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cake, cake, cake! (help needed to find my perfect b-day cake).

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granolagurl Aug 4, 2013 03:09 PM

hello,

yep, another birthday is on the horizon and this year i am hankering for a cake of the strawberry-and-cream variety. no, not some low-brow supermarket version, but something made with the finest ingredients and no artificial crap. i have spent some time searching some of the major baking spots (e.g. flour bakery, tatte, etc.) and am turning up short. just for point of reference, i do NOT like the cakes at rosie's bakery, mike's pastry, lyndell's, or quebrada baking. am i being too picky? (my husband just nodded his head to the affirmative). does anyone know of any other places i could try?????

thanks a million, billion times in advance!

  1. l
    lc02139 Aug 4, 2013 03:39 PM

    Eldo's in Chinatown does a great strawberry cake with real whip cream frosting cake is a light sponge type cake.

    14 Replies
    1. re: lc02139
      b
      bartholomeu Aug 4, 2013 04:01 PM

      Chinese-style cakes definitely taste different from American-style cakes. I happen like them a lot better, because the cake doesn't sit as heavy in the stomach. You can actually try a slice at the Eldo bakery to see if you like it enough to get a whole cake. I'm partial to the mango cake myself.

      1. re: lc02139
        Science Chick Aug 5, 2013 01:53 PM

        I second Eldo. I just got one of theirs for a Chinese student in my laboratory and we all loved it. Not too sweet...cake a bit more chewy/eggy that holds up well under the fruit. Great selection of fruits as well. We got strawberry and mango, and both fruits were perfectly ripe and delicious!

        Another option might be Vickie Lee's in Belmont. I've not had her cakes myself, but I have heard wonderful things on the boards.

        1. re: Science Chick
          h
          hardi Aug 9, 2013 11:23 AM

          I third Eldo; we used to get these at work and they were light And not too sweet. I am very picky about bakery cakes since most taste like a mix. I went to a party recently where they got a Vicki lee lemon sponge cake And honestly I wish I could've just taken a fork and eaten the whole thing myself. It was a spongy genoise cake with this lovely lemon buttercream-unbelievably yummy!

          1. re: hardi
            t
            teezeetoo Aug 9, 2013 11:27 AM

            I love Vicki Lee's cake: great texture to the cake and not overfrosted icky sweet.

            1. re: teezeetoo
              c
              Crazy Egg Aug 9, 2013 01:11 PM

              teezeetoo, can you let me know which cakes you've had at Vicki Lee's you like? I ordered a chocolate genoise cake from her for a family birthday and I thought it was a little too dry for my taste. My family felt the same. I really enjoy Danish Pastry House cakes for the same reason you like Vicki Lee's: really nice cake and not too sweet. Just wondering if I should try another Vicki Lee's cake or stick with DPH.

              1. re: Crazy Egg
                t
                teezeetoo Aug 9, 2013 01:18 PM

                Hi - my favorite is her Lemon Love but I also have really enjoyed her Strawberry (I think it's the Dacquoise) and a hazelnut one. I'm not a huge chocolate fan so I haven't had the chocolate genoise. We may not have the same taste: I don't particularly like the Danish Pastry House cakes which don't seem to me to have quite the same quality butter/cream and fruit as Vicki Lee's and feel a little heavy to me.

                1. re: teezeetoo
                  c
                  Crazy Egg Aug 9, 2013 01:39 PM

                  Thank you! I will try a couple of your suggestions. The DPH cakes are certainly heavier. The cake itself is light, but the custard, cream, etc add a lot of 'weight' to the cake, if I am explaining it right. One of the reasons why I would like to give Vicki Lee's another shot.

                  BTW, do not really like DPH pastry. They taste little too much of shortening. The macarons at DPH are good though. I am waiting for the weekend to do a side-by-side comparison of DPH and Macaron Sweeterie in Lexington. Macaron Sweeterie is just back from a one-month vacation.

                  1. re: teezeetoo
                    opinionatedchef Aug 9, 2013 09:37 PM

                    vicki does some excellent things and i agree w/ tz. her buttercreams are the real thing- no conf sugar and margerine for her. i would call and ask to speak with her and explain that you would really like your cake to be moist. then a note goes on the order and likely you get what you want .delight awaits you! and happy bday in advance.

                    1. re: opinionatedchef
                      g
                      granolagurl Aug 10, 2013 05:13 AM

                      thanks for the b-day cheer!

                      1. re: opinionatedchef
                        c
                        Crazy Egg Aug 10, 2013 05:27 AM

                        Thanks, OC! I will likely get one of the cakes tz suggested and if the cake is still dry, I will try your method. I know Vicki Lee's will be accommodating. I do want to like their cakes.

                        Whenever I have tried DPH cakes with buttercreams, they do have that nice, butter mouthfeel. I ordered a Lucious Lemon for my chow pup's birthday and it was cleaned out! A number of europeans in the group raved about how good the cake was and how they normally only take a token slice of b-day cake. DPH croissants and pastries on the other hand have the shortening mouthfeel. It is really too bad.

