Saturday, November 21, 2009
A BIRTHDAY TREAT FROM NOTTE’S BON TON
Vancouverites familiar with the legendary Diplomat Cake from Notte’s Bon Ton Pastry and Confectionery likely enjoyed their first bite of this multi-layered, rum-soaked sponge and puff pastry cake at a birthday party.
A birthday feels so much more special when you have a Diplomat Cake. The recipe is a well-guarded secret but as you can see, the components are clearly apparent: layers of shatteringly crisp puff pastry, heavenly smooth French buttercream, rum-soaked sponge layers and yet more buttercream. The maraschino cherry on top and the nubbly nutty sprinkles on the side of the cake are signature as is the whisper of ground pistachio sprinkled like fairy dust on the surface of the Diplomat.
It is pure buttercream bliss. The textural contrasts are wonderful and suitably memorable for birthdays. I care not to try to replicate this particular cake because the bakery has obviously honed the recipe over the many years they have been in operation. It has been an institution since 1926. My 7 inch cake was $14 and change.
My birthday isn’t until Monday, but I didn’t think there was any point in having my birthday cake on a work day when I was way too busy shuttling Bebe to karate class after school. I wanted to put my feet up and savour every bite. Bebe wanted to surprise me, but knew how particular I was about purchased cakes. She asked me what I wanted. I said, “Either chocolate layered with marshmallow frosting or a Diplomat”.
We headed over to the bakery after having Dim Sum at Sun Sui Wah and Bebe promised that instead, she’d surprise me on my actual birthday with something else…I can’t wait!
In the bakery’s window front display, there are a multitude of trays of petit fours. You can find a mini version of the Diplomat among a bevy of multi-coloured, nut-encrusted, maraschino-bejewelled pastries. There are so many to choose from that it is quite overwhelming—almost. The bakery keeps a supply of Diplomat Cakes as well as other cakes on hand and we didn’t have to pre-order one. I imagine though that if you had an important party, you’d want to pre-order just in case they ran out on a busy day.
I wanted to try the Chocolate Diplomat but didn’t want to be disappointed so I got the mini version instead to try out. Also interesting was the Mexican, so I bought a mini version of it as well. The rest were as usual, chosen for their chocolatey-come-thither-appeal.
Above is the Mexican. It’s so cute.
This one is like a trifle. It has chopped up maraschino cherries, which Bebe loves. That, and the cherry on top sure helps.
This is called a Chocolate Progressive. I think there’s ground almonds inside.
The above petit four is a slice of Chocolate Diplomat. I didn’t think it would look like that and instead thought there would be puff pastry layers. That looks like some sort of raspberry filling.
All in all, it was a successful outing. As you know, I love chocolate and I love cake. I got both. What a day!
Notte’s Bon Ton
3150 W. Broadway