Restaurant review: Cakes and More is bright and friendly neighborhood bakery

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From the February 27, 2014 edition

From the exterior, Cakes and More is just a small storefront in the strip mall also housing Bob’s Bar, so it might not initially generate a lot of interest. But step inside, and you enter the kind of warm and charming, family-owned-and-run bakery that every neighborhood deserves.

Along with smiling faces and personable service, you’ll be greeted with lemon and mango-colored walls, plus a couple fanciful, dessert-depicting art works. There are also a few tables where visitors can cop a squat and sip on tea and coffee while perusing a couple of cases filled with both familiar and unusual cookies and pastries.

For a can’t-miss how-do-you-do, chew on C&M’s splendid alfajores. Displaying the Latin roots of do-it-all owners Adriana Bruno and Andres Rojas — a couple from the Dominican Republic — C&M’s alfajores (they’re cookie “sandwiches,” a la Oreos or macarons) come in two flavors. The more visually striking version features chocolate whiffs and alluring candied orange flavors beneath a thin white shell, which it gets from being totally “painted” in gentle meringue icing ($2.25).

But the “simpler” alfajor ($1.50) is also extremely appealing. Between its two softish, confectioner’s sugar-dusted, buttery and aromatic cookies is a caramelly dulce de leche filling. Really, what’s not to love?

Ditto for the little Lemon-Ricotta cookies ($.50). After a mild and buttery snap, you taste a bright burst of citrus that leaves you tingling with a want-it-again lemony echo.

For a considerably more substantial treat, try a slice of C&M’s Brazilian Whisper cake ($6). Made with coconut, walnuts, cashew nut cream and light strawberry and vanilla mousses, it’s a soft and multi-layered confection embedded with lots of crispy toasted nuts. If that sounds at all exotic, it’s not, because this smile-maker tastes like the torte version of those nostalgic old favorites called “Neapolitan” and “spumoni” ice creams.

Likewise showing this place’s Italian influences is C&M’s version of Tiramisu ($5). It’s an easy-to-inhale seven- layer cake offering lots of fluffy comfort and light custardy flavors sharpened by hints of hooch, chocolate and a serious punch of dark coffee.

Photo by Will Shilling