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CakeLove in the Morning
You have to think if a guy leaves behind a potentially lucrative career in law for the uncertain promise of a bakery, there’s some serious passion behind it. Fortunately for us, and for Warren Brown, there was also some serious skill.
Brown left his legal career to open CakeLove, a from-scratch bakery in the DC area that’s since exploded into six locations. (Based on how happy he seems in this video, we’re guessing he made the right call; no prosecutor’s ever looked that giddy in cross-examination.) With that success under his—surprisingly slim—belt, Brown went on to pen a couple cookbooks. His latest, CakeLove in the Morning, is a tribute to a life long love affair with brunch.
“Brunch is for the weekends when, hopefully, we’re all taking time out from the rest of our life,” Brown says. “And that’s why I love it.” It quickly becomes clear that he doesn’t just love the ease and family of brunch culture, he loves the wholesome flavors of brunch cooking, and his cookbook is chock full of evidence (so to speak).
Like the goodies at CakeLove, all the recipes here are from scratch, meaning if you have a hankering for classic or, say, Brown’s Chocolate Pancakes, you’re gonna skip the boxed stuff—which he also grew up on—and go straight to your pantry. Same rule for waffles, which you’ll find here in delicious abundance: Pecan Waffles, Chicken and Waffles (yes, you will be frying chicken for breakfast), and White Chocolate Waffles.
Omelets are another Brown specialty. He actually introduces the book with tales of the massive omelets he used to prepare as a teenager (an early inkling of his love for the culinary magnanimity of brunch?). So it’s wise to check out the Eggs chapter, where Brown serves up everything from an Avocado and Bacon Omelet to a Low Country Frittata bustin’ with yams, sausage, shrimp, and spices.
Brown loves brunch basic; eggs, waffles, muffins, scones, etc. He even keeps his seasonings simple, by logic that the early (or even mid to late) morning brain cannot and should not compute too many wild herbs and spices. But he still tackles the slightly more involved Savory entrees, with recipes to anchor and/or aggrandize a brunch: Traditional Cured Salmon, Grilled Mushroom Salad with Chèvre, Asparagus with Butter, Bangers and Mash.
And, no surprise, there’s a Cakes chapter—though brunch is also one of those morally flexible meals where cake and/or Champagne for breakfast don’t seem entirely out of the ordinary. Brown recommends cakes as a way to mark a special occasion brunch, providing some baker’s tips (e.g. use a cake turntable for assembly and presentation) before delving into aromatic-alarm-clock recipes like Cinnamon-Sugar Coffee Cake, Piña-Orange-Banana Pound Cake and—for those very special occasions—Coconut Cake with Meringue Buttercream (fair warning, you may have to wake up around actual breakfast time to have this one ready by brunch).
Get your hands on the book here.