Parent Q&A

  • Virginia bakery applesauce cake recipe?

    (2 replies)

    We are in mourning over the closing of the Virginia Bakery still....and are desperately trying to learn to recreate their 'applesauce cake'.

    Does anyone have the recipe by chance?  Or any ideas if there might be something similar?

    Thank you!

    No recipe to offer, I’m afraid, but a similar plea: I’m not sure I can go the rest of my life never again having their giant oatmeal cookies or their amazing butter cookies. If anyone knows the owners, I’d pay a small fortune for a Virginia Bakery cookbook, as would most of my Berkeley-native friends!

    I use the recipe "Applesauce Snack Cake" from the original Betty Crocker cookbook. I've never made the sauce recipe that accompanies it. It is easy, moist, and always receives praise. I hope this helps!

    Good Luck!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Cake for baby shower

Sept 2008

I am hosting a baby shower and looking to get an affordable but not full-of-buttercream-frosting cake to serve to my 25 guests. I'm not too picky about the kind of cake, just something a little different from your average safeway cake. dani

Diandas Bakery at 25th and Mission makes delicious tres leches cakes with whipped cream frosting (not buttercream). If you ask them to limit their decoration to strawberries or some other fruit (as opposed to buttercream flowers) it is a tasty affordable cake. Anonymous
Believe it or not, Costco makes pretty good cakes, and you can have them decorated. You can pick up whatever they have day of, or order in advance. $15 or so for a half-sheet, filled. janet

Cafe for cake on the weekend

April 2008

We're looking for a good cafe to go to in Berkeley for cake on weekend afternoons. The two primary criteria are (1) yummy cake and (2) outdoor seating with nice ambiance. We know about Crixa Cakes (yummy cakes, but expensive, and the outdoor seating doesn't have much ambiance) and Cafe Strada (great ambiance, but difficult parking, and they seem to have downgraded all their cakes to bars). Anyone know of a place that fits the bill? Hungry for cake

I'm looking forward to hearing others' suggestions, but we like Cafe Roma at College and Ashby, which offers both yummy cake and outdoor seating. Cake & Sunshine is a Great Life Philosophy
Oh boy did you ask the right person! Price-wise, Bakesale Betty's has great treats, mostly cookies. Katrina Rozelle on College has lovely cake with a little outdoor seating.

Down the street, Bittersweet has amazing brownies and cinnamon chocolate cake, not too crowded on weekdays. Some of the employees can be way too business-like (c'mon, it's cake!).

On Fourth St., Betty's has amazing lemon bars and fruit cobblers, and Market Hall has really lovely cake with lots of outdoor seating, good for people/dog watching. Oh, I don't eat a lot of cake or anything...

I don't know if the ambiance is nice enough for you, but Masse's has the *best* cakes. The mango mousse is especially delicious. It's on Shattuck near Vine. Parking can be a bit challenging, but not as bad as it is for Cafe Strada. Caaaaake
I highly recommend Masse's on Shattuck & Vine, a couple of stores down from Black Oak Books. They sell large and single-serving cakes as well as tea and coffee. This is one of the best (if not the best) bakery in Berkeley. There is a small number of tables inside and some outside. It's a delightful place for afternoon tea & treat, with or without kids. Parking can be a pain on weekends but, were in Berkeley is it not? Brenda
We just ate some delicious honey rolls and pie at Sweet Adeline's today. Yummy --we live closeby, the neighborhood isn't the greatest our real estate agent forecast is ''positive upside.'' It's simply a delicious bakery & worth the visit. There's a small outdoor spot which is pretty good, no great views (cross street MLK/view of parking LOT), oh yeah tonnes of free parking. They always ask me if I'd like that 'take-out.' Check it out if you're still hungry for CAKE. anon
masses in berkeley - i like cake too

Birthday treats after event in Elmwood (5-y-o)

April 2007

I'm looking for a spot close to the Julia Morgan Theater to take some of my 5-yr old daughter's friends for birthday treats after a performance. Walkable would be ideal, but short drive okay. Any ideas? thanks Kathleen

