Bring Out the Yule Log and Gingerbread

La Bedaine is offering a classic Yule log (in various flavors including coffee and chocolate-hazelnut) for just $12 that is letter-perfect, says rworange. "Wonderful buttercream with meringue mushrooms and little surprises in the frosting ... a juicy cranberry, a raisin, a nut. Absolutely perfect cake with the loveliest background of vanilla." Any other bakery would charge $20 to $30, she notes, and even Safeway's version costs more.

The quality of La Bedaine's pastries is exceptional, agrees Robert Lauriston, and the prices are just crazy. "The guy is just throwing money away," says Robert. "I expect one day soon he'll either raise his prices or go out of business." Individual croquembouches (two profiteroles bound by caramelized spun sugar) are just $1.50. "It was like a fantasy of biting into a cloud ... soft, ethereal and heavenly," rworange says.

Summer Kitchen Bake Shop, opened more than a month ago by friends of David Lebovitz, has lovely gingerbread cupcakes with lemon frosting that are moist and delicious, with plenty of ginger, says milklady. The buttery frosting is not too sweet, and it's decorated with dragées and a marzipan gingerbread man. Other non-holiday offerings include lemon meringue, chocolate cream cheese cupcakes, salads and hot entrées for takeaway. The fried chicken is excellent: "crispy, well-seasoned, and juicy inside," says chemchef, and the coffee cake cupcakes look appealing, too.

For general holiday information, check out rworange's roundup threads on what's going on for Christmas in the Bay Area and in wine country; and New Year's Eve posts for the Bay Area and wine country.

La Bedaine [East Bay]
1585 Solano Avenue, Berkeley
510-559-8201

Summer Kitchen Bake Shop [East Bay]
2944 College Avenue, Berkeley
510-981-0538

Discuss: Berkeley: La Bedaine - Fabulous classic Buche de Noel and croquembouche $12 ... twelve dollars
Summer Kitchen Bake Shop - Elmwood
Everything Christmas 2009
Christmas 2009 - Wine Country
Everything New Year 2009
New Year's Eve 2009 - Wine Country

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