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Elizabethan Desserts in Encinitas- YUM!

After hearing about Elizabethan Desserts on Chowhound, I decided to go and see for myself. In the Sunshine Nursery off Quail Gardens Drive under the red roof. When I walked in, there was actual baking going on ( I can't remember the last time I went in a bakery and that happened) The only person in there was Elizabeth herself. This bakery specializes in Americana desserts not European. Everything is made from scratch. I got 2 huge chocolate cupcakes (which look like Hostess cupcakes but homemade), an individual size mississippi mud pie made with homemade marshmallows, a individual size coconut cream pie, an individual peanut butter s'more pie (Elizabeth makes her own peanut butter), an Sunshine cupcake (passionfruit and citrus), and a berry buckle. I also tried one of her margarita tarts. I am looking forward to coming back for her homegrown lemon bars and cherry pies. Also, she was very nice to talk to and very passionate about her desserts.

Elizabethan Desserts
155 Quail Garden Drive
Encinitas, CA 92024


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  1. here are some pics

    Upper left- Coconut cream pie
    Upper right- Peanut s'more pie
    Lower left- Chocolate cupcake
    Lower right- Mississippi Mud pie

    2 Replies
    1. re: septocaine_queen

      Sounds interesting, Monarch of Numbness. I grew up there, but now live in L.A., and was looking for a local place to pick up some quality pastry items for my parents and siblings the next time I am down. I will give this a shot.

      1. re: PommeDeGuerre

        If you want a family size version just call her and she will make one for you.

        your M.O.N

        I like your version of s_q

    2. Could you tell if they have birthday cakes or do custom cakes? A friend of mine in No. County is looking for a good bakery for a cake. It's for a birthday and she wants a "Hollywood" theme. Wasn't sure if that would be a good place to recommend.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Alice Q

        I don't know if Elizabeth does theme cakes, but I am sure it doesn't hurt to ask. I know that she does custom cakes, because she was telling me that she just finished a cake with handmade fondant daisies.

      2. What a great find !! Elizabeth has a real gift and passion for dessert. Her butterscotch
        pudding cups are a new family favorite. We had gladly added her to our weekend errand /stop rotation. Yum-Yum

        1. I am going in the morning. Just checking out the website made me very hungry.

          1 Reply
          1. re: SeanT

            So funny...I looked at the website last night too and got a serious sweet craving. I need to make a trip there SOON.

          2. I see people have found my new favorite dessert spot. I dream about her pies. The crust has a great texture and is very flavorful. Normally I shy away from pies because people make the crust dry, chalky, tasteless, or use a bunch of Crisco (yuck). Not hers. After trying the cherry I went back and got the blackbird pie (blackberry, blueberry, marion berry, and raspberry)...delicious. Elizabeth said once they come into season she will be doing Strawberry Rhubarb and possibly in the summer a Cool Lemon pie. I feel like Homer Simpson talking about doughnuts...mmm...pies.

            6 Replies
            1. re: BigBelt

              So what does she make her pie crust with? Lard? Butter? Generic hydrogenated shortening?

              1. re: DiningDiva

                Just like my mother used to make, with Butta.

                ...my mom added a little love though :P

                1. re: BigBelt

                  Butter is good, but I think you get a flakier pie crust from lard, or a combination of butter and hydrogenated shortening.

                  1. re: DiningDiva

                    Her pie crust is more crunchy than flaky as you would expect with a butter crust. You can really taste the butter and it has the taste of cream - very delicious.

                    1. re: sdnativa

                      I'm sure it is, butter is a great ingredient, and I wasn't implying that the crusts weren't good. I like, no love is more like it, butter and use it a lot in baking, but not usually in pie crusts. Although there is a really good pastry crust recipe using all butter in one of the Charlie Trotter cook books. It was for a savory, galette-style tart and it was outstanding.

                      1. re: DiningDiva

                        I couldnt agree more. I make pie crust with Crisco (butter flavor). I have experimented with butter but have never been happy with the results. I was impressed with Elizabeths pies for that reason - she makes an excellent butter crust. But when I am making pie, only Crisco will do for an old fashioned pie crust. And for the nay-sayers out there, it contains no trans-fats

            2. I just drove by there this afternoon after taking my 16 month old to Seaworld. Sadly she was passed out in the car and I did not want to wake her up. I would not have been able to see her if I actually went in and gave in to "sweet temptation" so we shall try it another day. Now I know where it is thanks to you...never ever would have seen it!!

