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Apr 23, 2012 06:45 PM

Birthday Cake

I am interested on opinions on the best birthday cakes. I am willing to travel to a bakery in either Philadelphia or the suburbs? I would like a deliciously moist cake with frosting. I am open to unusual flavors but would like to avoid fondant. I prefer taste over looks.
Thank you in advance for all of your help!

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  1. My favorite birthday cake is from confection perfection in richboro. Chocolate cake with raspberry filling and dark chocolate ganache. They offer a variety of flavored but the chocolate raspberry is so good I have not tried anything else. I also like the cakes from sam's italian market in willow grove. They have a fantastic cannoli cake as well as a great death by chocolate cake which is layered with chocolate mousse.

    1. They are in Voorhees, NJ, but Sweet Eats makes some of the best cakes I have ever had.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Philly Ray

        I second Sweet Eats! Someond bought me a birthday cake from there some years ago and it was sensational. I had forgotten the name of the place Philly Ray until your post. Thanks for the reminder!

      2. In my humble opinion, the best birthday cake I have ever had is the chocolate chip pound cake with buttercream icing from Hesh's Eclair Bake Shoppe on Castor Ave. in Northeast Philadelphia. Actually, their chocolate chip pound cake might simply be the best cake I've ever tasted (it manages to somehow be the richest pound cake I've ever tasted without being the least little bit dense or heavy). This will not be the fanciest or foodiest suggestion you will get here. However, it will be the most delicious. Hesh's will make round layer cakes or sheet cakes from their pound cake, no problem. Their regular birthday cake is very good birthday cake, but nothing like the chocolate chip pound cake.

        7 Replies
        1. re: StrandedYankee

          That brings back happy memories. Growing up, every birthday (mom, dad, 4 kids) was a Hesh's chocolate chip pound cake. Also a staple for every anniversary, first communion, confirmation, etc. They also had some fantastic pasteries and breads.

          1. re: gaffk

            I'm guessing you were also a Northeast kid? We always got cakes and pastries at Hesh's, and then went up the street to Lipkin's for rye bread, challah and knishes. I am pleased to report that the chocolate chip pound cake at Hesh's is as wonderful as it ever was, as is the rye bread at Lipkin's.

            1. re: StrandedYankee

              Yep, a Rhawnhurster. Glad to hear the cake's the same. I stopped by a year or so ago and got the chocolate danish . . . still delicious (and pretty low priced).

              1. re: gaffk

                Yeah...I grew up in Castor Gardens (or as I like to call it, Oxford Circle North). Whenever I will be anywhere near the Northeast, I swing by both Hesh's and Lipkin's. Both are still wonderful, and truly reasonable in price. Seeing the decline of Jack's Deli is heartbreaking, as I believe they made the best real cheesecake in the city. They will make it for you if you order it a few days in advance, but you have to take a whole cake. Fortunately, the cheesecake is still amazing and they want less than $20 for a whole.

                1. re: StrandedYankee

                  Country Club Diner was always our go-to cheesecake. Added bonus was we could walk there, but I also had relatives from Drexel Hill who would drive in just to pick one up.

                  1. re: gaffk

                    It broke my heart when the Country Club really started to go downhill in the 90's. My whole family loved that place, and my first love affair was with their Boston cream pie. It was around the same time as my crush on Shaun Cassidy...

                    1. re: StrandedYankee

                      It was around the same time as my crush on Shaun Cassidy...

                      Yep, that was the post-prom go to place when dancing to the Bay City Rollers :). But early 2000's saw a real bounce back with new owners. Haven't been in a few years now.

        2. When living in South Jersey, the only place our cakes ever came from was McMillan's on Haddon Ave in Collingswood. It's wonderful. They have the whole package with the good cake and delicious icing without all that non-edible fondant stuff. With our large extended family, I've probably had over 100 of their cakes over the years...and loved every one. If you go, don't miss out on picking up some creme filled donuts (the best!), some tea biscuits and sticky buns. I love that place.

          When we moved to the PA side, we had a tough time with bakery goods and gave up for a while, always going back to McMillan's. But then a few years ago someone gave us a cake from The Bakery House in Bryn Mawr. It is different than McMillan's but equally as good, I think. Never expected to find somewhere else we liked as much but we do. The coconut cake is astoundingly good!

          9 Replies
          1. re: cook262

            Just had a vanilla buttercream birthday cake from McMillan's that was outstanding. Have not been let down by them yet.

