Sweet Treats: Beyond the Bakery

This week, we dig deep for a different kind of pastry pusher -- one or two-person operations working from the backs of restaurants, in borrowed commercial kitchens and behind farm stand stalls.

dabombeblog.jpgThere’s nothing a chocolate cookie can’t fix. At least that’s the message we’re hearing loud and clear from an increasing number of sweet treateries spiking the glycemic index of North Bay.

Maybe its a sign of tough times or just our collective need for a little fresh-from-the-oven comfort food, but it’s hard to walk down the street these days without bumping into a Whoopie pie or monster-sized cookie.

But forget the bakery. This week, we dig deep for a different kind of pastry pusher — one or two-person operations working from the backs of restaurants, in borrowed commercial kitchens and behind farm stand stalls.

Da Bombe Desserts: Cupcakes get super-sized by this cake-baking
duo. And bigger is definitely better when it comes to intense flavors
like a puckery lemon poppyseed with raspberry frosting, delicate
champagne, spicy carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and classic red
velvet. Pairs well with their pint-sized bons — one-bit nibbles of
chocolate cake and mousse covered by dark chocolate gananche.
or 794.9164.

Dominique’s Sweets: This Cordon Bleu culinary grad has become one of the hottest commodities at Santa Rosa farmer’s markets with her buttercream-filled French macaroons. The light, almond-flavored cookies come in a rainbow of colors, sandwiching homemade caramel, rose, bittersweet chocolate and lemon inside. Don’t miss her new Hawaiian flavors: papaya with hibiscus, macadamia, coconut-pinapple and banana with caramel. Wednesday at the Santa Rosa downtown market; second and fourth Saturdays at the Santa Rosa Veteran’s building market or dominiquesweets.com.

French Garden Restaurant: Days of preparation go into the Sunday morning spread of French pastries sprawling across the restaurant’s bar. Flakey, buttery crusts, pastry cream and chocolate-filled Napoleons don’t just make themselves, after all. Part of the Sebastopol restaurant’s weekly farm market, pastry chef Eric Rocher incorporates fresh produce from the nearby biodynamic farm into fruit tarts and ridiculously rich quiches. Sundays from 10am to 2pm. 8050 Bodega Avenue, Sebastopol, (707) 824-2030. 

cupcakes.jpgZix Treats: Sebastopol CPA turned semi-pro baker Glenn Minervini-Zick bakes up micro-batches of gourmet cookies in a borrowed commercial kitchen. Getting a box is strictly a word-of-mouth affair. Over the holidays he baked more than 6,000 cookies…and sold out completely. You can find his cookies at the French Garden Restaurant farm market on Sunday mornings filled with seasonal local fruit in late August. zixtreats.com.

Viola Pastry Boutique: If you’re lucky, you’ve gotten a sneak preview of Jennifer McMurry’s pastries at Santa Rosa’s Wednesday night market — most notably her strawberry shortcake and chocolate whoopie pies. She’ll be opening full time in Montgomery Village sometime in September. Viola Pastry Boutique.

Pasteles Fiesta: Why eat cake when you can have tres leches? Spongecake gets doused within an inch of its life with three kinds of milk (evaporated, condensed, cream), then slathered with whipped cream. You’ll never go back to Duncan Hines. 443 Dutton Ave, #1, Dutton Plaza, Santa Rosa, 568-7051.

Divine Delights: Their doll-sized cakes, otherwise known as petit fours are shipped around the world, but surprisingly few people know that this Petaluma bakery operates an in-house outlet where you can buy their mini morsels at a fraction of the cost. Choose from Mice-A-Fours (which contain no actual mice), chocolate truffle, raspberry, strawberry and lemon-flavored petit fours, and holiday-inspired boxes. At about $1 a piece (some run slightly higher), they’re a bargain. 1250 Hold Road, Petaluma, (800) 443-2836.

Humble Pie: Chef Miriam Lee Donaldson does some very ungranny-like pies each day in her tiny Penngrove cafe. Using all-butter crusts and family recipes, her deep-dish apple-cheddar pie, banana cream with coconut and Ohio lemon (flavors change with the seasons) are lovingly baked each day. You can get a slice after dinner or order a whole pie from the restaurant. 10056 Main St., Penngrove, 664-8779.

Chloe’s French Cafe: Word’s gotten out about this office-park gem, but don’t let the crowds stop you. French pastry chef Alain Pisan whips up feather-light éclairs, tarts and buns each day, in addition to morning croissant, cream-filled pastries and weep-worthy cheesecake. Around the holidays, the Bouche de Noel — little logs of buttercream and chocolate — are a coveted centerpiece. 3883 Airway Dr., Suite 145, Santa Rosa, 707.528.3095. Open 7:30am to 5pm weekdays. Closed weekends.


