EAT OF THE WEEK: Eating My Cake & Feelings at The Bar



“Aw yeah, Man. We’ve got some amazing cake,” responded the bartender — quite enthusiastically — to my seemingly out-of-place interest in cake at the brewery.

The two young beer enthusiasts sitting next to me looked over, a little curious, exchanging glances while the bartender confirmed the inevitable.

“You want a piece of cake, Buddy?”

I smiled, and nodded my consent. “Yes, please.”

“You got it. What do you want to drink with that?”

“Milk, if you have it.”

That really caught the attention of the couple next me.

“Yeah, we’ve got milk. Is whole milk okay, Buddy?”

“Fuck yes. Whole milk is preferable”

“Rock on. I’ll put that cake order in for you.”

And that was the exchange that lead directly to me eating about five million calories worth of my feelings at the bar of Bhramari Brewhouse last week, and sharing some of those happiness cals with the two incredulous young strangers sitting next to me.

“We kinda thought you were crazy, walking into a brewery and ordering cake,” they told me as I asked my bar tending friend for two more forks, “Then we saw the cake!”

I explained to them that I had heard about this cake, and was dying to try it, but that I don’t drink, hence the milk. I left out the fact that I’m also a food writer, and that I was on the hunt to confirm the existence of one of the sweetest secrets of the downtown Asheville food scene for my readers and social media followers (psst, that’s you!).  I also left out the more personal tidbit that I had been feeling a little glum lately, and — surprise surprise — when this guy gets the blues, I stuff my face full of comfort foods. Mac n cheese, cheeseburgers, fried chicken, pie, ice cream, and CAAAAKE are all on my short list of go-to anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds. I know I know, I should weigh a fucking ton by now, but I don’t, and I honestly don’t know why I don’t, so please don’t ask me, “why aren’t you fat?” as I have learned that there is absolutely no answer that will satisfy anyone, or even come close to adequately answering that question. (I walk a lot?)

Anyhoo, did eating this cake make my sads go away? Let me put it this way…

Chocolate Cherry Kali Cake from Bhramari Brewhouse – photo by Stu Helm


Now let me put it this way: “It’s Chocolate Cherry Stout Cake. 3 layers dark chocolate cake made with Bhramari’s ‘To The Marrow’ (Oatmeal stout with French Broad chocolate cacao nibs). Alternating chocolate mousse and cream cheese mousse for fillings both with full black cherries throughout. Topped with a full layer of cherry cheesecake and finished with an Italian buttercream and brown sugar crumble.”

Those are the words of Asha Hertel, who made the cake, and is the proprietor of Kali Cakes. Kali is Asha’s middle name, and as most of you know, it is also the name of a Hindu Goddess.

According to wiki… Kali is the Hindu goddess (or Devi) of death, time, and doomsday and is often associated with sexuality and violence but is also considered a strong mother-figure and symbolic of motherly-love.

Fuck yes.

This piece of cake was all of those things. At the very least. The cakey parts were moist and solid, sweet but not too sweet, chocolatey to the max, with a tiny hint of bitterness (which came from the stout I’m guessing) that was the perfect offset to the sweetness and heaviness of the cake, and cheesecake, and mousse, and buttercream… Gah!

Best when used in combination with other medications… that are green and smoke-able. – photo by Stu Helm

Also helping to cut through all that decadent heaviness, was a sour cherry gelée on the plate (think: world’s fanciest Knox blocks) and a sour cherry drizzle as well. The cake was layered as fuck, both on a macro and micro level. You can see the intensity of the mega-strata — consisting of cake, mousse, cheesecake, etc etc — with your own eyes in the pictures above, but the flavors themselves were layered on a molecular level that was equally intense, right down the that fact that I detected the slightest wisp of saltiness in the cheesecake stratum, that was the absolute coup de grâce, Y’all.

I ate this cake. I died. I went to Heaven. And when I drifted back down to planet Earth, I was — at least for a little while — a slightly happier soul. And for that reason alone — and because it was truly an amazing fucking piece of cake — I am calling it my…


~ END ~

Bhramai Brewhouse
“A brewery, restaurant, & taproom showcasing a roster of flagship brews as well as a rotating selection of small batch beers.”
Address: 101 S Lexington Ave, Asheville, NC 28801
Sunday 11AM–12AM
Monday 11AM–12AM
Tuesday 11AM–12AM
Wednesday 11AM–12AM
Thursday 11AM–12AM
Friday 11AM–1AM
Saturday 11AM–1AM
Phone: (828) 214-7981

Kali Cakes Asheville
“Custom Cakes for Weddings, Birthdays, Special Occasions and More!
Kali Cakes offers individually crafted and designed cakes based on you and your wishes. Prices will be determined on a cake by cake basis. Please contact us by email with some basic details about you and your special occasion and we can start collaborating.



From left: Chef Jacob Sessoms of Table; Chef William Dissen, The Market Place; Chef Steven Goff, Standard Foods; Chef Katie Button, Curate; Chef Joe Scully, Chestnut and Corner Kitchen; Stu Helm; Chef John Fleer, Rhubarb; Chef Karen Donatelli, Donatelli Bakery; Chef Peter Pollay, Posana Cafe; and Chef Matt Dawes, Bull & Beggar./ Photo by STEWART O’SHIELDS for ASHVEGAS.COM

Stu Helm is an artist, writer, and podcaster living in Asheville, NC, and a frequent diner at local restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and the like. His tastes run from hot dogs and mac ‘n’ cheese, to haute cuisine, and his opinions are based on a lifetime of eating out. He began writing about food strictly to amuse his friends on Facebook.


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