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Feb 7, 2008 02:13 PM

Austrian cakes, pastries?

I've searched the board and it's come up empty. Does anyone know of a bakery that does Austrian cakes well, my reference is Cafe Sabarsky in new york. Please tell me there is something in the area that comes close, anywhere in the bay area works. And not just linzertorte and apfelstrudel ...

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    1. re: Windy

      Looking for more traditional austrian/hungarian creations, not for a bakery that tries to do everything (as this one appears to). High quality ingredients are a must whatever the cost...

        1. re: wolfe

          Have you tried any of their whole cakes? Which would you recommend? Thanks!

          1. re: jsgjewels

            I've had slices of a few Crixa cakes. Can't remember which, but everything I've had from there has been great.

            Crixa Cakes
            2748 Adeline St, Berkeley, CA 94703

            1. re: jsgjewels

              Sorry only their Lenten Russian Honey Cake, vegan daughter. But I enjoyed their Carmella and Fatima's Thighs and my wife thinks their rugellah are the best ever. Their Rigo Jancsi is delicious and the story they have about it on the web site is priceless to an ex Detroiter. I expect the same high quality runs through their menu.

              1. re: wolfe

                The menu is long and everything looks great, but no classic dobostorte. Any ideas where I can find that (it's such a pain to make)?

                1. re: jsgjewels

                  Call and ask if they would make you one. It is worth a try.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Without the turtle shell it's like a day without sunshine.

                2. re: jsgjewels

                  I ordered a black forest cake for my father-in-law a while ago. It was fantastic. It was by the book. No one component overwhelmed any other. High quality chocolate, very fresh cream, cherries had a lot of flavor.

                  1. re: jsgjewels

                    I tried some kind of walnut torte that was out of this world.They have best selection in a.m., run out of some things by the afternoon.

              2. I looked up Cafe Sabarsky and Crixa would be the closest to that in this area, bakery-wise.

                Keep in mind that Crixa is Hungarian but also makes other Eastern European and occasionally Central European cakes and baked goods. They do the best job of items like rolls and coffee cakes that I've ever had. The cakes can be excellent or only ok. There is a split decision about them on the board.

                I doubt you will find what you are looking for at Schuberts as much as I like it. It is more of an old school European-American bakery with an occasional nod to German roots.

                As far as the rest of the Bay Area, there are bakeries that do one or two things.

                Fat Apple's usually has one out of the ordinary item on the menu but is is more solid bakery type items like like kirschkuchen and rehrucken.rather than whipped cream type cake.

                I know you don't want linzentorte, but The Bread Garden in Berkeley makes it and one or two other items.

                Esther's German Bakery which sells bread to farmers markets and to some groceries has had plans for a retail bake shop for years but it just hasn't happened. That might be something to look for in the future. It would probably be heavier on the German than Austrian but I'm there would be some crossover.

                IMO, the biggest lost resource is a candy maker called Michael Mischer who has a chocolate shop in Oakland. I wish he would open a bakery again because the few baked goods I have had from him have just been out of this world great.

                To sum up best ... from his website ...

                "Born and raised in Northern Germany, Michael Mischer entered the pastry and confection business as an apprentice to Swiss Master Pastry Chef Andreas Haertle at Konditorei in Braunschweig, Germany."

                He started working in the US for, of all things, a Swedish bakery and his princess cake introduced me to the wonderful world of that cake.

                He had a bakery in Alameda for a while which I never tried but I gotta guess at the time he was located there, Alameda wasn't the place for a German bakery.

                Occasionally on the holidays he will have a treat or two like stollen ... which I can still taste. He does make shortbread which is just pure shortbread goodness.

                Anyway, if you are looking for a whole cake rather than just a place for a slice ... you never know ... maybe if you talk to him if he would make what you are looking for since he still does make the occasional baked good.

                11 Replies
                1. re: rworange

                  Thanks for the detailed post rworange. Next time you're in the New York you must try Sabarsky, lovely jewelbox of a museum and incredible desserts, what could be better.
                  It seems I'll have to give up the dream of a klimt torte until I get back to new york myself, but meanwhile how are michael mischer's chocolates? How do they compare to the other major local chocolatiers?

