A Time for Celebration
We didn’t intend to be silent here for months. What started off as a few weeks of time off to redesign Endlessly Enraptured, turned into a few months. Much needed time off. Our hiatus was necessary for many reasons but we will relate more on that later. Today, we want to celebrate our rejuvenation and relaunch, and what better way to celebrate than with cake.
Jade and I have never really been cake people. That being said, I consumed a lot of cake when I was kid because, well, it was there. There were mostly sugar bombs from Costco or Safeway; which probably attributed to my being such a chunk monster in my adolescence. Jade discovered decent cake in the form of cupcakes from some of the shops in the Portland area when she was in college, but no really amazing cake itself. When we met she introduced me to these cupcake shops, which definitely changd my perception on what was possible when it came to the realm of cake. Still, we had not experienced a real whole cake worthy of praise and regular consumption. Then, in late 2014, a light doth shown down from thy heavens and there in its divine spotlight was none other than Palace Cakes.
Palace Cakes is owned and operated by Elizabeth Beekley, a genuine, witty and brilliant master baker whom stations the kitchen with help from her good friend Juli Bailey, a warm, verbose and clever helmswoman, whom occupies the front of the shop with grace and charm. We visited these two shortly after they opened to get a closer look at what it takes to make their cake, and soak in the ambiance of their shop that reminded us of a Parisian grandmother’s rustic kitchen. I got the chance to stand in the midst of where the magic happens; right in the kitchen. Between the flour covered surfaces, the large cake batter mixers, and seeing the assembly of these masterful works of art, I was blown away. I don’t think I ever really understood what went into making a real, traditionally layered cake. In my household, cake came from a Better Crocker box; which usually ended up being a dry sheet cake with store bought frosting. The care that goes into these cakes, however, is entrenched in an age old tradition of making them from scratch. Elizabeth reminiscenced a story of her grandmother who worked at a cake shop in Washington ages ago, who was an inspiration for her in getting into the baking game. Paying homage to her grandmother and her tenacious work ethic, Palace Cakes received its namesake from the shop which her grandmother worked in the 1940’s: Palace Pastry and Bakery.
Elizabeth and Juli’s first experience in the baking game didn’t start at Palace Cakes. Elizabeth started Two Tarts Bakery a few years ago with her sister, here in Portland. Their focus was on a variety of delightful treats, but there seemed to be a missing element to the mix; a true focus on cake. That is where the brainstorming between Elizabeth and Juli began. According to the bakers, starting the shop was definitely a leap of faith but one that has been well worth it since opening their doors on the corner of Southwest Yamhill Street and 16th Avenue in Downtown Portland. What started with just a few people from the neighborhood discovering the quaint little shop on the corner, has slowly developed into a thriving customer base city wide. Palace Cakes has even generated interest internationally.
There is something I wholeheartedly appreciate about their business: the old school work ethic and dedication to traditional methods of creating their work. I have no idea how they accomplish a texture which is light and dense simultaneously, but the ladies of Palace Cakes have perfected it. From their Enriched Uranium Cake with milk chocolate buttercream, or the Coconut Cream with coconut custard and coconut buttercream, to even their Bucky Cakes; which are a cupcake version of a variety of their standard size creations; the seasonal variety and traditional mainstays all make for an ideal experience.
We really weren’t cake people in the past, but thanks to Palace Cakes, we will now and forever be cake people. Palace Cake people.