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Help! Where To Get The Best Cake?

y
Yes Please Jun 15, 2009 05:50 PM

I'd really love some help deciding on where to get a birthday cake. I think there may be some boards on this already but I was hoping for the most up to date opinions! I am looking for a place where they can customize in terms of decorating, I don't need a sculpted cake as it will be for a small party. And I want it not only to look great, but taste just as great! I was looking at some places online like Susie Cakes and Hansen's. What does everyone else think? Oh, and nothing too pricey. The cake is an additional thing, not the main event! I appreciate any input and thanks in advance!!

  1. m
    maudies5 Jun 15, 2009 07:34 PM

    I love Susie Cakes. Their birthday cakes are delicious and the custom decorating is amazing. This is the go-to place in our family ( a large family) for celebration cakes. I do not like Hansen's. Their decorations are great but their cakes and icings are too sickeningly sweet for my taste. I have had great success serving the Susie Cakes 7-layer chocolate cake with a bit of writing and decoration on top. Always, a clear winner.

    1. n
      Nicole Jun 16, 2009 09:22 AM

      I also don't like Hansen's...worst cake I've tasted in L.A., and the customer service is terrible to boot. I really like Lido Bakery in Manhattan Beach, but this may be too far from wherever you are located.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Nicole
        y
        Yes Please Jun 16, 2009 10:39 AM

        Is Lido Bakery related to Lido di Manhattan Restaurant by chance? The one by the Houston's?

        1. re: Yes Please
          n
          Nicole Jun 16, 2009 06:35 PM

          Lido bakery is a small family-owned and run business, so I don't think there is any relation, despite the shared name and geographic proximity.
          http://www.lidobakery.com/index.html

          1. re: Yes Please
            b
            bulavinaka Jun 16, 2009 07:56 PM

            The family that owns/runs Lido worked for Sweet Lady Jane for quite a few years. You'll find a lot of similarities between the cakes of the two places, but all of the negatives at SLJ are non-existent at Lido. Great tasting and looking cakes, reasonable prices, nice folks. You can order by the slice to try them out - they are very generous with their slices.

            1. re: Yes Please
              b
              bulavinaka Jun 16, 2009 07:59 PM

              Adding the link:

              -----
              Lido Bakery
              3001 N Sepulveda Blvd, D Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

          2. JackonCrack Jun 16, 2009 10:40 AM

            Where are you?

            If you're in South Bay, (or like organic stuff) CAKE BAKESHOP can pro'lly help you out: http://www.cakebakeshop.com/

            Otherwise, I second Susie cakes, and also recommend HOT CAKE (http://www.hotcakesbakes.com) which ahve always done right by me.

            8 Replies
            1. re: JackonCrack
              y
              Yes Please Jun 16, 2009 10:57 AM

              I'm in Marina Del Rey. I don't mind driving a little if it'll be worth it. But within LA County would be best!

              1. re: Yes Please
                c
                Cinnamon Jun 16, 2009 07:13 PM

                The Viktor Benes bakery in Gelson's has a good reputation. I've had plenty of things from there that were quite good - just in case you don't find the perfect freestanding bakery. They aren't inexpensive though. Costco cakes supposedly have a good taste reputation too and would be easier on the cost. I'm not a fan of the traffic around those places though!

                If you are up for almost any kind of cake, I should just mention that I've had wonderful strawberries-and-whipped-cream cakes from an Asian bakery - I'm sure there are several threads around with info on those kind. Very light, very fresh, very different vs. the conventional birthday cake options.

                Here's another thread with some fairly recent posts about good cake spots in L.A.
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/598468

                1. re: Cinnamon
                  b
                  bulavinaka Jun 16, 2009 07:58 PM

                  >>If you are up for almost any kind of cake, I should just mention that I've had wonderful strawberries-and-whipped-cream cakes from an Asian bakery...<<

                  If the cake was from the Westside, it was most likely Angel Maid.

                  -----
                  Angel Maid Bakery
                  4538 S Centinela Ave, Los Angeles, CA

                  1. re: bulavinaka
                    d
                    dendet Jun 16, 2009 10:23 PM

                    also get some cream puffs there for the ride home

                  2. re: Cinnamon
                    westsidegal Jun 17, 2009 11:45 PM

                    i've bought some good cakes from viktor bene's at gelsons in the past, but DON'T get anything made with apples. for some reason their apple filling is overly sweet and overly cooked--reminiscent of something that comes from a can. everything else has been fine.

