Archive for the ‘Cake’ Category

Hood Famous Bakeshop

February 26, 2017

When you’re too much of a foodie to eat at the Cheesecake Factory but you still want that creamy, tangy goodness (and you’re willing to deal with parking in Ballard), check out Hood’s Famous Bakeshop. Instead of Snickers and Pumpkin flavors, you’ll fall in love with more interesting Filipino flavors like ube and guava. The shop itself is little more than a hole-in-the-wall, so choose your cakes (mini size and up) and go. I went all mini for a family dinner:

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The red top left is the white chocolate guava, the orange next to it is mango, the purple is the ube (purple yam), the green is coconut pandan (a green leaf used in southeast Asia for flavor), and the brown is Vietnamese coffee. The big hits were the coffee and the mango, but I preferred the ube which is what Hood is famous for. It doesn’t taste like yam – the flavor is pretty close to vanilla – but the ube gives the cake a lovely texture (the color ain’t bad either). If you’re throwing a summer dinner party for out-of-town guests (or, for that matter, a winter dinner party for Seattleites) these will be big hit. The ube cake is also sold at local grocery stores so there’s really no excuse for going to the Cheesecake Factory (unless, like me, you really like that Oreo Cheesecake!).

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Sweet and Fresh Bakery

August 30, 2014

When Mon Hei Bakery in the International District burned down, I had to start looking for a replacement spot to get my cocktail bun fix. I decided to try Sweet & Fresh Bakery, which has been around for years but is somewhat off the beaten path. It’s a pretty typical Chinese bakery, and is simple and unassuming in both atmosphere and food.

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I ordered the coconut bun (I didn’t see cocktail buns) and the egg custard. The coconut bun was fine; sweet and light dough with the typical sweetened coconut filling. The custard was was really impressed me. It was definitely eggy, which was strange to my taste buds, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed that taste and texture in a dessert.

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The syrup (hidden at the bottom of the dish) helped sweeten the pudding without overdoing the job. Overall, I’d say well done Sweet & Fresh… but I still pine for my Mon Hei cocktail bun.

Le Reve

October 30, 2013

The best thing about working on a blog like this is going to places like Le Reve.  A French bakery in Queen Anne, Reve feels authentic and tastes like France (that is, it tastes like butter). Serving a variety of pastries, desserts, and breakfast & lunch sandwiches, Reve is that café I’d be at every weekend if I lived in the neighborhood.  And maybe it’s a good thing I don’t, because there are only so many calories in a day.

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I started out with the Croque Monsieur, served on a French baguette so fresh the shards of crust cut the roof of your mouth. Ahhh France. Next I moved on to dessert. Based off Yelp reviews I got the kouign amann – an extremely buttery muffin-shaped pastry with a crispy coating. Hard to describe this treat but you have to try it here or at Crumble and Flake in Cap Hill.

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Also on my menu were the flourless chocolate cake (not overly dense but certainly substantial and very richly flavored), and a raspberry Mogador (the round ball pictured above). I had never had one of these before – basically a chocolate crust with a ball of chocolate mousse with a chocolate raspberry shell. Lighter than the cake, it had that raspberry chocolate combination that to me is always the king of desserts. J’aime Le Reve… (did I spell that right??).

The Wandering Goose

March 25, 2013

This weekend, I finally was willing and able to to try out The Wandering Goose, a small Southern-style bakery/restaurant on Cap Hill serving biscuit breakfast sandwiches along with a very impressive collection of baked goods.  I say finally because I had been put off for many weeks by long lines and big crowds at brunch hour (there is very limited seating space – take your food to-go or go on a weekday).  I realized immediately I had been missing out on major baked goodness.

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Besides a variety of delicious breakfast sandwiches (they make their own sausage and the eggs are perfect), there were cookies, cakes, pies, and much more. I stood in shock for a moment, then dove in. I started with a buttermilk biscuit with jam and butter:

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It was perfectly flakey and moist, and suddenly I felt so happy to be alive and eating at this lovely place where they make their own honey (bee hives are on the rooftop) and take as long as they want to bring your coffee. I wanted to eat every single thing they had, but I settled for “grandma’s table cake” which is yellow cake with chocolate frosting – my fave.

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Did I mention that the cakes are HUGE? Like, Kingfish Cafe size. It must be a Southern thing. Anyway, I was blown away with the perfection of this layer cake. Perfectly dense and moist in terms of the cake, and the frosting was not too sweet, and perfectly salted. It doesn’t get much better. I will be wandering into the Goose much more often in the future.

 

Cafe Pettirosso

February 3, 2013

Living on Capitol Hill, I’m spoiled when it comes to food and drink.  I think our neighborhood has the best selection of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and desserts. And if you want one restaurant that fits all of those categories (especially the latter), Cafe Pettirosso is the place to go. They do it all, and do it all well. I went mainly for dessert (along with some coffee, wifi, and space to work).

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There’s a wide variety of treats, and plenty of tables and cozyness to keep you hanging out for a while. I started out with the cinnamon bun, which I was very impressed with. It had the proper amount of cinnamon (a lot) and wasn’t overly sweet. I also tried the pumpkin pie with marshmallow brulee, which is very popular but wasn’t really my thing. I took a “Sin Cake” home, which turned out to be my best idea ever.

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Hmm. Still learning my Iphone, so you have to turn your head sideways to see the word sin. Anyway, letting the cake sit at room temperature for a few hours helped the texture of the cake. Pettirosso also gives you a little cup of raspberry sauce to serve with the cake. I meant to eat half, but I ended up gobbling the whole thing down in one sitting, it was that good. Super rich, super chocolaty.

