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Dianda's or Delessio's Tres Leches cake? [San Francisco]

Which one of these spots makes a better or more authentic tres leches cake? Or is there another recommendation for someplace else? I checked the boards and although people used to rave about Platano's, its no longer an option. This will be need to be a whole cake by the way, for the boyfriend's birthday.

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  1. I've only had Delessio and would pick theirs even though I haven't had it at Dianda. I just think Delessio's work is far more consistent and good than Dianda's.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Atomica

      Thanks, I'm kind of leaning in your direction. I've only had this kind of cake once and it was from Dianda's. I wasn't very impressed with it, but then again it was my introduction to tres leches, so I can't be a good critic. Just wondering if there was an overwhelming consensus out there.

      1. re: Atomica

        I was in Dianda's on Sunday and realized more reasons why the place rubs me the wrong way. Never mind all the stale cookies. I wouldn't know whether they had tres leches cake because they don't label anything. Easily 20+ different kinds of cake for sale by the slice, but no labels at all. They are often busy, and I don't feel like making everyone in line wait while a taciturn teenager tells me what everything is (if she can even do it, which I highly doubt). A guy was in there to buy a rum cake, and the glum girl behind the counter asked if he wanted light or heavy rum. He replied that in all the time he'd been buying that cake, he had never been asked that question. He asked the difference between the two cakes and basically had to supply the answers for her while she muttered. I could tell she didn't know!

        I noticed cakes piled with lots of very unripe whole strawberries on top--lots and lots of green. Yech.

        I got an eclair for my husband. The chocolate was the same stuff you get on a Safeway donut. Not that he minded, but people really seem to love Dianda's and I'm not getting it.

        1. re: Atomica

          Dianda does St. Honore cake, rum cake, almond torte, and amaretti really well.

          Maybe the key is to stick to Italian items with lots of almond paste and/or booze.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            I do love Dianda's St. Honore cake, but their Tres Leches is pretty sad. Those are their only two items I've tried, however. I'd be interested in trying their other Italian pastries.

            1. re: gaianeh

              I think Dianda's tres leches is tasty. It is equivalent to a white cake but more moist.

              1. re: gaianeh

                Dianda's raspberry twists are delicious. I almost never get anything else.

            2. re: Atomica

              I don't know what to say. I've never had a bad experiance at Delassio's. The help has been ... well, helpful. I do buy with my eyes. If it doesn't look appealig or average I pass.

              1. re: rworange

                My post is about Dianda's, not DeLessio. I like DeLessio very much.

                1. re: Atomica

                  Then ... never mind ...

                  Thanks for clarifying.

            3. Anyone had Lelenita's tres leches lately? For something a little different, Neldam's in Oakland makes a fantastic chocolate version of tres leches. Neldam's also makes a strawberry one, but I haven't had that one.

              36 Replies
              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Mmm, I would love to try the chocolate tres leches from Neldam's! I need to stick to SF for this particular cake, but I'll need to make a trek over to Oakland to try this out. Thanks for the tip! Is Lelenita's in the Mission?

                1. re: gaianeh

                  Lelenita's Cakes
                  3743 Mission St
                  San Francisco,

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    I haven't had the tres leches cakes at Lelenita's, but ordered cakes from them for a number of events. I've always been very happy. It has been a few years though. Tres Leches is their thing. I think there was something about them baking a cake for the pope when he visited SF. I think you can buy a slice if you wanted to do a test run ... hmmm ... strawberry tres leches at Neldhams. That's new and sounds good.

                2. re: Melanie Wong

                  I've had Tres Leches from Lelinita's. It's the only one I've tried. We enjoyed it. Keep in mind, the smallest one they sell will serve a crowd.

                  1. re: sondrac

                    Lelinita's was lmost good but the frosting was weird. I suspected their was a heavy lard/shortening component to it.

                  2. re: Melanie Wong

                    Thanks, I may give Lelenita's a try. Sounds like a good bet.

                    1. re: gaianeh

                      Be sure to let us know how it turns out.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Absolutely! Thanks for all the recs.

                    2. re: Melanie Wong

                      No chocolate tres leches cake at Neldhams. Just the regular which is sold as a slice or cake or strawberry which is only sold as a whole cake.

                      The slice of plain tres leches I had today was more like a whipped cream cake with a thick custard filling. Sort of like their strawberry shortcake only with custard in it.

                      I asked what flavors they had and was told regular & strawberry. Almost got into a cake throwing fight about the chocolate.