                  3. re: Yes Please
                    b
                    bulavinaka Jun 16, 2009 08:06 PM

                    A couple more bakeries that are within a reasonable distance from you areJamaica's Cakes and Buttercake Bakery, both on Pico in West LA. Jamaica's Cakes finishes a lot of their cakes with fondant and have a more refined look, while Buttercake often finishes their cakes with butter cream frosting and look more home made (in a good way). Both are very good, both sell cakes by the slice so you can sample and decide - tough job.

                    1. re: bulavinaka
                      v
                      vinosnob Jun 17, 2009 09:09 AM

                      My last cake purchase at Jamaica's Cakes was terrible. I ordered a red velvet with a simple ballon design ($70) for my son's 1st Bday and the cake was dry as a bone.

                      To be fair, we've ordered from them before without any problems.

                      However, if a cake shop royally screws up a red velvet, there off of my list for good.

                      1. re: vinosnob
                        b
                        bulavinaka Jun 17, 2009 08:46 PM

                        I hope you brought up this problem to them. I have never had anything so dry as you described from Jamaica's Cakes. And I'm sure they would not have sold you this cake had they known it was so bad. I've had their red velvet cupcakes and they were extremely moist. I'm no expert on red velvet, but they tasted awfully good as well. If you haven't, you really should talk with them...

                2. y
                  Yes Please Jun 16, 2009 11:45 AM

                  I have heard some not so nice things about Sweet Lady Jane, although I've never been so I can't speak from experience. But berry cake sounds yummy! Is it better than Susina's??

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Yes Please
                    FeeVert Jun 16, 2009 01:09 PM

                    I can second that "not-so-nice" stuff about Lady Jane's ~ they act like they're doing you a favor when they wait on you! Susina anything is fantastic, & they're super user-friendly. However, my favorite best-kept-secret place is, actually, right in the Marina, on Centinela. It's called Angel Maid, & their cakes are amazing, & not too pricey. I had a bit of trouble with them misplacing an order last year, but we did resolve it amicably, so I'm totally a fan again.

                  2. f
                    farmertomato Jun 17, 2009 11:53 PM

                    Sweet Lady Jane has been widely reviled on this site and, I think, justifiably so. I'd think long and hard before setting foot in there. Bad attitude leads to bad product.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: farmertomato
                      p
                      pinpei Oct 1, 2009 06:20 PM

                      I absolutely cannot agree with your supposition that "bad attitude leads to bad product," especially at SLJ. True, the attitude can be less than desirable, but their product is superb. I think the only reason they're able to stay in business is because their cakes are so superior to anything else out there. Terrible customer service and exorbitant prices should be a recipe for disaster. They must be doing something right. Their cakes are that good.

                      1. re: pinpei
                        b
                        bulavinaka Oct 1, 2009 07:30 PM

                        <<True, the attitude can be less than desirable, but their product is superb. I think the only reason they're able to stay in business is because their cakes are so superior to anything else out there.<<

                        This may or may not be true - everyone is entitled to their opinion, particularly when it comes to taste. I used to regularly enjoy their goods, but three things eventually turned me away from there.

                        1) Their service. No need to expand on this.

                        2) Their prices. Granted, if things are fresh, their quality in general is pretty good to great, but it can be spotty, in which case I'm not willing to shell out top-dollar for.

                        3) Their quality. As mentioned above, this can sway depending on what you get. In particular, their Triple Berry Shortcake (which is one of their best selling cakes) can be great or have a really off-taste. My gut tells me that they might be recycling their cakes that have been returned from Gelson's or where ever else they're offering them outside of their shop. I can't vouch for this recently because I haven't been in almost two years now.

                        1. re: bulavinaka
                          p
                          pinpei Oct 3, 2009 08:01 PM

                          Two years? Maybe you should give them another try. Still, the service hasn't changed.

                    2. d
                      dendet Jun 17, 2009 07:58 AM

                      I have not been there for a while but the El Segundo Bakery was always a great place for cakes ..they used to do a special request cake that was chocolate cake with whipped cream and fresh banana filling that was always a major hit..it is not far from the marina at all.

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                      El Segundo Bakery
                      219 W Grand Ave, El Segundo, CA 90245

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: dendet
                        b
                        bulavinaka Jun 17, 2009 08:46 PM

                        El Segundo Bakery is closed - I think the family decided to shut it down and retire...

                      2. c
                        chowchi1 Jun 17, 2009 08:17 AM

                        I recently bought the coconut cake from Susie Cakes for a bday having read all the positive comments here on this board, It was awful -- to mix in pineapple pieces with the overly sweet/sugar laden frosting was way too much taking away from the overall taste of the cake, Afterward our stomachs and head were reeling from the sugar buzz - needless to say we tossed half the cake in the garbage can. Have had better cakes at the Phoenix Bakery in downtown LA and Porto's Cuban.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: chowchi1
                          c
                          Cinnamon Jun 17, 2009 06:15 PM

                          Phoenix Bakery (Chinatown) I believe does those strawberry and whipped cream cakes I was talking about. If I recall correctly, they've got a ton of pics on their Website of different cake options too.

