If you have ever had an early flight or been up late enough from the night before to stumble into a 24-hour donut shop during baking hours, you know that the smell of freshly baked donuts or pastries is enough to make you salivate, cry and want to curl up in a blanket of warm croissants.
Ok, maybe that’s just me but there really is nothing quite like warm, fresh baked goods from the oven, no matter where that oven may be. My mom’s chocolate chip cookies in the oven still makes me dance around the kitchen like I’m in first grade and the wait for them to finish are the longest 10-12 minutes in the history of time. So without further ado, here are the best bakeries in the southland. Just in time for picnic and wedding season!
315 North Brand Boulevard
Glendale, CA 91203-2303
If there was an Olympic medal for bakeries, Porto’s would get the gold every time. This place is bakery heaven. The immigrant Porto family opened the business in the 1960s with not much other than Rosa Porto’s exceptional talent for cake making and an American dream. Starting the business from home outgrew itself in a very short time and Rosa’s husband was able to quit his two jobs to help Rosa full time. The little cake business evolved to include mousses, pastries and other delectables. Today Porto’s has three locations and an extensive menu that includes savory items like ham and cheese croquettes and tuna puffs. If you’re looking for sweet, the mango mousse is to die for and if there is an occasion in your life that calls for cake, the best one you’ll ever have is right here at Porto’s. Try the chocolate grand marnier mousse cake.
Sweet Lady Jane Bakery
8360 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90069
For more than 20 years, Sweet Lady Jane has been tempting the taste buds of locals with their incredible tarts, cakes and pies. The shop is something out of a Harry Potter movie and the desserts look so pretty they hardly seem real. They make an almond chocolate crunch tart that is absolutely the best thing that has ever been done to nuts and chocolate. All of their ingredients are of the highest quality and Sweet Lady Jane’s designers and decorators are truly incomparable artists. Try the brownie sundae cheesecake if you want to send your taste buds into overdrive.
Miss Priss Cupcakes and Such
4131 Norse Way
Long Beach, CA 90808
I have a thing for cupcakes and when the cupcake revolution hit, I couldn’t have been happier. What’s not to love about a mini cake that you can eat in a single serving? The danger with a whole cake is that I will eat the whole cake in time. But cupcakes are easier to manage and since I have zero control when there is warm German chocolate in my vicinity, the cupcake is a waist-saver.
The good people at Miss Priss have done magical things with the cupcake and their menu offers an entire section called “Chocolate Cupcakes” which offers choices like Heath bar, cookies & cream, and peanut butter cup. The decorator is a genius and if you’re looking to be unique and stray from the common birthday or celebration cake, try a few dozen of these gorgeous minis.