Sunday, July 24, 2005

Neldam's vs Merritt Bakery

I'm waiting for my blood sugar to finally come down. Spent the morning and afternoon tasting wedding cakes. Most wedding sites advise to try out at two bakeries, so we decided to try out two Oakland traditions: Neldam's and Merritt Bakery.

Now I'm quite sentimental for Neldam's since we bought many of our celebration cakes from there, particularly the whipped cream cakes: Chocolate Dream and the Strawberry shortcake. Unfortunately, they don't make those cakes for weddings. But we tried both to be fair.

Started out with a tasting at Neldam's. They brought out small slices of 8 different cakes. Bride's cake w/strawberry filling, carrot cake w/cream cheese, Brides's w/lemon, German Chocolate w/mocha, German w/praline, bride's w/pineapple, chocolate w/strawberry, chocolate w/chocolate fudge. The bride's cake is basically a white cake. It wasn't very good: dry. We reallly liked the carrot cake and the chocolate and chocolate fudge. The others were ok, nothing really stood out. Each of the cakes were frosted with white fudge frosting that was dense and sweet. We tried a bit of the fondant, which is a chewy sugary sheet that allows confectioners to build fancier decorations on the cake. Well, this wedding is all about substance! Who cares if the cake looks fabulous but doesn't taste good? Fondant was out.

We decided to get a 3-tiered cake and an added sheet cake that has no decoration but will be cut in the back. It's a bit more economical than buying an extra large wedding cake. The Fiance looked at the various cake decor and asked whether we could have Sesame Street, Yugioh, Star Wars or maybe Lord of the Rings. I suggested having Anakin and Padme. Then he looked at me said that's just crazy. hehehe

Next off was Merritt Bakery where we usually have the fried chicken and waffles. I hadn't tried the cakes there in a long time. They brought out several different cakes (white, marble, chocolate, mocha, lemon, apple spice, banana nut) with small cups of each of the fillings (strawberry, raspberry, lemon, chocolate, buttercream). The cakes were moist and flavorful, the fillings were tasty and distinct. The strawberry was very fresh tasting and the buttercream wasn't too sweet or overly buttery or oily tasting.

We looked at each other stunned, both wondering what had happened at Neldam's, why were the Neldam's cakes comparatively bad. Neldam's just wasn't up to the same level we had expected from them. Maybe the cake slices they had given us were baked a few days ago. The Merritt Bakery cakes had been baked that morning and were delicious in every way.

Hands down, we both have to give this taste testing to Merritt Bakery. Though I'll still go to Neldam's for a chocolate dream.

The cakes and fillings were so good we couldn't decide which combinations we liked the best. We ordered a 3-tier cake with two sheet cakes, because we wanted to offer our guests as many choices as possible, well mostly because we really couldn't decide. In the end we will have 4 different flavor combinations. We even found a very cute ornament to put on the top (No, they are not people, and no they are not the cheribum children-I've always thought those were scary). The sides of the cake are going to have a lovely matching yellow candy flowers. We scheduled the delivery time at the hotel, placed a deposit and made a plan to pay off the rest before the wedding.

Yay! Wedding cake...check!

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