Not all of us are blessed enough to be that gal or guy everyone asks to bring their specialty carrot/chocolate/pound/layer cake to every family gathering, potluck, work function, bake sale or fundraiser. You know, it’s that that one person who playfully complains to their friend or spouse that they were asked to make yet another cake, but happily puts on that apron and mixes the batter with a grin?
Well not everyone has the energy or skill to double as Betty Crocker in the kitchen. We’re still too busy putting effort into home cooked meals to worry about what’s for dessert, let alone a superb, moist cake.
So for those of us who need to provide a cake for a family gathering, potluck, work function, bake sale or fundraiser we’ve rounded up some unique bake and cake shops in the Los Angeles area for your viewing pleasure. And just a fair warning, you may not want to read this on an empty stomach.
That said, listed below (in no particular order) are 12 Los Angeles cake shops you absolutely need to know about.
Rundown starts after the jump!
Sweet Lady Jane
Open since 1988, the woman behind Sweet Lady Jane’s began her baking career by selling her desserts to Los Angeles area restaurants. Jane has been widely recognized by the media including Oprah, Country Home, Entertainment Weekly and Bon Apetit. We love that Sweet Lady Jane’s always uses the freshest ingredients and produces a moist and just the right amount of sweet cake every time.
Porto’s Bakery & Café might be the best place in Los Angeles for Cuban-style family baked goods and cakes. A small family business that has grown so that it now employs hundreds in their Glendale, Burbank and Downey stores. Their cakes are incredibly festive and look just as festively fun to eat. If you’re in the market for a cake that will blow the minds of everyone at your next holiday gathering I would suggest picking up either a Christmas Log or Christmas Mango Mousse Cake. The Christmas Log looks like a neatly lobbed off thick tree branch, but with a frosted pine cone, peppermints, poinsettia flower, cranberries and sprinkles of snow. The Christmas Mango Mousse with two layers of white sponge cake and fresh mango mousse, might just make up for not putting up your Christmas tree village this year. With a small snow covered house, Christmas trees, cranberries and snow frosting the cake’s top, I’ll say it’s better than any seasonal decoration.
The largest and oldest bakery in Chinatown is a family operation ran by the Chan’s, made famous by churning out “not so Chinese” cakes. If you try only one cake from Phoenix Bakery, the Strawberry Whipped Cream Cake is it: it’s delicately created with layers of sponge cake, fresh whipped cream, sliced berries encased in more fresh whipped cream and rounded off with an almond slice circumference.
A culinary couple operation just south of Beverly Blvd, Sycamore Kitchen has given a new definition to the urban-bakery eatery. With a wide assortment of baked goods and loaves and cakes, it’s really hard to choose just one. Any one of their cakes would be fitting for a holiday office party or an in-house lunch with some bubbly or suds. The size of the cakes are not over the top, how are we going to finish this huge, so you could call this cake eating experience a guilt free one as well.
Susina Bakery & Cafe
Steps away from the corner of La Brea is a bakery and café that just might have the most decadently prepared cakes in the city. I would love to share the entire cake menu on this page, but I’m afraid that if I do my fingers will be too covered in frosting to continue writing this piece. With that out of the way let me recommend either the Chocolate Raspberry Cake or the Raspberry Lemon Dream. The Chocolate Raspberry cake includes layers of chocolate devil’s food cake glazed with berry liqueur, infused with chocolate mousse and fresh raspberries and topped off with dark chocolate curls. The Raspberry Lemon Dream truly is a dream for our senses with its layers of vanilla sponge cake, lemon curd and fresh seedless raspberry jam.
Chicago native Susan Sarich moved to the West Coast with 4×6 cards of her grandmothers’ prized baking recipes. Susan takes her dedication to family baking traditions and infuses that passion into each cake her and her in-house bakers create. Order a specialty layer cake such as the Old-Fashioned 6-Layer Chocolate Cake or the Tropical Coconut Cake or get creative by designing your own custom layer cake. Choose a chocolate, vanilla or confetti vanilla base, throw in your favorite buttercream frosting and then ask for a special decoration if you’re in the mood. Also keep in mind that for the month of November Susie Cakes will be featuring their Cranberry-Orange Layer Cake, made with moist vanilla cake, cranberries and a fresh orange zest buttercream.
What should be called the passport of all bakeries, Magnolia Bakery can be found in Chicago, Moscow City, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Kuwait City and yours truly Los Angeles. Any of Magnolia’s specialty cakes can be ordered by the slice or in 6 or 9” for kindly sharing with others. Holiday gatherings seem to be a time when calories don’t count so why not let everyone splurge with a German Chocolate cake made with a rich and sweet German chocolate cake and a layer of coconut caramel pecan icing. But if your friends are health nuts, order the Hummingbird and tell them it has lots of fresh fruit including bananas and pineapples.
Doughboys Cafe & Bakery
Beloved for it’s Red Velvet Cake, Dough Boys has earned its five minutes of fame on Oprah, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and other Los Angeles media. Since its Red Velvet has experienced so much fame, the folks at Dough Boys have introduced the white velvet and the black velvet. These two sister cakes have the same sweet cream cheese frosting and white chocolate drizzle, but with a different velvet base depending on your mood.
Los Angeles Magazine named Valerie’s Confections Best Chocolatier in a blind taste test; I think that’s real good for the city of Los Angeles. This chocolatier leader has several chocolate-based cakes to satisfy the sweetest of tooth in the area. Who loves white chocolate? I certainly do. If you’re like me and crave all things white chocolate, try their White Chocolate Coconut Cake, made with an interior layer of passion fruit buttercream and balanced out with a white chocolate buttercream exterior and of course made complete with coconut.
Let’s first clear any possible confusion, this is a not a Jamaican-style bakery in any shape or form. Its owner who was named after a song entitled “Oh Jamaica” has been featured on TLC’s Ultimate Cake Off, Ultimate Cake Boss and the hysterically funny Curb Your Enthusiasm. Try Jamaica’s Raspberry Champagne Cake for an extra does of champagne or Cookies-n-Cream Cake where cookies are baked into the vanilla butter cake. Anyone have a bachelor or bachelorette party coming up? This cake shop doubles as a great place to order the perfect gag cake and you can make it as clean or dirty as you’d like.
Lark Cake Shop
Opening in 2007, Lark Cake Shop took stake on Sunset Blvd with hopes of providing Angelenos with stylized, yet simple baked goods. All their cakes are aesthetically pleasing by being decorated with the less is more attitude. The Banana Cake, made with a vanilla cake base, layered with whipped cream and bananas, iced with whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate is a moist, light and flavorsome cake perfect for any occasion. Or let’s let caramel lovers unite with Colleen’s Caramel Cake that is splendidly topped and filled with caramel icing.
The Butter End Cakery
The cake shop that was asked to create a cake in celebration of the 200th episode of CBS’s How I Met Your Mother is laced with an inspiring story of perseverance and creativity. Kimberly Bailey, owner of The Butter End Cakery, moved to Los Angeles for a change of pace and a year later found out she had cancer. She ended up using the kitchen as a creative outlet and well, now her cake shop produces some of the most sought after cakes in Los Angeles. Baily creates many delectable Dessert Bars with fabulous presentation including Wine Country Mini Cakes, Painted Black and White Mini Cakes and the Harry Winston.