“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and Hallelujah is our song.” A Polish megastar Pope said this once. It’s speaking to me rather poignantly these days. After one heck of a winter, with some ups and a mountain of downs, I am ready to sing in the spring season, starting with the Easter Halleujah come April 1.
We Kellys usually bring out our inner Martha around the holidays and have a baking extravaganza during the week leading up to the holiday. But this year, Grandma is living with us and will have surgery around the time the Easter bunny comes a-hopping in, so I’m looking to bring in some outside help for my holiday table.
My circle of friends is a talented bunch, involved, and quite knowledgeable in many arenas — particularly the hotspots of comestible goodness around San Diego. I called on them to narrow my choices for the dessert table.
“I had a mango cake at a baby shower, and it was so good,” said Sande. “It was from the Red Ribbon Bakeshop, a Filipino bakery in Mira Mesa.” ($29.99 for a quarter sheet cake.)
“Nothing Bundt Cakes has amazing bundt cakes, expensive but delicious,” offered Sarah. “We have enjoyed the White Chocolate Raspberry.” ($33 for the 10-inch which serves 16-20 people, $10 extra for it to be decorated.)
“It’s a Piece of Cake in Rancho Peñasquitos,” offered Vhinice. “Their cakes are moist and don’t taste like they’re all sugar. Their French Bavarian is a yummy, delicate cake with white chocolate shavings. This is the cake we have ordered for everything from birthdays to baby showers.” ($55.50 for a quarter sheet cake that will serve 20-25.)
“Their Fruit Basket is the cake you want if you enjoy a layer of fresh fruit on your cake. So good, light and refreshing.” ($70 for a quarter sheet) The saleslady said orders should be placed a couple days ahead of the event, unless there are ornate decorations, in which case the bakery needs a bit more lead time.
Vhinice also recommended Edelweiss Bakery in Rancho Bernardo. “Their Bavarian Raspberry Cake was our wedding cake.” ($29.95 for a quarter sheet that serves about 20 guests. Order a day in advance.)
Lastly, she tossed into the dessert ring two other desserts that the bakery keeps stocked each day, so no need to order ahead. “The German Apple Ring my late father-in-law used to order all the time during Christmas, and we still do. ($10.45 for 8-10 people) And the Cinnamon coffee cake with crumble topping I would eat every day if I could. ($6.95 for coffee cake which serves 6-8 people.) Can you tell I have a sweet tooth?” she asked.
“Le Parfait on G Street Downtown is a little taste of Paris!” said Marty. “They specialize in French pastries, particularly macaroons. They are beautifully colored pastels, great for Easter. Their pastries and cakes are conveniently smaller, more personal-sized. It’s one of those, hard-to-choose-your-favorite type places.” (The all-natural, gluten-free macaroons are $2.00 each.)
“Also D.Z. Akin’s Bakery,” she continued, “which is adjacent to their restaurant. The dessert choices are abundant. Their carrot cakes look amazing ($34.95 for a quarter sheet, order at least 24 hours ahead) and my daughter has had their cannolis and baklava and loved them. All kosher.” (Small cannolis, $1.50, large $3.00. Baklava, which are sharably sized, run $2.95 each)
“Whole Foods in La Jolla,” she continued, “carries a beautiful array of cakes, pastries, cupcakes, tarts, and macaroons, all great for Easter.”
Finally Marty tossed Extraordinary Desserts in Little Italy on the bakery list. “They offer many beautifully decorated cakes and fruit tarts; scrumptious, perfect for Easter. When you walk in the huge glass door, the desserts are right there, immediately calling out to you. It’s amazing. I love their gluten-free chocolate flourless cake. It’s a burst of deliciousness, very rich.” (The Dame Chocolate cake, gluten free, is $75 for a 10-inch cake that serves 16 - 20 people.)
Marie also belonged to the Extraordinary Desserts fanclub. “Passion Fruit Ricotta cake — rich, moist, and the passion fruit flavor is exotic. It’s topped with fresh fruit, making it perfect for the Easter table.” ($72 for the 10-inch cake for 16-20 people.)
“I’m ordering some Easter Sugar cookies from Mimi’s Kitchen,” replied Bernice. ($12 for a dozen buttercream-frosted egg and bunny cookies.) “This personal chef makes delicious desserts,” she added. “One year we ordered lamb cakes from her, which were a hit at our Easter gathering.”