                2. re: hardi
                  rlh Aug 9, 2013 01:34 PM

                  I tried a slice of Strawberry cake at Eldo after reading these comments - what a disappointment - I guess Wednesday was a bad day for them - the cake itself was indeed very light, but also really dry and flavorless; the "cream" seemed to be shortening / gelatin - based, and did not taste fresh or good at all. The strawberry (yes, singular) in my slice was at best a half ripe Driscoll-type that tasted bad, and the bonus peach slide garnish on top was out of a can - the type in heavy syrup.

                  Conclusion: this is not my cake preference at any level and I would never consider it for a whole special occasion cake.

                  For reference, I have always enjoyed Quebrada cakes but haven't had them for a couple of years, I do not like Lyndell's at all, and I enjoy the J. Pace strawberry cream every time. I think I need to seek out Vickie Lee's

                  1. re: rlh
                    g
                    granolagurl Aug 9, 2013 05:35 PM

                    oy vey! i was all set on getting my cake from eldo but now i have to reconsider. while i like the idea of a light cake, the idea of shortening/gelatin cream is not in alignment with my desire to eat food as close to its natural form as possible. an fruit in heavy syrup is the biggest sin known to man (in my book). blech! perhaps i will have to stop by for a taste test myself before making the bigger commitment of a whole cake.

                    1. re: granolagurl
                      rlh Aug 9, 2013 06:13 PM

                      Choose carefully - it is possible I did not select the right strawberry cake slice for my sample - as the post way above does note real whipped cream - and there is NO way what I consumed was that - I am SURE of this and the canned peach slice. I would also echo other posts about Verrill farm that it's always delicious there and worth the trek.

                      1. re: rlh
                        kobuta Aug 9, 2013 07:54 PM

                        I've grown up on Chinatown cakes, as no one in our family really likes sweets. If you are accustomed to the denser, richer, and (WAYYY) sweeter Western cakes, your description is accurate. It is blander and spongier, not moist and cakey. I'm not sure the icing I've had was real whipped cream, as It adds nothing to the cake for me and I scrape most of it off.

                        I've bought most of my cakes from Royal, precisely because Eldo's cakes look like they've been sitting in that case too long. I've never had an issue off fruit on my cakes, but I'm not sure if Royal does a strawberry only.

            2. c
              catsmeow Aug 4, 2013 03:52 PM

              Earlier today, I stopped at Verrill Farms in Concord. Not only did they have local(CT) strawberries still that taste wonderful, they had a beautiful looking fresh strawberry and whipped cream cake in their bakery case. I stopped and looked at it for a minute but will power finally kicked in. It looked delicious!

              2 Replies
              1. re: catsmeow
                f
                fantundo Aug 4, 2013 06:35 PM

                They make a delicious angel cake that they then hollow out and stuff with whipped cream and fruit in season. I've had it with all kinds of berries, passion fruit, etc, and it's always delicious. I've never had better angel cake.

                1. re: catsmeow
                  m
                  maxevan Aug 9, 2013 05:28 PM

                  They make amazing cakes at Verrill. We not only get their grown up fancy cakes, we get the sheet cakes as well for my son's birthday. Highly recommended.

                2. a
                  andread5711 Aug 4, 2013 04:03 PM

                  lily's in watertown specializes in that cake. awesome. try danish pastry house in watertown too - the othello cake is awesome. the passionfruit one there is amazing too if you want to get away from strawberry.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: andread5711
                    Pia Aug 5, 2013 07:57 AM

                    I really like the Lilly's version too. If you want something fancy (more than just cake + whipped cream + strawberries) Vicki Lee's in Belmont has amazing cakes.

                  2. g
                    granolagurl Aug 4, 2013 04:13 PM

                    yea! thanks for the suggestions so far. i forgot to mention that my b-day is september 1st. i am wondering if local strawberries will still be around.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: granolagurl
                      Allstonian Aug 4, 2013 04:33 PM

                      Local strawberries are already gone.

                      1. re: granolagurl
                        c
                        catsmeow Aug 4, 2013 04:50 PM

                        When I commented to the cashier that I thought local strawberries were gone, she said there was a farm in Ct(she told me the name but I forget it) that supplies them to Verrill into Sept. She said they have some sort of farming system that lets them grow past the usual season. They taste great! I wish I'd gotten 2 quarts instead of 1.

                      2. c
                        cookfood Aug 4, 2013 04:22 PM

                        YES!! the strawberries and cream cake from Spinelli's in East Boston-REAL strawberries, fluffy cake and whipped cream frosting-not overly sweet or gloppy.
                        My boyfriend got me this cake a few weeks after we started dating for my birthday....it's now a tradition :) (7 years later).

                        1. d
                          donlan Aug 4, 2013 05:53 PM

                          Swiss Bakers (in Allston and Reading) makes a Strawberry Cake that might fit the bill:
                          http://store.swissbakers.com/ProductD...

                          1. t
                            teezeetoo Aug 4, 2013 06:10 PM

                            Royale in Cambridge makes an Italian strawberries and cream sponge that's lovely. I would guess Antoine's in Newton does but I haven't bought one there so no personal experience.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: teezeetoo
                              t
                              tweetie Aug 9, 2013 08:19 AM

                              second Royal. There is one in Lexington too.

