Saturday Sweets: Dessert Showcase at Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale
It’s not often that I venture up to Broward, but on occasion I’ll make the trek just to see what’s out there. This week I was invited to a Dessert Showcase at the Ritz Carlton in Fort Lauderdale, and decided it was time for a trip up north. Traffic was terrible, but upon arrival I was immediately greeted with champagne and a gorgeous display of cakes. The traffic was quickly forgotten.
The Dessert Showcase’s purpose was to let local wedding and event planners and others in the industry get a chance to know about the in-house cake and pastry offerings Executive Pastry Chef Ryan Cross and his team of 8 pastry artists are making on site.
The ocean views were a perfect backdrop for the large intricate cakes on display. Even the tasting portions were decorated beautifully making it an all-around classy affair, as one would expect when on a Ritz Carlton property.
I got the chance to chat with Chef Ryan about his pastry program. His love and passion for the art of cake decorating is made very apparent the moment he began talking about his favorite techniques. As a lover of cake making myself, I greatly enjoyed hearing him talk about his process for making cakes. On display was a 5 tier masterpiece with glass vases separating each tier of cake, a feat I would never be brave enough to attempt. I quickly complimented Chef Ryan and he told me about making a similar cake that was 7 tiers tall! We started to share cake war stories and both admitted that final intricate details that are done after the rest of the kitchen is cleaned and no one is around are our favorite parts of the baking process.
After all the chatting I had worked up a major sweet tooth and proceeded to sample the different varieties Chef Ryan and his team had on display making sure I had the carrot cake, since the chef said it was his favorite.
Chocolate mousse, red velvet, salted caramel, and lemon berry all stood out but the carrot cake and black forest cake were my favorites. The carrot cake had so much texture to it and was accompanied with a pineapple reduction that worked so well with the royal icing used in place of the typical cream cheese icing.
Not only does Chef Ryan handle the pastry program for the meetings, banquets, and weddings on the property but he also oversees the desserts made at Burlock Coast, the laidback and lovely restaurant also on-site. I had already made the trip, so naturally it only made sense to stop into Burlock Coast to try those desserts too. There were so many options – it was almost overwhelming (but that may have been the result of all the cake I had already eaten) but we were able to narrow it down to a few options.
The BC Donuts were brought to the table warm, in a small burlap bag and are dusted with cinnamon sugar, served with a white chocolate banana rum sauce that comes in a cute little tube for you to add at your own preference and their own homemade version of Nutella. I wanted to eat them all. The Avalanche Sundae is another amazing option. It comes in an antique stemmed bowl, brimming with vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream, salted caramel, chocolate sauce, house-made “Kit Kat” brownie pieces, pineapple chutney and toasted marshmallow. At Burlock Coast, when they serve pie, they serve PIE – if you dare to order the Key Lime Pie, be ready to share because you’ll be brought an oversize pie that can easily feed an entire table. For the sweet tooth who can’t make up their mind, an adorable sampler of desserts is also available and is just the right fit.
Fort Lauderdale may be a bit of a trip for most of us, but Chef Ryan and his pastry team are definitely making the drive worth it. Drive up for the cake and stay for lunch or brunch, or even dinner.
1 N Lauderdale Florida, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304