Cake Is Having a Real Moment in Philly Right Now

Some of the city’s best bakers are turning their talents to building beautiful, seasonal layer cakes that will change the way you think about cake.

Confetti cake from Sweet Tooth | Photo by Colby Kingston

After a dismal year full of cancelled parties and holidays spent alone, layer cakes — the official dessert of celebrations — are having a moment. Some of the best bakers in the city are turning their attention toward crafting stunningly beautiful, incredibly delicious layer cakes that are meant to make every day feel a little more special. If the only cake you’ve ever eaten is a grocery store sheet cake or dump-and-stir box cake, you’re in for a real treat, because there has perhaps never been a better time to eat cake in Philadelphia.

Cake Life Bakery, Fishtown 
After remaining closed for what feels like a very, very long time, Cake Life Bake Shop is back with a limited, pre-order-only menu that dessert-lovers can pick up on Saturdays and Sundays. They do bars, cookies, cupcakes, and even dog treats, but the real action is with the individual cake slices in classic flavors like funfetti and s’mores.


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A post shared by Second Daughter (@seconddaughterbakingco)

Second Daughter Baking Co.South Philly 
Sisters Rhonda Saltzman and Mercedes Brooks started Second Daughter as a quarantine project, but have since moved their operation into the Bok Building, where they’re producing stunning layer cakes in whimsical flavors like the Technicolor Dreamcoat, a tie-dyed vanilla cake filled with strawberry buttercream and cream cheese frosting.

Feel Goodies Phillypop-ups 
A tall, perfectly frosted banana cake with chocolate ganache and peanut buttercream is what first brought Feel Goodies to my attention. That was their March flavor, and I was sad to see it go, but very excited to welcome this month’s flavor: a vanilla cake with passion fruit curd and fresh blackberries. May promises to be just as delicious.


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A post shared by Sweet Tooth | Jenn Grimsley (@sweettoothphl_)

Sweet Toothpop-ups 
Jennifer Grimsley recently left her gig as pastry chef at Zahav to pursue her passion for cakes full time. Find her weekly flavor offerings on Instagram, DM to order a whole cake or a single slice, and she’ll deliver them to your door (or you can pick them up yourself). She’s also recently started delivering whole cakes to Biederman’s, where you can buy them by the slice.

Darnel’s Cakes, Spring Garden 
Darnel’s is a delicious breakfast, brunch and pastry spot with a philanthropic heart (the bakery supports organizations fighting HIV/AIDS and the stigmas around it). With a specific focus on simple loaf cakes, Darnel’s is perfect for those moments when you need something more chill than a layer cake.

Small Oven Bake Shop, South Philly 
Is a quarter of a cake still a slice? Small Oven says yes, and they’ll sell it to you for just $15. Better yet, you can order on demand from Caviar, for those spur-of-the-moment cake cravings.


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Mole Street Baker, pop-ups 
In addition to turning out delicious Chilean food at Kampar Kitchen, Cote Tapia-Marmugi produces stunning custom cakes in a huge variety of flavor combinations. If your child (or you) wants a cake that looks exactly like a race car tire or a flamingo, Mole Street Baker is the way to go.

Crust Vegan Bakery, Manayunk 
Crust has a strict no cupcakes policy, because they know that cake slices offer a whole different dimension of delicious. Find their ever-changing selection of flavors in the pastry case at one of their locations, or order custom cakes for special celebrations.


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A post shared by BLOOMSDAY (@bloomsdaycafe)

Hey Sugar, pop-ups 
Davina Soondrum’s Gritty-shaped hot cocoa bombs went low-key viral this winter, but her lovingly baked and painstakingly-decorated cakes deserve just as much love. Try them via special order, at occasional pop-ups, and sometimes even by the slice in the pastry case at Bloomsday Cafe.

Fiore Fine FoodsQueen Village 
Fiore’s weekend pastry menu changes all the time, but when it includes cakes in flavors like brown butter topped with milk chocolate frosting and candied hazelnuts or chocolate espresso, you’ll learn to eat cake for breakfast. You’ll also want to know that they do custom cake orders for special celebrations.

Stina PizzeriaWest Passyunk 
Obviously Stina is not a bakery, but their dessert section usually includes a dreamy chocolate tahini cake that will make you regret all the times you ever skipped dessert.

Cake & JoePennsport 
Cake and Joe breaks out of the mold with cakes like matcha cheesecake, blood orange chocolate mousse cake, and other delicate confections that will bust open the definition of cake.