It's absolutely no secret that I love travelling through the United States. One of my favourite times to be there is during the fall, when the weather cools slightly in the evenings, warm coloured trees transform the atmosphere, and pumpkin spiced treats can be found on every bakery counter. A few short months ago, my dear friend Mav and I set out on a sweet little mission: to deliver a unique cake decorating class to American cakers at none other than Baking Arts San Francisco. Before leaving Sydney, Mav and I decided that in our down time in San Fran, we'd visit bakeries, drink coffee, and enjoy the many little local establishments this wonderful city had to showcase. Our first stop on this whirlwind trip through California: La la Land. Our time in the City of Angels was simply brilliant. We stayed at the Shangri La Hotel in Santa Monica, easily my most favourite area to stay when visiting Los Angeles. Before having left Sydney, I made it a priority to scope out the bakeries I could not leave town without visiting. I reviewed this magical list with Mav, and with her undeniable enthusiasm and approval, it was all systems go!
Sweet Lady Jane
First stop, the amazing Sweet Lady Jane, and sweet she is! We enjoyed a lunch of tuna sandwiches on an incredible sweet walnut bread, and of course vibrant fresh salads to match. Trying our best to leave room for dessert was in the end no challenge at all. I had my heart set on trying the triple berry shortcake, while Mav was fixated on the raspberry lemon cake. Both, simply divine. We were so fortunate to have crossed paths with the lovely Jane herself. We enjoyed an early afternoon coffee, and had the opportunity to chat with Jane as we looked through her great photo albums of cake, many of which were for custom made for big names in the Los Angeles area. It was our little insight to hear from one of LA's best - my little glimpse of just what it takes to produce stand out work for a fast paced city, and make it last for 20 years and counting.
For anyone seriously considering following my trail of cake crumbs through Los Angeles, Sweet Lady Jane and her tripple berry shortcake are not to be missed.
West Hollywood 8360 Melrose Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90069
Santa Monica 1631 Montana Avenue Santa Monica, CA 90403
After a much needed few hours of shopping and sight seeing, Mav and I decided to visit Magnolia Bakery, a much loved establishment known for its humble beginnings in New York City. We were met by Mazal, a fabulous young lady who was very keen to offer us a sample of the banana pudding. I was blown away. This amazing little cup of mine was filled with creamy vanilla pudding, sliced bananas and vanilla wafer cookies that had softened to the texture of cake. Layered much like a tiramisu, but served like ice cream. Did I forget to mention this was the most heavenly banana dessert I've ever experienced? I dream of it daily.
We spent at least an hour going through this gorgeous space. With all its charm and vintage styling, it began to feel like I had stepped right onto the set of Pleasantville...with not a single complaint from me!
Magnolia is a baking institution, with a few locations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and even Dubai. Visit the site, get your hands on the cookbook, and make the banana pudding. Be sure to let it set for 6 hours. P.s. Do not cheat by sneaking a spoonful out of the bowl when nobody is looking...not that I did... okay maybe just once... or twice. Don't judge.
That was as many sweet treats as we could handle for a day. Though we were only getting ready to do it all again in San Francisco.
That night, Mav and I worked out. Twice.