I’d been selling gobs in San Francisco for about three months in the middle of 2009 when I received an email from a woman named Devon asking me if there was any way at all I could bake and deliver my product to her boyfriend, Ryan. She went onto explain that he worked at Twitter, had eaten the confections I’d delivered to his office and that ever since he “couldn’t stop talking about them.” Ryan’s birthday was fast approaching, Devon said, and she was hoping that she might be able to order a dozen or so as a surprise for him.
I wanted to help her out, I really did. But I was swamped. I had recently started selling Gobba Gobba Hey gobs at the Ferry Building’s Thursday Farmer’s Market and I was also baking for my first mega food event, the inaugural Eat Real Festival in Oakland. I was in over my head. I had only recently started scaling my recipes – taking the formulas that I’d written and beefing them up so that they could go from the home made batch that made about three dozen to doubling and tripling the output without losing the flavors that people loved.
I had no choice but to write back to Devon with my apologies. I explained my situation. I told her I already had more business than I was capable of handling and that as much as I wanted to help her out, I was already operating at my maximum capacity.
She wrote back to thank me for even considering her request, adding that she figured it was a long shot, but that she “just had to try.”
I read and re-read that email several times. You probably know where this is going, especially if you arrived at this web site because you ate one of my confections at Ryan’s and Devon’s wedding this weekend. There was something about Devon’s email that kept drawing me back to her request. And I found myself unable to say no.
Even though I’d never met Devon or Ryan, it was obvious to me that they were very much in love. I admired the way Devon searched me out based on what little information she had gleaned from Ryan. I was a very small baking enterprise with an oddly-named product and a confusing name. Even though my business and reputation were both growing, I was still far from being easily accessible. Yet she found me. Anyone who went to this much trouble for their significant other obviously cared very deeply for them. I had to find a way to make this delivery happen.
I delivered gobs to Ryan the following week, and when I did, I let him know that I could truly get a sense for how strong his and Devon’s relationship was just from her messages, not to mention her efforts to find me.
It was about two months later that I finally met Devon in person when she and Ryan attended an event at which I was selling gobs. Within a few seconds of watching them interact with one another, I could tell they were more than just boyfriend and girlfriend. They were best friends. They were each other’s matching half.
So when they asked a few months ago if I would bake for their wedding, which just so happened to again fall on what would be the busiest weekend for my business of the year, I couldn’t say no.
They requested a flavor that joined foods from their respective home states, Maine and Michigan, into one new creation. Devon wanted blueberries, and Ryan requested cherries. The recipe follows.
I hope you enjoy this flavor. You can make it as many times as you like, but I will never bake it for anyone else again. Ryan and Devon, this is for you. I thank you for your support, and I hope you have many happy, healthy and prosperous years together!
For the batter
4 cups plus 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
2 cups cane sugar
1 stick, 8 oz butter, room temperature, cubed
2 eggs, separated, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
2 TBS sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 TBS baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 TBS lemon zest
1. Preheat oven to 325 F. (If your oven runs cool, you can go as high as 335.) Separate the egg yolks from whites and let both come to room temperature. Cream butter in standing mixer (or with beaters.) Sift sugar then add to butter and mix until fluffy. Add vanilla extract and mix on medium high for one minute. Add the egg yolks to butter, mix on medium high til sugar and butter mixture turns the color of the yolks. Add egg whites and beat on medium high almost until peaks form.
2. While butter and eggs are creaming measure out all dry ingredients, then sift together. Turn mixer to low. Add one third of flour mixture to butter and eggs, then mix on medium til incorporated. Add half cup of butter milk, and mix on medium high. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl with spatula to scoop up any butter that might be sticking to bottom. Add second third of flour mixture to batter, mix on medium til incorporated. Add remaining buttermilk and sour cream. Mix on medium high. Slow mixer speed to low, add lemon zest, then mix on medium high for one minute.
3. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, and using a tablespoon as a dispenser, scoop out one TBS of batter at a time onto sheets leaving about two inches between each round of batter. When sheet is full, slide into heated oven and bake four minutes. After four minutes, remove tray, and turn front to back. Bake for another four minutes. Gobs should be raised like small domes with just a hint of golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. Work in batches until batter is gone. Makes approximately 30 to 36 gobs (depending on how much you actually scoop.)
For the frosting
8 oz of butter, softened and cubed
12 oz of cream cheese, softened and cubed
2 cups confectioners sugar, measured then sifted
1/2 TBS almond extract
4 – 5 TBS cherry-blueberry syrup (recipe follows)
1-2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1. In a mixer cream butter with almond extract. Add cubes of cream cheese one or two at a time to butter, on medium speed, to fully incorporate.
2. Turn mixer off. Scrape the sides of the mixing bowl with a spatula to make sure the almond extract, butter and cream cheese are melding together. Set mixer back on low speed and slowly begin to add 1 TBS lemon juice, followed by 3 TBS cherry-blueberry syrup. Turn mixer up to medium, allow to run for about a minute, then turn up to medium high for the same length of time.
3. Turn mixer back to low. Begin adding the confectioner’s sugar 1/4 cup at a time, mixing on medium speed after each addition. When all sugar has been added, check the consistency of your frosting. A spoon or fork inserted should pull a peak out of the batch with it when extracted. The frosting should be almost the consistency of whipped cream. You can add another TBS or two of the syrup if you like, and another TBS of the lemon juice. Add only 1 TBS at a time, and mix well. Check consistency of your frosting. Just be careful not to over-beat the mixture as it will turn soupy. When frosting is of desired thickness, and flavor, set mixing bowl in fridge for about 20 minutes.
4. As frosting cools in fridge, take the gob domes that have also cooled and begin flipping them over onto their backs, flat side up. Match like-sized domes so that you have two halves side by side. Pair up remained of the batch in this manner. Take frosting out of the fridge and begin scooping preferably 1 TBS, but up to 2 TBS of frosting onto one of the flipped-over gob domes. Set its matching half on top of the frosting, and press down giving a small turn to create what will look like a cake sandwich. Congratulations! You’ve made your first gob. Do this with the remaining domes until each pair has been frosted. Put tray of completed gobs in the fridge, covered tightly with a sheet of plastic wrap. Allow to sit at least an hour so that the flavors from the frosting can start to permeate and moisten the cake halves. Serve either at room temperature of chilled, according to your tastes!
For the Cherry Blueberry Syrup
1 cup fresh cherries, pitted, preferably from Michigan
1 cup fresh blueberries, preferably from Maine
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, slit open so caviar inside can easily cook out
2 TBS fresh lemon juice
1. Wash berries and cherries, removing stems (and pits from cherries.) Coarsely chop the cherries. Place everything but the lemon juice in a small saucepan begin to bring to a boil over medium high heat. Press down on the berries and cherries to release their juices. Stir often. When the mixture comes to a boil, lower heat and allow to cook and thicken over a low flame for about 20 minutes. If it’s bubbling gently along the sides of the pan that’s fine. Stir frequently. Turn off the heat, stir in the lemon juice to mix thoroughly and remove from the stove. Set aside to cool.
2. When the syrup mixture has cooled, strain to remove pulp, vanilla bean and any lemon seeds from the pot. Keep syrup in the fridge until ready to use for frosting.
3. Use any remaining syrup in your favorite vodka or bourbon cocktail with a squeeze of lime juice. Just to remember to toast Devon and Ryan each time you raise your glass!