How about Cafe Roma at College and Ashby? They always have lots of yummy desserts and are very kid-friendly. It's about 6 blocks from Julia Morgan, which I'd consider walkable, though your definition may vary. There are lots of restaurants around that intersection if you want to explore. Mmmm, carrot cake
Just down College Ave about 2 blocks south of the Julia Morgan is Ici, a new ice cream parlor with delicious hand made ice cream such as ginger snap or blood orange sorbet. There are handmade cones with a dab of chocolate in the point and amazing ice cream cakes. This would be a great place to take a crew of girls. Get a cone and then check out the windows at Basic Bird for kittens and rabbits or walk across the street to Sweet Dreams toy store.
Another option is Cafe Roma for hot chocolate and scones or cookies, corner of Ashby and College.
Nabolom, just off College on Russell next to the fire station, has all sorts of yummy pastries and cookies.
And finally, the favorite Elmwood destination of kids for blocks around, and easy on the wallet: Dream Fluff Donuts, on Ashby just below College. Have fun! Ginger
Ozzie's soda fountain in Elmwood comes to mind--lots of fun for 5-y-o's! in the same neighborhood are Nabolom bakery, Ici (fancy-schmancy ice cream, prices to match), a couple different coffee shops, and donuts. katy

Non-dairy wedding cake

Jan 2007

I looking for a bakery that will bake a wedding cake not using traditional butter and milk, but will be willing to substitute.ingredients?(like the butter and milk....we also need the icing changed from buttercream to other...if anyone can help with recommendations....thanks....Wedding is in a couple of weeks. Marion

Check with Jennifer at Sweet Adeline Bakery, on Adeline and 63rd in Berkeley. I requested a non-egg birthday cake and she was happy to find a recipe that would work. It was delicious and beautiful. I know that they do a lot of wedding cakes too. marjorie
Try Whole Foods Bakery in berkeley, The bakery in Market Hall, and the Montclair Bakery on Mountain Blvd (just off the Park Blvd. exit). Good Luck

Bakery Outlet/ Day Old Bread

Oct 2003

Does anyone know of an inexpensive bakery outlet to get things like hotdog rolls/hamburger buns etc. in very large quantity inexpensively? We used to go to a pepperidge farm outlet when I lived on the east coast, but I don't even need anything that fancy (Rainbo or Wonder would be perfect). Thanks! Planning a walkathon BBQ

They have good buns in big packs. Also a good place to buy hotdogs and hamburger meat. Debbie
There is a Rainbo/Wonder outlet in Oakland right off of 880S at 16th (?) I think it's 16th- or else it's 23rd. It's right in between a business called RED with a large red sign and Earthgrains- you can see it from the freeway and can't really miss it if you're looking for it. Hope this is of some help to you! Jessica
There is a Wonderbread outlet in San Pablo, near Church Lane, on 23rd, I believe, but you can call information and double-check the address. Good luck! mack
The Rainbo Bread Outlet is just of 880S in Oakland. The exit is 23rd. You can't miss it. Alternatively, there is a Hostess outlet in San Pablo. It is also on 23rd (funny conincidence), a few blocks from the intersection with San Pablo Ave. Rose
Entenmann's Inc-Oroweat Foods 14388 Washington Ave, San Leandro, CA 94578 (510) 357-5004 Helena
Wonder Bread has an outlet on Market St. going towards Emeryville. I am not sure of the exact address. Also check the Grocery Outlet store on University in Berkeley. They often offer donations of large quantities for functions. Hope this helps some. Good luck ''Each One, Teach One'' Marissa
I don't know how inexpensive these are but there are two bakery outlets in San Leandro. One is ''Hostess'' and it is on Montague Road (in the industrial area off Marina Blvd.). The other is ''Orowheat'' on Washington Ave. just down the road from Kmart. Costco might be a better option. At the bakery outlet you have to beware of the marked down pasteries! HL

Best chocolate cupcakes?

Oct 2006

where are the best chocolate cupcakes with delightful decorations for a science loving 6 year old boy? Bakery suggestions welcome, or persuade me to use a gorgeous cake.. 20 kids. Elaine

