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Best bakery for (non-chocolate) Birthday Cakes in LA?

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Hi - I'm new to LA. I'm buying a birthday cake for a family member's 90th birthday! Since it's such a big milestone, I'd like a very nice cake. I'm having a hard time finding a good bakery in LA. The cake can't be chocolate since he can't eat that. So I was thinking a white cake with bavarian creme filling or maybe a fruit filling.

I live on the westside but I can travel anywhere. And I'm not too concerned about price since it's such a special occasion. But I am concerned about taste - so far all the cakes I've tasted in LA are either too dry, too thick or bad frosting.

And I've read some reviews online and nothing is consistant. I've heard Susina's is good but when I went there, they didn't even have any cakes for me to view and their book of cakes was all different pictures of the same strawberry cake and tortes. I also heard Sweet Lady Jane has beautiful looking cakes, but then I heard maybe not as tasty. I've heard mixed reviews about Hansen's. So the bottom line is I have no idea where to buy the cake! I have a Gelson's near me and they make pretty cakes and I'm almost wondering if I should just buy it there.

Anyone know of a good quality cakes that would taste good but also look beautiful?

Thanks in advance...

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  1. I love the fresh strawberry whipped cream cakes (white cake) at Ruby's Bakery in Eagle Rock. Great tasting, moist, pretty and inexpensive! They put roses on them (pink, blue, etc.) and then you can choose sliced almonds, chocolate sprinkles, on the sides. Everyone raves about them when I get cakes from there.
    1/2 sheet - $40; whole - $78; 3/4 - $50. Cash only.
    5042 Eagle Rock Bl. (just south of Colorado on east side of street.
    LA, CA 90041
    (323) 259-9052
    Open 7 days a week

    2 Replies
    1. re: WildSwede

      For my money, the best non-chocolate birthday is from the Phoenix Bakery in Chinatown.

      White cake, whipped cream frosting and strawberries. You can't ask for better than that.

      And, you don't really have to order ahead (unless you want something fancy or a HUGE one). They usually have most of the sizes (from individual to sheet cakes that feed 10-15) available right away, with your choice of wording inscribed on it while you wait.

      Yum.

      1. re: Just Cid

        Yes! YesYesYes! Phoenix Bakery in downtown is exactly what I recommend - this was my wedding cake, and now is the staple b-day cake in my circle o' beloveds. Light, tasty, fanTAStic frosting - I think it would suit an older set of taste buds AND impress the younguns. They have many flavors, but the bell of the ball is the yellow cake with fresh strawberry filling. I'm drooling!

        pk

    2. Suprisingly (b/c it's a grocery market), Gelson's chocolate cake is very moist and fluffy, frosting is not too heavy - you said you don't want chocolate, but I'm sure that the other cakes would be similar. You can never go wrong w/ any of the cakes at King's Hawaiian in Torrance by the Del Amo Mall, and Phoenix in Chinatown - both have excellent presentation, great prices, and the cakes are the most light and moist that cakes can get.

      1 Reply
      1. re: WaterIsGood

        the fruit tart is really good at viktor benes' and beautiful and shiny with glaze :)

      2. I like Angel Maid Bakery on Centinela and have found their cakes to be moist and delicious.

        4542 S Centinela Ave
        Los Angeles, CA 90066-6272
        (310) 915-2078

        3 Replies
        1. re: fangler

          I second this rec. If you are in the Westside, Angel Maid is an easy-do. The cakes and frostings are very light, just the right amount of sweetness, and they are well known for strawberries in their fillings. I always find myself reaching for another slice. Give them a lookover if you get a chance.

          Another Westside bakery to consider is Caprice on Pico in Santa Monica. Jean-Louis Keppilen has been making great baked goods out of his incognito location for decades. The bulk of his business is catering and commercial, but sells retail as well. You just need to describe what you want, and he will pull out the portfolio and offer some suggestions.

          Buttercake Bakery, also on Pico but in West LA (east of the Westside Pavillion), makes great cakes as well. They remind me of a cake that someone's very capable mom would make. Not super fancy but bringing on the goods. The cakes are moist and the frostings will very depending on the type of cake, but all delicious.

          -----
          Buttercake Bakery
          10595 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

          Caprice Fine French Pastries
          3213 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA

          1. re: bulavinaka

            Not sure if this is too late for the big event, but I would whole-heartedly second Caprice. I'm surprised to find myself only seconding it; I would have thought this to be the 10th mention. The cakes here are really very sophisticated, delicious, elegant -- and he'll make whatever you like, more or less. Mr. Keppilen really runs a classy operation, IMO.

