Everything under the glass at Hotcakes Bakes, on the border of Culver and Los Angeles, looks good. The place smells like a dream, it’s immaculate, and the various cakes just look incredible. It’s like an adult, heavenly version of Willy Wonka’s factory. It’s the kind of place that makes you think, “to hell with diets and healthy eating – let’s just dive in and swim in the frosting.”
“How do you work here and not get fat,” we ask the server. She returns a polite laugh, but we both know it’s a dumb question. Work is work – nobody is chowing down on their own product.
Still, choosing anything from the display is practically impossible because, again, literally everything looks amazing. It’s a sea of chocolate, vanilla and the full rainbow of frosting colors. The presentation make sense when you consider the fact that French-born owner Elfie Weiss comes from a family of cabaret artists.
“Elfie started working in entertainment at the age of seven and had a very substantial career as an actress and singer in Paris by the time she was eighteen,” reads their website biography. “She then moved to Los Angeles to continue her career, but she slowly realized that entertainment was not the only passion that she shared with her parents – baking was always at center stage. Elfie’s father used to work as a pastry chef when he was a young man in Paris in order to pay for his dancing lessons at the Paris Opera. Elfie’s father shared with her his love for preparing the essential bread and ‘sweets of life.’ Elfie trained primarily with her father as well as in Paris’ renowned bakery Gerard Mulot and Laduree.”
Weiss opened Hotcakes Bakes in 2005, and hasn’t looked back. We went in on a weekday afternoon, discovering it by accident after reviewing the New Flavors Chinese/Hawaiian fusion restaurant a few doors away. But what a happy accident it was.
In the end, we opted for a couple of vegan cupcakes, so that the vegan in the family could enjoy them too. This helped with the decision making process. Both cupcakes – the Brown Sugar Vanilla and Ruby’s Chocolate on Chocolate – were incredible.
You don’t notice the missing dairy at all, such is the delicate hand of the baker. The cake is moist and full of flavor, while the frosting is delightfully sweet and light. Frankly though, you could close your eyes and point, and you won’t be disappointed with what you get.
Hotcakes Bakes is located at 4119 S Centinela Ave, Los Angele 90066. Call 310-397-2324 or visit hotcakesbakes.com.