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Great Cakes of LA - Who's Gunna Take the Cake?

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bulavinaka May 22, 2010 09:52 PM

The topic of cakes seems to have come up more than once recently. Lots of folks chimed in about who's got the best chocolate cake in the Westside.

Poster Arthur wanted us to post about great red velvet cakes around LA. While still not convinced that red velvet could stand on its own, Arthur was impressed with SusieCakes' greatness at making cakes.

I've always been a fan of Jamaica's Cakes' chocolate cake that hits high notes for dark chocolate lovers. The depth of chocolate goodness is immeasurable.

Many have applauded SusieCakes for both their red velvet as well as their chocolate cake (and rightfully so - this place is a cake lover's paradise). Their Tropical Coconut cake is not to be missed as well. All of their cakes would baffle the best of architects as to how they could be so moist yet still stand on their own.

Angel Maid has been a long-time Westside favorite for their cakes so light that they could defy gravity. Throw some strawberries in and it's like walking on billowy clouds in the spring time.

I just ran into a tall dark beauty at Bite - four incredible layers of cake that are just left of pound cake slathered with four more layers of what I'm guessing is chocolate ganache. Oh. My. Bajesus. This was one amazing cake. One mack daddy of rich moist golden yellow cake with some serious back: super deep dark rich up-to-my-lips-in chocolate ganache. Sir Mix-A-Lot, bring it down with, "Baby Got Back."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ImZTw...

If I had to choose one cake to have before going on a diet, this would be the one. A gigantic slice of cake heaven for less than five bucks. It wouldn't even fit in the box for me to take home. Shame on Elizabeth for making my gluttony so obvious to all of the other diners there. Oh heck, I ain't proud! ;)

Cakes, cakes, who's got the best of cakes?

  1. Mari May 26, 2010 03:14 PM

    I like this thread because I love cakes and I'll be in the LA area this weekend. I was planning to visit Sweet Lady Jane for a slice or two of cake, but I might have to try Susie Cakes. I am visiting from San Francisco and there aren't many classic, American style bakeries here where you can order a slice of cake and sit at the bakery to enjoy.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Mari
      m
      maudies5 May 26, 2010 03:35 PM

      SusieCakes is the perfect place to sit down and enjoy a slice of cake, a good cup of coffee, tea or milk and it is a very welcoming environment (as opposed to Sweet Lady Jane). Enjoy!

      -----
      SusieCakes
      2043 Westcliff Dr, Newport Beach, CA

      1. re: Mari
        b
        bulavinaka May 26, 2010 06:35 PM

        Hi Mari,

        I think you must have some push with the weather gods, because it appears the weather is finally getting back on track by this weekend. I don't know if you've already got your "eats" itinerary laid out, but let us know if we can help. Heck, you might even consider a separate post if necessary. Otherwise, fire away on the requests! :)

        1. re: bulavinaka
          Mari May 26, 2010 08:14 PM

          Thanks for the offer. I have my eating schedule almost set (Lucques for Sunday Supper and Pizzeria Mozza on Saturday, Lebanese somewhere to be determined) and was still debating whether I should check out a bakery while I am in the area, so Susie Cakes it is.

          1. re: Mari
            m
            maudies5 May 26, 2010 08:36 PM

            All great choices.

            1. re: Mari
              b
              bulavinaka May 26, 2010 11:06 PM

              Lots of great Lebanese and Lebanese/Armenian places around the greater LA area. My short list would include (in no particular order) Skaf's (Glendale & North Hollywood), Hayat's Kitchen (North Hollywood), Carousel(Glendale), Mantee (Studio City), Alcazar (soon to close in Encino, Westwood satellite unit), Sunin (Westwood) and Mezza (Culver City).

              SusieCakes has four locations in SoCal - I've only been to the Brentwood location. Parking on San Vicente can be challenging, but they do have a small parking lot in back. If you're having Lebanese, you could also hit either Alcazar Express or Sunin on Westwood Blvd, which is about 10-15 minutes away, depending on traffic. If so, please research the two places, as they both have their +/- quotients to deal with. Of the two, Alcazar has had a better reputation food-wise and they do have a nice dining area, but Sunin has moved into a brand new location and has stepped up some of their dishes (from what I've read).

              I'm partial to Mezza in Culver City - it's closer to home for me and while they have fewer dishes on their menu, the vast majority of them have been good enough to allow me to forgo trips to Westwood, NoHo and Glendale to seek out this cuisine.

              1. re: bulavinaka
                Mari May 27, 2010 08:46 AM

                Thanks! I've only been to Carousel and Sunnin and I just can't go anywhere other than Sunnin since it's good, reliable and cheap. I wasn't too thrilled with Carousel, but that was about 10 years ago even though my Lebanese friend thought it was the best at the time. I read about Alcazar Express and I was thinking about trying it this time since my husband wants to venture beyond Sunnin.

