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best birthday cakes in Los Angeles area?

c
cadyellow Jul 6, 2006 10:58 PM

My mon is turning 90 and I want to go all out and get her a birthday cake she'll never forget? Any suggestions?

  1. David Kahn Jul 6, 2006 11:01 PM

    I really like Leda's: http://www.ledasbakeshop.com

    Citrus flavors, passion fruit, and carrot cake, in particular, are excellent.

    1. Pei Jul 6, 2006 11:03 PM

      What does "all out" mean to you and your mom? Do you want something that looks completely wacky and will give her a good laugh, or something impossibly elegant for a 90 year old lady? Or is she more picky about how it tastes and prefers particular flavors?

      Best cake I've tasted in recent history is the pear filled white cake at Amandine on Wilshire. Very simple and frosted with a perfectly smooth surface of white whipped cream with just a few berries for decoration, but moist and airy and too easy to eat too much of.

      1. e
        ellabella123 Jul 6, 2006 11:05 PM

        sweet lady jane's strawberry shortcake draws raves every time I've seen it served

        1. t
          triplecreme Jul 6, 2006 11:07 PM

          Try Jamaica's Cakes on Pico in West LA.

          1. j
            jenn Jul 6, 2006 11:20 PM

            To me an unforgettable birthday cake is so darned subjective, especially since I know nothing about your mom. Personally, unforgetable is simple as I am not one for lots of sugar, frosting and fuss but for my husband the frosting freak, well, enough said.

            I like the cakes at Michel Ricard on Robertson near Third. They have some lovely tortes and they make a very cool, impressive and tasty croquembuche---the French tower of cream puffs covered with caramelized sugar.

            My husband, on the other hand, favors the princess torte at Thee's Bakery in the Farmer's market---green marzipane covering cake, rasberry jam, whipped cream in a half ball shape.

            And the older pup wavers between the Princess torte at Thee's and the Tres Leches cake at Continental Bakery at Third and Normandie---lots of fruit, very light and whipped cream frosting.

            One last thought based on my experience with older relatives and friends: how are your mom's taste buds doing? Many older people experience a decline in their taste buds so that more subtle cakes aren't appreciated because they can't taste anything. You might want to just consider what her favorite cake flavor is and then have someone do fancy icing or whathave you on it.

            6 Replies
            1. re: jenn
              Pei Jul 6, 2006 11:27 PM

              How do you like the princess torte? My taste in cake tends toward yours (simple, lightly adorned, with fresh flavors), but I do love a good princes cake. If the marzipan is soft, the cake is fluffy, and the custard a silky consistency and not too sweet, I might have to go get one.

              1. re: Pei
                s
                sherpa50 Jul 7, 2006 12:13 AM

                Princess torte is my favorite cake, & Thee's is very, very good. Skip Benes - the quality has gone way down.

                I was not impressed with Jamaica's Cakes.

                If your mom likes old-fashioned cakes, I recommend (for the millionth time) Buttercake Bakery in WLA. Most especially the coconut cake - but everything there is great. They do not decorate, tho' - so if you want flowers & such, go elsewhere.

                And there is always Hansen's - reliable & pretty.

                1. re: Pei
                  j
                  jenn Jul 7, 2006 12:34 AM

                  We've been getting it at Thees for about 7 years now. My husband, who lived in Sweden for seven years, and my stepdaughter [swedish american] say that the Thees version is perfect. The marzipan is very soft and thin. I find that the marzipane alone can be too sweet--like around the bottom edge where it sort of doubles up is too much for a mouthful for me--but altogether, I like the cake and it goes very fast in our house. And its not too expensive, I might add--I think the last one we got was about $25. You can try a piece instead of buying the whole cake--they sell by the slice for about $3.

                  I have tried the Benes version and found it to be more sweet and generally less tasty.

                  I found the Thee's cake back when I was first dating my husband and learned it was is favorite cake. I wanted to make it for him but couldn't find a recipe despite looking at every scandinavian cookbook at the Cook's Library. I guess it is not something one makes at home [though the Svenska Skolan LA does sell the marzipan at times]. Anyrate, when I saw it at Thee's I was so excited. It made for a great surprise as he hadn't had it in about 6 years.

