– Haven’t you ever had
those times in your life where you just feel all
consumed with tasting something again that you haven’t
had in years and years? That’s really what I’m
doing here is bringing back those incredible desserts,
those incredible experiences that have gone extinct. I put myself through this
process of resurrecting desserts because I truly feel that a good dessert can change the course of your day. I’m Valerie Gordon, owner
of Valerie Confections, and I’m also a dessert anthropologist. The way this project of
resurrecting historic desserts began was in 2009 the food editor from the Los Angeles
Times magazine asked me to create a Blum’s Koffee Krunch Cake for an article that she was doing. And it was this amazing
full-circle moment, because I grew up with that cake; I know that cake, and I
missed that cake terribly. Blum’s was an incredible
bakery and cafe in California. There were eight locations. The last one closed in the ’80s. When the article came
out, we literally received 125 phone calls from
people going, “Oh my God, “I want this cake.” The desserts that I’ve resurrected to date are, of course the Koffee
Krunch Cake from Blum’s. I’ve brought back the Banana
Shortcake from Chasen’s, the Brown Derby Grapefruit
Cake is another cake that I’ve resurrected, and now soon to be the Cof-fiesta sundae, as well. The anthropology of the
dessert resurrection is really one of the most
interesting parts of all of this. I start the research process
at the central library. There is a room, and this
is a very well-guarded room, called the Menu Vault. There are menus that
date back for 150 years. I find that looking at the actual menus is so much more gratifying
than just pulling something up online because you’re really getting to the heart and soul of the place. You’re almost transported
into that place at that time by holding something
that these people held. You really are. Then I email a bunch of people,
or I call a bunch of people who were natives to Los
Angeles, or whatever city the bakery was in to find out,
hey, do you remember this? Do you remember that? – We always used to call
this the adult sundae because this is the one my mom would eat. – This is the grownup sundae. Can they describe the
texture of a whipped cream? Can they tell me whether there
was vanilla in it, or not? – I’m pretty sure they
did one basic recipe for whipped cream, and
then flavored accordingly. It was little kid whipped cream. – One cherry.
– Yes. – This is amazing. Like, you have been indispensable. I’m not particularly interested in retro. It is about reliving those sense memories. It’s sort of like when you hear a song that was your favorite song from 1982, you’re really thrown
back into that moment. It’s become this very
emotional, very fulfilling part of my job to bring
these cakes back for people.