When pastry chef Elizabeth Belkind and her business partner Lisa Olin opened their cake business Cake Monkey eight years ago, they'd planned on having a storefront too, at least eventually. Now, after years of supplying us with justly celebrated cakewiches, mini layer cakes, Pop Pies, El Rollos, cookies and breakfast pastries from their North Hollywood commissary, they're finally opening a shop.
Cake Monkey Bakery will open Wednesday, Nov. 11, on Beverly Boulevard in Mid-City, across the street from CBS Studios, in a pink, 760-square-foot storefront. It's a small, cozy place, decorated with old photos of Belkind and Olin, a pink neon sign proclaiming the obvious ("enjoy life; eat cake"), and wallpapered with old recipes that belonged to decorator Paula Smail's grandmother.
The location, which was most recently Charm City's kitchen, will be open every day, beginning with breakfast pastries and coffee (this would be the Wake Monkey part of the program). The coffee is from local coffee roaster Forge, via a Nuova Simonelli espresso machine. Everything will be made at the shop — the muffins, sticky buns, croissants and other pastries will be baked every morning — except for Cake Monkey's signature cakes and retro treats, which will be brought in from the North Hollywood commissary. (Which is not going anywhere.)
Inside the little shop: said espresso machine; cases of pastries and cakes; no chairs but rather a counter made from wood reclaimed from, of all places, Jennifer Garner's kitchen. (Someone is friends with someone; L.A. can be a small town.) There will be a bench outside the shop and street parking, and Belkind and Olin say that they'll be doing curb-side pickup in the back of the shop. Also, for all the Cake Monkey junkies for whom the San Fernando Valley has been a bit of a trek, the Beverly Boulevard shop will operate as a pickup location for orders.
Now that, after seven years of location scouting, Belkind and Olin finally have their shop, there will be some new stuff to eat along with your morning cup of coffee or to take home. New items for the new shop include: chocolate hazelnut babkas, Mostest cupcakes (the ones that look like retro Hostess cupcakes), malted marble cakes and confetti cakes. They'll also have some merchandise, conveniently in time for the holidays. Denim aprons with pink stitching and the Cake Monkey logo, made by local company BlueCut, will be on sale too.
Or you can just sit outside on Beverly Boulevard, a latte in one hand, a Summer Camp chocolate chip cookie or two in the other, and consider that waiting seven years for something can be a very good thing.
Open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Friday; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday; and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday.
Cake Monkey Bakery, 7807 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 932-1142, www.cakemonkey.com.
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