                  1. re: jsgjewels

                    Thanks for the Sabarsky tip. It sounds great.

                    My overly detailed report where I tried every chocolate is listed in the place record

                    He can hold his own with almost anyone in the Bay Area. A friend who is really into chocolate likes MM better than Charles Chocolates. My favorite thing there is those shortbread cookies. Now I'm want one.

                    1. re: rworange

                      The two best in the area are Michael Rechuitti (I'm not sure of the spelling) and Charles Chocolates. Michael has a beautiful shop in the Ferry Building - very, very expensive, but tasty. Charles Chocolates is in Emeryville, and besides being truly amazing, has a shop that is backed with 50 ft. of windows looking in on the candy kitchen.

                      You can also get Maison du Chocolat at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco. They are the gold standard, but they are not as fresh as the other two as they are shipped in from Paris on a sporadic schedule.

                      1. re: shabkins

                        I've never been a fan of Rechuitti, just not my style. I like some Charles Chocolates a lot, others not so much ... which is true of every chocolate maker including Mischner. Some flavors work and others don't.

                        I'm probably going to be checking out Barlovento Chocolates next.

                        1. re: rworange

                          I haven't heard of them - I'll try them the next time I'm in Oakland.

                          I do agree that chocolate tastes are subjective. I have just found that Charles Chocolates, and to a lesser extent, Rechuitti, are the most like the great French chocolatiers like Maison du Chocolat.

                          Most of the others, Mischner included, aren't as impressive (to me).

                          1. re: rworange

                            This has turned into a discussion of chocolate hasn't it, which I'm certainly fine with. Personally, the freshness of the chocolates matters most to me, as well as the proportion of flavor. I wasn't a huge fan of Rechuitti when I tried it recently - just seemed too rich and not balanced with enough flavor (couldn't taste any coffee in the Kona truffle). Barlovento goes the other way, their flavor is strong, but they've toned it down a little recently. And their chocolates really do taste fresh.
                            Just picked up a few to try from the new Christopher Elbow shop on Hayes, we'll see how those compare.
                            In new york (and I hate to sound like a broken record) my favorite chocolates by a mile were Kee's ( because they were made fresh right in the store (often in front of you) in small batches. These were better than maison au chocolate and even pierre marcolini. I recently came across some press about a woman who started her own chocolate-making operation in palo alto, so these will be next on my list:

                              1. re: jsgjewels

                                It's funny how most conversations end up being about chocolate (or is that just me?).

                                I agree that freshness is one of the most important things to look for in chocolates - and yes, Kee's is amazing. I only wish that she was out here.

                                Christopher Elbow has the same issues of travel and storage time impacting both flavor and texture that all of the other out-of-towners have. Leaving me again with Rechuitti and Charles Chocolates being the best we can get (and at Charles, you can watch them being made fresh every day).

                                Oh, and for the sake of the original post, I love Crixa Cakes...

                                1. re: jsgjewels

                                  Yes, freshness is key. That's probably why I like XOX (not in the same category of chocolate) . When you drop by the North Beach store someone is up to their elbows in chocolate making today's batch. They have expiration dates.

                                  Even European chocolates suffer. Before chocolate became the thing in this country, I liked Teuscher (sp) the best because Nieman Marcus had them shipped overnight to the store. I still like them a lot when they are that fresh.

                                  Well, yeah ... the discussion has turned into a chocolate discussion ... but sometimes keeping a topic on the top board catches the eye of someone who might know of a resource for, in this case, Austrian cakes.

                                  1. re: rworange

                                    Yes but that resource was discovered 3 days ago.
                                    Now that you mention Hungarian, Crixa Cakes.
                                    wolfe Feb 08, 2008 11:43AM

                                    1. re: rworange

                                      I forgot all about XOX, why are they in a different category, because they're not as pretty or are you referring to the quality/sourcing of the chocolate?
                                      Not sure if I'm going to be able to make it to Crixa to pick up a cake when I need it, so any feedback on Patisserie Phillippe's cakes? The verdon sounds interesting.

