The bakers of this modern cake shop—named 1 of Martha Stewart's 10 favorite cupcake bakeries—decorate elaborate cakes, cupcakes, and cake pops with bright icing. In their open-air kitchen, they weave together quality ingredients, such as Callebaut chocolates, Valrhona cocoa, Madagascar bourbon vanilla, and sugar imported from Gum Drop Mountain. They schedule a set number of flavors for each day, juxtaposing classic flavors with eclectic concoctions, such as french toast, peach cobbler, and Martha Stewart's favorite, cherry pie.
After baking tasty canvases, bakers decorate the cakes with swirls of delicious buttercream or cream-cheese frosting. They can also transform pastry and frosting into custom designs, such as a turntable, piles of books, or a Barbie doll to celebrate a special occasion or conceal sweets from greedy party guests. The rich, smooth icing is so photogenic that no wedding cake ever needs to wear fondant cover-up.
If you ask the bakers at Chokolatta what to dip, dunk, and drizzle in chocolate, they'll probably say "almost anything." They specialize in making fun chocolate-covered treats, from triple-chocolate-drizzled strawberries to chocolate-coated marshmallows, pretzels, and grapes. Their signature creation involves plunging corn flakes into chocolate for a satisfyingly crunchy treat.
Though chocolate is their main ingredient, the confectioners do bake a few other treats. They drizzle apples in chewy caramel and whip up custom cake pops for special celebrations such as birthdays and any Monday that isn't soul-crushing.
Assisting everything from relaxation to energy boosts, Muse Tea House's tea gurus blend black, green, and oolong leaves with flavors that range from blueberry and passionfruit to lavender and rose. Chewy boba and aloe pearls nestle at the bottom of almond and taro milk teas, and royal sparkling sodas—started with San Pellegrino mineral water—tickle tongues with bubbly flavors of peach and pomegranate. For something more filling, patrons can opt for a fruity, syrup-free yogurt drink made with organic ingredients from France and Japan or toss back items from the kitchen, such as macarons, squid balls, and sliced barbecue pork on dry noodles.
Muse Tea House cultivates an intimate, hushed atmosphere with a row of low-set tables and cozy booths shaded by patterned gossamer curtains. Thick, burgundy drapes frame each sun-drenched front window, which cast natural light on a smooth, stone floor so that customers can draw perfect hopscotch courses in chalk.
The first Kee Wah Bakery appeared in Hong Kong in 1938, where its moon cakes, bridal cakes, and other pastries gradually generated a loyal clientele. In 1985, when much of that clientele had migrated to the United States, Kee Wah set down new roots in LA to offer its signature floury goods to Californians. Patrons pick from crispy egg tarts, red-bean swirls, and pineapple crust buns using a self-serve bakery system, which is refilled with fresh breads baked three times a day. During the autumn, when the Chinese Lunar Festival is in full swing, the bakery churns out moon cakes filled with lotus seed and red-bean paste. The shop's three locations in the San Gabriel Valley?Monterey Park, San Gabriel, and Rowland Heights?help meet the demand for Chinese wedding cakes and almond cookies throughout the valley.
Using cake as their canvas, the creative bakers at Kelley's Bakery turn treats into sculpted works of art. Whether building three-tiered wedding cakes or other special-occasion desserts, they spread on colorful layers of frosting in nearly a dozen flavors, including mango, chestnut, mocha-royale cream, and passion-fruit. Not content with a flat dessert landscape, they also add rolled fondant sculpted into designs ranging from flowers and leaves to seashells and ribbons. Children's birthday cakes, meanwhile, get an air-brush treatment—complete with figurines of popular characters to distract kids from the fact that they once again didn't get a cartoon dog this year.
Row upon row of baked, fried, and shredded dough line the glass case at Baklava Factory, tantalizing customers with a bounty of honey, walnuts, and custard cream. The factory?s pastry experts concoct more than a dozen kinds of baklava each day alongside other European and Mediterranean sweets, such as fried balls of dough dipped in honey. Customers can sip espresso or cappuccino as they peruse these confections and the bakery?s array of elaborate gift boxes and baskets filled with Belgian chocolates, cookies, and, of course, baklava. Baklava Factory also does corporate gifting and enlivens events with custom cakes embellished with edible butterflies, cartoon characters, and rhinestones capable of fooling amateur jewel thieves.