The Cake Smith
The Cake Smith in Bloor West Village specializes in made-from-scratch custom cakes and pastries. The treats you'll find here are the creations of owner and cake-maker extraordinaire Nataliya Shevtsis, who was quick to point out that everything she knows about baking - including all the recipes used here - she learned from her grandmother.
From the outside of the shop looking in, I felt like a child, pressing my face up against the glass, marvelling at all the detailed and pristine-looking cakes in the display window. Walking in, I can't help but notice the smell of sugar and flour wafting from the back kitchen.
There's not much seating here; there's two small circular tables each enclosed by four seats.
What grabs my attention are the rows upon rows of desserts in the three glass display cases. There are lots of options here for your afternoon or post-dinner sugar fix, and they're all made from scratch in house.
I try the cannoli ($3.50), which consists of a hefty amount of fresh, real cream laced with ricotta and chocolate chips encased in a wafer pastry.
I usually veer away from store-bought cheesecakes because they usually taste artificial. But the cheesecakes here ($4.50) consist of real fruit. The cherry-flavoured version definitely takes the cake (see what I did there?).
The walnut cookie ($13.50/lb) resembles the walnut cakes you'd find in Koreatown. But instead of being filled with red bean paste, this version was filled with dulce de leche cream and walnuts. Delicious, all the same.
There's also gluten-free almond cookies; cupcakes; mousses; eclairs; tiramisu; other cream-filled goodies; and, of course, cakes - by the slice or whole.
While there's always the more conventional-looking cakes available here, if you really feel like being adventurous you can order one of Shevtsis's " shape cakes ," which are impressively detailed and artistic fondant-coated creations - like sculptures, but edible.
For regular custom cakes, Shevtsis requires anywhere from two to seven days notice depending on how complex the request. Shevtsis says most cakes take about four to five hours to make, start to finish.
Photos by Hector Vasquez.