                      My bakery lady: "No chocolate"

                      Me: "But, but my friend bought a chocolate tres leches cake here"

                      ... we went through a couple of rounds of this.

                      In desperation ... and of course, not being honest "Really, I tried it"

                      Other bakery lady with what I thought was a 'shut this woman up statement" ... "we do have chocolate"

                      ... my bakery lady wasn't backing down ... "No, no we don't"

                      Other bakery lady: "There's chocolate milk isn't there? Don't we make chocolate tres leches cake?"

                      My bakery lady who did remain unruffled through all of this and certain of her facts ... "No, no chocolate tres leches cake"

                      Other bakery lady: "What is that chocolate cake in front of the tres leche cake then?"

                      My bakery lady: "Chocolate latte cake"

                      Me and other bakery clerk together "Ohhhhhhhh"

                      Neldam's now makes scones. They are more of a light currant bun with touch of baking soda. Not bad for 75 cents ... lots of currants.

                      1. re: rworange

                        Yes, it's called chocolate latte cake. Thanks for being persistent and sharing that story. Unfortunately, I'm not able to get into the website now, http://www.neldamsbakery.com/products... , but I'd almost swear that the latte is described on the site as a chocolate tres leches cake. I've posted on it before, but the search engine and google can't find it.

                      2. re: Melanie Wong

                        I got a single serving this past Sunday and the cake itself was nice--light and sponge-y. The sweetened milk was rather watery; the frosting was a slightly weeping citrus meringue, which I've never seen before on a tres leches cake. Anyone know if this is authentic? Maybe regional? Maybe left over from a special order?

                        No nuts or fruit embellished the topping.

                        Not one I'd go back for if I lived locally.

                        1. re: toodie jane

                          Was your single serving from Delessio's? Interestingly, my mother mentioned getting a slice from the self service flat tray about a month ago, and she absolutely hated it. Couldn't even finish the slice. She didn't elaborate, but perhaps the fact that it's baked and served in a flat tray instead of the traditional tall and round makes a difference? I haven't tried the single serving from the tray, but the full, regular cake is absolutely incredible.

                          1. re: gaianeh

                            You don't really get a slice, but you scoop it out of a big tray on their dessert buffet board. So, presentation isn't really the strong suit--you have to squeeze it into these paper takeout boxes, so if you want to buy one for a dinner party, get the whole cake, because trying to make a neat serving with the spatula is impossible. I have to say i had some the other day (sunday) and it was wetter than the one before and not as good. Perhaps the strawberries on top added the moisture, or it could just be that a different pastry chef made it.

                            1. re: gaianeh

                              I was responding to Melanie's query about Lelenita. It does seem set up to supply large cakes. There were many in the display cases.

                              I asked the gentleman behind the counter about a single serving, and he reached behind him to a countertop where there were three pieces already boxed up in clamshells, and handed me one. I think it was $2.50?

                              I was not sure what to make of the weepy meringue. Is the meringue meant to be finished off in a hot oven at home? Since I was on the road, I just swept it off and ate the cake. Serviceable cake but watery sweet milk sauce.

                              Another tres leches tangent--just had a piece made locally yesterday that was made with orange-zest cream cheese frosting. Not a pleasant combination.

                              1. re: toodie jane

                                Hmm, was the meringue not lightly baked? Kind of strange if they just piped on and didn't complete it there.

                                I picked up the cake from Delessio's right after it came out of the oven, specifically to finish off the soft meringue. It had a nice light, golden brown top which they dusted with powdered sugar. Not weepy at all and held together great.

                                I still want to try Lelenita's cake but perhaps will go with the full cake instead of a single serving.

                                1. re: gaianeh

                                  There's a Latin American style of meringue where the whipped egg whites are beaten with hot syrup. It's soft, something like thick zabaglione.

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    That sounds delicious. I thought all meringues had to be lightly baked, but I suppose the hot syrup gradually sets it in this case? I'd love to try it. Thanks for the info!

                                2. re: toodie jane

                                  I had a piece today, and all these details are still accurate. I would not have wanted the sauce much thicker (I thought Delessio's was too thick and rich) but it could have been slightly sweeter and more complex. My search for the perfect SF tres leches continues.

                                  1. re: Prabhakar Ragde

                                    I'm loving your quest . . . keep 'em coming!

                                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                                      I am running out of options! Could use some intelligence. (I mean suggestions, but the other kind welcome also.)