 

Hot Cakes

January 7, 2013

Strolling through Ballard one recent evening after dinner (actually, walking quickly, hunched over from cold and rain is more accurate), I came across Hot Cakes, which I had been meaning to try for some time.  They are known for their small (but very rich) cakes sold in mason jars, which you take home and bake yourself (they also bake them there at the store and serve them up with ice cream). The store was very crowded, and I soon figured out why…

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Turns out they make a variety of “boozy” milkshakes that are stunningly delicious! I got the Drunken Sailor (vanilla ice cream, whiskey, peanut butter, and caramel) and immediately knew I’d found a winner.  The flavors did so well together, and I could tell all the ingredients (whiskey included) were of high quality.  I also had the warm cookie with ice cream, which was good but skippable compared with the other offerings.

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And I dutifully bought a hot cake to take home with me for later, which came in very handy when I was hit with a chocolate craving. It doesn’t get much more chocolatier than this… the cakes are so rich and intense I recommend splitting one, even though they’re small. Or be like me and quietly keep it all to yourself…

 

Mediterranean Mix

September 16, 2012

The restaurant space at 23rd and Union is seemingly cursed after the violence at the Cheesesteak place and the closure of the bakery that took it’s place. Now, I’m hoping that Mediterranean Mix (with another location in Pioneer Square) will find success because everything seemed really good – the food and the desserts. I ordered the falafel, and while waiting for them to make it I noticed there was a whole section of the counter displaying desserts – both of the traditional Greek variety (I’ve heard good things about their baklava) and traditional American. I passed up some really yummy-looking cupcakes in favor of the chocolate layer cake – it just had the look of a perfect chocolate cake.

And by golly, I was right. This was one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever eaten, and such a surprise coming from a hole-in-the-wall place.  I was told the owner’s wife makes it along with the other desserts. Dense, moist layers with a rich ganache frosting make this one of my favorite Seattle slice of cake, right up there with Simply Desserts and Kingfish Cafe. But I also wanted to sample a more Mediterranean dessert, so I picked out an almond dessert:

It’s not a baguette!  I believe it was made with almond flour (and a lot of butter), and my friend really liked it. I was kind of indifferent, especially as I was attacking the chocolate cake with such gusto. I hope this place sticks around because I will be back for more cake.

 

60th St Desserts

March 11, 2012

Despite being located at 74 St, 60th Street Desserts does a great job satisfying the Sand Point neighborhood’s bakery needs. Originally started as a wholesale business baking for local eateries, the bakery now has it’s own (very small) location right near Magnuson Park – perfect for an after-soccer treat.

Be aware that there’s no place to sit inside – bring your treats home or make a picnic in the park. The selection was a bit limited, but there are also whole cakes (frozen) that you can take home. I wish they sold more things by the slice, but I did manage to find a single slice of coffee cake which I quite enjoyed.  Even more enjoyable, however, was the mini Chocolate Decadence (also comes in cake size):

Also, who can resist these little guys?

Overall, an enjoyable food experience. I would return for the whole frozen cakes, especially of the chocolate variety (the traditional chocolate cake looks bomb).

 

Regent

February 20, 2012

Imagine my joy upon discovering that Regent, a new bakery (with an additional location in Redmond), would be opening right around the corner from me.  And imagine my further happiness upon seeing that they also offer a full menu (Chinese food) and bar (which is really a cozy, hip, and tasty little space).  I explored some of their many offerings in all three areas (dinner, drinks, dessert), but came away feeling that the main reason to visit this place is to stock up on cakes and breads.

The cakes looked good, but what really made me drool was the bread selection:

While I find Asian cakes to be too light for my taste, I LOVE the extreme eggy bread you find at Asian pastry shops. To be fair, though, I tried one of each – a cake and a bread.  For the cake, I went with the owner’s recommendation and got a piece of the chocolate-hazelnut cake.

It was indeed pretty light, but nearly as airy as some others I’ve tried, and the chocolate-hazelnut flavor was intense enough for me (and wasn’t too sweet).  LOVED it, and now I have to rethink my antipathy toward Asian cakes. Even better, however, was the bread. I chose a loaf of raisin bread to take home with me, and ate a couple slices for breakfast the next morning:

That night, I brought the rest of the loaf over to a friend’s house, and we ate the entire thing (lightly grilling each piece in a generously buttered skillet). I’ve never enjoyed raisin bread as much as I did this loaf, and I will surely be back for more.

 

Cake Envy

February 13, 2012

Cake Envy in Green Lake sells some of the loveliest-looking desserts in Seattle of the cake/cupcake variety, and their location right on Green Lake makes the proposition of spending a sunny afternoon noshing on cake that much more attractive. I visited this relatively new establishment on a sunny, warm day in February(!) to see how it stacked up to Trophy, Cupcake Royale, and I Love NY Cupcakes.

Cake Envy doesn’t stop at desserts; they also serve tea sandwiches, coffee/tea, and beer/wine in a light, modern atmosphere perfect for studying, reading, or just pigging out. They offer free wifi and outdoor seating (or just take your cupcake a few steps to the lake). I opted to stay inside and sample the coffee, after ordering four cupcakes to go.

I thought the best thing about their cupcakes were the unique flavors. I chose (from left to right) Creme Brulee, Espresso, Cookies and Cream, and Green Tea. I was a little disappointed that everything was buttercream (is Royale the only place that does ganache?), and that the icing was so airy. I know some people would die for a light buttercream frosting, but I prefer dense and flavor-packed. The Green Tea cupcake was definitely interesting, although a little bitter. I did like the cake itself, but I remain a Cupcake Royale fan first and foremost.