I’ve never met a cake at Azucar that I didn’t love. The Divina is my current favorite. Find out all about this delicious cake on Serious Eats: Sweets.
Food Types Archives: Cakes
I haven’t been this excited about coffee cake in… ever. Writing about sweets is its own reward, especially when I discover something new where I least expected. Such is the case with the coffee cake at Kona Coffee Co. in Hillcrest. I tried all three varieties, but the chocolate chip was by far the tastiest. [...]
Ask me to name my favorite bakery in San Diego and not only will I immediately say “Azucar“, once I start thinking about the Cuban-style patisserie in Ocean Beach, you’ll probably have to shake me by my shoulders to stop the visions of sugary treats dancing through my head. Vivian Hernandez-Jackson’s take on tiramisu was one of my first SD Sugar reviews, and I’ve also featured the bakery’s triple chocolate espresso cookie in a spread in San Diego Magazine. So, when Vivian invited me back to try some of the bakery’s newest creations, I jumped at the chance, and tried three items: doughnut muffins, the “It’s Your Birthday” cake, and the Turron de Havana.
In my area of San Diego, chain coffee shops outnumber independent cafes, but one advantage that the Village at 631 has over the competition is a kick-ass pastry chef. The baked goods in the display case are so vastly superior to the mass-produced items at Starbucks that making the comparison between the two almost feels mean.
Committing to an entire cheesecake is tough. If you’re not buying it for a party, you’re faced with the knowledge that, whether it’s over a few days or a few weeks, you will consume the entire thing. That mix of shame and guilt has kept me from buying whole cheesecakes (or making them at home) for years. Still, a life without cheesecake is too sad to contemplate, and that’s where mini-sized cheesecakes like “Neenies” from Neen’s Cheesecakes come in.
Admittedly, most of my trips to Pacific Beach are centered around frozen yogurt, but I’m glad I stumbled upon Sugar and Scribe, a relatively new Irish bakery on Garnet Street. The cozy shop features a variety of baked goods, including scones, breads, coffee cakes, and pies, but once I locked in on the carrot cake ($5), I couldn’t budge. The single-serving sized cake was slightly cupcake-like in appearance, with a dollop of cream cheese frosting dusted with cinnamon on top.
I was curious what made an Irish carrot cake different than a regular carrot cake, and luckily, Owner Maeve Rochford-Shulz was able to fill me in.
Just about every neighborhood in San Diego hosts a “Taste Of…” festival each year, and Taste of Adams Ave might be my favorite. After attending the Gaslamp and Downtown events, I finally learned how to do these events right: be picky, share samples, and know when to quit. This time around, I focused most of my efforts on trying mostly sweets, a relatively easy feat since only a handful of places were handing out desserts.
Cheesecake is the ultimate “save it for a special occasion” dessert. It’s often too heavy, making it land like an anvil in my stomach. Knowing the caloric content of one tiny slice makes it easy to pass on this most-delicious dessert, and relegate it to a once in awhile indulgence. Except when it comes to Vonda Lee’s California Cheesecake — the treat with all the goodness of a 5-inch tall slice of NYC-style slice in a downright dainty single-serving cup.
Vonda’s uncooked cheesecakes are made without eggs and are much lighter than traditional cheesecakes, but just as satisfying. At the Hillcrest Farmers’ Market, several flavors were available, including Chocolate Fudge, Caramel, English Toffee, Cookies and Cream, plus fruit flavors like Strawberry, Blueberry, and Key Lime. After sampling the Chocolate Fudge and the Cookies and Cream (both excellent!), I settled on the most refreshing flavor of all: Key Lime.
Bakeries like Azúcar can be daunting. With a dizzying array of treats on offer (including cookies, cupcakes, and bars), it’s tempting to take the whole store home. On my latest visit, I wanted something truly indulgent, so I headed directly to the display case with filled with individual-sized cakes. After some heated deliberation, I settled on the Azúcar Tiramisu ($6).
Carrot cake isn’t exactly high on my list of desserts I specifically crave, but every once in awhile, there’s nothing I want more. Part of the reason why I love carrot cake is that I can momentarily convince myself that it’s somewhat healthy (hey, it has a vegetable in it!), the other reason is more honest: I love cream cheese icing. The only sticking point I have with carrot cake are the interpretations of it that get muddled with unnecessary ingredients like pineapple, raisins, and chopped walnuts.