Saturday, July 23, 2011

In Memorium

They say that timing is everything but sometimes timing is just plain weird. This is my belated tribute to a great spot gone before its time and the brief but yummy moments that we shared.

I had my first sip of a Satura Cakes latte last summer, before a marathon day of wedding dress shopping. No, not for my wedding. We had a little time while my best friend Brooke finished up at the salon, so her mom Fran and I decided to wander over to Satura Cakes at Ward Center to fuel up. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful drink. Sort of looked like a galaxy in my cup. We sat under an umbrella, savoring our coffees before the white dress fashion show began.

Fast forward to late fall. In the months since returning from Korea, my life had been screaming out “grad school!!” more and more often. I realized I could no longer ignore its noisy insistence but needed to find something to do until classes started almost a year later. When Satura Cakes announced they were looking for baristas, killing time with coffee sounded like a great idea.

I decided that a spying mission was necessary before my interview to help me study up on the place. All right, it was also an excuse to have another great latte and to sample one of their sweets. The Konamisu (their local spin on tiramisu) seemed to be one of their most popular choices, so I had to give it a taste. A David Gray song (♥) streamed over the outdoor speakers, which I took as a good sign. Everything felt right.

Interview. You’re hired! Training.

In order to best sell Satura Cakes' goodies, it was important to become familiar with each of their flavors. So to increase my product knowledge, I happily sampled both the sweet and savory. Japanese-style cheesecake, luscious Mangomisu (this time a fruity take on tiramisu), gorgeous kouign amann. I wish I could show you just how decadent each one was. I wish you could go down and grab one of those addictive caramel crunch cream puffs for yourself. But no, it’s not possible.

Yes, this would be the bizarre timing part. After a week and a half of getting used to the shop, our manager Soni called back another worker and me just as my shift started. We’re closing down. In a week and a half. Right before Christmas? Yep. She was as shocked as we were.

On a side note, check out this awesome mocha that Soni made for me. Yes, she's a true coffee artist. Wish I could have had more time to learn from her!

Okay, back to the saga.... I spent the first week and a half learning my way around the shop and the second one consoling customers for the loss of a favorite sweet spot. It was surreal.

I just wonder where all of those regulars relocated to. That group of friendly Chinese men who caught up with each other through lively chats over coffee. The nice older fellow who always ordered a green tea financier and said his goodbyes to us with a bouquet of yellow roses. There were countless customers that the long-time staff knew by name and drink that I was just getting familiar with…. I felt badly for them; it’s hard to find a good new third place.

There had been a few Satura Cakes in California in addition to the ones that we had out here. After hearing my dessert stories, my best friend Tara (yeah, I’m a firm believer that a person can have more than one best friend) went to their original (and now the only remaining) location in Silicon Valley and got hooked on their sweets. The following is her experience in words and pics, which happened an embarrassingly long time ago since I’m so slow at posting…. Oh, and check out her baking blog, Sweet Dreams Patisserie, to be further tempted by yummy things.


Satura Cakes in Los Altos was not too crowded and the case still had a lot of selection. Previously I had tried the chestnut mousse cake and a chocolate layered wafer cake. But the best thing I had was the Green Tea Cream Puff so I got it again this time. August (her husband) picked the Yuma Cake which was a bittersweet chocolate sponge cake made with almond and cocoa powder, layered with French chocolate ganache and it's gluten free. And I also tried the Cassis which was black currant with white chocolate mousse over a hazelnut chocolate crust. They were also delicious. I usually have to have one fruity, one chocolaty and one tea or nutty flavored.

That last shot is of Tara's son Sage after sharing a bit of the Cassis. When was the last time you enjoyed dessert that much?

Reading her descriptions makes me want hop on a plane, grab Tara and make a cake run. Ah, but with Satura Cakes’ frequently-changing menu, I’m sure many of the treats she listed have been cycled out for new ones. New gorgeous, delicious ones….

Anyway, Satura Cakes is great! If you’re ever in the South Bay, go enjoy something decadent and think of me. Don’t forget the latte!

Satura Cakes
200 Main Street, Los Altos, CA 94022
(650) 948-3300


  1. I swear this blog should be expanded to a movie, the drama of the shop closing, the Chinese men losing their meeting place, the artistic expression of coffee and dessert... it's phenomenal.

  2. Hehe, thanks Clare! I think it should be, if only so I could devour the dessert and latte props at the end of each scene. You should direct it! : )