Salt Lake City is rich with an assortment of places to satisfy your sweet tooth. These featured dessert virtuosos present innovative ways to concoct all things whipped, sprinkled and glazed—some even mastering vegan and gluten-free options. With key sweet, salty and umami elements, City Cakes, Doki Doki, Fillings and Emulsions and Normal Ice Cream feature items that will skip stones across your palate.
Fillings and Emulsions
SLC: 1475 Main St. • T–Th.: 8a–6p I Sa.: 9a–5p 385.229.4228
SLUG: Being a Cuban-style bakery, can you tell us about the Cuban cultural influence and how it builds upon other dessert traditions?
Fillings and Emulsions: Funny enough, we are not Cuban-inspired. The fact that I am Cuban means that we make a few items that are connected directly to my traditions. But most of our desserts take ideas form all over the world and transform them into something somewhat familiar. That’s why we call ourselves eclectic.
Our Cuban meat pies, guava pasteles, Cuban flan and Cabezotes are some of the items we carry in our menu currently, but there will be more added in the future due to the amount of requests we are getting.
SLUG: Your laminated dough collection feature items like the Strawberry Fields Croissant and Churro Dulce de Leche Cruffin. Which is your most popular from this collection and why?
F&E: We LOVE laminated doughs and we work really hard on this art. The level of attention to detail needed to produce a good croissant is right up our ally. The biggest seller is our Kouign Amann and our Almond Croissant, followed by our Dulce de Leche Cruffin. But we sell out of most items on a daily basis. The K.A. is a classic that was immortalized in town by Les Madeleines Bakery. We have a slight twist to it, but it is the menagerie of textures that makes this pastry so appealing to so many. The Cruffin gets its appeal from being a combination of something so recognizable like a churro and a croissant, which is also a staple in most bakeries. We love making them and eating them.
SLUG: Tell us more about your family’s recipes that inspire the Hand Pies.
F&E: The Cuban Picadillo is a tradition, and you can find Cuban Pasteles in most Cuban bakeries. The one we make follows my grandma Irene’s recipe. We use a variation of it for the chicken as well. The Cuban sandwich meat pie also follows my family’s flavors and traditions. There is also a lot of memories from Cuba attached to them. I remember not been able to afford buying them all the time and I loved them soooo much!
SLUG: Why do you find the physical appearance of your desserts so important? Can you describe the work and time that goes into designing your desserts?
F&E: In Cuba, we say, “Lo que no entra por los ojos no entra por la boca.” This translates to something like “If it doesn’t look good to the eye, it won’t enter through your mouth” So I always keep that in mind. Appearance and consistency make a big difference. We first decide the flavors we want to highlight—after that, we decide what kind of dessert to make, cheesecake, cake, tart, etc. Once that’s determined we think about what kinds of layers and textures we would like to add, then we execute each layer separate and taste. Once the flavors work, we try to make a finished item and see how it all works together. Then we go into garnishes and decorations, making sure we stay true to our brand.
SLUG: The variety in your cheesecakes is focused, and the quality in design is unparalleled. What made you land on the four flavors that you do?
F&E: We actually just keep one cheesecake all the time, the Key Lime. The rest rotate with the seasons according to what’s available fresher on the market. We also customize them for any holidays, so we make up to 15 different cheesecakes throughout the year.
SLUG: There is a chocolate seal on most of your desserts, such as your tarts and cheesecakes—what does it mean?
F&E: The chocolate seals are actually our logo imprinted in a drop of tempered chocolate. We use it to brand our desserts. That way, everyone knows where they were made—the logo is also edible, which is a perk.
SLUG: The design work with your Petite Gateaux and cheesecake selections are clearly well thought out. Who is responsible for the design, and where does the inspiration come from?
F&E: Most dessert designs are created by me. I take input from my pastry chefs, and until we are all happy, we keep adjusting the design. It has to have a great eye-appeal but also be able to be produced with efficiency. The inspiration comes, most of the time, from the ingredients themselves and ideas we come across online.
SLUG: What inspires your macarons’ tart flavors, such as Blueberry Mojito and Pistachio Black Cherry?
F&E: I think macarons are too sweet, so I’m always looking to balance them with something fruity or tart. It works wonders.
SLUG: Do you ship your macarons only locally, or nationally as well?
F&E: We ship all over the country, but only during colder weather. We want to make sure that the arrive in good shape and that the shipping doesn’t cost more than the macarons themselves.
SLUG: Your Savory Scone is topped with bacon, onions, blue cheese and pecans. What inspired this combination, and what are goals when creating unique scones?
F&E: That scone combination has to be credited to one of my bakery heroes Ciryl Hitz. When it comes to good scones, you have to remember to add ingredients that would help them stay soft and tender, soaked dry fruits, lots of butter or bacon fat, etc.
SLUG: Regarding your Affogato double shot of espresso on a scoop of gelato, can you describe the options customers have in terms of the gelato that they can pair with double shot of espresso?
F&E: I will always recommend something caramel, chocolate, nuts or just plain vanilla—but hey, who I am to tell you what you like? Try one and you’ll see—it will change your life.
SLUG: Who, would you say, constitutes your customer base? What do you think people are looking for when coming to your restaurant?
F&E: Interestingly, our customer base is pretty broad. But women definitely make the bulk of our customers, and of course, their husbands and loved ones trying to get them something they will for sure love. We are a destination patisserie—most people already have an idea when they come for the first time. Macarons for sure, the Cuban meat pies and our breakfast and savory pastries are actually some of the items that are taking over our sales. But I will say that it is our attention to detail and the service we give our customers that are the reasons that they keep coming back for more.
“Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.” –Anthony Bourdain, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly