Sitting in Bars with Cake: Lessons and Recipes from One Year of Trying to Bake My Way to a Boyfriend

Sitting in Bars with Cake: Lessons and Recipes from One Year of Trying to Bake My Way to a Boyfriend

by Audrey Shulman

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Overview

Sitting in Bars with Cake: Lessons and Recipes from One Year of Trying to Bake My Way to a Boyfriend by Audrey Shulman

It’s hard to meet people in a big city, let alone any city. And after living in LA for several years as a single lady, Audrey Shulman turned to baking. But rather than eating her cakes solo over the sink, she brought them to bars, luring guys with a heady dose of butter and sugar.
Sitting in Bars with Cake recounts Audrey’s year spent baking, bar-hopping, and offering slices of cake to men in the hope of finding her boyfriend (or, at the very least, a date). With 35 inventive recipes based on her interactions with guys from all walks of life, from a Sticky Maple Kiss Cake to a Bitter Chocolate Dump Cake, this charming book pairs each cake with a short essay and tongue-in-cheek lesson about picking up boys in bars.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781419715822
Publisher: Abrams Image
Publication date: 04/07/2015
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Audrey Shulman is the writer of Sitting in Bars with Cake, a blog she started with the intent to lure men with baked goods. A Southern transplant from Nashville, Tennessee, Shulman now lives in Los Angeles.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Sweet

Cakes for Pleasant Surprises, Thoughtful Gestures, and Full-On Victories

Are you in the mood to whip up something sugary and sentimental, even erring on the side of adorable? The following recipes have been baked up to accompany tales of endearing reactions from my male, cake-eating audience. Yep — these are sweet cakes about sweethearts, who (shocker) actually exist on the bar circuit. Hopefully the sugar high will hit right about the time you arrive at a line or two reaffirming that there are, in fact, still scrumptious single boys floating around.

The Guy Who Made Contact with My Mouth

This guy looked kind of like George Stephanopoulos, if George Stephanopoulos was still young and really amazing at Ping-Pong. He'd been playing a rather captivating game of table tennis when I interrupted to see if he'd like my last piece of cake, which he promptly abandoned his opponent to eat.

He turned out to be a nationally ranked athlete from Bulgaria, made especially evident when he threw an arm out to show how much he loved the cake and shot-put my empty cake tray clear across the room. While his opponent stamped his foot waiting for their game to resume, the Bulgarian insisted on feeding me bites of my own cake, taking care to wipe derailed frosting from my mouth. I had just started to get comfortable with the up-close-and-personalness of this gesture when, without any warning, he grabbed my face and kissed me as a thank-you for the unexpected dessert.

There'd always been a certain layer of tentativeness during those rare moments when I'd found myself within feasible make-out distance of any male person's face, so I was grateful to the Bulgarian for finally bursting the personal-space bubble by pulling me in and slobbering on me.

Sticky Maple Kiss Cake with Pumpkin Frosting

For athletic foreigners, syrup-loving Vermonters, and boys who work to break long-standing personal-space issues.

For the cake:

1 cup (2 sticks/230 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the frosting:

4 ounces (½ block/115 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter two 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pans, line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper, and dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.

Beat the butter and brown sugar together until creamy, then add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the syrup and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and ginger.

Working in batches, stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk; stir until just combined. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes, then loosen the sides with a knife and invert onto wire racks to cool completely. Peel off the parchment and transfer one cake layer to a serving platter.

To make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese with the confectioners' sugar, then add the pumpkin and beat until smooth. Spread some of the frosting over the bottom cake layer, top with the second cake layer, and spread the remaining frosting over the top. Drizzle the syrup over the top and arrange the Kisses around the top border.

The Guy Who Was in a Frat

This guy looked fresh out of a fraternity, his spiked hair and bronzy tan betraying a very recent college education's worth of poor decision making. He could have been the national spokesperson for pub crawling, or perhaps an all-inclusive spring break cruise. "You girls are beautiful, but THAT CAKE!" he said, fake falling over. "Nice!!"

