By the time we found Crixa Cakes, the bluish afternoon sunlight was tinkling its almost empty glass cabinets. The bakery closes at 6:30 everyday and does not open on Sunday. The menu changes daily and the cakes go fast. But we were slow at making up our minds. Bakeries are worse than quaint bookstores, where you can at least try out something before buying it.
Easiest choice: Boston creme pie. Tender chiffon cake with creamy vanilla custard, covered with dark chocolate ganache. The refrigerated sponge is like Choco Pie, only much better and, of course, pricier at $5.85 a piece. (Fun facts: its monetary value is, however, nothing compared to the Choco Pie in North Korean black markets, where a single pie costs one sixth a worker’s monthly wage.)
Curious choice: Pave vergiate. Flourless chocolate cake. Slightly bitter, some on and off hint of lizard eggs or herbal tea. I know that sounds weird, and it’s not like I’ve tried lizard eggs, but you’ve gotta trust your instinct, and as weird as it may sound, it’s a nice subtle taste that leads you on forking. Now texture-wise, eating pave vergiate is like bouncing on a plush sofa (not to mention that the piece looks like one). Featherly light with intermittent chocolate hits. It gets dense and similar to normal chocolate cake once refrigerated though.
Eastern European choice: Poppyseed rugelach. Flaky tender pastry roll with ground, honeyed poppyseeds. This is Hungarian, to be exact. The poppyseeds are like finely ground sesame, eating them between layers of baked dough is like walking on a sandy beach with a semisweet tropical wind. I’d ditch cinnamon rolls (and I always do) for these cuties anytime of the day.
There’s hardly any better way to sum it up than Elizabeth Kloian’s own lines:
[…]Think of the smallest pastry as the greatest extravagance not because of how many calories it has, but because of the satisfaction it gives you[…]
Address: Crixa Cakes
2748 Adeline Street (across the street from Berkeley Bowl)
Berkeley, CA 94703