7 places in San Antonio for great cake | Wender Mind Kids

7 places in San Antonio for great cake

There’s no better way to end a Fourth of July BBQ with burgers and hot dogs than with a piece of cake. OK, maybe two, because who Not another helping of lemon meringue, a box of chocolate ice cream, or the all-American classic apple pie?

And what we call cake is really part of the backbone of American cuisine, having evolved from cake-like baked goods during the days of wagon tracks that date back at least to 5th-century Greece. Settlers relied on cakes as an affordable, portable, and tasty food source. Because pies require less flour than bread, they could be cooked over a fire with a wide range of ingredients harvested according to the season.

With cake baked into our collective history, it’s no surprise we’re celebrating the Fourth with a slice.

San Antonio baker Jenn Riesman is inundated with holiday orders for the elaborate and giant cakes she bakes through her online bakery Rooster Crow Baking Co., roostercrowbakingco.com, to ship to backyard bashes across the city.

For Riesman, cakes are a way of celebrating both seasonality and sentimentality. She typically only bakes with fresh ingredients when they have reached peak maturity for maximum flavor. In spring, that means you’ll be seeing strawberries all over her company’s Instagram feed. At the moment, plump blueberries are the focus. Soon, the warm autumn flavors of pumpkin and spices take over.

No matter the season, Riesman pours her heart into the flaky crust of these cakes and hopes her customers can taste the love.

“Cakes are a way to take your best ingredients and best intentions and wrap them in batter,” Riesman said. “Cake is the tastiest way to express love and affection for one another.”

And it certainly isn’t the only cake game in town. Whether you’re grabbing a whole pie to bring to a cookout or you just want to settle into the booth of a cozy diner for a slice along with a cup of coffee, here are seven places for great pies in San Antonio.

Apple and Chocolate Pecan Pie from Bird Bakery

Paul Stephen / Associate

bird bakery

The cakes are literally personal at this Alamo Heights bakery owned by TV personality Elizabeth Chambers — they’re all baked in individual 4-inch serving-size tins. And they’re a big hit with Bird’s customers, so get there early in the day if you’re hoping to find them in stock.

Bird’s Chocolate Pecan Pie was the best pecan pie sampled for this story, with the deep and indulgent flavor of toasted nuts enhanced by dark chocolate chips. The apple pie contained tangy fruit that retained lovely texture and a top crust that was smothered in a heavy coat of sticky caramel. Both pies had light and flaky crusts that were baked to a pale blonde hue.

Bird Bakery, 5912 Broadway, 210-804-2473, birdbakery.com, Facebook: Bird Bakery (San Antonio)

Peach and Key Lime Pies from Bobbie's Cafe & Pie Bar.

Peach and Key Lime Pies from Bobbie’s Cafe & Pie Bar.

Paul Stephen / Associate

Bobbie’s Cafe & Pie Bar

That’s already in the name. This South Side institution, celebrating its 50th anniversary this summer, takes its cake seriously. The selection wasn’t huge – only two types of cake were available on a recent Friday morning – but every bite delivered cake perfection.

The lily-white slice of key lime pie was refreshingly tart with just enough sugar and a crumbly graham cracker crust to tame its strong acidity. If you’re a fan of anything sour, this was by far the liveliest of the Key Lime Pies I’ve tried. The peach pie arrived a little disheveled, having suffered a few cracks en route from the baking pan to the plate, but looks mattered in this slice full of vibrant fruit encased in a flaky crust that was baked to a deep and flavorful brown , hardly matter.

Bobbie’s Cafe & Pie Bar, 6728 S. Flores St., 210-923-1158, bobbiescafe.com, Facebook: @BobbiesCafe

A selection of cakes from The Bread Box

A selection of cakes from The Bread Box

Paul Stephen / Associate

The bread box

Owner Tina Kent brings both whimsical and technical excellence to the cakes served at this bakery, located in The Alley on Bitters shopping complex in Bitters in Hill Country Village, and she usually stocks several varieties, including several cool and refreshing cakes from the ice box. Dive into childhood nostalgia with a slice of Orange Creamsicle Icebox Pie. The colorful fluff studded with marshmallows over this pie’s dense graham cracker crust tastes remarkably like the ice pops many of us enjoyed as kids.

A slice of apple pie heavily laden with slices of Granny Smith apples that had the perfect balance of tender and chewy textures demonstrates this bakery’s mastery of the craft. The key lime pie is a bestseller here, and for good reason thanks to its dense filling that sings with the tartness of fresh citrus.