37 thoughts on “Sweet Treats: Beyond the Bakery

  1. Hey there! I’ve been following your blog for a
    long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give
    you a shout out from Dallas Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up thhe fantastic work!

  2. Da Bombe: these cupcakes are terrible. just catered an event where they were served in place of a cake and I felt uncomfortable watching the guests dig in hoping they didn’t think our company made them. many were left unfinished and the staff wouldn’t even touch them. Dry and flavorless 🙁

  3. Da Bombe: these cupcakes are terrible. just catered an event where they were served in place of a cake and I felt uncomfortable watching the guests dig in hoping they didn’t think our company made them. many were left unfinished and the staff wouldn’t even touch them. Dry and flavorless 🙁

  4. Jenna,
    Your response is exactly why I will order from you again : ) You ladies are fabulous! I was hoping my opinion about the icing wouldnt be taken wrong. I will gladly play lots for your Red Velvet…it was the best I have ever had..and if that cream cheese icing is even half as good..then I will be in heaven!

  5. Had Preferred Sonoma Caterers (Amber’s company above) cater a birthday dinner for 25 last night. As I stated before I’d never had their cookies. Our server left 6 fresh baked cookies at the end of the meal for us to try – now I understand what the fuss was about! I’ll be purchasing some next time I’m in Petaluma!

  6. For the month of August we will be offering regular sized cupcakes for $2.00; comparable in size to the local “Cupcakery” and .75 cents CHEAPER! We have been getting a lot of phone calls, inquiries and interest and have decided that it would be really great if you could sample our product 1 cupcake at a time! They will be fresh baked (all of our product always is) and available Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in August. We are located at 1100 Valley House Dr. and they will be available through the company we share space with, Sally Tomatoes. We look forward to meeting you and working with you on future events for all your cupcake and cake needs. See you soon!
    Andrea-you were right about the cream cheese! Being outside for that long, we felt it would be safer to not use that type of icing. We love our red velvet and will have one waiting for you with cream cheese when you come in, on us! 🙂

  7. I swung by family day in RP, specificly for Da Bombe and one of their cupcakes. I purchases a Red Velvet cupcake. It was the best red velvet I have had. The cake part, that is. SO GOOD! I was, and I hate to admit this, really disappointed in the frosting. There was a slight hint of cream cheese, but it tasted like a waxy buttercream. Maybe because it was too hot and they wouldnt be able to keep the cupcakes cool if they were iced with cream chees frosting? I do not mean this as a slam at all..after tasting the cake, I was expecting and evenly matched stellar frosting.All in all though, it was a good cupcake and the girls we absolutely delightful : )

  8. I’ve never had Amber’s cookies but I have had their catering and both events and as pick-up. I’ve never, ever been disappointed and now I will be sure to try the cookies next time I am in Petaluma!

  9. Val and everyone; Thank you for coming down and visiting! Amy and I had a great time and made some money for some great charities! We look forward to creating something unique and delicious for you soon! Thanks again for the support!
    Megan-hope you enjoyed the cupcakes!

  10. My sister, niece and I had 3 of the cupcakes at Family Day in Rohnert Park today and they were delicious (I ate most of them) Jenna and Amy were very nice too.

  11. Megan- it will be held in the City Center Plaza in RP. I believe it starts at 11 and goes till 4. We will be stationed in the food court. I look forward to meeting you there! We are selling them for $1.50 and all the money goes to non profits! You can definitely just buy one! There are other vendors there too… it’s free so come on by!

  12. Jenna – where is Family day in RP this weekend? I live in RP and it sounds like this might be my opportunity to try one of your cupcakes without buying a dozen – is that right?
    Amber – your cookies are AWESOME!!! The hard part is deciding which to get, somehow I seem to end up with one of each 😉 MMM, thinking about the dried cherry dark chocolate one right now.
    So many yummy treats – so little time!

  13. Wojamo- We considered a store front and then realized that we really wanted to be able to close up shop when needed to compete on TV or deliver to huge Hollywood events etc… If you need a cake, that is our real specialty!
    Mike- We too are very conscious of food allergies. Many friends and some of my family have allergies which have made me aware since I started my culinary venture. If you ever need a specialty cake for your child let us know. We do amazing cakes and they start at only $3.00 per person.

  14. SIFT in Cotati is amazing !!!!! We have a child with a severe peanut allergy, and they declare if we call 1 day ahead they can guarantee zero cross contaminations.

  15. Sift is still my favorite place for cupcakes – particularly if I just want to purchase a couple. I’ll have to try Da Bombe one of these days when I need a dozen+.
    Heather- any way you can make those website links functional? Not that I don’t know how to copy and paste oar anything, but it’d make it more likely to drive traffic to their respective sites.

  16. The BEST sweet treats beyond the bakery that I’ve discovered are the meyer lemon cheesecakes at the Wednesday Night Market in Santa Rosa. It’s been worth waiting in the line–and the woman who makes them is such a delight. I think it’s called C’est Cheesecake. But get there early–she always sells out!

