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Sweet Days and Starry Nights: Delicious Cake in Kirkland, WA

Starry Nights Cake Tasting
When it comes to wedding or fancy occasion cakes, I am sad to admit that I usually don't have very high hopes. Often, the look trumps the taste, which can range from oversweet to too-dry to simply flavorless. This assessment is based on having tasted quite a few wedding cakes in my time--including the five at my own wedding (no, really).

So when the owners of Starry Nights Catering & Events in Kirkland recently invited me over to their commercial kitchen to try out their cakes, I have to confess to feeling slightly wary. They assured me their cake was the best, but doesn't everyone say that? No way were we going to miss the chance to see for ourselves, so Cake Gumshoe Kris and I headed over.

Starry Nights Catering, Kirkland
Starry Nights' exterior is fairly nondescript, but inside there is a reception area that is decorated in deep, dramatic blues--inspired by the famous painting which provides the company's namesake. In the back, they have a large commercial kitchen in which we were greeted by a sweet, sugary aroma, and saw cake decorator Melanie working on cakes. So far so good.
Melanie working on a cake


They do cakes by custom order--mostly wedding cakes, but they also do party or occasion cakes too. In fact, they were working on the pretty Mother's Day Cake shown at the top of the post when we arrived.

Tray of cakes from the tasting
After looking around a bit, Matt brought out the cakes. He presented us with a plate of several different options, including their two bestsellers, the Elegant Lemon (handmade lemon mousse filling, vanilla chiffon cake, raspberry jam, topped with lemon curd) and the Signature Chocolate Truffle Cake (chocolate fudge cake layered with bittersweet Belgian chocolate mousse), along with an assortment of other flavors like the Sevilla (a creamsicle-esque confection) and the surprisingly not-too-Christmas-y North Pole (a peppermint bark-inspired cake with alternating chocolate and vanilla chiffon layers, filled with white chocolate peppermint Bavarian cream mousse and candy cane chunks).


We both tried a tentative forkful. I tried the Elegant Lemon first. Upon taking a bite, the lemon taste hit almost immediately, yet it was not overpowering--neither too sweet nor too tart. The creaminess of the frosting and added hint of raspberry were a perfect complement; the butter dissolved perfectly into the cake as it melted in your mouth. Sweet thoughts swirled in my mind, finally settling on a buttercreamy, sweet conclusion: this is good cake. Looking at Kris, I could tell she agreed. Yum.
We sampled the rest of the flavors, and found that while certainly we each had flavor preferences, it was clear that each and every one of them had a well balanced, not too-sweet flavor, and incredibly moist cake.

So what's their secret? 
Cake decorating stuffAt work making the cakes!
In my opinion, the not-so-secret ingredient to their success is that they think of their cakes as things that will be eaten, and not just as centerpieces--and therefore are committed to making cakes that taste good. They tend to shy away from super-sweet fondant and gumpaste in favor of melt-in-your-mouth, subtly sweet fillings and luxuriously buttery frostings; they use quality ingredients and keep things fresh (except in rare cases, cakes are never frozen, and are baked to order). The flavors, while sophisticated, are not complex to the point of distraction. 
They're crowd pleasers too; we got to take home a cake, which we shared with friends, who all but licked the plates clean.

Cake from Starry Nights Catering, Kirkland
As for the cake's moistness, though? A simple sugar solution guarantees that the cake will have an achingly tender crumb when it is served.
Overall, we were most impressed with Starry Nights' cakes--we'd absolutely recommend them for weddings and events.


For more information or to schedule a cake consultation, visit starrynightscatering.com. Check out their flavors here; you can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter!


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Reader Comments (17)

Fantastic post! It made me hungry for wedding cake.

April 22 | Unregistered Commenterjulie jams

What a great post. I hate fondant (and by extension most wedding cakes). So I can appreciate cake makers that focus on the quality of their cakes.

April 22 | Unregistered CommenterEliana

Don't you love having your worst fears thrown out the window with a pleasant surprise?

Here in Toronto I can recommend both Phipps and Amadeus bakery for great tasting as well as beautiful wedding cakes.

April 22 | Unregistered Commenterdanamccauley

These wedding cakes look completely delicious! What a lovely way to spend the day - sampling them x

Thanks for the cake love! We were honored you liked our cakes. As Chef Matt says...life is too short to eat bad cake!

Just one thing...the link at the bottom to our site is wrong. It is http://www.StarryNightsCatering.com (with an "s" after "night").

mmm cake.

April 22 | Unregistered CommenterStarry Nights

Wow - those cakes might even convince me to pop the question. No small feat.

Julie Jams: Me too. I want to go back and have more cake! :-)

Eliana: Yes it can be hard to avoid fondant on wedding cakes. I have been known to like it in the past, but it's the exception rather than the rule.

Dana: You said it. It was a very pleasant surprise to find an impressive wedding cake-maker! Made me wish I was getting married again. Anniversary cake anyone? :-)

Cupcakes and Peonies: Oh yes.

Starry nights: Thank you for inviting us over! Also, the link should be fixed now. Thanks!

TW: haha! Well, the answer is always YES! when it's cake.

April 22 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

These cakes look fantastic! When we were test-tasting cakes for our wedding, we found them woefully inadequate, except for one French bakery where he hated to use fondant, and we had a lemon-scented yellow cake with raspberry cream filling and lightly-sweetened buttercream frosting. Mmmm.... your post reminded me of our wedding cake... mmmm........

April 22 | Unregistered CommenterIrene

HOW LUCKY ARE YOU??? Wow, what a great experience! And the cakes look absolutely fantastic.

April 22 | Unregistered CommenterRicki

They look so amazing! I love the "delicate" forkfulls you both took of each sample. I'm afraid that when we are sampling for our wedding I won't be as polite!!

I want cake.

The beauty is definitely on the inside and that's not only the bakery itself, but the http://www.weddingwire.com/wedding-cakes" REL="nofollow">wedding cakes too!

They really do create some amazing cakes. Thanks for sharing the pictures!


April 23 | Unregistered CommenterTJLoop85

also, sooo dreamy that starry nights has their own giant commercial kitchen... ! can't wait to surf through their pics!

April 25 | Unregistered Commenterlyndsay

jessie, i hear ya on the "wish i was getting married again" thing so i could have an even crazier cake--! we had a pink fondant covered, mango- filled vanilla with a giant chocolate pineapple on top-- vintage hawaiian themed... with mini sugar flower leis... ! i didn't know how to bake then-- but now that i do i would want to try and make my own!!!

April 25 | Unregistered Commenterlyndsay

Beautiful cakes! I've been thinking of making something featuring gerberas like http://www.flickr.com/photos/cakespy/3465953449/in/photostream/" REL="nofollow">this one. 2 layers of cupcakes, one of cake. Any idea what they did to ensure that the gerberas could be touching the cake?

April 26 | Unregistered CommenterPsychgrad

I should stay away from this blog everything looks so delicious

May 11 | Unregistered CommenterDi DeSan

As a past customer of Starry Nights, I cannot recommend them highly enough! The food is delicious, the facility is great, and the cakes are awesome! My wife does wedding cakes on a semi-professional basis and she was blown away! I have had both the lemon cake described above as well as the chocolate truffle cake, and they are the JAM! We will definitely be repeat customers!

June 22 | Unregistered CommenterSeattlehepcat
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