              1. Thanks for the rec. I am at Sunshine Nursery almost every weekend trying to find plants that will survive in my yard, and the gals at the counter told me about it, but I never checked it out because I was always too hot and dirty. I am so sorry now. I had my so check it out yesterday, and she brought back some great treats. She got a couple of different choc. squares and a small blueberry pie. They were great, homemade ooey and gooey. s.o. is not much of a dessert person, but she had to admit that they were worth the calories. As our governor likes to say, "we'ill be back!"

                1. I made my way over today after playing golf at Encinitas Ranch. I only had eleven bucks and Elizabeth doesn't take cards. Needless to say i found a way to spend all my money.

                  Elizabeth makes great desserts. Great ingredients, great flavor, and Elizabeth is delightful.

                  I bought a giant smore square with a buttery graham cracker crust, a layer of belgian chocolate, a layer of homemade peanut butter topped off with homemade marshmallow that is torched when you buy it.Wow!

                  I had to have a little pie so cherry was the call. It is and was delicious. Crust is so flavorful and the cherries sweet and tart. I was feeling a bit hungry so i also had a butterscotch pudding cup. I t won't be the last.

                  It is nice in this day and age of sysco delivering pre-made food to most establishments
                  that a place like Elizabethan desserts exist. THis is real homemade stuff that is delicious and creative.

                  I highly recommned this place. YOur tummy will appreciate the trip.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: SeanT

                    I know what you mean. In the age of "just add water, oil, 1 egg" desserts, Elizabethan Desserts in amazingly old fashioned. I also think that locally owned small businesses should be supported.

                    You are so lucky to get to try the mini cherry pie. I will probably go this weekend.

                    1. re: SeanT

                      Actually, she does take cards. You just have to spend more than $10. Apparently the policies have changed in the last couple of years.

                      My favorites are the lemon pie bars and the red velvet cakes, and also the sugar cookies. They are best if you let them warm up to room temperature after you buy them before eating... but who can wait that long?

                    2. I am sitting here eating my butterscotch pudding cup thinking I really should work these extra calories off later. Keith_Stone was right about these evil things. Not just butterscotch pudding but also there is those handmade marshmallows pieces and chocolate toffee pieces for texture. Good thing I am also drinking some hot tea to wash down the fat. I also got a mini cherry pie today for a friend, hopefully I won't eat it before I can give it to him.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: septocaine_queen

                        I just went to ED today for the first time, it certainly won't be the last. My boyfriend and I tried the Mississippi Mud Pie, Peanut Butter Smore and Mini Cherry Pie. Yum, yum, yum to everything. We went close to closing time so most of the treats were gone. I'm using that as an excuse to go back soon!

                      2. We've got a winner here! Just dropped in today and picked up some Chocolate Chip Cookies, a Brownie, and a Cherry Pie. Each item had a texture which just screamed of its artisan heritage; clearly everything was executed with a definite eye towards quality. However I caught myself thinking with each item that I would enjoy it so much more if it were a touch less sweet. That's just my personal preference, though I still enjoyed everything thoroughly.

                        Got milk?

                        Pics on my Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/akatayam...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: cgfan

                          on recommendation from here, i visited elizabethan desserts last week right before going to a playgroup with my 18 month old. i purchased a tropical buckle (coconut, mango, pineapple and bananas) and an apple scone, and both were delicious. elizabeth even warmed up the treats for us. she was just in the middle of making up a batch of the smores bars, which i will definitely go back for, in addition to the yummy bubbly delicious pies that were cooling out on the counter. elizabeth is a delight to talk to and she is clearly passionate about her pastries.

                          to answer a previous question, she does do custom cakes (she has a photo album portfolio of cakes she's done out on the counter). she also said that she does catering and can make appetizers etc.

                        2. I had to get my $.02 in here about Elizabeth and her fabulous creations at Elizabethan Desserts. We were the lucky recipients of some of her wonderful desserts over Easter - good friends of ours who live in Encinitas Ranch brought MORE than enough dessert for our Easter Brunch gathering (you can read about it and see the pics of the Bunny cakes here - http://fansofcoastalsandiego.blogspot...).

                          Her desserts are not only wonderfully made and some of the best I have tasted, but creative in design and, from talking with ElLizabeth herself, made with loving care using the finest natural ingredients. Having been a pastry chef in the past at Delicias in RSF, Elizabeth is an accomplished creator of desserts, among other things, and this is the kind place you really want to see succeed. And why shouldn't she, with the fabulous array of foods in an unexpected venue. Desserts and flowers in Encinitas - what a terrific combination. Can't wait for my next fix (it's good it is a few miles away otherwise there would be nightly desserts at my table). Her new website is great (I met her shortly after she began her shop at Sunshine gardens so it is nice to see things progressing. Word of mouth (what better way, given the topic) is helping her business grow. Spread the word.