As soon as I offered to cut him a piece, Frat Bro's attention quickly turned to my exceptionally pretty best friend. He offered to buy her a drink, but she said no thanks, she didn't drink, and undeterred, he stuck around, eating the cake and asking her a series of questions that revealed a level of perception far exceeding my understanding of frat boy wherewithal. What was the most rewarding part of her job? What did the future of college admissions look like? Did she also research California fault lines?

Thinking it was only right to give him a heads-up, my friend tactfully hinted that she was much older than he was — as in, more than a decade older than he was.

"Well," he said with a shrug, "you're still pretty bangin'," and returned to his table of similarly dressed Malibu Kens. I wondered if I'd been underestimating the capacity for good in all of them.

Sweet Greek Walnut Cake with Yogurt Frosting

For undergrads, actual Greeks, and those under the impression that they're still entitled to a spring break.

For the cake:

½ cup (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the frosting:

½ cup (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter two 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pans, line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper, and dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.

Beat the butter and brown sugar together until creamy, then add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the orange juice, lemon juice, honey, and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Working in batches, stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating with the sour cream; stir until just combined. Stir in the walnuts. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes, then loosen the sides with a knife and invert onto wire racks to cool completely. Peel off the parchment and transfer one cake layer to a serving platter.

To make the frosting: Beat the butter and confectioners' sugar together until smooth, then beat in the yogurt and orange juice. Mix until fluffy and smooth. Spread some of the frosting over the bottom cake layer, top with the second cake layer, and spread the remaining frosting over the top. Garnish with the walnuts around the top border.

The Guy Who Just Got Ditched

This guy wasn't really in the mood for cake. He'd just come from a date that had ended rather abruptly when the girl had a panic attack in the middle of dinner and decided she'd better go home. Catching him in the aftermath was like getting to witness something akin to the beginning of a therapy session, when his boy brain was still processing what had happened and the topic was up for discussion among those of us at the bar.

We tried to talk things out. Was the girl's panic attack real? If it was, was it because she liked him, or was it because she didn't like him? Was she having a bad time and performed her way right out of the restaurant? Maybe she was an aspiring thespian — we would never know.

While he was clearly mystified, this guy was also concerned for the girl, revealing a surprising amount of feeling when he could have just as easily written her off as high maintenance. I told him I hoped he would go out with her again — maybe their second date would be better.

"Yeah, I think maybe I will," he said, and I believed him. Then I tried to peer pressure him into eating some cake, convinced it might actually cheer him up.

Chocolate Marshmallow Cake with Southern Comfort Frosting

For those you can force-feed into feeling better.

For the cake:

1 cup (2 sticks/230 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the frosting:

½ cup (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter two 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pans, line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper, and dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.

Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy, then add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

Working in batches, stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk; stir until just combined. Stir in the marshmallows. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes, then loosen the sides with a knife and invert onto wire racks to cool completely. Peel off the parchment and transfer one cake layer to a serving platter.

To make the frosting: Beat the butter and confectioners' sugar together until smooth, then beat in 2 tablespoons of the milk and 1 tablespoon of the Southern Comfort. Taste and add more Southern Comfort if you'd like, and more milk if the frosting is too thick. Beat until fluffy and smooth. Spread some of the frosting over the bottom cake layer, top with the second cake layer, and spread the remaining frosting over the top.

The Guy Who Told Me He'd Send Me His Recipe

This guy was a real bulldozer of a person, destined for things like heavy lifting and rugby and bodyguarding Britney Spears. When he saw I was carrying a cake into the bar, he pulled out his chair like a real stand-up guy and offered me his table, since there was nowhere else to sit.

We got to talking about cake: what the best kinds were, what kinds I'd baked up recently, and (wait for it) what kinds of cake he liked to make. He worked in construction and, yep, he liked to bake.

