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Diminutive cakes

Smallcake I'm having a small-cake moment. In the past couple of days I've had a lot of little cakes, like the individual cakes that pastry chef Elizabeth Belkind (formerly of Grace and Campanile) has created for Cake Monkey, the bakery she launched with her partner, Lisa Olin, from a commercial kitchen (they're currently looking for a retail space).

Belkind makes individual layer cakes -- dense, moist cake (there's brown butter and buttermilk in the batter) with, for the most part, plenty of buttercream frosting. But the favorite around here is her lemon custard cake with huckleberries that's frosted with an Italian meringue (or "toasted marshmallow frosting"). The texture of the meringue is fantastic -- light and smooth and creamy -- and the combination of lemon and huckleberries is dreamy.Petitfour_2

And then there are the petit fours from Valerie. Again, the lemon cake is a winner: four layers of lemon cake with layers of tart lemon ganache in between, finished with white chocolate.

Cake Monkey, see website; Valerie, 3360 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, (888) 706-1408.    

-- Betty Hallock

Photos by Betty Hallock

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There are very few places where the popular, delicious petit fours that can be found. Having tried lots of different bakeries, Valarie's is definitely one of the best in LA.

Richard Maize


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