I Ate This 11-Layer Jar Cake with My Bare Hands and Regret Nothing
We all have moments we're not proud of. This isn't one of them. A few weeks ago at The Family Reunion—a first of its kind food event created by Food & Wine Executive Producer Kwame Onwuachi to celebrate the Black and brown cooking traditions that have shaped American cuisine—I stood in my swanky Salamander Resort hotel room eating dessert from a jar with my bare fingers and making little noises of joy. The night before at a spirited, joyous, dinner-turned-dance-party, photographer Clay Williams had introduced me to chef Auzerais Bellamy, who handed me a jar and a card that said "Blondery," and I clung onto both throughout the night, because Clay knows what's good. Back in my room many sweaty hours later, I slid the jar into the minifridge, making a mental note to nab a spoon the next day when I saw it.
Thanks to a certain amount of Remy Martin cocktails consumed the following evening after the block party-themed dinner, that didn't happen. So I had a decision to make: put my mud-soaked shoes back on and go foraging in the lobby, or stay in my cozy hotel robe and work with what I had on my literal hands. One bite in, I knew I'd made the right call.
Bellamy poured her heart and soul into the pastry departments at a slew of Michelin-starred restaurants for years before realizing that the investment wasn't going to pay off in the form of actual career advancement, so she left the kitchen for a while before returning on her own terms. Her limited-release bakery Blondery was founded with a mission in mind: to create a supportive workplace for other people of color in hospitality, and empower them to to thrive in an industry that hasn't historically been hospitable.
But none of this would work without a delicious product to sell, and good golly, does Blondery deliver. I've yet to try the company's cult-favorite blondies in their bar form, but this 11-layer cake in a jar had me at the first spoonful (OK, handful). Every single element of this dessert—the salted caramel ganache, buttercream, cacao nibs, signature blondie chunks, and beyond—is meticulously considered and crafted for maximum sensory pleasure. I'm an absolute freak about texture, and the interplay of gooey, creamy, crunchy, cakey, and crispy shifted with every single bite, short-circuiting all the stress I'd been feeling about getting my shoes wiped off and all my work completed. It was just me, the jar, and my mouth and I knew I needed to tell the world.
I mentioned the whole "limited-release" part before. That means you've got to have a little patience and get on the waitlist for products or keep close track of Blondery's pop-up schedule. Per Bellamy, that process may even take a little longer right now as recent hurricane-related flooding in New York City kicked off a chain of events that led to having to pull up stakes and move with only eight days' notice. She's relocating the bakery to a bigger, better facility in the Hudson Valley region of New York State, and is currently trying to raise $10,000 in funding to offset the costs by selling Team Blondies hoodies, hats, and shirts. She also offers an online cooking experience that allows buyers to learn at the virtual hands of a master.
Get on that list, get the gear, and bide your time for the next release of goodies on November 1. You'll just have to beat my sticky fingers to the click.