Photo courtesy of Hot Cakes

Molten chocolate lava cake, in a jar

As if you need more reasons to indulge in molten chocolate lava cakes, Ballard’s newest addition serves these decadent desserts in take-home Mason jars.

Two months ago on May 19, Hot Cakes opened its doors in Ballard, right next to The People’s Pub.

From sipping chocolates and "boozy" milkshakes to grilled chocolate sandwiches, Hot Cakes is prepped to facilitate any chocolate-related craving.

Before the restaurant’s launch, owner and chocolatier Autumn Martin worked as the head of Theo Chocolate in Fremont.

It was during this time that Martin came up with the idea for molten cakes in Mason jars while preparing for an auction dinner hosting 12 people.

"I wanted to do something that was country, cute, really chocolaty, and I thought ‘I’m going to try to make molten cake in a Mason jar,'" Martin said. After experimenting with the baking process for several weeks, Martin served her dessert to the auction winners.

"They thought it was the coolest thing since peanut butter and jelly," she said.

That dinner solidified Martin’s desire to begin selling her cake batter.

Initially, Martin sold her products at the Ballard Farmer’s market in November 2008, which meant standing all day in the rain, cold and sometimes snow.

But with the aid of popular business-jump-starting website Kickstarter, Martin was able to get out of the dreary weather and into the warm indoors with her project.

May 26, Martin’s Kickstarter project ended, raising $28,318 of her $25,000 goal.

"I'm blown away," she said of the fundraising. "I really did not have any expectations going into Kickstarter."

Having been 113 percent funded, her cake business seemed to be set for success. Even just over a week after opening, there was already an established dessert-time rush.

"We have this beautiful, family-rush right around 7:30 [p.m.] and ending around 9:30 [p.m.]," Martin said.

Patrons can select from several delicacies, including a bag of alder-smoked chocolate chips, a "Cold" Buttered Rum milkshake or a grilled chocolate sandwich with dark chocolate ganache, "squishy" potato bread and house-made caramel sauce.

The owner’s favorite?

"Hands down, the Scotch and smoked Chocolate Milkshake," Martin said.

With liquor license in hand, Hot Cakes is using Laphroaig, a lauded premium malt scotch, in their classic scotch-chocolate milkshake.

But Hot Cakes doesn't just accommodate after-dinner delights — on the weekends, Hot Cakes opens at 8 a.m., serving savory pocket pies and hot-out-of-the-oven pastries.

At the coffee helm is a La Marzocco espresso machine, seasoned baristas and acclaimed hand-roasted Blue Star Coffee.

Hot Cakes is the first company in Seattle to brew locally roasted Blue Star, and Martin believes customers will be impressed.

When customers are not yielding to the enticing, chocolaty aromas, other novelties throughout the shop will surely enchant the curious.

A wall-mounted vintage telephone, for example, plays music out of the receiver.

And in the bathroom, a vintage, working typewriter is available with paper and ink for people to leave messages — messages that will eventually line the walls, Martin said.

Martin is confident that young people, specifically, will appreciate the cake shop.

"We this fun atmosphere going on; it’s a fun place to hang out and eat really different, special desserts."

With a smile at the corner of her lips, Martin said, "This is the place you’d want to bring your first date."

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