Best cakes in Austin?
I'm going to be visiting Austin next month, and I need to buy a very special birthday cake while I'm there. It's a child's birthday, but there are going to be lots of adults as well, and I am more interested in having an extremely good cake than I am in the decoration. I don't have a particular vision, but perhaps a good French pastry shop? If there is an American bakeshop that happens that makes extremely good fresh-baked cakes I would consider that, but I am hoping for more than just a standard birthday cake. Any suggestions?
You'll get a number of recommendations here, but I've had good luck at the counter of Central Market and Whole Foods... both very good for specialty cakes. The general sheet cakes there are... well, sheet cakes. I've also had very good luck with Sweetish Hill Bakery - they do some very nice work
Looking forward to reading other responses.... If you were asking several years ago, I'd have sent you to Lucy's cakes... unfortunately all I've got from there now is fond memories.
BTW - do you have a connection to that university in Durham?
During the early 80's, I worked at the bakery counter at the original Whole Foods location, and we carried Upper Crust and Sweetish Hill products way back when. More things change in Austin, more they stay the same ;-)
And yes, I live in Durham. Like the majority of professionals in town I have myriad connections to the university. It's a leviathan that has tentacles everywhere.
I'm copying this from another's post - but also had the cake made for a special birthday and it was very good and enjoyed by all (hopefully you can get it made w/o alcohol).
"Gateau Marisa at Upper Crust is always a crowd-pleaser. Really dense, and not cheap but very yummy. Description from the site:
A traditional yellow cake layered with pastry cream and a choice of fresh sliced strawberries, bananas or a combination of the two. Iced with a cream cheese icing and topped with whole strawberries. (contains alcohol)"
I will second the vote for Sweetish Hill. Amazing cakes, and if you dig around Austin long enough you will find their breads and cakes are used in quite a few local restaurants.
It has been a couple of years since I ordered one, so not sure if it is still being done, but they had a masterful cake decorator there who would replicate just about any image for you- not the junky machine job you can get at some of the grocery stores, but a true artistic expression. I once asked her to do a Chagall painting on a cake and the result was stunningly beautiful. Call well ahead if you want to request this by the way- a week or so to be safe.
I have not had a disappointing cake from them- but the sweet spot for me is chocolate cake with cream cheese icing. I am a die-hard vanilla fan, but I could eat their chocolate cake all day long.