                We'll be in Moorpark and driving south on Saturday so I was thinking about trying the Susie Cakes in Calabasas since I've never been to Calabasas. I'll definitely report back.

                1. re: Mari
                  b
                  bulavinaka May 27, 2010 11:48 AM

                  Moorpark to Calabasas is a cinch. I'm not sure how much cake you're intending to try - their slices are good enough for three people. I believe they're closed Sundays, so you'll want to make a point of going on Saturday. As moist as their cakes are, I'd avoid any cakes that appear to have been sitting for a while (e.g., the last slice). They might taste just a little off of perfection. If you're in that situation, you can always order the cupcake-equivalent. They're pretty much the same thing in flavor - just a tad less moist.

                  Since you're in Moorpark, you might want to consider cutting across the length of the Valley and try Hayat's Kitchen in North Hollywood. As much as it lacks in decor, it will more than make up for it in their food. Another worthy place in North Hollywood would be Skaf's. A relative newcomer in this general cuisine is Mantee. I've yet to hit them up but they're on my shortlist. They show their diversity in that the menu looks very Mediterranean/Lebanese, but they also have some dishes that are uniquely Armenian as well. They've gotten some intitial praise on this board as well.

                  1. re: bulavinaka
                    Mari May 27, 2010 04:49 PM

                    Excellent info - thanks a lot! Decisions decisions ....

          2. re: Mari
            Mari May 30, 2010 09:52 PM

            I went to Susie Cake's in Calabasas on Saturday morning for two slices of cake. We ordered the Tropical Coconut and the German Chocolate Cakes. The portions were huge and three of us didn't manage to finish the 2 slices so there was plenty of leftover cake for later in the day. I thought that the Tropical Coconut cake was very good, but I couldn't help but think that the richness of the cake was a little much. It was decadent and buttery, but there was no way I could finish the slice and I am a pretty hearty eater. The German Chocolate cake was delicious. I loved the frosting and I didn't find it as heavy as the Tropical Coconut if that makes sense. Even better is the fact that Susie Cakes is opening a location in San Francisco at the end of June so that we will finally have a traditional American bakery where we can get a good piece of traditional American cake by the slice. The only other options right now are Safeway and Whole Foods that I can think of. It will be a nice alternative to the cupcake culture. Thanks everyone for your input!

            1. re: Mari
              b
              bulavinaka May 30, 2010 09:59 PM

              I'm really surprised that San Francisco has no real counterparts to SusieCakes. Your fair and foggy city seems to have most other categories at least represented if not down pat. Give their lemon cake a try if you get the chance - I think it's one of their better cakes, which IMHO, is saying tons. If the Tropical Coconut was a bit much, then the lemon will be perfect for you. Also give their whoopie pies and puddings a go. Their butterscotch toffee pudding is something to be savored...

              1. re: bulavinaka
                Mari May 30, 2010 10:17 PM

                I didn't see the lemon cake yesterday. There was a special Mother's Day cake with green frosting that seemed to be the monthly special. I'll have to check it out next.

                1. re: Mari
                  b
                  bulavinaka May 30, 2010 10:25 PM

                  The lemon cake is not there all the time - when the shop up in your area opens, you should call ahead - more than once ;) - to "see" if they're offering it...

          3. j
            jeffandnat May 26, 2010 09:28 AM

            I agree with the SusieCakes accolades. Their cakes are fab. A cake that is also high on my list is the Mocha Haupia cake at King's Hawaiian in Torrance. Chocolate chiffon cake with a haupia(coconut milk) and mocha filling, topped/sided with macadamia nuts. Worth the drive!

            -----
            SusieCakes
            2043 Westcliff Dr, Newport Beach, CA

            4 Replies
            1. re: jeffandnat
              Mari May 26, 2010 03:15 PM

              That cake sounds interesting. Is the cake layer sponge-like or is it dense? I might have to consider driving to Torrance...

              1. re: Mari
                b
                bulavinaka May 26, 2010 06:30 PM

                It's oh so light...

                1. re: Mari
                  j
                  jeffandnat May 27, 2010 02:22 PM

                  It is a light sponge like cake. We usually take them to summer BBQ's, and people go crazy. Paradise Cake is a more tropical version, and also very good.

                2. re: jeffandnat
                  k
                  kainzero May 26, 2010 05:32 PM

                  I also love the Paradise Cake at King's Hawaiian. All the flavors mix wonderfully. =)

                3. Kris P Pata May 26, 2010 02:49 AM

                  Hi bulavinaka,

                  My all-time favorite cake -- and in all probability, favorite dessert period -- is the rich, velvet heaven that is the Cielo de Coco from Asia de Cuba. Had I the vote, my Nobel Prize for Piece would go to its creator.

