1/20/2008

Layer Cake Bakery - Irvine, CA [Supplying]

(Pictures for this review taken with my Canon Rebel XTi.

The first two paragraphs are intended to be facetious. Elmomonster and I are friends on very good terms.)


My little buddy Elmonster has a truly annoying habit. He scoops me, innocently and with intent to inform. Each time it happens exactly the same way. I make a new find, spend weeks or months gathering photos and information, and just when I'm about ready to post my review-BAM! He cold cocks me from right field with a well-written, illuminating article on the same damn location. I swear, it's enough to make me want to gnash my teeth, rend my clothes, and wail.


Monkey Bread. Read Elmo's review.


But really, is that so bad? We live really close to one another and share similar tastes in food. It's inevitable that our paths will cross. That we happen to like the same places just means more exposure, more business, and, ultimately, a better chance that I'll be able to enjoy the same tasty treats for years to come. So really, I should be grateful to Elmo, and I am. That still won't stop me from plotting my saccharine sweet revenge. Something involving an orgy of comestibles and the mother of all food comas. Yes...



The latest bit of scoopage is Layer Cake Bakery, a relatively new arrival to Irvine. Located in part of the space that used to house my beloved, yet ill-fated, Irvine J's market, Layer Cake Bakery is the most exciting addition I've made to my regular supplying rotation in over a year.



Stylish counters and display cases overflow with fresh treats made from scratch, a point that the lovely proprietress is quick to emphasize. After years of delicious toil at Margaret's French Bakery (nee Marjolaine), I have very high standards when it comes to cakes, pastries, and other baked goods. Layer Cake is the first bakery that I've encountered since I left Margaret's that comes close to matching her flavors.


(Red Velvet)


At the heart of Layer Cake Bakery's business are its lush cakes, which neatly straddle the boundary between richness and lightness. The problem with many types of Western cakes, each one a dense ode to the wonders of buttercream, are their heaviness. Most Asian cakes are significantly lighter in both flavor and milk fat, but are also little more than whipped cream, fruit, and sponge cake. It's rare to find a bakery with just the right balance between the two.


(Green Tea White Chocolate)


However, Layer Cake Bakery manages with offerings such at this Green Tea White Chocolate cake, my absolute favorite. Moist, airy, and loaded with macha (green tea powder), it manages to be both rich and flavorful without being too cloying. I'm also in love with their Chestnut Vanilla Buttercream.


(Ton-Ton likes cake. The employees like Ton-Ton.)


Although the owners are Indonesian, as Elmomonster proudly asserts, the cakes are not restricted by borders or cultures. The bakers proudly, and even recklessly, draw their inspiration from the recipes and ingredients of countries around the world. The result is an array of uniquely delightful confections. A list of the day's cakes is posted every morning. If you don't want to buy a whole cake, the staff will cut a slice for you without hesitation, a refreshing policy I wholeheartedly support.


(Pumpkin Pie)


If cakes aren't your cup of tea, Layer Cake Bakery also offers a variety of single-serving pies with flaky crusts and homey flavors that have prompted spontaneous recollections of their grandmothers' pies from more than one entranced individual. I know at least one gentleman who never stops by without taking home several of the little pies to last him through the week. I can personally attest to the quality of their Pumpkin Pie and Apple Pie.



In addition to desserts, a similarly eclectic array of pastries and other baked goods are available. From delicate croissants for breakfast to hearty quiches for lunch, the assortment is wide-ranging and interesting. The cookies, in particular, are constantly shifting selection of pleasant surprises. Just last week I had a Pistachio Macaroon that simply melted away in my mouth. It's always a good idea to wander in and try your luck.



Wash it all down with one of their excellent coffees or a cup of whole leaf tea. My regular order is the Cafe Americano. Elonweis prefers a steaming pot of Moroccan Mint Green Tea.




Layer Cake Bakery - An exciting and innovative addition to Orange County. Classily untraditional and avant-garde, I can only hope that this is the beginning of a new trend in cake making. Stop by and give it a try. There's something amazing waiting for you.


Layer Cake Bakery
4250 Barranca Parkway, Ste. 1
Irvine, CA 92604
1-949-786-0223
http://www.layercakebakery.com

21 comments:

Chubbs,

I'm glad you posted this. You tried more items and confirmed my conclusion from just trying three items: THEY ARE GREAT!

