Homespun and simple—no fondant, no coloring, no artificial anything. Always—always four stacks high. Frosted or layered with custard, curd, or architecturally inspired “Buckies.” That’s a Palace Cake.
And it’s coming your way soon. Whole, if you like, of course; no one’s looking. But also by the slice, dispatched at a tiny table in downtown Portland, and chased with Courier Coffee or an ice cream scoop made in teeny flavor batches.
As Eat Beat reported last fall, Two Tarts Bakery owner Elizabeth Beekley aims to do for cake what she does for cookies at her Northwest Portland shop: join the joy of vintage baking with good ingredients, seasonality, and adventurous herbs. Now, at last, Palace Bakery has a location, 1401 SW Yamhill St., with 748 square feet and seating for 10. Beekley hopes to open by early summer.
Like Two Tarts cookies, Palace Cakes will offer 10-12 daily options, mingling layered cakes and Buckies, regular mainstays and seasonal guests, and pick-your-own buttercreams from daily options. Palace Cakes will also stock a collection of Beekley’s ice creams, one of Portland’s best-kept secrets.
Since October, Palace Cakes has operated as a take-out cake operation at Two Tarts. Even with a half-baked vision, Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine named Palace Bakery one of America’s top pastry pros (May, 2014), sending Beekley into a cake-making frenzy as orders pour in. Frantic is the only word to describe the woman I spotted hunched over a tray of “Buckies” in Two Tarts’ open kitchen the other day, strategically squeezing buttercream dots into intricate structures over chocolate cupcakes. Beekley calls them “Buckies” because they remind her of Buckminster Fuller’s geometric domes. They have the look of a breakout hit.
As Palace Cakes sets its regular rotation, here are a few slices I’m excited to fork into, with commentary from Beekley herself:
- Joe Cake: “It’s super dark chocolate and deep in coffee, really moist, and iced with mocha butter cream or brown-butter butter cream.”
- Coconut Cream Cake: “We toast coconut, infuse it with cream, then turn into coconut custard to tuck between layers of coconut chiffon cake. On top: coconut frosting, of course.”
- Yellow cake with chocolate malted buttercream: “I was out with a girlfriend, and we just wanted a great slice of yellow cake and chocolate frosting, and couldn’t find it anywhere. That’s what started this whole thing.”
More info at palacecakes.com or at Two Tarts Bakery, 2309 NW Kearney St, 971-202-6845. Heads up, cake orders are still only available by advance order at this time. Here's looking forward to the day that changes!