Where to Buy a Cake for Your Upcoming Holiday Party

Three East Bay recommendations for my fellow procrastinators.


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The panettone at Sam's Patisserie. - SAM BUTARBUTAR
  • Sam Butarbutar
  • The panettone at Sam's Patisserie.

The year is coming to one helluva rocky end, so you can be excused if you’ve been too preoccupied to finalize the dessert plans for your upcoming holiday party. Never fear, fellow procrastinator: Here are three East Bay spots that should have you covered, even at this eleventh hour.

I've written before about the stellar mochi muffins from Sam’s Patisserie (2080 Fourth St., Berkeley), which are available in a nicely wrapped package of a dozen for $32. In addition, pastry chef Sam Butarbutar is offering a couple of more traditional European holiday treats: Viennese sable cookies ($20 for a dozen) and a classic panettone (Italian fruit cake) flavored with candied citrus and orange blossom water ($30, or two for $50). Order by phone (909-991-6268) or email (SamsPatisserie@gmail.com) by December 23 for pickup on the 24th or 25th at Butarbutar’s wholesale bakery in Berkeley (located inside the Catahoula Coffee Co.) — or have your cakes delivered, locally, for a small charge.

  • Crispian Bakery
In the realm of classic French desserts, Alameda’s Crispian Bakery (1700 Park St.) is selling a chocolate Buche de Noël ($45), aka yule log, shaped traditionally like a log you might put in your fireplace and decorated with mushroom-shaped meringue. Crispian’s version features layers of chocolate cream and raspberry jam on the inside. Crispian also has a version of croquembouche ($45) — choux pastry cream-puffs arranged to form a wreath, as a festive alternative to the more typical Christmas tree-shaped tower.

Finally, I have a soft spot for the German Christmas cake known as Stollen — particularly the not-too-sweet version at Gaumenkitzel (2121 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley), which offers two-pound ($25), one-pound ($15), and individual-portion mini ($6) versions of the cake. You can get the standard Dresden-style Stollen, which features almond, candied citrus, rum, and raisins, or hazelnut or poppy-seed versions as an alternative. According to chef Anja Voth, the best thing about the Stollen is that they’ll keep for months in the fridge.

“The Stollen is like a good wine,” Voth said. “The longer it sits, the better it gets.”