Ferene Paris Meyer’s Haitian Rum Cake on the Vermont Hotel Menu | Small Pleasures | Seven days

Ferene Paris Meyer's Haitian Rum Cake on the Vermont Hotel Menu |  Small Pleasures |  Seven days

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  • Jordan Barry ©️ Seven days
  • Barbancourt Rhum Haitian cake from Ferene Paris Meyer at Juniper Bar & Restaurant

When Ferene Paris Meyer mixes her Haitian cakes with Barbancourt rum, she adds her touch of heartfelt storytelling to the recipe.

“I say intentions on all these cakes,” Paris Meyer said. “For those who appreciate this cake, may you find abundance, love, peace of mind.”

Paris Meyer is the founder of All Heart Inspiration, a venture in which she uses storytelling and food to honor community and culture. His rum cakes – and all these intentions – are on the menu of Vermont Hotelit’s Juniper Bar & Restaurant in Burlington once or twice a month, when she has the capacity to make them.

His version of the traditional Haitian cake combines 14 ingredients. Haitian vanilla, Rhum Barbancourt Réserve Spéciale dark rum and lime zest flavor a base of evaporated milk, flour, eggs and salted butter.

At Juniper, thick, chewy, rum-soaked slices are served on a sweet, sticky pool of molasses-rum-caramel sauce topped with a burst of powdered sugar. Proceeds from the $10 dessert will go directly to All Heart Inspirations.

The cake Paris Meyer makes is slightly different from the one she remembers seeing her father make as a child: an upside-down pineapple and maraschino cherry cake.

“But there’s also rum in there,” Paris Meyer said with a laugh. “When I eat a Haitian cake, I assume it has rum in it. And when I lick my dough, it reminds me of the dough I used to lick with my dad.”

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Ferene Paris Meyer performing at her Feed Your Soul pop-up on August 1, 2020 - FILE: JAMES BUCK

  • File: James Buck
  • Ferene Paris Meyer performing at her Feed Your Soul pop-up on August 1, 2020

The cake received its own round of applause when Paris Meyer served it at her first Feed Your Soul storytelling event in August 2020. From there, she started getting requests to have it done for weddings, birthdays and other special occasions.

Rum cake became one of Paris Meyer’s side activities, reminding her of the Haitian American community in Massachusetts where she grew up, where women sold cakes from their homes to “equip themselves and stay connected to the culture. “, she said.

“It never occurred to me that rum cakes would be something I would sell as a signature item,” Paris Meyer added. “My Haitian community gave me a foreshadowing.”

The Hotel Vermont team first made rum cake known when Paris Meyer was a sales clerk at the hotel’s annual holiday market in 2020. When she hosted her All Heart in the Park summer storytelling residency at City Hall Park in 2021, she took the leftover cake for Juniper’s Bartenders.

At the hotel’s 2021 holiday market, executive chef Doug Paine finally got a taste, and within days the collaboration was in motion.

Juniper serves the cake with a card explaining the story of the cake and the story of All Heart Inspirations.

“[The collaboration] is aligned with my heart and with the intention that I try to put into everything I come up with,” Paris Meyer said. “If all you see is cake, then you’re missing the most magical part of it.”