Saturday, June 15, 2024

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Nine Cakes takes the cake

Their amazing menu features a long list of inspired “winter” cake flavors like Hot Cocoa, Chocolate Salted Caramel, Winter Citrus, Apple Cardamom, Cinnamon Hazelnut, Cafe Au Lait, Gingerbread, Italian Rainbow Cookie, Funfetti, Chocolate Decadence, Strawberry, and Classic Lemon.

Hudson, N.Y.— I was thrilled to be invited to a tasting at Nine Cakes, a delightful bakery in Hudson. Decorated for Valentine’s Day, the absolutely adorable shop is situated in Hudson’s hip downtown. Nine Cakes offers cakes, sweets and treats, coffee and tea, plus colorful party essentials. They offer a quintessential cafe for a slice of cake and a cup of tea, scheduled weekly deliveries, and box sets of French macarons shipped nationwide. 

I am admittedly discerning aka fussy over baked goods. I don’t enjoy cake from a box mix or the standard sheet cakes found at many corporate occasions, which leaves the burning question: did I enjoy the baked goods at Nine Cakes?  Yes, yes I did.

Let’s start with the cakes. Their amazing menu features a long list of inspired “winter” cake flavors like Hot Cocoa, Chocolate Salted Caramel, Winter Citrus, Apple Cardamom, Cinnamon Hazelnut, Cafe Au Lait, Gingerbread, Italian Rainbow Cookie, Funfetti, Chocolate Decadence, Strawberry, and Classic Lemon.  They offer gluten-free and vegan options, too.

I tasted four cakes including the Cafe Au Lait, a vanilla cake with espresso, layered with cream cheese and a dusting of cocoa powder; and the Chocolate Decadence, a chocolate cake with layers of chocolate buttercream and chocolate ganache with chocolate pearls, both from the menu. I also tasted an almond cake with an orange curd and mascarpone buttercream, and a vanilla cardamom cake with raspberry buttercream and fresh raspberries. You know when you take a bite of a cake and you can instantly tell if it’s good or not? All four of these cakes fell in the “instantly good” category. My favorites were the vanilla cardamom cake, which had a fluffy texture and was perfectly spiced, and the Cafe Au Lait, which hit my coffee-chocolate sweet spot. The almond-orange-mascarpone and the Chocolate Decadence were both high quality, as well. 

Cafe Au Lait cake. Photo by Monica Bliss. 
Vanilla cardamom cake with raspberry buttercream and fresh raspberries. Photo by Monica Bliss.
Almond cake with orange curd and mascarpone buttercream. Photo by Monica Bliss.
The Chocolate Decadence cake. Photo by Monica Bliss.

The bakery’s sweets and treats menu includes cake-by-the-slice, French macarons, choux au craqueline, profiteroles, tartlets, lemon bars, scones, cookies, cupcakes, and more. They also offer ice cream by the scoop, pint, or sandwiched between fresh baked cookies, along with a selection of hot and cold beverages. 

Sweets and treats. Photo by Monica Bliss.
Chocolate cupcake with Vanilla Bean Buttercream and ganache-filled meringue kisses. Photo by Monica Bliss.

I felt completely spoiled by the spread offered at this tasting. Given a choice between a glass of bubbly or a ginger-lime spritzer, we were shown to a dream-like spread of sweets piled high with French macarons (vanilla, triple chocolate, chocolate-strawberry, raspberry, and citrus,) ganache-filled meringue kisses, vanilla profiteroles, double-chocolate cookies, chocolate cupcakes with vanilla-bean buttercream, and chocolate-dipped strawberries. The macarons were gorgeous. My favorite of the sweets were the to-die-for vanilla profiteroles, earning the “chef’s kiss” of the evening. I also loved the chewy double-chocolate cookies. 

Vanilla macarons. Photo by Monica Bliss.
Raspberry macarons (front) and Vanilla profiteroles (back.) Photo by Monica Bliss.
Chocolate-strawberry macarons. Photo by Monica Bliss.
Raspberry macaron and a glass of bubbly. Photo by Monica Bliss.

No need to imagine a saccharine overload. While Nine Cakes does promise to “satisfy the most discerning sweet tooth,” they also promise that their balanced and seasonal flavors are “never cloyingly sweet.” Their website reads, “You’ll want to try one of everything…and then come back for more!” They certainly come through on all three of these promises. 

Nine Cakes owner Betsy Thorleifson. Photo by Monica Bliss.

It was delightful to meet the down-to-earth bakery shop owner Betsy Thorleifson, who is just the sweetest. Betsy started Nine Cakes in 2008 on her 18” kitchen counter. 15 years later, Nine Cakes now hosts a team of bakers with a flagship bakery in Hudson specializing in “creating cakes that are as delicious as they are beautiful.” Everything is made from scratch using fresh all-natural ingredients, butter, sugar, flour, eggs, and cream. This is apparent in every bite.

If you are on the lookout for “instagrammable” food and backdrops, you’ll love Nine Cakes! I highly recommended stopping by for a slice of cake, a cup of coffee, and a box of treats to bring home.

Sweets for my sweeties. Photo by Monica Bliss.
Nine Cakes bakery storefront. Photo by Monica Bliss.

Located at 748 Warren Street in Hudson, N.Y., Nine Cakes is offering specials for Valentine’s Day including a custom Lambeth cake ($125,) a cute mini cake-for-two ($35,) a customizable box sets of Macarons ($48,) and a Valentine’s Treat Box, a cute assortment of treats including a sugar cookie with with cherry-cardamom jam, chocolate-dipped strawberries, ganache-filled meringue kisses, custom macarons, and a chocolate raspberry cupcake all boxed up with a ribbon (for only $25!) They will also have a counter full of chocolate-dipped strawberries, cookies, cupcakes, choux, and tartlets with special Valentine’s flavors and decor. You can place an order or find out more at www.ninecakes.com.

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