Autumn Martin will toast a homemade marshmallow for you!
I know what you're thinking—Seattle needs another sugar-shop like it needs another bearded folk band in twill pants and bowler hats (please, no more!). But Ballard's Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery, opened less than a month ago by former Theo head chocolatier Autumn Martin, is a dessert destination worthy of your attention.
The shop's cozy decor is like a Pinterest board come to life. There's exposed brick, and tables and stools made out of reclaimed wood. Menus are neatly written out on large chalkboards, and little milk bottles serve as candleholders. Some desserts—the molten cake and crème brûlée—are served in small mason jars, while the grilled chocolate sandwich (which comes with salted caramel dipping sauce) comes wrapped in parchment paper and string.
Hot Cakes' menu, created by Martin and kitchen manager Lucy Damkoehler (the talented pastry chef formerly of Mistral Kitchen), though, is more along the lines of what you'd find at an upscale restaurant. And with the higher concepts and higher quality come higher prices.
"That's actually a challenge we're having right now with our customers—getting them to see the difference between Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery and Cupcake Royale, for instance," says Martin. "People come in here expecting the price of a scoop shop, or a cupcake shop, without thinking this is a place to come sit down and enjoy restaurant-quality organic desserts. We have somebody back here preparing desserts to order. That's really unique."