Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jan 14, 2008 02:45 PM

South Bay Bakeries: Sugar/Butter/Flour, La Patisserie, or Icing on the Cake?

I've been assigned the job of ordering a cake to serve after an Asian dinner for a group of about 100. They don't want a Costco/Safeway sort so I've done some sleuthing and have come up with these 3 possibilities:

Sugar Butter Flour in Sunnyvale
La Patisserie in Cupertino (edited)
Icing on the Cake in Los Gatos

I'm trying to keep it close to the dinner location in Cupertino. Did some quick searches on this board and have read good things about SBF and LP but didn't find anything on IOTC.

I'm hoping that South Bay C'hounds (or anyone else who has something to add) can give me some more input on this... I need to add that I don't eat a lot of these kinds of things as a born-again Weight Watcher :-) so I'm not familiar with any bakeries at this point...

Suggestions of specific types of cake from any of them would be nice too!

I'd be most appreciative of any comments or suggestions...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have had two different cakes from Sugar Butter Flour and I've wasn't impressed by either one. I know there are several members here who are fans of them but I don't think they are worth the price nor does the taste of the cakes really agree with me. In find their cakes to be heavier and denser. The cakes aren't sugary sweet but they are very rich.

    Icing on the Cake's cakes are wonderful but fairly expensive and are in a similar heavy style as Sugar Butter Flour. I like the taste of Icing on the Cake much better than Sugar Butter Flour. While I love Icing on the Cake, I think it wouldn't be right after an Asian dinner. An asian dinner will typically leave the diners very full and they will have minimal room left for cake so a lighter cake is best.

    I love the cakes at La Patisserie (I assume you mean the one in Cupertino since there isn't one in Los Gatos). They did my wedding cake and I was incredibly happy with the taste of their cakes. The cakes were in the European style (not sweet and not heavy or dense.)

    I think your choices are terrific in that none of them are too sweet (something most Asians dislike) but that La Patisserie is best suited to the end of a big meal.

    1 Reply
    1. re: peachblossom

      Thanks peachblossom for your thoughts - and for pointing out that La Patisserie is in Cupertino (doh!) - I've changed my post accordingly! Indeed, La Patisserie is sounding like a more appropriate fit...

    2. Why not something from an Asian bakery? It might go better after an Asian meal, as their cakes are usually lighter and not as sweet.

      14 Replies
      1. re: Ruth Lafler

        Hi Ruth, I thought about both Sogo and Sheng Kee. Even though it's an Asian meal, my not so recent experience has been that most folks I know don't really appreciate their style... Do you have any other South Bay Asian bakeries who bake this type of cake in mind or any specifics on kinds of cakes that might fit the specs?

        1. re: RWCFoodie

          Not really familiar with the South Bay. But when I worked in Oakland, our default office birthday cake was from a bakery in Chinatown: sponge cake layered with fruit and whipped cream. Everyone liked it -- what's not to like about cake, fruit and whipped cream? -- and you can get it decorated, too, if it's that kind of occasion. I think it's probably pretty standard for Chinese bakeries.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            We're on the same page on that - cake, fresh fruit and whipped cream make me happy! Sogo may win by default...

          2. re: RWCFoodie

            South Bay native here, if it's not too far, I'd recommend Aki's Bakery (it's close to downtown SJ, but pretty close to Hwy 280). It's under new ownership (as of last year), but they got the recipes from the original owners (a local Japanese family). My family's been getting our cakes (incl. my wedding cake) there for over 2 decades.

            Their Guava cake is one of their specialties, but their chocolate, custard, pretty much any cake are delicious. You can custom order a cake or order one of their 'dessert cakes'. The Guava, Mocha or Chocolate Delight cakes are all delicious, as is the Aki's Special, Chocolate Dobash, Choclate Decadence (for a richer cake).

            Their cakes are lighter, but not spongey like the Sogo/Sheng Kee cakes, but lighter than La Patisserie or Icing on the Cake (IMO over-rated & overly dense - I've never been able to finish a slice & I LOVE cake). I haven't tried Sugar, Butter Flour...

            Aki's Bakery
            355 Meridian Avenue
            San Jose, Ca 95126
            Tel (408)-287-5404
            Fax (408) 287-0660

            1. re: smlee

              Have you ever tried the kolachi at Aki's?

              Aki's Bakery
              355 Meridian Ave, San Jose, CA

              1. re: rworange

                no, but their custard horns are good

                1. re: smlee

                  Thanks smlee for all the info on Aki's - I didn't mention in the OP that the cake is needed on Sunday and according to their website, they are closed on Sundays..... I actually thought of them first!

                  1. re: RWCFoodie

                    If it's not too inconvenient, you or someone in your party, can pick up the cake Sat. & keep it refrigerated 'til Sunday. That's what we usually do, and I've never noticed a loss in flavor or texture.