                        2. The original comment has been removed
                          1. I guess Schubert's is still German owned, but the abundance of whipped cream mousse cakes look to have gone the way of another ethnicity entirely. You could probably special order something if you wanted something specific, but I think it's living off an old rep at this point.

                            If you're looking for the layered wafer cakes Sabarsky carries you can find some Eastern European variations at the Russian bakeries in the Richmond. Most of these will be closer to the Brighton Beach versions of a Sabarsky treat, so maybe not as upscale.

                            You can also look into Esthers Bakery but that's more struddle and less cake like.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: sugartoof

                              Some of Esther's pastries are called "cakes" but they're a far cry what the original poster is looking for.


                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                Yeah that's what I figured. How are their "cakes" though?

                              2. re: sugartoof

                                I wouldn't call Sabarsky's cakes layered wafer cakes. Since I'm russian and all I know all about those Richmond/Brighton cakes, and they are a far cry, hardly a drop of real chocolate in them.
                                Man, I wish my baking skills were up to the task.

                                1. re: jsgjewels

                                  Yeah, the Russian cakes on Geary are really awful. I have to think it is one of those things you need to grow up with. Hard to believe how all that whipped cream can actually be so unappealing.

                                  1. re: rworange

                                    I don't know about growing up with them, if you've had better than you pretty much realize. To be fair it's not just the mounds of cream that makes them bad.
                                    But the whipped cream comment conjures another Sabarsky image - the freshly whipped lightly sweet variety they serve with some of their cakes. To be sure, pretty much all of us have the skill to make some of that delightful stuff at home.

                              3. I know you posted your question a long time ago, but I just came across it when I was searching for something similar...

                                Have you ever tried Konditorei Austrian Pastry Cafe in Davis? I know its a bit of a trek, but if you're ever on the way to Sacramento or Reno/Tahoe, you should definitely give them a try:
                                I've only been there a few times (a friend of mine from the area told me about it) but everything I've had there has been wonderful.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: garcongrec

                                  This sounds like a terrific tip. Thanks.

                                  Wow, there are things I've never heard of before on that menu such as grupfbrot, a sweet Austrian bread with raisins, nuts, candied lemon and orange rinds or nusbrot with walnuts, cinamon and rum.

                                  Ohhh ... they have a poppyseed bread for all the poppyseed lovers out there. Have you tried that? How about the sacher torte, struedel or linzertorte?

                                  The vanilla chocolate bread filled with custard and chocolate sounds tempting too.

                                  So many good looking things
                                  - Austrian cheesecake made with quark
                                  - Malakoff torte - lady fingers dipped in rum with a vanilla cream and whipped cream topping
                                  - Green apple torte (read the description ... yum)
                                  - Krapfen (an unfortunate name) but fried dough filled with apricot marmelade or custard
                                  - PRUNE DANISH !!! ... that may not sound exciting to you, but it's been a long time since I've had a good one ... or any prune danish.
                                  - Kafee kuchen - fruit coffee cake served with vanilla sauce
                                  - Pear marzipan souffle
                                  - Soup with frittaten (some sort of noodle)

                                  The 'about us' section says the chef is from a family of master bakers in Austria and started baking at age 14. He trained later in Vienna and later got his jmaster's degree in Sugar Baking ... now there's a degree to have. I guess the Gloria Mousse torte is his specialty and they will make petit fours for special occasions.

                                  Thanks again for the tip.

                                  1. re: rworange

                                    It does sound like an amazing find. Quark! Even prune Danish! That's the acid test. NOW we're cooking with gas!

                                    (Vienna makes amazing creative pastries, and some cooks take special interest in pit fruits. Never will I forget one seasonal creation of chocolate, plums, sour cherries, and crêpes -- fairly simple, but with the most nuanced flavor interplays. Ahem. Anyway Frittaten, pl. from Italian "frittata," in Austrian soup context is a flat thin omelette or eggy crêpe, shredded, as a garnish. I've found very similar shreds garnishing some South-Bay Japanese ramen and related noodle specialties, as another and more local example.)