"You should make a cheesecake," he said, taking a thoughtful bite from the tiny plastic fork in his enormous hand. "I'll send you my recipe." He started to describe the texture I should be going for — crumbly crust on the bottom, rich filling, maybe some fruit for the very top layer (drool) — but we got separated at some point, and I never did catch him to write it all down.

White Chocolate Gravel Cheesecake

For gentle giants with excellent manners and anyone harboring slightly to fully realized culinary inclinations.

For the crust:

2 cups (about 22 cookies, 255 g) chocolate sandwich cookies, ground in a food processor, plus 6 more cookies, separated with cream removed, for garnish
For the filling:

16 ounces (2 blocks/455 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
To make the crust: Combine the cookies and butter in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Press the cookie mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9½-inch (24-cm) pie plate.

To make the filling: Beat the cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, salt, and white chocolate together until the mixture is smooth. Pour into the crust.

Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the center is no longer jiggly.

While still warm, place the chocolate cookie wafers around the edge to look like manhole covers. Let cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting and serving.

The Guy Who Proposed

This guy got down on one knee before I really knew what was happening. He had taken one bite of my cake and lowered himself to the floor, proclaiming: "I know we don't know each other very well, but my mom taught me the best way to a man's heart is through his stomach, and, well, this is the best thing I've eaten in two decades."

Considering he was a Christian musician, it must have been too dark in the bar for him to fully register the whole of my eastern European Jewish features.

The photo my friends took at this moment is probably not all that different from one capturing a real proposal. It shows me beaming, blushing, surprised, and my would-be fiancé kneeling, still shoveling in the engagement-worthy cake. Our respective friend groups surround us, huge smiles on their faces, clapping their hands in genuine excitement. While I was fully aware this was all for show, I couldn't help but find the whole display rather enthralling — the declaration of such extreme intentions is really the best compliment you could give to a girl based solely on her baking skills, especially one looking to bait a boyfriend.

Blushing Berry Cake with Champagne Frosting

For effusive speech-makers at small-scale parties, large-scale celebrations, and major life events.

For the cake:

½ cup (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the frosting:

½ cup (1 stick/115 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter two 9-inch (23-cm) round cake pans, line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper, and dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.

Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy, then add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, Jell-O mix, and baking powder.

Working in batches, stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating with the milk; stir until just combined. Stir in the berries. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes, then loosen the sides with a knife and invert onto wire racks to cool completely. Peel off the parchment and transfer one cake layer to a serving platter.

To make the frosting: Beat the butter and confectioners' sugar together, then add the champagne and beat until fluffy and smooth. Spread some of the frosting over the bottom cake layer, top with the second cake layer, and spread the remaining frosting over the top. Garnish with the strawberries on top of the cake.

The Guy Who Danced Like No One Was Watching

These guys were dancing by themselves on an otherwise deserted dance floor — that is to say, they were dancing only and forcefully with each other. The DJ had been playing various hits from the nineties, and these boys were throwing themselves into the music with a resounding level of commitment, a trait fairly hard to come by in would-be boyfriend material.

"Would you guys like some cake?" I yelled over the speakers.

"ABSOLUTELY, WE WOULD LIKE SOME CAKE!" one of them yelled back, and they danced their way over to my picnic table.

To say they were enthusiastic about the cake would be a gross understatement. Their shared adrenaline high from dancing and drinking gave way to loud, impassioned feedback in the form of compliments such as, "This tastes like a gingerbread man crawled into my mouth," and "Jam, cake, frosting — that's my holy trinity."

When I told them I'd made the cake myself, the high-school math teacher of the group got real quiet.

"You don't buy dreams," he told me, shaking his head, "you make them."

I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel compelled to marry him right then and there with Semisonic blasting in the background.

(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Sitting in Bars with Cake"
by .
Copyright © 2015 Audrey Shulman.
Excerpted by permission of Abrams Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Welcome!,
Getting Started,
Chapter 1: Sweet,
Chapter 2: Salty,
Chapter 3: Bitter,
Chapter 4: Fruity,
Chapter 5: Savory,
The End,
Acknowledgments,
Index of Searchable Terms,

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