                  1. re: jenn
                    p
                    petradish Jul 7, 2006 01:48 AM

                    Respectfully disagree with you guys on Thee's princess cake, which I've found tastes like it's made from very poor ingredients, dry cake, and overall lacks finesse. I'll take Viktor Benes' sweet marzipan but decently prepared interior any time. Don't get me started on Thee's kolache-dreadful.

                    As part Swedish-American, I've played around making princess cake at home, but yeah, it takes a lot of work and skill to get the layers just right, esp. the whipped cream dome.

                    Viktor Benes' cake:
                    http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v22...

                    1. re: petradish
                      Pei Jul 7, 2006 01:57 AM

                      Sadly, the marzipan on the Benes cake is already turning me off to it. Is the Thee's version thinner and paler?

                      1. re: petradish
                        j
                        jenn Jul 7, 2006 02:15 AM

                        hmm, don't know--maybe you hit Thees on a bad day or we hit Benes on a bad day. I definitely don't think the Thees cake is either tasteless or dry--not sure what you mean by "finesse" with regard to the cake. Perhaps we need a taste off!

                        That said, from looking at the photo, the marzipan on the Benes cake is much thicker than the Thee's version. In that heavy marzipan doesn't work for me, perhaps that is why I like the Thees version better.

                        Don't know about the kolache--haven't had that since I left Cleveland so doubt my review would have merit.

                2. m
                  mehr Jul 6, 2006 11:40 PM

                  I ordered a cake 2 weeks ago from Susina Bakery at Beverley Drive. It was the Berry cake. They layer it with frest fruits and berries inside..hmm...so good. Most cakes turn out too sweet with all the icing.
                  This one wasn't too sweet and it was light, fluffy and perfect for the summer. My guest havent stopped raving about it since then.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: mehr
                    L nrs Jul 7, 2006 03:31 PM

                    I've also brought the berry cake from Susina to a number of parties (showers, birthdays, etc). It has always drawn raves and further requests to bring one to the next event.

                    1. re: L nrs
                      a
                      AquaW Jul 7, 2006 07:04 PM

                      I was b-day cake hunting too... just ordered the Berry Blossom from Susina's now (I've been there before and loved their individual-sized baked goods and tarts). Thanx for the reminder/suggestion! ;)

                      1. re: AquaW
                        George Jul 10, 2006 12:45 AM

                        I triple recommend Susina's. The white cake with berries and bits of meringue in the frosting...is that what we are talking about?
                        And on princess cakes, Sweet Lady Jane does one of those that my wife really ... loves.

                        1. re: George
                          a
                          AquaW Jul 10, 2006 12:25 PM

                          Yep that's the berry blossom -- vanilla sponge brushed with orange liqueur and layered with fresh berries & white chocolate mousse (which is way less dense than the usual buttercream frosting). And everyone praised it :)

                  2. c
                    cincodemayo1 Jul 6, 2006 11:48 PM

                    I can't remember the name of the shop (actually it just came to me...Mossimo I think). It's near Glencoe and Washington Blvd. in Marina del Rey.

                    I'm not a fan of chocolate, but this thing was awesome. It was this chocolate cake with this icing on top that you could literally peel off. Very good. Anyone else ever have anything from there?

                    1. d
                      DreinLA Jul 7, 2006 12:29 AM

                      Massimos Delectables. There's also one on Abbot Kinney but I've only gone to the one on Washington Blvd. The rock the cake right!! Deeeeeeeeeeeeeeelish! Cookies are for the most part good - will let you try before buying. But the cakes...oh those cakes....

                      1. o
                        ofamof Jul 7, 2006 12:46 AM

                        The only bakey you need to know for a birthday cake you will never forget is Rosebud. It is on Robertson. I was given a cake from Rosebud as a surprise for my birthday and it was not only delicious, but visually it was the most stunning food creation I have ever seen. Yes, they are expensive. Yes, your mom will love it.