And in the interest of public record (HAHA!), I didn't intentionally try to scoop you on this one. In fact, I've been sitting on the pictures I took for at least two months. But now that I think about it, a little friendly competition is always good to keep everyone on their toes!

That darned brekkie_fan is the one to look out for though! She's fast!

YUM! Looks aweseome.. and yes, it's funny when it happens. There aren't a ton of Taipei bloggers, but there are only so many places to eat in one city. :)

Before I saw Elmo's comment I was going to say he probably had no intention to scoop you and maybe you (CP) know that but, hey, there's lots of good places to cover and it never hurts to get another angle on a place.

Your photos of this bakery make me want to move to Irvine, and I'll admit that I've never before even had the desire the visit it.

Hey CP - I tend to think that in the case of you and Elmo, it is more toward..."great minds think alike".

I know what you mean about being "scooped," Off the Broiler did it to me on three places in New Orleans! ...But I still have yet to post on those three places....

You and Elmo have diverse perspectives, and I love reading BOTH of your posts (when indeed there is scoopage going on).

Hope you are doing well friend. :) and <3!

Hey guys,

I'll reply to you all individually later this week (when Cat and I aren't about to leave for work), but I just wanted to clear something up. The first two paragraphs were intended to be facetious. Elmo and I are on very good terms, and I'm not at all hung up on who gets what "scoop". =)

- Chubbypanda

I would love to try the pastry in the last photo, looks flaky and crunchy.

Everyone,

Ditto what Chubbypanda said. First few paragraphs are not meant to be taken seriously. Actually, I was literally grinning when I read it, because it was funny as hell!

Chubbs and I are good buddies, and will remain so, no matter who does the scooping!

Meant to say...ditto Christian Z.

Thanks for finding this place — looks like I'm going to have to check it out some time. That green tea white chocolate cake looks positively moist, airy and delicious! I like green tea-flavored desserts...even if I don't drink green tea all that much.

Elmo,

I love Layer Cake Bakery. Sadly, they might not be for everyone. Cat finds their cakes too sweet and moist, but she and I often disagree on cake. =/

Yeah, Brekkie Fan has some wicked ninja food blogging powers.

Joanh,

Yeah. Plus, Irvine isn't that big. What surprises me isn't that Elmo and I end up reviewing the same places, it's that we don't bump into each other more.

Christian,

Exactly.

Breadbasketcase,

Most people don't visit Irvine unless they have friends here. It's a sleepy, affluent bedroom community. What's nice about living here is it puts you in easy striking distance of a lot of fun places. Like I tell my friends, I prefer living somewhere boring and visiting the exciting towns. =)

Kirk,

Maybe more obsessed minds, don't you think? =b

PE,

Things are going great. I'm sorry I haven't commented on your blog lately. I've been really busy. I'm trying to find and settle into a new blogging/commenting rhythm.

Suanne,

I'll try to bring you something from the bakery the next time I head up to Vancouver.

Yuzu,

Isn't it great how green tea has so many different flavors? If you're close by, you should totally visit this bakery. I think it's right up your alley.

- Chubbypanda

Ooh wow, this looks like my kind of place, too. (You scooped me! =P) Nice panda bear!

CP,

Great pics, makes me want to run over there right now.

Looks like a wonderful bakery. And I absolutely LOVE red velvet cake.

Danggit! I never heard of this when I lived in Orange County. Sounds like it's worth a drive though.

Pirikara,

Ohs nos! Bad panda! =(

Vegasbuff,

You should. Right now! =b

Taste Tester,

Their red velvet frosting is weighted more heavily on the cream cheese side of the equation, which is why I like it. I lurv cream cheese.

Susan,

No worries. It just opened. Beside, you live in foodie heaven. There are so many drool-worthy things up there that I'm jealous.

I miss San Fran.

- Chubbypanda

hi chubbs,

not sure if u rem, but i met u @frenzy a few months ago... i was trying to guess u :) anyhoo... i tried layer cake for the first time today- not too bad. but i was wondering if u prefer their green tea cake over the one at italian tomato?? i have yet to try that one so was wondering if i should even bother??

Hey Nami,

How could I forget? It's not often food bloggers have such cute fans. =) How's Eugene?

I prefer Layer Cake's green tea cake to the one at Italian Tomato. Layer Cake's version is richer without the heaviness of Western cakes. The frosting on Italian Tomato's cakes lean more towards the whipped cream side of the spectrum. However, I love Italian Tomato's pudding and their coffee jelly. They also do a mean strawberry cake.

- Chubbypanda