I don't know where you live, but you should try Virginia Bakery. I'm sure they can do great cupcakes; their sheet cakes are incredible. (And the frosting actually tastes really good- not like supermarket yucko). Happy Birthday! Dessert lover
For easy inexpensive uniform cupcakes, and you can do it at the last minute, Neldam's Bakery. I think they were a dollar a cupcake, and you can choose white or dark, and white or dark frosting. More important than the taste or quality of the cupcake is if you can put some sort of little flag or special object on each-- Bakery cupcakes work for me!
We love Love at First Bite or soomething like that..It's in the Vine Street square. At Vine and Walnut St. in N. Berkeley. They have amazing, beautiful, delicious and creative cupcakes..a whole store full! cupcake lover
The yummiest cupcakes I've found are from Teacake Bakeshop: I like their cupcakies, which are shorter & flatter than traditional cupcakes
Now I'm Salivating
No contest - the very best cupcakes I have ever had in the East Bay come from Braxton Boxes. Moist, flavorful, just the right amount of sweet \x96 no cloying mass-produced treats here. Pam and Ron will work with you to ensure you get the flavor and design you want. They created pink lemonade for my friend\x92s daughter\x92s last birthday. Each cupcake had a little candy ladybug or flower perched on the frosting. When one of the kids at my daughter\x92s preschool moved back to China, they topped each cupcake at her going away party with a piece of chocolate with a character from the Chinese alphabet on it. Their cakes rock too but I am most partial to their cupcakes \x96 the ultimate comfort food! They are a home-based business so can keep their costs competitive with the cupcake bakeries. And Ron and Pam are truly wonderful. If I sound like I\x92m gushing, it\x92s because I am. Contact them at braxtonsboxes[at]
I just read your post and wanted to mention that I have recently seen a cupcake cake that was really neat. It was made up of about 20-30 cupcakes all set upclose to one another with frosting decorating them all as one big picture. Super easy to serve and lots of fun looking. Here's an example I found on the web (not nearly as cute as the one I saw though). Endless possibilities... Good luck!
Fellow Mom
I get birthday cupcakes at the Pak N Save in Emeryville, at 40th St. and San Pablo Ave. The store has a big onsite bakery, the cupcakes have gooey frosting, lots of decorations, come in vanilla and chocolate so kids have a choice, and are reasonably priced. They are not gourmet but I think that is wasted on kids. Pak N Save is actually a Safeway store, I guess they call it that because it's bigger than the usual Safeway. rami

Tres leches cake

Feb 2007

Can anyone recommend a good place to get Tres Leches cake? I'd like to be able to buy a slice, and if I like it, then I'll go ahead and order a whole cake. However, I don't know where to go! Thanks! craving tres leches

Try Sugar Bowl Bakery in the 4th St. neighborhood in Berkeley. 524-3906. I don't remember if they sell tres leche by the slice but I got a tres leches cake there last year and it was good! anon
I just bought a slice at Neldam's Danish Bakery - Oakland, on Telegraph at the mid-thirties (cross-street). It was yummy! pregnant & sampling LOTS of sweets ...
Feb 2006

My birthday is coming up in February and I'm trying to give my husband some ideas for bakers. I am in love with tres leches (3 milk) cake that I tasted in Cabo. Does anyone have a good baker that makes cakes? Thanks. loretta

Merritt Bakery in Oakland has a Tres Leches cake. I haven't tasted that particular cake, but I have been happy with other cakes I have purchased there.
Market Hall in Rockridge makes a Tres Leches cake, and it is available on the catering menu, too. Market Hall Caterers number is 547-4066. Happy birthday!
Dessert Fan
My family loves the tres leches cake at the Cactus Taqueria on College Ave.! You could also try
Someone asked about getting Tres Leches Cake in the East Bay for her birthday. I saw a friend tonight, she owns a bakery in Mexico and lives part of the year here. She told me that The Pasta Shop (Market Hall in Rockridge, or Pasta Shop on 4th Street) recently started making this cake. If you get it, she advises to order it fresh for your party.
Cake Lover

Sugar-free cakes

March 2005

I am trying to prepare for my son's first birthday party as a sugar-free kid. Can any of you recommend a bakery that makes sugar-free cakes? Thanks in advance for your suggestions. Lena

Hi, The Nabolom Bakery on Russell street at College Avenue makes some goodies with maple syrup or sucanat instead of sugar. You might want to make them a special request.
Try Barbara Llewellyn Catering--they did a fructose sweetened chocolate cake for our wedding and it was delicious.
See also: NON or LOW sugar Birthday Cake for 2-y-o

Gourmet, pretty cakes like Masse's

May 2005

Interested in recommendations for Bay area bakeries that do gourmet, pretty cakes like Masse's. Especially interested in a bakery that can do great quality with a large, event cake. Thanks. Cake Connoisseur

Hi, Looking for a beautiful and yummy cake for a big event function. I know about Masse's and Katrina Rozelle and am looking for other recommenations in the Bay area along the lines of the sort of cake that Masse's makes.
Crixa Cakes on Adeline in Berkeley makes wonderful cakes. I have also had good luck with Virginia Bakery in Berkeley for larger sheet cakes. S.
Here's the website for a well-known Sonoma County Baker:

A friend is using her for a summer wedding and say the cakes taste awesome. They are certainly beautiful. I believe she travels with her cakes. I want cake now!