                          1 Reply
                          1. I finally made it over; I live a few blocks away. Had decided to choose only one treat but I couldn't resist the mini cherry pie or the dark Belgian chocolate brownie. Both were wonderful. The brownie was large and mostly made of pieces of the Belgian chocolate. She warned that it was a little on the bittersweet side. I thought it was perfect.

                            Regarding crust, the best I ever had was made with bear fat. But I can't quibble with Elizabeth's choices. She cooks with butter and the result is really, really good.

                            1. I had the chocolate cupcake that looks very similar to a hostess cupcake. The similarity ends at a vague visual likeness.

                              This is the best cupcake i have ever eaten! Wow, it is so moist and delicious. No overpowering flavors everything from the cake to the whipped cream filling to the frosting blends harmoniously together. It is fantastic. I highly endorse.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: SeanT

                                It is a diggity dang. So goooood. I went today and got a fresh cherry pie, tried the strawberry rhubarb pie (really good), lemon bar, and key lime tart.

                              2. I was disappointed when I showed up at Elizabethan Desserts at 11 this morning and they were closed - though their hours say 10-5. The door was open, but there was nothing in the case and someone was mopping the floor. I asked what time they would open and she said noon, but it didn't look like they would be ready, so I didn't bother to go back. I was in the area for other reasons, but I get up there so rarely that I had really hoped to check it out. If you're also traveling to visit you might want to call first!

                                1. Finally made it here today and blew all the cash I had ($40) on a good sized box of treats! Got the berry buckle, red velvet cupcakes, everything cookies, toffee pecan coffeecake and strawberry-rhubarb mini pies. She ran out of the cherry pies but I will be back for those soon!

                                  So far, we've been nibbling at the pie crust, which is to die for! Nice combo of flaky texture but doesn't fall to pieces in your mouth. We ate up the berry buckle--amazing texture combo of sweetly crunchy-chewy top and soft, cakey, berry-y insides. Everything cookie (chocolate and other stuff) is the chewy inside-slightly crispy outside type of cookie--yum! Red velvet cupcake had a wonderfully moist texture, although I'm not sure what red velvet is supposed to taste like. If someone can enlighten me, please do so. The nibbles of the crumbs that fell off the pecan coffee cake were very delicious and will add to a good breakfast tomorrow morning!

                                  She's closed on Mondays. Cash or check only. I could sit in her place all day and sniff the wonderful baking smells!

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: daantaat

                                    Glad you mentioned the cash or check only, I wouldn't have guessed! Red Velvet Cake should taste like a tangy buttermilk cake with a light chocolate flavor. Sprinkles Cupcakes makes a good Red Velvet Cupcake.

                                    My visit above was on Tuesday - maybe it was just a fluke.

                                    1. re: Alice Q

                                      I will go back and try the Red Velvet cupcake again. It was also at refrigerator temp when I tried it, which might have masked the subtler flavors.

                                      I'm wondering if the Tues that you went up happened to be the Tues that she was at KUSI studios, doing a piece and got delayed. She mentioned to me that she neglected to put a sign up that she would be delayed on some Tues b/c of the taping.

                                      we're debating if we want to have dessert at Market tonight after dinner or come home and dig into our box of goodies instead---tough decision!

                                      1. re: daantaat

                                        Now THAT sounds like a good problem to have. :-) Actually I wouldn't be surprised if it was that day - I will go back at some point, it's just a little ways away. We're actually working on our yard, so I have a good excuse to go back to the nursery.

                                        1. re: Alice Q

                                          Now that's funny :-)). You live further east than I do, and there are probably at least 20 nurseries between East County and Encinitas. What we'll do for good food . I'm trying to figure out when I can get there as well. I leave next Saturday for a 8 days in Mexico including a week cooking with Diana Kennedy...but I digress.

                                          Alice, it's dessert for goodness sake, and from the sounds of it some of the best in SD county. Forget the plants, dessert is so much more worthwhile. Remember that desserts is stressed spelled backwards, and I think that's what we'll both be if we don't find a way to try the goods, and soon. I sense some serious diet damage coming on, how about you ;-)

                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                            Being another East County denizen, I sense a local road trip in the works. :)

                                            1. re: phee

                                              I say...do an East County convoy up to Elizabethan and call ahead to see what she has that day so you can "reserve" your treats in advance! :-)

                                            2. re: DiningDiva

                                              I guess you busted me - but I'm always trying to figure out how to combine trips to save gas! I did make it to Cafe Zinc (in Solana Beach) that day and demolished one of their brownies, so I did at least get my fix! ;-)

                                    2. I say yummy as well.

                                      We had an everything cookie, a brownie (so much chocolate that it was almost a chocolate bar) and a strawberry rhubarb pie

                                      dang, she can bake. Ummmmmmmm the pie crust.

