Hot Cakes photo by queen-o’-good-taste Nancy Leson, a fellow fan
Autumn Martin, former head chocolatier at Theo Chocolate, won hearts with her Hot Cakes business from the minute she started selling her molten chocolate cakes at farmers markets in 2008. The bake-it-in-a-jar combination of adorable and scrumptious couldn’t be beat.
In the years since, Martin has added an ambrosial array of new products, from pocket pies to chocolate toffee cookies to salted caramel sauce (and even a vegan version of that last one). In addition to her farmers market booths, her treats are now distributed several places around town. And before too long you’ll be able to find them almost whenever you please, because Martin now has a lease on her own brick-and-mortar shop.
She’s hoping to open the “evening dessert space” in Ballard in May (it’ll be open daytime hours on weekends too, and maybe more to follow).
Why open her own place, when she could just continue wholesaling to more markets and stores?
“I feel like it’s what I’ve been working towards for the past 12 years of my career. I love to host people…” Martin said.
“We want to invite people into the Hot Cakes world that we create, and it’s really hard to do at a farmers market, and it’s hard to do on a grocery store shelf.”
I’ve been surprised lately, regardless, to see all the places that I can find Martin’s wickedly good goods. Most PCC branches carry her dessert sauces and cakes, and a few carry pocket pies as well. Picnic also carries the jarred molten chocolate cakes, and Zaw pizza will feature the cakes throughout February (they’re take-and-bake pizzas, so take-and-bake-cake makes sense). The Chocolate Box and Sugarpill stock her sauces, and they’re used by Molly Moon Ice Cream and in the drinks at Caffe Fiore and Zoka, and the list goes on.
Martin’s got a full buildout and months of construction ahead of her at the shop on Ballard Avenue (near La Carta de Oaxaca), so she doesn’t want to describe her plans in deep detail yet. But it says a lot about her just to know that her well-loved “Josephine” financier cookies, currently on hiatus, will be back when she opens the place. “When I first started I was able to bake in the mornings before the market,” she explained. With her current rental space, she has to bake late at night instead. It wasn’t doing the Josephines justice to serve them at even 12 hours old, she thought, so she stopped. As much as I loved eating them, I appreciate that kind of quality control, and I’ll be buying them as fresh as they come, come May.