                          1. re: Cinnamon
                            westsidegal Jun 17, 2009 11:47 PM

                            those strawberry and whipped cream cakes from phoenix are so light and delicious, that i could polish off a whole one by myself if nobody was looking. . . . . .

                            1. re: westsidegal
                              c
                              Cinnamon Jun 18, 2009 08:19 AM

                              OK, you sold me. Next time I'm in Chinatown, I'm bringing back that (and a bunch of air-dried ducks, and close to a metric ton of ginger).

                            2. re: Cinnamon
                              t
                              tkkordic Nov 1, 2009 09:40 AM

                              The Phoneix Bakery does a great chocoalte mousse cake and I am picky..

                            3. re: chowchi1
                              j
                              joe_is_hungry Jun 18, 2009 10:38 AM

                              I'd second Porto's - it's always a favorite.

                              1. re: joe_is_hungry
                                y
                                Yes Please Jun 22, 2009 05:06 PM

                                First, thanks everyone for all your replies! I am leaning towards a red velvet cake as of now. And also I'm loving the cake decor I saw from Susie Cakes, HotCakes and Lido's. Any more rec's would very much be appreciated!

                            4. Cook_And_Destroy Jun 22, 2009 05:22 PM

                              The Cake Divas on Venice Blvd did our wedding cake and it was gorgeous. It looked and tasted amazing.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Cook_And_Destroy
                                m
                                maudies5 Jun 22, 2009 06:25 PM

                                Cake Divas did our son's wedding cake. Nothing special. I would still opt for SusieCakes Their cakes taste good and are beautiful. Especially recommend the 7 layer chocolate. Everyone loves this cake and SusieCakes does beautiful decorations.

                                1. re: maudies5
                                  w
                                  waxfondler Jun 22, 2009 10:26 PM

                                  Susie Cakes is awesome! You wont be disappointed.

                              2. k
                                krick Oct 1, 2009 05:48 PM

                                My two favorite places for cakes, by far, at very different points in both the price and locale spectrum, are Bake n Broil in Long Beach and Vanilla Bake Shop in Santa Monica. BnB's Red Velvet cake is, IMO and my wifes, the best red velvet anything in LA - and is only $17. The cakes at VBS are all great and aesthetically beautiful. I especially like the southern banana pudding cake there. Much much pricer though - $40 for the small cake.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: krick
                                  h
                                  hdalsy Oct 2, 2009 09:44 AM

                                  The cakes at VBS are so not worth the price. Their cakes are overly sweet, I've heard of people getting cakes that are frozen in the middle, and I question just how fresh they really are. Also, apparently their prices are so high because they claim to be using high quality ingredients when really they just use Hershy's!

                                2. j
                                  Jerome Oct 1, 2009 06:15 PM

                                  I'd look at Berolina near Glendale or B & L on 3rd st near the beverly center. B & L can do a lot of individual decoration and has some lovely cakes that must be ordered in advance - a sacher torte, a dobosch torte, etc.

                                  1. b
                                    brandygirl Oct 4, 2009 01:44 PM

                                    I've had a few cakes this year from JAMAICA'S CAKES, and all were excellent. My favorite was the champagne cake with blueberry filling.

                                    1. t
                                      tkkordic Nov 1, 2009 09:49 AM

                                      My HUGE family has Sunday dinners and I am in charge of desserts. We like to try a new bakery every week. We have tried several types of desserts from different one, sometimes multiple times. I have to say my NEW and FAVORITE cake is from Valerie Confections in Los Angeles (Commonwealth and 1st Street). They have sell on Saks, William sonoma, etc and have been featured in many magazines. I have to say, it is worth paying the extra cost for what you get. You buy it directly from their kitchen. I just ordered two cakes for my birthday.. different parties... AMAZING. One of my relatives just lost over 50 pounds, he does not even like cake, and had three slices and took some home. If you go in, they are very friendly, will pretty much do what you want. They have a great sample tray other things they make. I really recommend the petit fours (have given boxes of these to many people as birthday gifts). The tea cakes are also amazing. Also, try the salt and pepper truffles....I will stop now.

                                      -----
                                      Valerie Confections
                                      3360 West 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA

                                      1. l
                                        lizzysugar Nov 2, 2009 12:20 PM

                                        Cake Divas for beautiful and yummy cakes. Joan is the best!

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