                        1. c
                          cupcake Jul 7, 2006 01:55 AM

                          Buttercake on Pico is AMAZING!!! Try it even if not for the birthday cake. Also, would anyone mind giving me the cross streets for Massimo's on Washington? I'm getting my nails done on Glencoe tomorrow and would love to try it!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: cupcake
                            Pei Jul 7, 2006 02:02 AM

                            Yummy looking website! Do you remember how much a cupcake or mini cupcake costs? http://www.buttercakebakery.com/

                            1. re: Pei
                              c
                              cupcake Jul 7, 2006 02:13 AM

                              Sorry, I don't remember. The coolest thing about the cupcakes is that they do beautiful pastel colored ones that I always bring to my daughter's class for birthdays. They're lovely and delicious. Their chocolate buttercream frosting with yellow cake is the best!

                            2. re: cupcake
                              t
                              TOgirl Jul 7, 2006 04:28 PM

                              Its at Walgrove (across the street from Taco Bell). The entrance is actually on Walgrove - look for the yellow awning - think its behind the Vans store.

                              1. re: TOgirl
                                c
                                cincodemayo1 Jul 7, 2006 05:52 PM

                                Is it Walgrove or Redwood? But yes, it's across from Taco Bell right behind the Vans Store. And it's delicious. I have no idea what that chocolate cake was called, but it was damn good. It was covered with chocolate, with pieces of chocolate on top.

                            3. n
                              Nicole Jul 7, 2006 03:53 PM

                              If you happen to be near Southbay, Lido Bakery in Manhattan Beach has cakes that both look and taste amazing.

                              1. e
                                easytoread Jul 7, 2006 06:41 PM

                                order a RED VELVET cake from The Bright Spot in Echo Park. it is the best cake ever. hands down. i had one at my birthday party 2 years ago and people still talk about how amazing it is. and it looks neat, bright red with white frosting. it's amazing.

                                1. s
                                  slacker Jul 7, 2006 06:52 PM

                                  Red Velvet cake from Bluebirds! So moist and delicious and that great cream cheese frosting.

                                  http://www.bluebird-bakery.com/

                                  1. NeNePie Jul 7, 2006 11:28 PM

                                    Plusko's in Canoga park makes really nice whipped cream cakes, but I wouldn't call them an "all-out affair" choice. For that I would second the Leda's. The cakes are beautiful and exquisitely flavored. Really special. Viktor Benes' Princess Cake (above) is my choice for Princess cakes, although I haven't had one in probably a year and I read above that the quality may have declined. Too bad.

                                    1. f
                                      Francesca Jul 10, 2006 12:01 AM

                                      Hansen's Cakes are traditional, pretty and taste great. You can't go wrong.

                                      1. n
                                        natincali Jul 10, 2006 02:18 AM

                                        Viktor Benes yellow or chocolate [cake with] Parisian filling. HEAVEN

                                        1. trolley Jul 10, 2006 04:42 PM

                                          i was really over sweet lady jane's cakes but the last two birthday's i attended served cake from there. the berry cake and a vanilla layer cake with chocolate frosting. i must say that they were both really nice in presentation. i also hear that they're not as expensive as other places.

                                          1. c
                                            cadyellow Jul 11, 2006 03:20 PM

                                            Hello, Thank you to everyone with all of your suggestions. We got the cake from Susina's. It was a big hit. And I promised my mom we'd try some of the other recommendations as well, just to celebrate whenever she wants.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: cadyellow
                                              a
                                              AquaW Jul 11, 2006 06:03 PM

                                              Glad you liked (which one did you order?) -- and do report back on any other great cakes you get for those just-because occasions ;)

                                              1. re: AquaW
                                                c
                                                cadyellow Jul 12, 2006 04:11 PM

                                                It was the "Bear Cake" chocolate with a hint of Italian rum. Yummy.

                                            2. d
                                              deadorinjail Jul 12, 2006 05:27 PM

                                              Suisina is very good, but Sweet Lady Jane is exceptional every time, and therefore always the best bet for a truly important occasion.

                                              1. m
                                                Mother Hubbard Jul 12, 2006 06:01 PM

                                                Cheesecake Factory at this web site:
                                                http://www.sayitwithcheesecake.com/

                                                And believe it or not, Ralph's grocery stores.

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