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Jul 6, 2006 10:58 PM

best birthday cakes in Los Angeles area?

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

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  1. I really like Leda's:

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

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

        1. Try Jamaica's Cakes on Pico in West LA.

          1. 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

              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

                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

                  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

                    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:

                    1. re: petradish

                      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

                        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.