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Jan 20, 2005 11:34 PM

Crixa – Bay Area’s best chocolate cake

  • k

I forgot how good Crixa could be.

I was in search of poppyseed kifli which they don’t currently have. So I selected three other desserts, the most outstanding was New Orleans Bourbon Cake, The website describes it as dark chocolate cake with a bit of coffee and a bunch of Bourbon. Iced with bittersweet chocolate ganache.

My favorite chocolate cake was Just Dessert’s when it was in its prime. Crixa’s made that seem like a packaged Hostess cupcake. There was a rich thick wonderful bittersweet frosting (ok, ganache if you will. It is frosting). The cake was moist from the rum. I don’t do this often, but this needed a glass of milk for the ultimate chocolate cake experience. Then I entered chocolate cake nirvana.

Next was the Vatroushka, described as a Russian-style cheesecake of sweet curd cheese, sour cream and vanilla.

This reminded me of ricotta cheese. It was a really soft square, almost like the main ingredient was the sour cream with some cheese folded in, laced generously with a lovely real vanilla.

Poppyseed Florio.It looks like the picture of the Florio except with a layer of apricot, a layer of poppy seed and a layer of ground walnut. Not my favorite. It wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t order it again.



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  1. r
    Robert Lauriston

    Just Desserts set out to duplicate good home baking, and in its prime did a very good job. Crixia does some homey things but it's mostly fancy stuff that only a professional pastry chef or the most ambitious amateur baker would attempt.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Carrot cake? Apple cake? Apple pie? Sure she has a few cream cakes in her repertoire and she pulls her own strudel dough, but her stock-in-trade are very straightforward, and relatively unadorned but for some swirled frosting or whipped cream. Contrast her output with the sculpural, multi-component, glazed-to-a-mirror-finish (albeit very tasty) creations that Masse's Pastries makes and you'll see how hamish Crixa is.

      1. re: heidipie
        Robert Lauriston

        I find Masse's great on decoration but disappointing as regards flavor. Also suffers from comparison with the stellar Cocolat, which used to be in that spot.

        Crixa's all about the flavor. Items like Rigo Jancsi, amaretti cream cake, and oak forest cake would be pretty challenging to make at home.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          >>> Crixa's all about the flavor <<<

          And that's a good thing ... :-)

    2. I bought a Chocolate Tower Cake at DeLessio last Friday, for a small group celebration. It would have to qualify as the most spectacular looking cake, as well as the most delicious, that I've ever had. I too was a Just Desserts chocolate cake fan, but I think this was better. The cake itself was quite moist and dense, and the many layers of chocolate buttercream had an almost truffle like flavor and consistency. Even the folks who are anti-sugar (due to health reasons, mostly), gobbled it up.

      Of course, now that you've described the Crixa cake, I'm going to have to make a field trip for that.


      2 Replies
      1. re: jillyju
        Frosty Melon (was Chowderhead)

        Finally! So how did you slice a cake that was, what, twelve inches tall?

        1. re: Frosty Melon (was Chowderhead)

          Before I even ordered the cake I spoke with them about how to slice it and used their suggestions.

          I started at a corner, only about an inch in, and cut through. I held a plate next to it, and let it fall onto the plate. Then I took a shard of hard chocolate from the top of the cake and poked it into the individual serving.

          From there I just kept going at new angles, slicing pretty thinly since it still ends up being a huge slice, letting each sort of fall onto a plate. I was not confident that it would work, but it really did, and with surprisingly little mess.

      2. Krys, you might to take your sweet tooth to "Justa Bite Cafe", the new specialty bakery next to Graffeo and across the street from XOX. They feature small portion dessert stuff (and of course Graffeo coffee). Their "official" grand opening is Feb. 5, but they've actually been open for business for a couple of weeks.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Gary Soup

          Thanks Gary. Oh no. My own personal Bermuda triangle of food. Graffeo, XOX and the new place. I'm going to have trouble fitting back in the car Thanks for the heads up ... I think.

          Hsve you tried anything specifically there that you like ... or should be skipped. I need to avoid every calorie that I can. There ARE exceptions. I don't care if I carry around the calories from that Crixa cake for the next 10 years. It was worth it.

          1. re: Krys Stanley

            I don't go for sweets, but I had a croissant that was outrageously buttery (Julia Child would want to know that it was GOOD butter).