Some of you may know that I volunteer with A Loving Spoonful, a local agency that provides free, nutritious meals for people living with HIV/AIDS. These days, I do a lot of their writing, but I also help them organize fundraisers. There are a few throughout the year, but the premiere event is Project Empty Bowl, an art auction held in June that features live and silent auctions.
So, this weekend Jen and I headed to Art for Life to see how other people organize art auctions. Art for Life raises money for Friends for Life, which provides alternative therapies for people with life-threatening illnesses. A Loving Spoonful and Friends for Life work together to put on Dining Out for Life each March, which I’m sure I’ll be posting about in a few months.
We arrived at the auction just in time to get the last parking spot. Once inside, we were greeted with glasses of champagne (so this is how the other half lives!) and treated to a dessert buffet, catered by Sweet Obsession. I’m not a big fan of Sweet Obsession – I find their cakes too big and too sweet. (Judging by the perpetually packed cafe, I don’t think they’re missing my business.) I will say, though, that the dessert buffet was pretty fantastic.
The buffet was a spread of cocktail-sized sweets and a croquembouche. Croquembouche, or French wedding cake, is a tower of creampuffs. Traditionally, the creampuffs are stuck together with caramel, but a lot of places use chocolate, which is what Sweet Obsession did. The creampuffs were a bit big (they’re supposed to be bite-sized) and I was terrified of getting creampuff down the front of my nice clothes.
There were tarts (pumpkin-pecan and lemon) which had a really nice, buttery crust. There was also a bite-sized chocolate cake topped with chocolate ganache. But the highlight of the table was the lemon dacquoise: a bite-sized almond dacquoise topped with a rosette of airy, light lemon mousse, and garnished with a bit of candied lemon peel. I love dacquoise, and I love lemon – this dessert did justice to both of those things.
(Dacquoise is a nut-based meringue that is crispy on the outside and kind of spongy on the inside. It’s a classic French biscuit and is often used as the cake base inside mousse cakes. I spent many, many hours making dacquoise in my chef days.)
Alas, the lemon dacquoise isn’t on the Sweet Obsession menu, so it’s probably something they trot out for cocktail parties. Maybe if you ask nicely, they’ll make one for you.
Sweet Obsession Cakes and Pastries
2611 West 16th Avenue