                            2. g
                              gracenote Aug 4, 2013 09:03 PM

                              I think Japonaise Bakery in Brookline also does a lighter cake with strawberries and whipped cream.

                              And, there is a strain of strawberries that come into season late in the summer, Parlee farm in Tyngsboro used to have them.

                              Also, there's a complex of farms in Quebec that grow small sweet strawberries well into the fall. I've seen them at farm stands then.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: gracenote
                                c
                                catsmeow Aug 4, 2013 11:40 PM

                                I'm pretty sure Parlee was the name of the farm where the person at Verill said they got their strawberries from. She might have gotten their location wrong. I just looked it up and it only listed them in Tyngsboro but I'm pretty sure that was the name I saw on the large crates piled up in the area behind the cashier too.

                              2. a
                                Ariadanz Aug 5, 2013 12:29 AM

                                Its mail order, but you'd be supporting a small business on what is an economically dying island off the coast of Maryland....

                                http://smithislandcake.com/

                                If you look under "Spring Flavors" they have a Strawberry and Cream Cake (10 layers of yellow cake, cream cheese icing and strawberry filling). Pricey, although on sale at the moment, shipped Fed Ex. We got hubby a Chocolate Raspberry one for his birthday earlier this year and it really did feed the 12-16 they promised. Was tasty for over 2 weeks.

                                1. g
                                  granolagurl Aug 5, 2013 08:53 AM

                                  oooooohhh!!!! so many options. now the trick will be choosing something. i am particularly intrigued by either a japanese/chinese cake (love the lightness factor!) and by swissbakers. anyone tried a cake from swissbakers? i do love their pretzels. what about japonaise bakery? i am a bit confused as their website has been offline for the past month and i seem to remember hearing something about them "consolidating" stores (or is this code for "going out of business?"). eldo's also looks like a viable option, although driving there to pick up the cake might kinda stink.

                                  thanks again to all :) in my ideal world, i would buy a cake from each of the bakeries mentioned and go into the next year of my life on an eternal sugar high! wheeeeeee!!!

                                  1. f
                                    ftqerm Aug 5, 2013 09:31 AM

                                    If you are in the West Roxbury area, there is a bakery called Sugar on Center Street, and they make awesome cakes. I bought it twice, once for my wife's birthday and once for mothers day (for my wife.. aren't I sweet?), and it was a HUGE hit. She is a home baker herself and has made more cakes than a non-professional baker should, and she was floored. They became our go-to bakery.

                                    1. t
                                      Tucker23 Aug 5, 2013 09:54 AM

                                      Whites Bakery Hingham at the Derby shops on derby st

                                      1. d
                                        DoriPM Aug 5, 2013 10:03 AM

                                        Russo's in Watertown also makes delicious cakes.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: DoriPM
                                          Allstonian Aug 5, 2013 10:13 AM

                                          As much as I love everything else about Russo's, I've never been happy with anything I've bought from their bakery. If you're looking for a cake in Watertown/Newton I'd go with Lily's, recommended above, or with Antoine's in Nonantum.

                                          1. re: Allstonian
                                            r
                                            Ruprecht Aug 5, 2013 01:12 PM

                                            Disagree. When they first opened the bakery, it was a little shaky, but most all the cakes I've had recently (including a chocolate mousse cake just a couple of days ago) have been quite good. And everything I've had at Lilly's has been very meh (though never tried the cakes specifically.)

                                            1. re: Ruprecht
                                              Allstonian Aug 5, 2013 01:43 PM

                                              When did Russo's first open the bakery? It's been there as long as I've been shopping there, at least 8 years.

                                              I've had decent pies from Russo's, it's true, but I haven't cared for their other pastries.

                                              1. re: Allstonian
                                                b
                                                bear Aug 5, 2013 02:37 PM

                                                I think it's important to check the ingredient list on Russo's baked goods. I've had some nice buttery pastries and then some pretty insipid cookies and quick breads. They seem to use butter in some things and shortening in others. Definitely hit or miss flavor- and texture-wise. I tend to get my pastries elsewhere most of the time, but take a chance once in a while.

                                        2. m
                                          makonna Aug 5, 2013 10:15 AM

                                          Quebrada has a very tasty fresh strawberry cake. Light cake with whip cream, strawberries, and vanilla pastry cream. We go to the Arlignton location, but there's also Wellesley and Belmont locations as well. We usually get this cake for special occassions.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: makonna
                                            Science Chick Aug 5, 2013 01:54 PM

                                            The last cake we got from Quebrada was expensive, sickeningly sweet and without much depth of flavor. They used to be my go-to place, but never going again.

                                          2. justbeingpolite Aug 5, 2013 10:23 AM

                                            Sweet Thyme Bakery in Lexington also does an Asian style strawberry cake.

                                            1. m
                                              mwk Aug 5, 2013 10:41 AM

                                              We were at a BBQ yesterday and had an absolutely delicious Strawberry and cream cake from J Pace and Sons. I asked where the host got it and he told me it was their "Strawberry Shortcake" cake. Very moist cake with a lot of strawberries and a lightly-sweetened cream. It disappeared within minutes.

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