“Cakebarring” is the act of baking a cake and bringing it to a bar in the quest to find a suitable romantic partner in the often frustrating and confusing Los Angeles dating scene. Fantastic, right?
That’s because it was born from one fantastic, lovely and quirky woman, Audrey Shulman. It was a dating scheme to sit in bars with cake for one year and fifty recipes “trying to bake (her) way to a boyfriend”. But more than that it was a challenge to learn and grow.
Audrey is an inspiration in the “open yourself up to what life has to offer” department. Instead of bemoaning her chronic boyfriendlessness, she saw an opportunity to learn a bit about herself. She also saw the opportunity to offer cake to strangers.
Including me and Jennie.
As Jennie and I found ourselves in Audrey’s beautiful, airy apartment one hot Saturday morning we were privy firsthand to Audrey’s incredible generosity and panache.
This heartening Southern transplant has class, charm and spunk in spades. We spent the better part of the morning eating donuts, drinking coffee and waxing poetic about parking meters and Costco check out lines and quickly found that “stranger” doesn’t really have a place in Audrey’s vocabulary.
Her book, Sitting in Bars with Cake is no different. She is a gracious writer and invites you up to the barstool right next to her. She is also one seriously hilarious woman and makes sitting on that barstool with her a treat far beyond the cake she is offering you.
And that’s not to diminish the cake at all. Her recipes are unique, complex, traditional and daring.
The cake she made for us that Saturday was a Chocolate Prune Cake with Salty Frosting. In the dry L.A. heat it was heavenly. Light and moist without the density you would think, the salty whipped cream fresh in that way only homemade whipped cream can be.
“It’s almost cheating. It’s the easiest way to get a compliment ever,” Audrey says apron-clad, locking in her mixing bowl.
“People go inexplicably insane when offered free dessert,” she writes. Audrey is possibly one of the most sustainably quotable people I have ever met.
Sitting in Bars with Cake is remarkably laid out. Her Chocolate Prune Cake recipe is hilariously paired with an encounter Audrey had with “The Guy Who Claimed to be Full.” These anecdotes are then distilled down to the lesson she learned from that specific encounter, in this case: “’I’m full = ‘I have a girlfriend,’ because guys are never full.”
However, Jennie and I were categorically full by the end of our day with Audrey. This girl leaves you well fed and with more cake wrapped up in hand to take home to loved ones or a secret snack for yourself while binge watching Netflix in the dark.
Because Audrey’s ultimate conclusion to her daring experiment?
“Maybe you don’t need a boyfriend after all,” paired perfectly with, “Sometimes your best self is just your real one.”
Sitting in Bars with Cake comes out today (!) and it’s basically our new favorite thing. You should go buy it immediately. Full disclosure: I read it cover to cover in one sitting. It’s that good.