warm butter cake
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Warm Butter Cake
Gwen Ashley Walters
November, 2011, Page 165
Photo by David Moore
When a restaurant labels a dish “signature,” we often wonder if it will live up to the hype. Mastro’s Restaurants, a collection of high-end steak and seafood restaurants with roots in the Valley, including the Ocean Club in Scottsdale, quietly put a warm butter cake on the menu roughly eight years ago, according to Chef Siegfried Hohaus.
The seemingly simple cake became the best selling dessert across all nine restaurants, and eventually the word “signature” was added to the description on the menu. Hohaus says it sounds simple enough to make, but the ingredients can be temperamental, and the method is tricky.
The base is a yellow cake – meaning lots of melted butter and egg yolks – but it’s much richer and denser than a traditional yellow cake, because it’s mixed by hand to reduce the amount of leavening air whipped into the batter. When you sell upwards of 500 cakes on an average weekend night, gently mixing by hand becomes a significant event in the kitchen, but Hohaus wants that dense texture.
The batter is poured into an oversized ramekin and topped with another mixture of cream cheese, powdered sugar and more eggs. After a long, slow bake, the cake is left to cool before serving.
Turned upside down (which hides that moist cream cheese layer), the cake is sprinkled with raw sugar crystals and hit with a blowtorch, not to caramelize the sugar but to melt it just enough to add moisture. Surrounded by orange segments and strawberries, topped with a scoop of rich vanilla ice cream and drizzled with raspberry sauce, Mastro’s signature warm butter cake is more than the sum of its parts.
We’re not surprised that it outsells the flourless chocolate tart or even two new desserts: profiteroles and a cherry crisp. This understated cake deserves its signature distinction – and the hype. ($13)
Mastro’s Ocean Club
15045 N. Kierland Blvd., Scottsdale
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