The artsy Blue Bottle cafe in SFMOMA has rolled out a line of new desserts inspired by works in the museum's permanent collection. The rooftop cafe started with a Mondrian cake and has since offered rotating specials geared toward the museum's ever-rotating shows, but in celebration of the current "Selected Histories: 20th-Century Art From the SFMOMA Collection," the pastry team is offering sweet responses to old standards.
One popular new item is toast with apricot butter and wild blueberry jam inspired by the iconic Rothko piece (pictured above). There's also a new lemon velvet cake with white chocolate ganache, cream cheese frosting, and edible confetti based on Damien Hirst's dot-heavy "Amylamine" painting, and a Donald Judd-inspired tomato soup with a saffron cracker. (You can see photos of them all in the museum's Facebook album.)
The treats will be available until June 2, when the museum and cafe will both close temporarily for a remodel. But you can still get your fix with pastry chef Caitlin Freeman's new book, Modern Art Desserts, coming out in mid-April from Ten Speed Press. We've thumbed through the book several times since it arrived on our desk, marveling at the beautiful pastry photos paired with works of art, and learning about Freeman and co-conspirator Leah Rosenberg's process for taking baking inspiration from paintings, photographs, and sculpture.
If we're being honest, we'll probably never make anything from it -- the pastries are all super-elaborate, and we don't run in the type of circles that require Mondrian cakes or Andy Warhol-inspired gelees. That doesn't mean it won't get a spot on our bookshelf, however. It's fascinating to hear the trials and tribulations Freeman and Rosenberg go through to reach a pastry that looks and tastes beautiful, and the way they bring in the art elements gives you insight into the thought process of a pastry chef.