                  Runners-up:
                  Mango Cake @ Red Ribbon
                  Triple Chocolate Layer @ Hof's Hut
                  Fresh strawberry cake @ Pie N' Burger
                  -

                  -----
                  Asia De Cuba
                  8440 W. Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood, CA 90069

                  Pie 'n Burger
                  913 E California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91106

                  Red Ribbon Bakeshop
                  11900 South St, Cerritos, CA 90703

                  Hof's Hut Restaurant
                  6257 E 2nd St, Long Beach, CA 90803

                  1. ipsedixit May 25, 2010 09:41 PM

                    Does cheesecake count?

                    If so, I'd opt for a banana pudding cheesecake from Harriet's.

                    1. SilverlakeGirl May 25, 2010 06:54 PM

                      I have need for a lemon case ASAP. More tart than sweet.

                      Any suggestions?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: SilverlakeGirl
                        b
                        bulavinaka May 25, 2010 09:16 PM

                        Have you tried SusieCakes' lemon cake yet?

                        1. re: bulavinaka
                          m
                          maudies5 May 25, 2010 09:22 PM

                          Does a tart count as a cake? Never mind.
                          Had a bite of a nice lemon tart at Huckleberry today.

                          1. re: bulavinaka
                            b
                            bulavinaka May 27, 2010 11:51 AM

                            I tried their lemon cupcake yesterday. It's very worthy for a lemon cupcake, which its cake equivalent would be wonderful as well. The frosting is lemon, while the filling is lemon curd. The cake is lemon as well, so it's very lemony. And it does have some tartness to it - not lip-puckering tart, but it's all there. Tartness from lemon juice, perfume and flavor from lemon zest, and a buttercream frosting that's not overly sweet or overloaded with butterfat.

                        2. e
                          exilekiss May 25, 2010 09:44 AM

                          Hi bulavinaka,

                          Since you started this "mess," I nominate you to try Chef Kimiko's custom-made Cakes at Patisserie Chantilly. (^_~)

                          I've been eager to try one, but whenever a Birthday comes up, someone already went ahead and bought a Cake from somewhere else. :(

                          -----
                          Patisserie Chantilly
                          2383 Lomita Blvd., #104, Lomita, CA 90717

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: exilekiss
                            b
                            bulavinaka May 25, 2010 11:26 AM

                            Hi exilekiss,

                            Gee - that's pretty brash of you to nominate me for such a miserable duty. ;) I'll have to carry this burden unless some other poor Hound befalls this fate before I do. :)

                            1. re: bulavinaka
                              e
                              exilekiss May 25, 2010 01:14 PM

                              Hi bulavinaka,

                              I figure you go to Patisserie Chantilly so often, it'd be fitting to have you take on this Herculean task of trying Kimiko-san's custom-made Cakes. :)

                              But seriously, I hope you (or I) get to try her Cakes soon. If her Cakes turn out to be ~50% as good as her Choux a la Creme, it'll be my go to place for Birthday Cakes in the future. :) ...

                              Oooh, I wonder how a Cake with her Kurogoma (Black Sesame) Creme would taste like?

                              1. re: exilekiss
                                b
                                bulavinaka May 25, 2010 01:58 PM

                                >>Oooh, I wonder how a Cake with her Kurogoma (Black Sesame) Creme would taste like?<<

                                I'd be willing to fall on the sword for that one. I wonder if Kimiko-san already uses this ingredient in her cakes? If not, I think it would be a wonderful challange for her, don't you think?

                                1. re: bulavinaka
                                  e
                                  exilekiss May 26, 2010 02:05 PM

                                  Hi bulavinaka,

                                  I just called Patisserie Chantilly. Apparently Kimiko-san makes a Giant Kurogoma (Black Sesame) Cream Puff Cake(!) (O_o). It comes in 16 cm and 18 cm diameter sizes and they can write a personalized message on top.

                                  I'll be waiting for you to fall on that sword. :)

                                  1. re: exilekiss
                                    b
                                    bulavinaka May 26, 2010 06:38 PM

                                    Hi exilekiss,

                                    (O_o) is right! Where's that sword?!

                                2. re: exilekiss
                                  k
                                  kainzero May 26, 2010 05:32 PM

                                  Some of their cakes are available in individual slices that you can order there.

                                  I've ordered two of their cakes and they were both really good (the chocolate cake and the strawberry cake). The chocolate cake was phenomenal, eating it with a raspberry on top as opposed to without one totally changes everything.

                                  I ordered the chocolate cake in conjunction with a Bonjour strawberry cake and Chantilly beat it out by a lot. To be fair, I kept Bonjour's cake in the fridge for a day before I ate it (whereas I ate Chantilly's fresh when I ordered it), and Chantilly's cake's quality after 2 days in the fridge suffered a lot..

                                  -----
                                  Bonjour Cafe
                                  24633 Del, Prado Dana Point, CA

                            2. t
                              troyavitia May 24, 2010 11:01 PM

                              vanilla bake shop. fleur de sel choc cake

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