Raid the Pastry Case
Kaitlyn Wong (@abalconyinbrooklyn) takes us behind the scenes on how she develops a pastry menu for Prima. Plus, recipe for a cake topped with pavlova.
Dear Sweet Tooths,
If you’re in the New York City know, you’re eating pastries by Kaitlyn Wong. Known as A Balcony in Brooklyn on Instagram, Kaitlyn makes decadent pastries with an elegant twist. Think: savory brioche with feta and Calabrian chili, coconut tres leches with a mango soak, lemon cake with saffron and burnt honey.
You might have tried her work at Ciao Gloria, Daughter, or the Wicked Cake launch party, where her caramelized pear and ginger olive oil cake was demolished within three minutes. Now, she’s stocking Prima’s pastry case with some of the best treats you can find in the borough. Kaitlyn is a pastry virtuoso—eternally the first person I call when my crullers go flat or my cakes sink. Read on for her Just a Bite. —Tanya Bush
You’re making dessert. What is it?
A simple, plush, citrusy olive oil cake, piled high with unsweetened vanilla bean whipped cream and syrupy, honey-macerated berries. If I wanna get fancy, I’ll crown the cake with a pavlova. Get that recipe here.
Someone is making you a dessert. What do you ask for?
I would ask my partner to make me an ice cream sundae. (I asked them what they would make me and they said a “dessert parfait,” which I think is an ice cream sundae with poached peaches and rosemary.)
You’ve transformed into a pastry. What are you and how are you consumed?
I’m a canelé, eaten in 2 bites, washed down with a cappuccino.
What fictional dessert scene will you never forget?
The honey scene in Tampopo.
What is a baking hack you can’t live without?
Replacing a small amount of the butter in cake recipes with oil; you’ll never bake a dry cake again. Also doubling the salt in recipes; just do it.
Can you walk us through your thought process when developing a pastry menu?
I want there to be a good but not overwhelming variety of pastries, with flavors that people maybe aren’t expecting to make an otherwise familiar pastry seem a little more intriguing and special. I’d rather execute a classic really well than try to make something too complicated that ends up not hitting the mark on balance, texture and flavor and just not tasting great.
I also love to make pastries that are generous but not unwieldy, so you can have a little bit of it now and save the rest for a treat later. I always get sad when I eat a pastry and it’s gone too fast.
Follow Kaitlyn on Instagram: @abalconyinbrooklyn
Cake cultural ephemera to consume right now:
Make: Sohla’s fruit and nut snacking cake, and eat it whenever the hell you want.
P.S. Find copies of Wicked Cake at Index Book Fair in CDMX this weekend, sold at the Casa Bosques stall!