                                      1. re: Prabhakar Ragde

                                        I've lost track of where you've been! Have you tried Market Hall in Oakland? What about Fruitvale? The bakeries in Safeway stores in Salinas have 3L, don't know about close to your haunts.

                                        (You have more of every kind of intelligence than my feeble mind can think of.)

                                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                                          I did not see any in the case at the Safeway at Market and Church, though I might have been able to order a whole cake. I'm looking for single servings. I have fond memories of the one I had at a Mi Pueblo in Oakland a few years ago. Will try Market Hall when I get over to the East Bay (am SF-based currently).

                                          1. re: Prabhakar Ragde

                                            Wondering if the Safeway in the Outer Mission-La Lengua has a bakery. The Salinas ones have single serving packs.

                                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                                              Yes, they do. Though I've never gotten anything from it.

                                              1. re: Windy

                                                Stopped in at the La Lengua Safeway (Mission and 30th) and they had single servings and 8" round cakes in a self-serve display. A single serving was four inches square, an inch and a half high, and $2.50. That's the good news. The bad news is that the list of ingredients went on for thirty lines (!) in tiny print, and the cake tasted about how you'd expect a supermarket sheet cake soaked in sweetened milk and covered with some sort of whipped topping to taste. Close to what I'm looking for in terms of technique (minus the topping), but I'd like higher-quality ingredients.

                                                1. re: Prabhakar Ragde

                                                  Did you try Lelenita's on San Jose? It's near Holly Park, close to Balompie #3 and on my way to Alemany Farmers Market.

                                                  1. re: Windy

                                                    Yes, I did; brief report about nine postings further up in this thread. I am going back to that area to try Balompie #3, though!

                                                    1. re: Prabhakar Ragde

                                                      Sorry, scanning : )

                                                      Balompie is decent, but if you're looking for pupusas, New Spot on 20th near 3rd is in a class by itself.

                                                      1. re: Windy

                                                        Thanks! I'd been looking for lunch in that area before trying Mr and Mrs Miscellaneous. That works out nicely.

                                                        1. re: Prabhakar Ragde

                                                          Also nearby is Marcella's Lasagneria on 22nd.

                                          2. re: Melanie Wong

                                            Had a slice of the Tres Leches cake from Market Hall in Oakland. $4. Big wedge. Meringue icing, but it wasn't too sweet or too thick, and didn't detract from the cake. Nice texture, properly soaked, right level of richness and sweetness. Reasonable prices on full cakes also (I'm thinking $22 and $28 but don't quote me). This is a winner. I should have tried their alfajores while I was there!

                                          3. re: Prabhakar Ragde

                                            Have you tried Joey & Pat's Italian Bakery? It's on Folsom and 21st. I hear their tres leches is good.

                                            1. re: Atomica

                                              Thanks for the rec, I will give it a try.

                                              1. re: Atomica

                                                Okay, I tried it just now, and it should not be labelled "tres leches". Even further away from the concept than Dianda's. It was dry sponge cake, a thin layer of custard, and whipped-cream frosting. I guess both J&P and Dianda's are proudly Italian-American, and only offering this because of the neighbourhood they happen to be located in. Too bad.

                                3. Delessio's is scrumptous and beautiful. I'm in there all the time and I always ogle it--they do different patterns with the meringue, sometimes top it with strawberries. I haven't had Dianda's version, and though I love their almonde torte, I can't imagine their tres leches could beat Delessio's.

                                  5 Replies
                                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                                      That's how I've had it at La Duni in Dallas (though there's is cuatro leches). It's the best I've ever had.

                                      http://www.laduni.com/brochures/ladun...

                                      1. re: lexdevil

                                        That description is certainly mouthwatering! Interesting to see how this style of cake can be gussied up.

                                      2. re: Melanie Wong

                                        it's a soft meringue, not stiff like on a lemon pie. I guess technically that would make it four, not three leches...but they pipe it on with a pastry bag, looks gorgeous.

                                        1. re: cafecreme

                                          Thanks, I had thought it might be whipped cream.

                                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                        Yes, I attended a birthday party for a friend, and I was informed the Tres Leches cakes was bought from Dianda's in the Mission. I haven't been in there lately myself to check this out.

                                      2. Possibly the best cake in the western hemisphere is Dianda's St. Honore cake . . . part cake, part tiramisu, part napoleon. Just heaven.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: TofuGirl

                                          Oooh yes, I'm a huge fan of the St. Honore cake! Divine.