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

RWCFoodie Jan 14, 2008 02:45 PM

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. p
    peachblossom Jan 14, 2008 03:02 PM

    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
      RWCFoodie Jan 14, 2008 03:13 PM

      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. Ruth Lafler Jan 14, 2008 03:04 PM

      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
        RWCFoodie Jan 14, 2008 03:16 PM

        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
          Ruth Lafler Jan 14, 2008 03:38 PM

          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
            RWCFoodie Jan 14, 2008 04:05 PM

            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
            smlee Jan 14, 2008 07:18 PM

            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
              rworange Jan 14, 2008 08:21 PM

              Have you ever tried the kolachi at Aki's?

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

              1. re: rworange
                smlee Jan 14, 2008 08:56 PM

                no, but their custard horns are good

                1. re: rworange
                  Melanie Wong Jan 14, 2008 09:26 PM

                  You can skip the kolachis, http://www.chowhound.com/topics/30367

                2. re: smlee
                  RWCFoodie Jan 14, 2008 11:22 PM

                  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
                    smlee Jan 15, 2008 08:08 PM

                    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
                      RWCFoodie Jan 15, 2008 09:48 PM

                      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
                        ceekskat Jan 16, 2008 01:00 PM

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

                        1. re: RWCFoodie
                          peachblossom Jan 16, 2008 04:05 PM

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

                      2. re: RWCFoodie
                        smlee Apr 19, 2008 10:43 PM

                        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
                        Claudette Jan 15, 2008 09:21 AM

                        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. c
                    ceekskat Jan 14, 2008 05:20 PM

                    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
                      Claudette Jan 15, 2008 09:24 AM

                      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
                        Ruth Lafler Jan 15, 2008 09:33 AM

                        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
                          RWCFoodie Jan 15, 2008 10:54 AM

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

                          1. re: RWCFoodie
                            Claudette Jan 15, 2008 01:38 PM

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

                          2. re: Ruth Lafler
                            Atomica Jan 16, 2008 04:00 PM

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

                            1. re: Atomica
                              RWCFoodie Jan 16, 2008 04:36 PM

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

                              1. re: RWCFoodie
                                Atomica Jan 17, 2008 04:58 AM

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

                                1. re: Atomica
                                  Ruth Lafler Jan 17, 2008 12:00 PM

                                  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
                                    Atomica Jan 17, 2008 02:15 PM

                                    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: Atomica
                                      wolfe Jan 21, 2008 12:45 PM

                                      Obviously we are out of the loop on mangoes.

                                      1. re: wolfe
                                        RWCFoodie Jan 21, 2008 05:34 PM

                                        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. b
                        Brian Jan 15, 2008 10:02 AM

                        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
                          RWCFoodie Jan 15, 2008 10:56 AM

                          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
                            sairuh Jan 15, 2008 11:28 AM

                            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. sricha Jan 15, 2008 07:44 PM

                          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.

                          1. m
                            mdg Jan 15, 2008 08:28 PM

                            Sugar Butter Flour is our local bakery. We recently had the chocolate dream cake - chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting and chocolate sprinkles - which was out of this world. All the chocolate cake-like desserts I have there (cakes or individual desserts) have been awesome. I don't know about the non-chocolate cakes through.


                            1. RWCFoodie Jan 21, 2008 11:55 AM

                              Report back on the bakery/cake: As I mentioned below, this cake was for a club anniversary celebration for a group of 100 + at an Asian restaurant. After speaking with Sogo and Icing on the Cake, and reviewing your reponses, I ended up ordering a mango mousse cake from La Patisserie in Cupertino.

                              There was some discussion in this thread as to whether mango would be a "hard sell". I can only tell you that the cake was served to everyone and I don't recall seeing anything but empty plates! And this was after a multi-course special buffet meal! The mango mousse layer of the cake was (to my taste) very subdued. I don't think I would have known it was mango if I wasn't the person who ordered it... That said, it was tasty and not too sweet which seemed to please those I spoke to about it...

                              The only negative comment made was that the celebratory decoration (club's 25th anniversary) didn't make enough of a statement. It was a smallish white chocolate plaque with dark chocolate writing and just wasn't bold enough. This was a full sheet and the plaque was only about 6" wide. It just didn't make the statement. I should have realized this perhaps and asked that instead of the usual top decoration they use on this cake, that it should have been just whipped cream with "regular" type of writing, etc. Anyway, I would use the cake again if I needed something in the Cupertino area...

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: RWCFoodie
                                rworange Jan 21, 2008 12:47 PM

                                Thanks for the end of the story

                                La Patisserie
                                19758 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino, CA

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