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Small Dublin shrine to the art of baking

December 20, 2009

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DUBLIN - The Cake Café is a hidden treasure off bustling Camden Street in Dublin. Located in a passageway between an alley and the rear exit of a paper shop, it is the creation of Michelle Darmody, 33, who learned the art of baking from her mother.

Everything here is made from scratch, using as many local products as possible, and the selection varies daily. On a recent weekday, all the tables were filled as customers sampled lemon slice, traditional sponge cake filled with fresh cream and a mixed-berry jam, vanilla cupcakes, Belgian chocolate cake, tiny macaroons, brownies, and quite possibly the best oatmeal cookies we have ever tasted.

Inside, visitors will find the kitchen and seven tiny tables with colorful oilcloth tops. Outside, more tables nestle in a courtyard beneath a platform sprouting grass, alongside an artist-created found-objects wall. In addition to sweets, the café serves a daily tart, gratin, toast, soup, salad, hot pot, and terrine.

A limited selection of wine and Prosecco is available, as well as freshly roasted and ground coffee, many teas, and other singular beverages, like mint lemonade. When the weather turns cool, Darmody provides hot water bottles to patrons who choose to sit outside. The icing on the cake, so to speak, is the affordable price of these tasty treats.

The Cake Café, 62 The Daintree Building, Dublin, 011-353-1-4789394, www.thecakecafe.ie, Mon.-Fri. 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat. till 5:30. Sweets: $3.25-$6.40; Savory: $7.25-$13.

NECEE REGIS