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« Cakewalk in Carmel Valley and Environs, CA | Main | Buzz Balls: Spotlight on CakeLove's Crown Jewels »
Monday
Sep172007

Batter Chatter: Interview with Brooks Coulson Nguyen of Dragonfly Cakes


First of all, so that it doesn’t cause any awkwardness later, we’re going to give you a brief crash course on exactly what a petit four is. Literally "little oven" in French, they were so named because they were originally made from the pâtissiers' leftovers while the ovens cooled down at the end of the day's baking. We typically know petits fours as a small and regal cake, with alternating layers of buttercream and sponge cake, topped with fondant icing.

Second, we’re going to tell you that if you’ve never tried petits fours by Dragonfly Cakes, you’re missing out. It’s a difficult cake form; frequently they’ll look beautiful but have a cardboard-y, bad wedding cake taste. Dragonfly Cakes' petits fours are an exception, and manage to be creamy, subtle and sweet, but not too sweet.

Cakespy had the good fortune to score an interview with Brooks Coulson Nguyen, the owner of Dragonfly Cakes; read on for a bit of insight behind these magical little cakes.

Cakespy: How did you get started in the world of petits fours?
Brooks of Dragonfly Cakes: I have always loved sweets and pastry. I started my career in Marketing and I spend a good deal of time looking for special items to send to clients for birthdays. I thought that a cake business that delivers would be a great service. With a cake business in mind, I applied to the Culinary Institute and I was on my way to the world of cake.

CS: What is your first memory of cake?
DC: For my birthday my mom would make chocolate cake with raspberry jam and whipped cream. If I close my eyes I can almost taste it.

CS: How frequently do you eat petits fours?
DC: Daily of course!

CS: Have you ever had any flavors or new additions that haven't worked out?
DC: At one point we made a pistachio, but I just couldn’t get the flavor to taste as natural as I wanted.

CS: Do you have any guilty pleasure desserts?
DC: All dessert brings guilt these days; I have been enjoying unlimited sweets since I went to the CIA in 2001. My first cavity was in 2002!
But I really love Coco-Luxe’s Chunky Monkey Milk Chocolate Bar (available at coco-luxe.com).

CS: What would you do for a living if you weren't a purveyor of petits fours?
DC: Wow, I don’t know that there is a life for me outside of petits fours.

CS: We've read that you're a former Seattleite. Hey, Cakespy lives in Seattle! Do you miss any bakeries or places in Seattle in particular?
DC: I really miss the cinnamon buns from the old Honey Bear Bakery (when it used to be at Greenlake).

CS: What is the most unusual custom petit four order you've ever done?
DC: We have made some risqué designs for bachelorette parties.

CS: What's next for Dragonfly Cakes?
DC: Be on the lookout for bite sized bundts cakes and cookies -- coming to a grocery store soon!

Cakespy note: We certainly will be looking out for the mini bundt cakes and cookies! In the meantime, Dragonfly Cakes' wonderful petits fours can be purchased (and ogled at) online at dragonflycakes.com.

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