Just in time for the winter months, the nation’s most top cake artists and bakeres are pulling out all the stops and finding innovative ways to bring the happiness of cakes to customers – in some cases, right to their own doors.

A Porto's Bakery favorite, the Milk’N Berries 8-inch cake is now available on the bakery’s innovative Porto’s Bake at Home website. To learn more, watch this video.

This light and delicate sponge cake is soaked with Tres Leches (signature house blend of condensed milk, evaporated milk, cream and a touch of brandy) and filled and finished with whipped cream and fresh berries. Portos’s Milk'N Berries Bake at Home cake features a twist to the bakery's original cake showcasing an abundance of fresh whipped cream and berries in between the layers of signature Tres Leches Cake with an updated, modern decor.

To ensure the cake’s perfect condition upon arrival, the Milk'N'Berries are wrapped with a customized shipping collar that protects the cake. 

Porto’s Bakery & Café operates five locations in Los Angeles and serves more than 10 million customers a year, making it arguably the largest retail bakery in the country. The operation has 1,600 employees. Yelp reported that last year Porto’s Buena Park location (opened in 2017) was the most photographed store in America, beating out the fountains at The Bellagio in Las Vegas.

In the early years (Porto’s opened its first store in 1975), the bakeries were 3,000 square feet. The newest locations are at least 21,000 square feet, and Buena Park is 28,000 square feet. In addition, they operate a 57,000 square foot commissary.

“We have a nation where food is becoming more and more important,” Raul Porto says. “People are searching for unique and independent stores. The demand for great products is out there. That’s why price and quality are really important.”

Star treatment

Award-winning restaurant chef Stephanie Izard has opened a bakery inside Little Goat Diner in West Loop. Sugargoat, which is operated by Izard and pastry chef Faith Taheny, opened Nov. 9 inside the diner at 820 W. Randolph St. The bakery offers a variety of cakes, pies, cookies, muffins and more.

“This past spring, I baked more than I have in years,” Izard said in a press release. “It’s such a comforting form of cooking.”

Taheny and Izard tapped their favorite childhood flavor combinations — “like dipping a French fry in a milkshake or pancakes covered in maple syrup,” Izard said — to create the menu.

Bakery offerings include an avocado toast cake, a spiced latte cake, a caramel corn cake and Cheez-It cake with cheddar caramel, strawberry Nesquik buttercream, cheddar caramel buttercream and a peanut butter Cheez-It crunch.

A single cupcake sells for $3.75, while a 6-inch cake sells for $40 and a 12-inch cake sells for $95.

James Beard award winner Joanne Chang, owner of Flour Bakery + Café in Boston, is busy with many projects including perfecting delicious cakes.

Of note, favorites include the midnight chocolate cake, a dark devil’s food cake filled with a milk chocolate buttercream and finished with bittersweet chocolate ganache and fresh seasonal fruit; the lemon-raspberry cake, lemon cake brushed with lemon syrup, filled with lemon curd, crushed raspberries, buttercream, and fresh seasonal fruit; the hazelnut-almond dacquoise, with hazelnut and almond meringues with coffee buttercream and dark ganache and decorated with hazelnuts; and the low fat vegan chocolate cake, a chocolatey Bundt cake with chocolate chips, topped with vegan ganache.

Chang is a big proponent of staying ahead of culinary trends and recently added a line of whole grain choices.

“Today's consumer is knowledgeable and curious and opinionated about what they eat and put in their bodies,” she says. “Offering products with whole grains is hugely important. In the same way we've added vegan and gluten free options to our menu, now we have whole grain items and our guests appreciate these and benefit from them.”