cakes: the Lady in Satin cake, named for Billie Holiday, was all vanilla. The cake was iced and filled with buttercream and it was melt-in-your-mouth divine. The Lady Balti Mo cake was crunchy, with just the right blend of vanilla, fig and pecans. It was described as a burnt sugar vanilla cake layered with champagne, fig and pecan conserve and iced with buttercream.
There were several chocolate cakes of which I could not select a favorite. It was too difficult to choose between the Raven, rich chocolate filled with ganache and flavored with absinthe. The Rockets’ Red Glare, red velvet cake with chocolate chips and filled with cream cheese icing. Or Dem O’s, chocolate cake with layers of cookies and cream, buttercream and chocolate ganache.
There’s a cake named for Little Italy, cinnamon with cannoli cream. And one for Michael Phelps. Ginevra showed me a nine inch round “Number 8″ cake — decorated with spring flowers. Michael Phelps earned 8 gold medals in the Beijing Olympics. The cake is pear and filled with gold ribbons of fleur de sel (sea salt) caramel. Delightful.
Bob Bamberger, who co-owns the Baltimore Cakery with Jill, made a brief appearance during the cake tasting. A native of Massachusetts, he was equally appreciative of his adopted hometown and shared the idea of Baltimore themed cakes with Jill.
“The cakes are all Baltimore related,” Jill said. They “honor its history, institutions and distinguished citizens.”
Photos by Caryn Coyle