Savory Street International Café and Bakery is a partnership of Blake Ellis and Claudia Johnson. He is a professional chef, an honors graduate of the Culinary Institute of America with a degree in baking. She is a mom with an impressive collection of family recipes and considerable training in confectionery. Their café’s menu offers customers the best of his-and-hers: his professional skills and creativity, along with her heirloom treats and international specialties.
“We let customers travel the world without leaving sunny Sarasota,” Ellis says.
Everything you eat at Savory Street is made there from scratch, including the puff pastry — unusual these days. A nifty feature of the place is a lovely, small private room with seating for about 10; it can be reserved for a meeting or a meal. Open seven days a week, the café serves breakfast, lunch and a range of coffee and espresso drinks. Brunch is offered on Saturday and Sunday. Delivery service available soon.
Savory Street International Café and Bakery
411 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota
Co-owners: Blake Ellis and Claudia Johnson
Hours: 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. seven days a week
Known for: A new breakfast/lunch/break spot for downtown business people, residents and teachers from local colleges
MOM'S GANACHE CAKE
Makes one 8-inch round cake; 12 to 14 servings
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup boiling water
1 2/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
4 oz. unsalted butter, softened (8 tablespoons or 1 stick)
2 eggs, extra large, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
• Butter three 8-inch-round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper and butter the paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
• Over a large piece of parchment paper or a bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Add the salt and toss to blend well.
• Place the cocoa powder in a medium bowl, and pour the boiling water over it. Use a heatproof spatula or a large spoon to blend together until it forms a smooth cocoa paste.
• Place the butter in bowl of mixer. Beat on medium speed about two minutes until light and fluffy. Add cocoa mixture, beat until well combined. Add brown and granulated sugars, and cream together on medium speed. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
• Use a fork to lightly beat the eggs together in a small bowl and then add to the butter mixture. Blend well, stopping to scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl. At first, the mixture may look curdled, but as you scrape down the bowl, it will smooth out.
• Alternately add the dry ingredients and buttermilk in four or five stages, mixing well after each addition. Also scrape down the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl with a rubber spatula to encourage even mixing.
• Evenly divide the batter between the two cake pans. Smooth the top of each pan with a rubber spatula.
• Bake the layers for 30 to 35 minutes at 350 degrees until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out with no crumbs on it.
• Remove the cake pans from the oven and cool completely on racks. Invert the pans to remove the layers, then peel the parchment paper off the back of each layer. Re-invert the layers onto plates or cardboard cake circle.
GANACHE FILLING AND FROSTING
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
8 oz. butter, softened (16 tablespoons or 2 sticks)
• Place the chocolate in a large bowl.
• Place the cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand for one minute. Stir the mixture together and whisk until smooth.
• Pour the ganache into a cool bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and cool to room temperature. Chill in the refrigerator until the mixture is thick but pliable, about one hour. The ganache should be spreadable. If it is too firm, let stand at room temperature until it reaches the right consistency.
• Place the butter in the bowl, beat on medium speed until it’s fluffy, about two minutes.
• Add the ganache in three or four stages while the butter is beating. Stop occasionally and scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. The ganache will become lighter in color while it is beaten. Don’t beat the ganache more than one or two minutes or it will curdle and separate.
• Spread a thin layer of ganache on the top of one of the cakes, top with second layer, spread with ganache, then place the third layer and frost top and sides of the cake.
• To get a smooth texture on the top and sides of the cake, run a spatula under hot water and dry it, then smooth the top and sides of the cake. The heat of the spatula will give you a smooth texture.
• To decorate, top with whipped cream, cocoa powder and/or chocolate garnishes. This is where you can be creative and give your personal touch to this decadent cake.