Sweet Adeline at Adeline and 63rd in Oakland has great cakes. They mostly take orders, but occasionally have some pre-made. I assume that they do event cakes. La Farine: west side of College avenue between Alcatraz and Clairmont also has yummy special cakes. bakery addict
Walnut Creek Baking Company has the very best cakes in the East Bay. I frequently purchase cakes for business luncheons and office functions. The location is very convenient w/ ample parking, the cake deocorators there are superb, the cakes are absolutly delicious and beautiful! I highly recommend Walnut Creek Baking Company! Their phone number is 925.988.9222 and their website is Carin

Good & affordable cake for a shower

July 2004

I am looking for a recommendation on a good and affordable cake for a shower for 20-40 people in the east bay. I am open to suggestions from Costco to bakeries. Thanks WSP

My extended family agrees that you can't do better than Costco. They sell half sheet cakes (serve about 50) for about $12-14. They are delicious and very pretty, with about a dozen designs to choose from, and they will add writing or customize colors to your specifications. You can either just choose a pre-made one from the case or order in advance. We just used one of their cakes for my son's third birthday, and it was far better than the Toot Sweets cake we paid $40 for the year before. Catherine
I recently had the caramel delight cake from Adronico's. It's a moist chocolate cake with caramel filling and buttercream frosting. If you like chocolate and caramel, it doesn't get much better than this. And the price is decent. Kerry

Boston Cream Pie

June 2004

Hi there, Can anyone recommend a bakery, or grocery store that has a good boston cream pie? thanks, cris

Crixa Bakery on Adeline, near where it hits Shattuck (Berkeley Bowl area). Call to see if available before you go, but all their stuff is great. Ellen I've never tried it, but my favorite bakery, Crixa Cakes, has a beautiful Boston Cream Pie. Their other cakes, which I've had, are absolutely delicious, old-fashioned, simple and uncomplicated. This bakery is on Adeline Street in Berkeley and was just written up in San Francisco magazine. Berkeley cake lover

Cake that dogs can eat

June 2004

I didn't see anything about this on the web site. Does anyone know where I can purchase a cake that dogs can eat? My dog's half-sister is having her 1 year old birthday party.

My sister thought I lost my mind, but I have purchased a birthday cake for my dog. We got it at the Three Dog Bakery. I don't believe there are any in this area, but you can order it online and have it shipped. The dog seemed to enjoy it.

I don't know if they have any cakes, but there's a store on Chestnut St. in SF called Catnip + Bones. They have really cute and fancy (& expensive) dog treats. Kindof like a fancy pastry shop for dogs. anon

Three Dog Bakery is a great place to purchase a doggie birthday cake. They do not use sugar or any chemicals. All the ingredients are natural. The ''chocolate'' cakes are really not chocolate since chocolate can make a dog sick. The chocolate cakes are really make from carob. Here is their website. Click on ''Shop the Dogalong'' and then Click on ''Celebration Cakes''. Joy joy.randel [at]
I don't have a dog, but I know you can buy a dog *cake* at Bella and Daisys on Union Street in SF ( Kim
Check out City Dogs Boutique and Barkery in Pleasant Hill. 925/685-4688 Rachel

Authentic French Croissants?

September 2003

Can anyone tell me where to find a truly sublime French-style croissant in the Berkeley or Oakland area? Pregnant & Craving

La Farine on College, near Alcatraz. I also recommend their morning buns, but leave some for me! (smile) Eric
The chocolate croissants at Citizen Cake in San Francisco are beyond compare. kathryn
Try Masa's (Ed: Masse's) in North Berkeley (on Shattuck). They are very close to the real thing! Kerry
Masse's Pastries on Shattuck next to Black Oak Books (in the Gourmet Gulch area by the Cheese Board). Five years ago we asked the same question. After a long search to too many medocre bakeries we finally found Masse's and were able to breath free again. The only thing is that we're not the only people who know about Masse's and so they do sometimes sell out of croissant in the first hour or two. Great cakes too! Dominic
The next best thing to flying to a Parisian bakery would be to get the boxed croissants from Williams Sonoma. They are so awesome! You can probably buy them online as well. From someone who loves to eat, especially baked goods
I recommend La Farine on College Ave @ Claremont.
La Farine, on College at Alcatraz! The best croissants in the area -- not quite as crisp as in France, but awfully good. anon
La Farine. No question.

