BEST WEDDING CAKES - 2002
Jessica Bartl's cake tastings are a little different from your usual wedding consultations. For one thing, she comes to you. She appears at your front door, toting a cooler, from which she unpacks a bin of cake slices, and a dozen more tiny containers of custards, mousses, buttercreams, and fruit fillings. There's no method to the tasting, she's quick to tell the bride- and groom-to-be: Just pick a piece of cake, try it with different fillings, and see what strikes your fancy. The reason for this special service is somewhat utilitarian. Bartl runs her three-year-old business out of Eden Prairie, where she lives, but her kitchens are in St. Paul. She's looking for a space that can house both bakery and office, allowing brides to come to her instead of vice versa. But until that happens, the delivery service is a treat. And so is the cake. A New York-trained chef with years of experience (in Ritz Carlton hotels around the nation, and later at the New French Bakery) Bartl bakes cakes that are delicious, and a little unusual. Try pairing the sour-cream chocolate cake with the pistachio mousse, or the star-anise cinnamon cake with the pear custard. Top them off with a thin layer of fondant or chocolate buttercream, and you'll have an unforgettable creation. Considering all the stress associated with planning a wedding, having one of Jessica's cakes brought to your door is a sweet respite indeed.