I’m not sure what’s made the Twin Cities such an incredible home for baking. Is there something about the winter that makes geniuses want to sit in front of a giant mixer and just bake, bake, bake?
Whatever it is, we’re lucky that Michelle Gayer, nominated for a James Beard award as best baker in the nation last year, lives here. You can go to her modest bakery in the Midtown Global Market and get brilliant macaroons, delicious cookies, and heavenly bread, all at reasonable prices—a few dollars for most things.
In fact, Michelle told me that she’s strangely had success making hamburger buns. Apparently some of the Twin Cities restaurants can’t get enough of them. It is odd that a nationally acclaimed baker is making money selling hamburger buns for a quarter, but hey, they are good.
The real deal, though, at the Salty Tart is the cakes. They are unbelievable—worth indulging on for your next special occasion. In fact, you don’t even need an occasion.
A few weeks ago Michelle hosted a fundraiser for Share Our Strength, raising money to fight childhood hunger. The big event was a cakewalk—you bought a $10 raffle ticket, and if it was pulled, you went on stage and played musical chairs, essentially. When the music stopped, if you were standing by an orange balloon, you got to pick a cake.
My ticket was pulled, I landed at orange the first time, and I grabbed Michelle’s cake. A two-tiered monster. I should have thought it through—because I needed to eat the cake right away!
We threw a cake party. About a dozen people came to my house to drink wine and eat cake. We froze the coconut lime cake soaked in spiced rum with coconut spiced rum custard and key lime buttercream. We ate the Fulton chocolate cake soaked in more Fulton beer with a Fulton ganache, honey sour cream whip, and milk chocolate mousse.
Look at this thing. It’s beautiful. It tasted incredible—so moist, so chocolatey, so Fultony. It was glorious. Light and dense, sweet but not cloying. Oh boy.
A typical birthday cake from the Salty Tart will run you around $30. You deserve it. And I’ll let you know when I defrost that coconut lime cake.