An idea so crazy it just might work. The Sweetery in South Carolina makes Cake Croutons in five flavors.
by Bakery Boy
Who needs dried cubes of bread when you can have dried cubes of CAKE instead? And these Cake Croutons aren’t just for topping salads anymore.
“What we do,” says Ryan Jarahian, head baker at The Sweetery in Anderson, South Carolina, “is start with basic pound cakes, cut them into cubes, spread those out on baking sheets, and bake them again for 4 to 5 hours at a low temperature like 200 degrees. They get good and dry, just like bread croutons, only they’re cake. Everyone likes cake.”
Cake Croutons in regular production are Original, Chocolate, Butter Pecan, Cinnamon Espresso, and Southwestern, the latter dusted with hot chili powder. Except for the spicy southwestern version, each adds a sweet crunch in places you might not expect to find a sweet crunch.
“You can sprinkle Cake Croutons on green salads, just like other croutons, and create a whole different experience,” Ryan says. “Chocolate Cake Croutons go well on spinach salad or ice cream. Crumble the Butter Pecan Cake Croutons to use in pie dough. Drop Southwestern Cake Croutons into soup or crumble them to use as a rub for grilled meats.”
“Just like bread croutons, only they’re
cake. Everyone likes cake.” – Ryan Jarahian
WHOSE IDEA? “We enjoy creating new desserts around here all the time, but we can’t take full credit for Cake Croutons,” says Ryan, whose mother Jane founder The Sweetery 25 years ago (click here to see separate story). “An intern from Clemson University was working here and overheard us talking about new product ideas for a trade show we were going to. We were looking for something that might go over well with a younger audience. She took a few cakes with her to a culinary class, the students brainstormed, and what they came up with was the idea of croutons made of cake. We took it from there and ran with it.”
WINE STICKS TOO Before long, Ryan and Jane had modified the basic Cake Crouton idea into a second line called Wine Sticks. “They’re the same as the croutons except they’re cut long and thin like biscotti,” Ryan says. “You can use them like crackers with dips or spreads, or you can put cheese on them. The Chocolate Wine Sticks go well with red wine.”
A BAKERY BOY CONFESSION I brought home three kinds of Cake Croutons—Chocolate, Butter Pecan, and Southwestern—and the challenge was to NOT eat them before photographing them. Quite a few didn’t make it through the photo shoot. There are too many to fit in the frame anyway, I reasoned, so I culled out (yum) any slightly imperfect ones. Then I culled out (gulp) a few perfectly perfect ones. Then I decided to go with a smaller grouping (crunch). Then I zoomed in on what remained (mmm). When I finally got the shot I wanted, the rest disappeared in seconds (ahh). I guess it better be the shot I want, because it’s too late now!
TO ORDER Go online to www.thesweetery.com to explore the wide variety of cakes, pies, cookies, and more that The Sweetery makes, then call 864-224-8394 or toll free 800-752-1188 to place an order. The base price of a 8-ounce package of Cake Croutons is $4.25. Tell them the Bakery Boy Blog sent you.