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best birthday cake

I'm having an 8th birthday party for my lil' guy . The guests will be kids AND their parents (several of whom are foodies). I'm in the SFV and have done the always- reliable Hansen's thing for the last several years. I'm looking to branch out, but am frightened.
Biggest fears;
too sugary sweet (cake,frosting or both) - we're not SusieCakes people
grainy or lardish buttercream
dry/cardboard-ish cake

I'm lucky in that my kid doesn't like his desserts too sweet, however I do need a superhero motif.

Any recs, please?

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    1. Don't worry, no one really notices the cake at a kids party.
      Parents(foodies or not) & especially kids.

      1. Jamaica's Cakes! You will not be sorry. Their cakes are not too sweet at all -- in fact, James the co-owner, made it at a point to stress that to me when I ordered for a birthday cake for my 9 year old niece. They did a fantastic job and to this day, the adults at that party still rave about that cake.

        I am attaching a photo of the Ugly Doll cake they made for my niece. The execution was flawless. I'm sure they'll be able to accommodate your superhero requirement.

        Take a peek at their delicious cake flavors by hitting the "Build your own" button at the bottom.

        http://jamaicascakes.com/

         
        4 Replies
        1. re: sharkgirl88

          Let me preface my post by saying that we've had close to 10 cakes from Jamaica's Cakes for Birthday occassions and the like.

          However, two weeks ago, we ordered a red velvet cake to celebrate my son's first Bday.

          I can't tell you how disappointed we were with the cake and we paid a lot for it.

          The cake itself was as dry as sand; to me that's a sin in the bakery world.

          The design was good as was the cream cheese frosting, but the dry cake killed it overall.

          Like I said, we've enjoyed many cakes in the past, but now I'm hesitant to go back.

          1. re: vinosnob

            Sorry to hear about your sandy red velvet. I usually go to Angel Maid for our family's birthday cake needs but gave Jamaica Cakes a whirl last month and enjoyed it very much. While I like all things related to cake - as long as it meets my minimal criteria - my daughter and wife were critical of the fondant. Not that it was bad, but they prefer frosting. Guess who cleaned up on their unwanted fondant? I hope you have better luck next time.

            1. re: vinosnob

              Vinosnob - you should call and talk to the manager in a friendly way and just let him/her know. Maybe they will offer you a replacement cake or a discount off something to "make it right." Tell them you've been a faithful customer and very pleased up til now - maybe the baker just forgot something or accidently doubled something in the recipe. If they have red velvet cupcakes, ask to buy one and sample it. If it is good, then maybe that cake was just wrong. If it takes as crummy, let them know - maybe they don't realize they've got a problem!

              Hey, it happened to me tonight with a recipe I made for the third time in a month - I forgot the baking soda! Amazing what a difference a half teaspoon of baking soda makes . . . Instead of pop-over-the-top muffins, these didn't rise at all - but still edible, just a little dense. Like me, I guess!

            2. re: sharkgirl88

              Thank you for posting this! I was looking for an LA bakery that would create an Ugly Doll cake and came across your post and picture. We stopped by Jamaica's Cakes, with Ugly Doll in hand and Jamaica created what has turned out to be the best birthday cake EVER! So delicious and really cute! Thank you!!!

              -----
              Jamaica's Cakes
              11511 West Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

               
            3. Thank you all sooo much! Loved the threads. I think I'll end up in Jamaica. Their cakes look really beautiful and the not-too-sweet verification made the difference.........