Spice cake with cream cheese frosting

June 2003

I need to find a bakery in the Oakland area that makes a good spice cake with cream cheese frosting (with no nuts in either). Any suggestions? This is for a special birthday, and he does not like carrot cake as a substitution. Thanks! Ellen

I would recommend Crixa Cakes at 2748 Adeline. Phone # is 510- 548-0421. I believe they make a spice cake and all of their cakes are delicious. Cake Lover
I seem to recall that one of Virginia Bakery's cake options is spice cake and I think they'll do a cream cheese frosting. It's been a while since I got that info., so definitely call them and ask.
The Virginia Bakery (Shattuck and Virginia) makes an applesauce cake that I can only describe as a spice cake. They generally make it with a caramel frosting, but I'd be shocked if they wouldn't make it with cream cheese if you preordered it. They're really nice there -- I'm sure they'd give you a small sample to see if it fits the bill. Tamar

Good Danish?

June 2003

This seems like a sort of trivial request but it's now come up twice.... Where can we get good straight ahead Danish pastries? We're not looking for fancy-schmancy French pastries like La Farine (though we love those too!) but something along the lines of a really good cheese danish, like Svenhards if they were really good. Double plus points if they are open before 10 on Sunday (which Neldhams isn't) or in Oakland. Danish Seeker

One word -- Nabolom. Dan
Nabolom in Berkeley (just east of College on Russell), although the danish there might justifiably be called fancy. They are a bit expensive but absolutely delicious. Plain, blueberry, prune, raspberry, apricot, others in season... You'll have to verify the quality, I haven't bought a danish in a long time--don't live in the area any more. But they were always great in past years. Used to go there every weekend
I'm not sure if it is exactly what you are looking for, but when I think of great cheese danishes, I think of Nabolom Bakery. They may have a simple cheese danish, I'm not sure, but they definitely have wonderful fruit and cheese pastries. They are not fancy, but are very tasty and made with good ingredients. My mouth is watering just thinking of them. Nabolom is located off College Avenue one block north of Ashby (Russell?). Jennifer C
Montclair Baking Company off Mountain Blvd (Park Blvd Exit from 13)has a pear danish that is really great. Don't know their hours. The former Grace Baking in Market Hall sells a variety of bakerys' goodies including Artisan Baking danishes. Those are good, too. Especially cherry cheese. anon.
Try Nabolom in the Elmwood (on Russell off of College). Great Apricot danishes. - RK
Try Ladyfingers on the corner of Santa Clara (becomes Macarthur) and Oakland Ave. They are really yummy.
Find a great cheese danish at Nobolom Bakery on Russell at College. Don't know about their cheese danish, but Virginia Street Bakery or Ecliar Pastries on Telegraph Ave are both traditional bakeries. Try them. JoAnne
A no-brainer: the cheese danishes at Nabolom (Russell street near College Ave)- cherry, apricot, raspberry.... And of course you must try their cinnamon twist. Heaven on earth. They are open early (8am?) on Sundays. peggy
Bear Claw Bakery in Old Pinole is the place you should try. They make wonderful cheese danish from scratch and delicious bear claws, fruit danish, doughnuts and breads. They have somewhat of a huge following and appreciation from danish lovers. They are open at 7 am on Sunday and close early at 12:00 (sundays only) and the rest of the week they are open at 6:00 am until about 3-4 pm. Although it can be a drive from Oakland, you will find it well worth it. Bring the family, there is a great park right behind the bakery, which is located at 2340 San Pablo Avenue in old Pinole (across the street from the Pear St. Bistro and Flower cart, Next door to Bill's liquor's). try it out, you'll love it. P.S. they make the best cakes in the world! Kerri
Try Virginia Bakery on Shattuck in Berkeley if you're looking for classic, old fashioned baked goods. Not open on Sundays, though! Kim
We have bought danish for 20 years at Nabolom Bakery, on Russell right off College in Elmwood. Buttery pastry, delicious cheese and fruit inside. And a bunch of other tasty delights for sale, too. Nabolom is open on Sundays by 8:00, I believe. Bon appetit! Wendy
Have you tried Nabolom bakery in Elmwood? It's right off College near Sweet Dreams (sorry, can't recall the street name). Everything I've tried there is delicious!! anon
Naboloms makes a great cheese danish. Apricot, cherry, etc. On Russell, just above College in Berkeley. Try this link: foodie
Hands down the best danish are at Nabolom in Elmwood, off College. Their other goods are great, but the danish are what set them apart. The fillings have real fruit (not canned pie filling) and cheese, and there are lots of choices. - hungry already!
Bonaire Bakery on Park Street in Alameda is the place for an excellent classic danish - from bear paws to blueberry rings and more, its all excellent. I think they open at 7am but call to check. Their cakes are super too. Enjoy
Amid the avalanche of Nabolom recommendations :), another poster recommended a bakery in Alameda. Just wanted to correct the name so folks can find it: Boniere Bakery on Park St in Alameda. Everything I've had from there (including danish) has been great. Jennie