                                      1. Finally made it there last week and had one of the S'mores. Lordy was that good. It was enough for 4 servings. I went back and bought a gift certificate for a birthday present so I could turn on a friend of mine to Elizabeth's baking. I noticed how a different post had ED referring to Extraordinary desserts but when I saw ED, all I thought of Elizabethan Desserts. I told Elizabeth I read about her on Chowhound and it was all good; she seemed afraid to read what we write here! Can't wait to try something else

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Baroret

                                          yes, she was afraid to read the post too b/c she heard about that other long (and has gone on too long) thread about "overrated" places in SD. Her take on blogs and boards is that you can't please everyone and someone will complain about you at some point on the internet. I can't blame her for that and in many ways, it's probably a wise thing not to read EVERYTHING that's written up on you.

                                          I will have to remember the gift certificate idea....

                                          I am still enjoying her strawberry -rhubarb pie and everything cookie. Mmmmm......

                                        2. I just finished polishing off half of a tropical buckle and half a dingy dong with my hubby. OMG - they were fabulous.

                                          Went there yesterday and almost couldn't find the place (so we browsed for plants and finally found it). They have been sitting in my fridge just taunting me...

                                          Thanks for getting the word out. I can see a bright future for her in San Diego!!

                                          1. I'm moving to San Diego at the end of this month, and this thread has helped me set my priorities straight. I've already mapped the route out! ;)

                                            3 Replies
                                              1. re: dustchick

                                                I totally agree with dessert being a priority. I will not eat most of my dinner so that I can eat my dessert. You will love it here. I 'll probably go this weekend after I work out :P

                                                1. re: septocaine_queen

                                                  I usually eat dessert as the appetizer ergo never too full for dessert.

                                              2. Finally!! We made it there this afternoon after a glorious walk around Quail Botanical Garden. I walked out with the giant chocolate cupcake, the berry buckle, cranberry scone, peanut butter rice crispy treat, and a belgian chocolate coconut bar and 2 coffees ($16 for everything!!!). We ate the berry treats on the way and the rest are waiting for the hubby to get home. It smelled amazing in there!! The berry buckle was divine and moist. I asked about the s'more and she was out and then asked how I heard about them. I told her I read about her shop on a website and then she asked if it was "chowhound". Apparently a lot of us have frequented her store. I told her the reviews are great.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Ela0427

                                                  She must be beginning to wonder about this web cult that keeps coming in to her store without actually buying any plants first =)

                                                  1. re: Jeters

                                                    LOL I told her about the chowhound thing the first time I went there as well.

                                                2. SOoo..the chocolate ding dong cupcake is darn good, dark chocolate and moist with a thick ganache like frosting on top. the inside cream is not too sweet. The belgian chocolate coconut bar is really really really good.

                                                  1. Thank you for posting about this place. Met Elizabeth yesterday and she is a delight. Very down to earth and insightful of the good and bad about running your own business. From the posts that I've read here, there is a severe shortage of good, homemade style treats for us to purchase in San Diego County! She really fits the bill and I wish her all the success in the world.

                                                    I ended up taking the treats that I purchased to my brother-in-law who was recovering from surgery, so I'll have to go back and get some for myself. Of course, you KNOW I'll be posting about it! :)

                                                    1. I agree, this is a fabulous bakery. Every bite heavenly! I was visiting my sister this past week (she lives in Carlsbad) and we went to Quail Gardens and stopped at the bakery on the way out. Wow! We went a little crazy and spent almost $40 on cupcakes and one bar. I wish I could recreate some recipes, especially for the buttercream, it was wonderful. I live in Northern CA, so I will only get to indulge when I'm visiting my sister....I might be doing that more often now!:) The "icing on the cake" so to speak, is that there is a nursery attached, gardening and baking/cooking are my two most favorite things to do, I only wish I had a place like that to go to where I live.

                                                      1. I think that the hours have become much more stable than they used to be in the first year or so, in reply to the person who had the bad experience with the opening time. Also, they used to run out of many things early in the day, but that rarely happens now. It's worth noting that they are not open on Sunday or Monday.