Wine lovers may be familiar with a famous region in Bordeaux called Sauternes. Some of the finest dessert wines in the world are made in Sauternes.
The heavenly elixir bottled by the top winemakers there is proof of their fanatical focus on quality. Any fruit that doesn’t measure up is discarded. In difficult years, some will declassify their entire harvest and sell it off in bulk rather than tarnish the reputation of their ethereal wines.
At Cherry Republic, we try to focus on quality too. Making our new Cherry Blossom Lemon Cake was a great lesson in the importance of that focus.
We’d made a cake like this for years. Moist and flavorful with a divine combination of lively, citrus zing and cherry sweetness, it was a hit. We sold through all of them in a matter of days every year. Fans of the cake scrambled to get their orders in in time. We disappointed so many customers by not having enough.
Our solution was simple: make more. Except we couldn’t. We couldn’t get enough of the right lemons. Our baking process didn’t scale well. The quality of the cake suffered. People still loved it and we weren’t getting any complaints, but we knew the cake wasn’t as delicious as it was supposed to be.
We took a page from the Sauternes winemaker’s playbook and pulled the cake. We’d rather not sell it at all than have people think this was what our Lemon Cake was supposed to taste like.
We’re proud to announce that we haven’t solved any of our baking challenges. Instead, we’ve gone back to basics. Pursuit of perfection is its own reward; it doesn’t have to scale well.
We make this cake by hand, because that’s the only way it can be made. We use fresh cream, European-style Plugrá butter, and fresh eggs because they shine through in both taste and texture. We use in-season Meyer lemons because of their sweeter, less tart taste and more fragrant zest, even though that means we can only make the cake at this time of year.
We’re not going to have enough of these Cherry Blossom Lemon Cakes. Please accept our apologies if you’re not one of the lucky few who get to enjoy them this year.
If you are able to get one, it is our hope that this taste of spring brings the same joy that we experienced in getting back to basics. It will be a heavenly partner to sparkling or dessert wine. But maybe it’s best enjoyed with a glass of Sauternes and a toast to the pursuit of perfection.