The title of this post is also the name of this home baker’s business.
“The Noodle” is Samantha “Sam” Ty, a twenty-something who was bored so she baked, and thus banished her ennui forever when she studied at New York’s International Culinary Center (formerly French Culinary Institute). The unique business name is really meant to – in her words, “… raise eyebrows. I really wanted a name that didn’t conform to the [usual ideas] of what a pastry business name should be. The noodle is the personification of the baker (laughs) ’cause historically the ‘noodle’ originated in Asia and throughout history took on Western influences, much like me. (laughs again) It’s a weird logic for most, but it makes sense to me,” she philosophizes.
Worry not if Sam’s reasoning mystifies you, as it does me. Her desserts are unabashed, explicit in their components and ambitious. Akin to her reasoning above, you either “get” her desserts or you don’t. Take the Tosi (cover photo above; P700/1200) for instance, named after Crack Pie creator, Christina Tosi. This is a pie I like so much that I make it quite often at home. Sam however, has turned her version of Crack Pie on its head, transforming it into a cake. (!) The main component of crack pie-now-cake is its sticky grit and its salty tease. In the Tosi, it’s the center to which two layers of sponge cake smooch to the soundtrack of butter(cream). Among all of Sam’s desserts, this one is my favorite.
My peanut butter passion resonates in high-definition with the Garth Vader (P800/1250). A curious name, it fascinates me with its tumult of textures – crisp, dry, soft, and sandy, intermingling and merging with a bevy of robust flavors: chocolate and peanut butter. A macho dessert deserving of its name.
A baker who dubs her business and desserts with quirky monikers is evidence of an inventive mind and an observer of flavors. Sam explains her creative credo: “I’m inspired by people and desserts but when I think of [a] flavor profile, I consider the components’ balance to one another [sweetness, texture, etc.] and when that goes well, I test out the architecture, which posed a challenge for some cakes.” Sam adds that she keeps decorative components to a minimum. “My decorative elements are the colors and lines found within the cake,” she says.
Despite the rather avant-garde conceptualization of her creations, Sam insists that “I just take pleasing and nostalgic flavors and give them a little twist.” Witness how she rocks red velvet cake. First, she calls it Chaz (P800/1435), then she rams red into two chocolate cake layers then fudges up the third for a riveting red-on-black-brown bonanza. There should be more cream cheese frosting here I feel and the cake could do with more moistness, but impressive nonetheless.
Sam gives me a quartet of her cakes but they’re left over from a previous tasting. Thus, some have suffered through time and transport. The Schmoe is bone-dry and hard; pity, I’d have loved to be tantalized by this take on S’mores. The Thirty-Seven (in orange photo above), an in-my-face onslaught of Oreo is, as described on her flyer, “Oreos in cheesecake, Oreos on a cheesecake, cake on Oreos, Oreos on a cake.” As I said, an onslaught and a mess that needs some re-thinking.
I’m as mad for macarons as the next girl and those of Sam’s charm my passion for pretty things. How can I not be enchanted with the flavors of PB+J, Speculoos, and Kaya? But again, these macs have been left over because they’re soggy and bereft of their intrinsic crispness.
I look forward to tasting a newer (and whole!) version of Sam’s Schmoe and Thirty-Seven, as well as her macarons. Imagination like this can’t be put down. And hey, she tells me that she’s working on an apple pie with cheese – blue cheese, that is. How this Noodle bakes!
The Noodle Bakes by Sam Ty
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