            Buttercake has some save reviews on this board, but it's never done it for me much. I don't dislike them, they're just tome not particularly special. That is to say, nothing I see in there I couldn't do at least as well myself. When I pay someone else to bake or cook for me, I like them to do *better* than me, IYKWIM! Buttercake bakery reproduces mom's kitchen while Jean-Louis creates fine art. (note that at least ten years ago since most of his business is not retail, he charges extremely reasonable prices to the public).

            1. re: aliris

              I think it is for the fact that Jean-Louis has no retail front and that so much of what he and his fine crew do is outside of the retail environment, that he doesn't get many mentions. Caprice is one of those true Chow places because as you mention, "...cakes are sophisticated, delicious, elegant... charges extremely reasonable prices to the public..." And of course he's the biggest devil's advocate in prodding one to throw caution to the wind and your waistline to hell... I really enjoy this place and admire the guy...

        2. I like La Belle Epoque's meringue cakes. They are white with layers of fruit (stawberry or raspberry, I love the raspberry best) cream and I think a custard. The outside is soft, piped meringue (not hard and crunchy) that's been torched so it has a nice brulée to it. It looks really elegant. They write the greeting with chocolate on a little card of something that looks like white chocolate. I don't really know how to describe it justly. Every time I've gotten it for someone's birthday the response was "This is f***ing good cake!"

          La Belle Epoque is in Los Feliz on Hillhurst.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Debra

            La Belle Epoque RIP ... it's now Little Dom's

            (of course it was still open when Debra posted in 2005 ...)

          2. I love Emil's Swiss Pastry in WLA...on Barry Ave., just south of Santa monica blvd, b/w Barrington and Federal Aves...
            in the Vons shopping center.
            delicious fruit fillings...everything fresh!

            just fantastic...very reasonably priced

            1 Reply
            1. Porto's Bakery, in the 300 block of South Brand Boulevard in Glendale. It's a Cuban bakery, their carrot cake is absolutely incredible, and they make yellow cakes with guava filling that I'm sure will be on the menu in Heaven.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Das Ubergeek
                r
                rabo encendido

                I enthusiastically second Herr Ubergeek on Porto's. Recently got a huge, absolutely insane dulce de leche cake from there that was transporting. Ultra-rich, ultra-moist yellow cake, each slice pooled in sweet, caramel-ly milk. Makes me dizzy just thinking about it.

                Stay on top of them if you need a custom design. They can get a little absent-minded, due to the frenetic pace of their business.

                Porto's Bakery
                (818) 956-5996
                315 N Brand Blvd
                Glendale, CA 91203

                Link: http://www.portosbakery.com/

                1. re: rabo encendido

                  Do you know what size the Meringue Fruit Torte for $23 is? It looks big!! I wonder if they have smaller sizes because their website does not say!?

                  1. re: rabo encendido

                    I can confirm that all their cakes are available in smaller (or at least manageable sizes).

                    This is definitely the place to go for a transcendent birthday cake. They also have a branch in Burbank.

                    -----
                    Porto's Bakery
                    315 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, CA 91203

                    Porto's Bakery
                    3614 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, CA 91505

                2. Plusko's Bakery in Canoga Park does a vanilla with vanilla custard that is to die for.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Emme

                    concur that vanilla custard is awesome.

                    i know not everyone here likes it, but there was a cake at a party last weekend from Hansen's that was white cakes with a raspberry filling, white chocolate buttercream and a white chocolate fondant. i had a few bites and it was totally worth the suffering.

                  2. I also vote Porto's. The fruit torte is to die for and loaded/laden with fruit that the sheet cake sags! Yummy!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: trvlcrzy

                      I just bought the meringue fruit torte for my birthday!~! It was delicious!!!! Whoever has not tried it, you better hurry!! :) O! When I got to Porto's, I saw that many people ordered the fruit tart. I have not tried it yet, can anyone tell me how it is? Is it perferable over the fruit torte?! (my friend thought so..)

                    2. Just realized that this post is almost 3 years old, but thought it still might be helpful!

                      I really like King's Hawaiian in Torrance. I've had their chocolate cake, and their Hawaiian Paradise (I think; it's like rainbow sherbet of cakes). Both were quite good. I'd also recommend Great Dane in Los Alamitos, or Alsace Lorraine in Long Beach (Bixby Knolls). Also on the cheap I've had great buttercream frosted cakes from Ralphs (Long Beach Marina, and Tustin-Irvine Blvd.), and from Pavilions in Long Beach (Los Coyotes/Spring).