The Bread Box, 555 W. Bitters Road, Suite 115, 210-277-8612, thebreadboxsa.com, Facebook: @thebreadboxsa

A selection of cakes from De Wese's Tip Top Café

A selection of cakes from De Wese’s Tip Top Café

Paul Stephen / Associate

De Wese’s tip-top café

When mile-high billowing meringue sails brighten your day, look no further than this venerable Fredericksburg diner near San Antonio’s Deco District. The cake selection varies daily here, but you’ll almost always find at least one kind covered in weirdly large meringue.

One slice of chocolate meringue pie had a pointed dome of fluffy egg whites and sugar rising almost a foot above the base of silky chocolate cream and a delicate, flaky crust. Other slices sampled included a coconut cake with sweet coconut flakes smothered in a smooth egg custard that was baked to perfection with a bronzed finish that added a slightly crunchy texture to each bite. The blueberry pie tasted like plump fresh fruit with hints of cinnamon and other warm spices.

De Wese’s Tip Top Cafe, 2814 Fredericksburg Road, 210-732-0191, Facebook: @tiptopcafesanantonio

A selection of cakes from Earl Abel's

A selection of cakes from Earl Abel’s

Paul Stephen / Associate

Earl Abels

There is perhaps no more popular pie institution in San Antonio than this Pearl area restaurant. You’ll find half a dozen or more options at any time in the patisserie, and picking a favorite won’t be an easy task. Most of the pies here have a pale, just-cooked crust that dissolves into buttery crumbles with little more than a hungry gaze.

The black-bottomed chocolate mousse cake is a good start, with a base layer of soulful chocolate mousse set to an almost ganache-like thickness, topped with bouncy custard and a thick layer of spikey whipped cream. The maple pecan cake is another highlight here, with a creamy maple-flavored filling laced with toasted pecans under a layer of whipped cream — like the cutest stack of pancakes you’ve ever eaten.

Earl Abel’s, 1639 Broadway, 210-444-9424, earlabelssa.com, Facebook: Earl Abel’s Restaurant

A selection of cakes from Radicke's Bluebonnet Grill

A selection of cakes from Radicke’s Bluebonnet Grill

Paul Stephen / Associate

Wheel Thick Bluebonnet Grill

Of course, the best thing you can bring to this East Side diner near the intersection of Interstate 10 and WW White Road, aside from an appetite, is the knowledge that the pie will sell out. Before you even sit down or look at the menu, check out the cake display case by the front door. Your server will be happy to place a fork on the plate of your chosen piece to ensure your claim is staked.

The buttermilk cake was the headline star here. It’s not common in San Antonio restaurants, and Radicke’s is exceptional. The simple buttermilk filling stayed supple and smooth in its wafer-thin crust, and the top of the cake baked to a rugged brown with oodles of texture from deeply caramelized sugar. The coconut cream cake had a good balance of tough grated coconut and bouncy custard under a raft of whipped cream.

Radickes Bluebonnet Grill, 237 N. WW White Road, 210-337-4007, Facebook: Radickes Bluebonnet Grill

Blueberry Cornbread and Strawberry Lemon Pie by Rooster Crow Baking Co.

Blueberry Cornbread and Strawberry Lemon Pie by Rooster Crow Baking Co.

Paul Stephen / Associate

Rooster Crow Baking Co.

The first thing you’ll notice about Rooster Crow’s Pies is how much cake In Every Pan is owner Jenn Riesman, who shaped the San Antonio culinary scene by making desserts for the Silo family of restaurants before hanging her own clapboard, packs 5 pounds or more of goodness into these hefty things. Forget kettlebells. Carrying these cakes around is practice enough.

Rooster Crow’s Blueberry Cornbread Pie is a centerpiece, although the name might be a bit confusing. This pie starts with a deep browned and crunchy crust that’s packed with literal pounds of fresh, ripe blueberries. Riesmann bakes a thin layer of juicy corn bread on top of the fruit. The whole thing is topped with a thick layer of cream, intensely flavored with molasses. And don’t miss the strawberry and lemon cake either. It boasts a thick layer of fresh fruit under a rich lemon curd and a cloud of fluffy strawberry cream.

Rooster Crow Baking Co., 2015 NE Loop 410 at Los Patios, 512-689-5969, roostercrowbakingco.com, Facebook: @roostercrowbakingco

pstephen@express-news.net | Twitter: @pjbites | Instagram: @pjstephen