Blackmarket Bakery opened its second retail locationatThe CAMP in Costa Mesa. Chef/Owner Rachel Klemek has made a name for herself since opening her first bakery in 2004 by producing delectable confections and baked goods with quality, whole ingredients butter, flour, sugar and eggs. The name harkens back to WWII when those baking fundamentals were hard to find except on the black market.
Blackmarket Bakery’s website highlights the indulgent side of baked goods with tagline, “Resistance is futile” and a moving image of cake UFOs flying off with transported humans. One bite of any of her baked treats and you’ll discover the truth of that sentence.No cupcakes or cake pops in sight, Rachel bakes the classics with inspired twists.Her Florentine bars are made with sliced almonds, cranberries and candied ginger in our honey caramel, her Farmer’s Daughter cookie is a dark chocolate drop with corn nuts and hint of cayenne. She makes marshmallows from scratch in rotating flavors, currently vanilla, strawberry and cinnamon. Her Blackstrap Betty cookie is made with molasses and dried apricot (see recipe), her Rocky Rue tart with toasted hazelnuts, dark chocolate ganache and vanilla bean marshmallows in a chocolate tart shell (see photo).
Absolutely unique to Chef Rachel is her wine flour focaccia made with cabernet wine flour. It makes the best grilled cheese sandwich with mushrooms and shallots. The slightly tannic flavor is delicious spread with butter.
Rachel trained at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone in Napa Valley. There, she was lauded for combining traditional European techniques with exotic flavors.Before opening her first Blackmarket Bakery location in 2004, her experience included working for the eccentric Dutchmen of Utopia Bakery in San Luis Obispo (since closed), Josiah Citrin at Melisse in Santa Monica, and Zov Kararmardian at Zov’s Bistro in Tustin.
Rachel (see photo) answers some questions.
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO OPEN YOUR OWN BAKERY?
I decided to open my own bakery so I could put out a product that I could stand behind. I also wanted the freedom to innovate and come up with my own product line and that’s hard to do when you’re working in a restaurant kitchen or someone else’s bakery.
WHY THE CROSSED SWORDS IN YOUR LOGO?
Blackmarket Bakery has always intended to offer a worthy alternative for those looking for a responsible, quality product.At the time of development, we wanted to have a logo that was in-your-face, sassy, bold…my goal has always been tocreate a conscious moment of indulgence for guests, andwe were almost daring folks to come embrace whole foods. We encourage them to indulge in the most natural baking fundamentals such as butter, flour, sugar and eggs – all of which were blackmarket goods during WWII. We really focus on delivering a culinary experience that revolves around natural ingredients, complex textures, and global flavors, with abit of punk rock tucked inside, of course.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE WINE FLOUR FOCACCIA?
The wine flour itself was brought to our attention a few years ago and the tannic quality of the powder from the Cabernet grape seemed to pair well with the sourdough starter. It is one of my most favorite things we make I love its simplicity and I should add that it’s also vegan!
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THE CAMP?
We have always had plans to open a second location to follow up on our first in Irvine, which opened in 2004. The Camp presented an opportunity to come to a central location and be among other innovative, interesting concepts run by like-minded entrepreneurs.
HAVE YOU CREATED ANY NEW PASTRIES AT SOMEONE’S SUGGESTION?
Yes, definitely. A perfect example is our client, Nordstrom, who features us in six E-Bars in OC. They wanted a simple chocolate chip cookie, which we didn’t make, so we created a great recipe that is now featured at their locations and also at Kean Coffee locations in OC!
You will want to try her Banana and Rocky Rue tarts.