Review and photography by Fitz
Normally, I wouldn’t write a review about an individual facet of a restaurant or establishment. Baker Lisa Lain’s new cake game at The Bonbonnier in Ghent, however, was touted to me by several sweets enthusiasts I find myself sharing indulgent bites with often. So, I am making an exception.
The first cake I tried of hers was the carrot cake. In part, this type of cake was picked as my introduction to Lain’s new endeavor due to my better half’s affinity with carrot cake. Visually, there was a made from home quality to it but not in a messy sense, more in an old-fashioned, rustic sense. It’s a cake consisting of three layers, with cream cheese frosting containing shaved coconut generously covering it, therefore, it was rather substantial in size. Beneath the rich but reserved enough to be collaborative frosting were tons of textured shaved carrots, smoked pecans, and spices likely featuring a focus around cinnamon.
Along with Lain’s more complex carrot cake, I also indulged in a slice of her old fashioned chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. A more straightforward cake in terms of the taste profile, I appreciated that it too like the carrot cake, did not put me in a diabetic coma. It goes without saying that chocolate and vanilla go well together, duh, but the quality of each delicious bite spoke to the from scratch love Lain’s hands put into it.
Finally, I tried a slice of Lain’s chocolate cheesecake with chocolate raspberry ganache. I was surprised at just how fluffy and light this offering was for a cheesecake. The brilliant raspberry notes that slid through the decadent chocolate bliss were grade A. After the carrot cake and old fashioned chocolate, I can’t say I was surprised.
If I had to categorize Lain’s cakes, I would call them Eaters cakes. The variety and complexity of the flavors in her cakes make them stand out from most one or two note sweet, but not special cakes around town. If you’re looking for a cake concerned with taste first, visually presented in a classic, old-fashioned way, the Bonbonnier should be the place you visit.
For more on Lain and the Bonbonnier, visit them at 913 W 21st St in Norfolk’s Historic Ghent or online HERE