Address: 514 South King Street
Seattle, WA 98104-2834
Hours: Monday to Sunday
9:00 am to 9:00 pm
Skinny: 4.5 out of 5 Cupcakes. We have a crush on it. Rarely do you just happen upon a place on a whim and get blown away by it. The ingredients are fresh, the service is friendly, the atmosphere is old-school authentic bakery with a twist and the pastries and cheesecakes are both original and delicious.
We have a family New Year’s tradition that dates back to the jurassic Period. Not the actual jurassic period, but that period around 1992-1993 when the movie Jurassic Park came out. Around that time, we took to making babies, giving them names, etc. etc. and, before we knew it there were five of us, a condition we learned was clinically referred to as “being a family”. Families, as you know and we eventually learned, have traditions. This explained a lot of things; why there’s pictures of me in what I swear were girls clothing every Easter (no, Mom, I’m FINE, really), why my brother and I sat in the backseat of a barge-sized chrysler for two hours to eat dinner at “The Chicken Joint” once a year and why every New Year’s we’d end up at a Chinese restaurant with one or both sides of the family. Being a little thick, I had no idea what was going on but I love Chinese food.
So, we carry on the tradition with our own kids every New Year and get as many of us as we can down to Seattle’s International District, which the entire city refers to as China Town, but the city itself won’t or can’t because it offends someone on some council somewhere. It’s China Town. Our chinese restaurant of choice is the fantastic Shanghai Garden which we’ll review separately when I remember to chew and talk less and photograph and take notes more. On our way out the door, bellies full, laughs still floating in the night air, we spotted a catchy neon bakery sign and, of course, couldn’t resist the quick walk to A Piece of Cake. If you haven’t read many of our other posts, then you may not know that we’re dangerous as bakery customers. Angie manages the front of house at Hoffman’s Fine Pastries, a truly fine European bakery in Kirkland and I’m self-certified bakery expert. No one else will certify me for anything I want to be certified for.
The first thing either one of us care about is how a bakery makes us feel when we walk in the door. A Piece of Cake Bakery gets an A grade for atmosphere and service. The decor is bright and clean with a quirky-but-works blend of old-school bakery fitted out in far east artwork, multi-lingual signs, packaging and price tags. The staff was pleasant, informative and patient (we take forever to choose food). The offerings range from puff-pastries to cookies and cakes, with an amazing selection of cheesecakes and mousse cakes in some of the most interesting flavors we’ve yet to stumble on to.
What we ordered and ate: Josh had a slice of strawberry mousse cheesecake, which was gone in just under 3.5 seconds. When he paused briefly to share, I had a bite of it. The flavor was just below exceptional but the texture was surprisingly light and the graham cracker crust was moist but not mushy. The strawberry was convincing and the mousse texture was spot on. The same can be said for my peach chocolate cheesecake, which was a bit of a dare when I ordered it, but turned out to be a smart choice. Peach is a dangerous flavor to try to bring out in baking unless you’re making a fresh fruit pie or tart, but it shone through brilliantly and the chocolate mousse turned out to be a surprisingly perfect partnership. Again, the crust exceeded expectations (chocolate crust in this case) for its structure and taste. Angie, being the expert, ordered the cream filled puff pastry, a filo dough layered with walnut crumble and a tea cookie dipped in dark chocolate. We shared these and didn’t find a disappointment among them. From the clearly visible production facility in the back of the bakery, we’re guessing but can’t confirm that the pastries are made on site. The puff pastry was light and flaky, the filo was equally well crafted and tasty and the cookie, while I found it to be a little too dry (Angie rated it slightly better than I did), was an overall hit. Dark chocolate is all too often waxy and dewy in lesser bakeries but there was none of that here.
Once we were done ordering, boxing, driving home and sharing the plate while we waited for the New Year’s Eve ball to drop (which had already dropped hours ago on the East coast-we get the replay on the West coast.), we compared notes and the three of us (Jake and Sam were out with friends) put three thumbs went up. Our 4.5 rating is the result of a highly enjoyable experience at a top rate bakery that had the added appeal of being slightly offbeat with its out of the box take on flavor combinations and presentation, while offering a more than adequate selection of standard cake and pastry fare. The only two very minor negatives were the less than unanimous opinion that their tea cookie was a little dry and Josh’s observation that the individually wrapped in plastic cake slices were a pain to unwrap. Coming from a 19 year old that can’t wait to shove food in his mouth, you might disregard that as petty. We’re recommending this as a must-go-to bakery for neighbors and tourists alike. If you’re traveling to Seattle, you’ll definitely want to spend some time in the International District, just a few blocks from the Puget Sound and the heart of our city. Take the time to sit and enjoy fantastic asian food at your choice of dozens of quality restaurants serving everything from Thai to Pho to Sichuan. And, of course, make your way to A Piece of Cake Bakery for dessert. Tell ‘em “hi” from TheFamilyFeed.