                    1. re: smlee

                      Except this is a full sheet - need a reaaalllly big frig for something that size.... I ordered a mango mouse cake today from La Patisserie - they were the most professional and friendly on the telephone and they are conveniently right across the street from the restaurant! I'll report back on how the group likes it...

                      1. re: RWCFoodie

                        Yes, please do. Mango mousse is one of my favorite cakes & I usually get mine at La Baguette at Stanford mall.

                        1. re: RWCFoodie

                          I love their mango mousse. When we ordered that cake from them, lots of people asked for seconds!

                      2. re: RWCFoodie

                        Aki's is now open Sundays & Mondays.

                        from their website:
                        Our Store Hours Are:
                        Monday through Friday:
                        7:00 AM to 6:00 PM
                        7:30 AM to 5:30 PM
                        9:00 AM to 3:00 PM

                      3. re: smlee

                        I've tried, and loved, serveral cakes from all of the aforementioned bakeries, and have to agree w/ smlee that Aki's would fit your situation the best. (Personally, my favorite bakery is Fleur de Cocoa, but not for your purposes.)

                  2. I've heard good things about Bijan Bakery in San Jose (on Saratoga Ave.) but haven't tried it myself. Judging from it's website, looks pricey. The reason I bring up this bakery is the sweetness factor. The owners are Persian I think, therefore, perhaps the cakes not terribly sweet (I find Sogo's a little on the sweet side). Also, appears they've just opened another location under the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose. Must be doing well!


                    11 Replies
                    1. re: ceekskat

                      Hey, ceekskat - you're right! They have a princess cake (not my fave version, but hey, even a bad princess is better than most other cakes) that would be the best non-Asian option for RWCFoodie.

                      1. re: Claudette

                        Are you recommending Princess cake for a group of 100? 'Cause I have to say, people either love marzipan or they hate it, so I would never risk it for a large group (unless it was something like my birthday, when I didn't care!).

                        1. re: Ruth Lafler

                          I agree Ruth - marzipan is definitely a love/hate thing and I would never risk it for a group this size...

                          1. re: RWCFoodie

                            Silly me - what was I thinking? Blinded by visions of Princess cake...

                          2. re: Ruth Lafler

                            I think mango mousse is going to be a challenging "sell" as well.

                            1. re: Atomica

                              I'm curious why you think that mango mousse is a challenging "sell"??? Clue me in!

                              1. re: RWCFoodie

                                I just don't see it having widespread appeal, that's all. Mango is not universally loved.

                                1. re: Atomica

                                  True -- I'm not big on mango myself, and I'm really annoyed that mango has become so trendy that sometimes it's almost impossible to avoid -- but I don't think dislike for mango as deep-rooted as the schism over marzipan.

                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                    You can just peel the marzipan off a princess cake, right? :) It's impossible to judge which is less popular, but if faced with a mango mousse cake, even though I'm a complete slut for sugar, I'd make an excuse about being on a diet or some such.

                                      1. re: wolfe

                                        wolfe, thanks for the link. Interesting article; I had no idea that mangoes were such a huge business in Mexico... Should have been a no brainer for me as I've bought any number of them with labels showing the country of origin as Mexico!!! I'm totally out of the loop I guess because I still love them even if some consider them a has-been trendy thing!

                      2. I have only been to La Patisserie and think it is great. My wife loves the Sacher Torte and we are both big fans of the Hazlenut Mousse cake. We have been getting all of our cakes there for years.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Brian

                          Thanks Brian: hazelnut mousse cake would be my choice. I'm going to check it out... I'll report back on what I finally get and how it was!

                          1. re: RWCFoodie

                            I haven't tried Icing on the Cake, but between La Patisserie and Sugar Butter Flour, La Patisserie is far better. I really want to enjoy SBF, but they just cannot seem to pull off quality cakes and pastries consistently. I love their Parisian macarons (when available; hadn't seen them on the last couple visits), and the Paris Brest seemed to be best of their big pastry selection (but were soggy/stale last time I tried). I gave them a chance, but they still cannot make a decent mousse filling (too dense, with an oddly uncooked starchy aftertaste).

                            Anyhow, I second La P's hazelnut mousse. As well as their cappuccino mousse or lemon mousse filled cakes. Very reasonably priced.

                            Have you tried Satura (locations in Los Altos and Palo Alto)? Yummy Asian influenced cakes. But very pricey!

                        2. I'm a big fan of all three, but my current favorite is the Neopolitan cake at La Patisserie. Layers of white and chocolate cake with a strawberry mousse. Everything covered in whipped cream with shaved chocolate. Imho though, Bijan Bakery is not quite as good as any of the above.