            1. re: cook262

              I live about 20 miles from Philadelphia (so called Upper MainLine) so McMillan's is no where near me. However, I love a great cream donut, and am willing to travel a distance for one. We were actually going to go back to Avalon last summer mainly to get some, but our older daughter had her baby a few days early and then after that the bakery closed for the season. The best cream donuts I ever had were at the German bakery which started with a R and was on 18th St. in Center City. However, it wasn't long after I realized how great those donuts were that they closed. I realize this is a discussion about birthday cake not donuts, but what I am trying to determine is are McMillan's donuts so great that it is worth a special trip? My husband loves good sticky buns so if they have those also, it would be worthwhile. The only local point of comparison as far as the donuts right now is Holmesburg bakery on Frankford Ave. Are McMillan's donuts as good or better than theirs? Any comments are appreciated. Thanks.

              1. re: FayeD

                They are the best cream donut that I have had personally. You do know they have a post in Westmont right? It's really not too far from the city, so if you're 20 minutes from Philly, you're probably 30-40 mins. from that location. I have not had any of the others you mention, but they have the best cream donut I've ever had and that is their best item IMO. They certainly have a lot of things worth picking up if you go though(e.g., pepperoni bread, cupcakes, danish, cakes, and other donuts). The smell alone is almost worth the trip...

                1. re: tzanghi

                  I have to agree that McMillan's spoiled me for the 'test' of what makes a good cream donut. I won't eat other cream donuts anymore. So I would say it worth the trip. Just be sure the bakery is open. I can't remember which days they are closed...Monday, I think? And also they might still close for vacations. I'd call to confirm. And if you like tea biscuits, you have to get one of those. Finally don't forget to take home some bread. The snowflake rolls will make you realize what your hamburger was missing all these years. And just thinking of the White Mountain Loaf bread makes me want to go to South Jersey soon.

                  Also in Westmont not very far from McMillan's is Severino's. They sell their homemade pastas out of this retail store. Severino's supplies Whole Foods and many other grocery stores but I always thought that items purchased directly from their retail store tasted better as they were fresher. And the store is MUCH more than just a pasta addition to the fresh pastas and raviolis, they have prepared foods that are delicious. I never buy prepared foods but Severino's is one of my exceptions.

                  1. re: cook262

                    Thanks for the information. I didn't know they had a location in Westmont. I will have to try them. By the way I am 20 miles from Philadelphia not 20 minutes.

                    Also thanks for the information on Severino's. I have purchased their pasta at Whole Foods and it is very good.

                    1. re: FayeD

                      FYI, i now live about 20 miles west of Philly and it takes me 45 min to get to McMillan's.

                      About Severino's, if you liked what you got from WF, definitely go to the retail store...and ask what fresh ravioli they are making. They always have fresh cheese and usually one other kind. Once they had fresh lobster ravioli....amazingly good!

                      Also, very near McMillan's (opposite direction of Severino's) is Collingswood where I would recommend going out for a meal. There are wonderful restaurants there. The cost of your birthday cake is going up between gas, extra bakery items, Italian groceries and now a meal! But I figure if you are driving 45 + min to get a cake, you might want to know what else is worth visiting nearby.

                      1. re: FayeD

                        And going back to my original response if you are near Bryn Mawr, don't miss The Bakery House. I don't even like coconut cake and can't resist that one!

                        Also as you mentioned a German bakery, there is a German, I think, bakery on Route 3 near 252 in Newtown Square called Weinrich's. We have recently started patronizing them for their cookies, which are delicious and always a hit with friends. I have seen signs in the store about cream donuts but haven't tried one. They also have birthday cakes but again havent tried them. But the cookies are so good, I'm now thinking we might actually try one of their cakes...

                  2. re: FayeD

                    To FayeD:

                    The German bakery on 18th Street (between Chestnut and Market Streets) was called Rindalaub's. My spelling may be incorrect, but it is close. I used to work in that area for years and that's where we got birthday cakes for everyone in our office. Their stuff was great. Sorry to hear they are no longer there.

                  3. re: cook262

                    The Bakery House in Bryn Mawr is pretty good, especially their cheesecakes, but their prices are out of this world. They are VERY EXPENSIVE compared to most other bakeries.

                  4. I deserve to lose my chowhound license for this, but Sam's makes a pretty good simple moist birthday cake with no fondant for a good price.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Velvet Elvis

                      Collegeville Italian bakery makes GREAT strawberry shortcake birthday cake!!!! Yummmmmm