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By Kevin Shalin
Fourth generation Washingtonian Autumn Martin is the founder/owner of Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery in Seattle. Through creative combinations of quality ingredients and with an eye towards supporting “sustainable agriculture,“ Hot Cakes’ mission is quite simple: to make the customer happy. Treatsie recently caught up with her to learn a little more about Hot Cakes.
Treatsie: Could you give the Treatsie audience a brief description of the various products offered by Hot Cakes?
AM: We make a variety of high-end organic desserts and confections. We have Northwest roots so a lot of our products are earthy and woodsy, like our cold-smoked chocolate. Otherwise, we love to take classic American crowd pleasers such as molten cake or s’mores and elevate them to a sophisticated, delicious and organic level.
Treatsie: What drew you to making confections for a living?
AM: After high school I wanted to study sculpture with glass and ceramics as my main medium. Instead, I found myself falling in love with the kitchen. In culinary school I discovered I had a knack for developing adventurous flavor profiles and I found that decorating cakes and working with chocolate was similar to sculpting in my other loved mediums – so, the dessert world it was.
Treatsie: How long did it take for the initial concept of Hot Cakes to actually become a business?
AM: I came up with concept for Hot Cakes in 2008 and sold at the farmers markets for a few years before I decided I wanted to open a dessert restaurant. The whole brand began taking shape in 2008 and to this day I am still tweaking and refining.
Treatsie: You previously worked at Theo Chocolate and still use this chocolate in many of your products. How has this partnership worked out for your company?
AM: It has worked out great! It is difficult to deny the integrity behind what Theo does – that is what keeps me buying from them – that, and since day 1 I have used the 70% in our most popular product – the Dark Decadence molten cake and the flavor is just the best. We have tried the recipe with other chocolates and nothing else has made the cut.
Treatsie: Utilizing quality ingredients in the Hot Cakes products is obviously a high priority to you. In this regard, how has your experience working on farms influenced this decision?
AM: I have seen first-hand how possible it is to grow food in such a way that promotes healthy soil and yields a product that isn’t poisoned with harsh chemicals we have no business ingesting. It’s very possible. It just takes time and care and sadly people of today are used to paying lower prices due to subsidies.
Treatsie: You mentioned the “take and bake molten cake in a jar” … how many attempts did it take to perfect this item?
AM: I think I made about 10 versions before I nailed the “one”. Now, we have about 8 varieties that we have offered seasonally and as staples on our menu.
Treatsie: What was the inspiration behind the Bling Blings?
AM: Ding Dongs! I grew up eating them, my parents would buy the Costco-sized box and we would have them in our lunches. I LOVED Ding Dongs so much as a kid. As an adult, they are inedible due to the preservatives, low-quality chocolate and mysterious white fluff in the center. So, I set out to create a high-end, organic and delicious version of them!
Treatsie: What’s next for Hot Cakes? Any cool, new products we can expect to see?
AM: Oh, there is so much in store for Hot Cakes! We are working on a fun collaboration with CB’s Peanut Butter that I won’t say much more about except that people should get excited!