You crave chocolate cake, but your spouse refuses anything but carrot. Junior requests red velvet, and the other child is wild about lemon.
Oh, and the sister-in-law? She must eat gluten free.
Where on Earth do you find a cake that will satisfy everyone?
Answer: You don’t.
Instead, turn to these five bakeries that offer daily selections of cake by the slice. Diners can mix and match slices of layered cake for any event, whether that’s dessert on a weeknight or a cake buffet intended for a wide range of eaters.
Some of these bakeries also serve cupcakes, but for this assignment, I’m focusing on layered cakes because I prefer those to cupcakes, which often come with a tipsy ratio of too much frosting and far too little cake.
9701 South Tacoma Way, Lakewood; 253-682-3488
Find Boulangerie inside the front door of the Korean grocery store, Paldo World. The bakery specializes in French-style pastries, with some of the best cream puffs I’ve found in Pierce County. The bakery also produces Asian-style desserts, such as pastries filled with sweetened bean paste. Whipped cream cakes are a specialty here, with cakes topped and filled with a lightly sweetened whipped cream.
Cake selection: Dark chocolate, black forest, sweet potato and mocha most days, at $4.99 a slice.
Also find: Macarons, cream puffs, eclairs, mousse cakes and fruit tarts.
CELEBRITY CAKE STUDIO
314 E. 26th St., Tacoma; 253-627-4773, celebritycakestudio.com
Odette D’Aniello’s Dome neighborhood bakery specializes in fancy party cakes (her fondant wedding cakes resemble edible art). A byproduct of all that cake baking is a rotating stock of cake by the slice. D’Aniello also occasionally operates a food truck called the Cake Mobile.
Cake selection: Flavors usually in stock are mocha mousse, marble mousse, pink champagne swirled with chocolate and lemon and citrus. Cake by the slice is $5.
Also find: Cupcakes, decorated cookies, pastries and cake pops.
602 Fawcett Ave., Tacoma; 253-627-5070, corinabakery.com
Corina Bakery owner Molly Ott not only stocks regular cake by the slice, but she always has a gluten-free option. Said Ott, “We get yelled at if we don’t have gluten-free and or vegan stuff in the shop every day.” I appreciate Ott’s affinity for pumpkin desserts. This time of year, she stocks more than one kind of pumpkin cake.
Cake selection: At least five or six options. Almost always some kind of white cake, a gluten-free option, some kind of pumpkin (this time of year). Chocolate and red velvet are standard offerings. Cake slices are about $4.50 each.
Also find: Gluten-free pastries, vegan pastries, savory and sweet pastries, decorated cookies, the best banana pudding in Tacoma and cheesecakes.
3612 Center St., Tacoma; 253-752-5649
Head to the back of this grocery store stocked with all kinds of Eastern European finds, then turn left at the deli case topped with halva, then go past the counter with gigantic wheels of cheese and you’ll find the bakery at the rear of Friendly Foods. Unlike most bakeries, cake can be purchased by the pound here. A slice big enough to feed two costs around $3. This bakery specializes in European-style cakes that are drier in texture than typical American bakery cakes, and many come filled or topped with whipped cream.
Cake selection: Always a half dozen options of layered cakes in a number of flavors, including plum cake (my favorite), a chocolate-vanilla cake called Day and Night, plain chocolate, black forest and the European honey cake called medovik. Cake is around $5.99-$6.99 per pound.
Also find: Rum balls, eclairs, cookies and pastries.
GERMAN PASTRY SHOP
6108 Mount Tacoma Dr. SW, Lakewood; 253-588-5777, germanpastryandcoffeeshop.com
You’ll feel as if you hit the cake-by-the-slice jackpot in this bakery. I can’t find a deeper selection in Pierce County. On busy weekends, early in the day, you’ll find a few dozen varieties of cakes. This bakery specializes in both buttercream and whipped cream frosting cakes. I find myself gravitating to the whipped cream cakes.
Cake selection: Too many to list, but whipped cream favorites include marzipan, black forest, blueberry and mocha. For buttercream, try the hazelnut and almond chocolate cake. Cake slices are $3.20. (There is a 60-cent service fee for dining in.)
Also find: Strudel, holiday cookies, bee-sting cake, cream horns, cream puffs.