  17. Maybe if we all just ignore her, Coastaldweller will go away. We could only hope.
    Thank you for the info Amy – not that it was neccesary. The proof is in the food – and it sounds like you and Jenna know the secrets to success. The cupcakes look fabulous! And I am with Heather – I don’t want frosting to smother my cake…. for me, the cake is what it is all about!

  18. Thanks Heather, your support means the world to us. There will always be a box of warm goodness waiting for you anytime you want it.

  19. Hello, I am the Art Director for Da Bombe Desserts and just wanted to note a few things regarding the commentary here. I did not realize that this great plug for our small business would require defensive training. In terms of background, Jenna has over a decade of experience in the culinary field, she was trained at CCA and has run numerous restaurants and catering companies before starting her own business in 2005. She has also taught several courses around Sonoma County. So, ultimately, I think a beginners class would be a bit of a downgrade for someone of her caliber.
    As for my experience, I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the Academy of Art University. Does that qualify me? Or should I take beginning finger painting at the local preschool? 🙂 Ultimately, it comes down to taste; people like us and they like our food. Micheal Keaton and Bruce Willis were blown away by us at their film tributes, and the people behind Food Network Challenge have been courting us extensively. So thank you to all who support our small local business and for those who don’t, try us sometime.

  20. Where I was taught to bake (professionally) we were told that tops like those, on muffins or cupcakes meant the batter had developed too much gluten from overmixing and not double sifting. That is why I shared that information. To some, the appearance would indicate too heavy a hand in preparation. I will refrain from sharing if it upsets you all so much. Goodbye and good luck.

  21. I can speak for myself and the 15 or so people who swarmed around my desk to get them that they were very moist and flavorful. I actually liked the tops, because they were almost more like a muffin. I also liked that the frosting didn’t go to the edge. It made them easier to eat. There are plenty of cupcake spots Wine Country SoCo, so if these aren’t your speed, try another. I’m not sure where the cattiness is coming in.

  22. If you go to their website, it does not mention that either of them have any professional baking training. That is why mentioned the JC.
    From the pictures, it appears that the cakes are overbeaten, butter or not – so, it might be best to cover the tops entirely with the frosting. It’s just a suggestion, take it or leave it.
    Full of myself? OK, you are entitled to your oppinion, just like I am and by the way, I was discussing the food.

  23. Why are you so mean? You are making quite a lot of assumptions about a product you have never tried and is clearly very good. Obviously Heather Irwin thinks so. That cracked top is my favorite part, it is nutty and crunchy like butter cake should be. It doesn’t taste like some crappy chiffon cake that you can buy EVERYWHERE else.

  24. So Coastaldweller, why aren’t your cupcakes featured in this article? You are way too full of yourself to be leaving messages like this for the pro’s. Heather – what is UP with your followers…. these comments get more and more ridiculous as the days go by! You need a fulltime assistant to delete the annoying overblown comments coming from people like coastaldweller. So now – back to this blog about FOOD.

  25. Replying to Jenna: Yeah, I bake with butter too. I am just saying, you might want to frost the entire top of the cupcakes because from these picutres, they appear over beaten (with the cracks and all). You might take a baking course at the JC, they can teach you the basics. Good luck!

  26. Oh and by the way, there is another Cupcakery that is fabulous…its called “Sift” and its in Cotati…try that one too.

  27. I think Amber is one of those who has forgotten all the rules of grammar and mixed current TEXT messaging into her writing. It
    is such a sad state of affairs. I read an article awhile back about this very subject and how students were writing papers using this method…very sad!

  28. Oh yeah! I am Chef and Proprietor of Da Bombe Desserts located at:
    1100 Valley House Dr. Rohnert Park, CA
    By appointment or pre order only. We make the kind of cakes you see on TV! Over 100 pics on our site!

  29. Our cupcakes are all butter cake and made in small batches including the buttercream. They are definitely different from the box mixes and the kind you find in super markets and some bakeries. We take pride in offering house made and baked butter cake cupcakes and cakes. They crack and brown because of the butter; there are no preservatives, shortening, or pudding mixes in our products. We will be selling 500 cupcakes this Saturday at the Family Fun Day in Rohnert Park for Non Profits. I invite you to try our red velvet; it may be the best you’ve tasted… or so we hear.

  30. The cupcakes pictured appear quite dense. Perhaps double sifting, then folding wet & dry ingredients gingerly? Looks overbeaten to me. The tops shouldn’t look like that, all cracked, etc. Just a suggestion. Good luck!

  31. Methinks Chef Amber just typed her message too fast. I have eaten many of her cookies and can vouch that they’re the most decadent & tasty ever. And yes, it’s Preferred Sonoma Caterers on East D Street in Petaluma, a 100 yr bldg that’s been completely renovated in the past year. Drop by to see it & you’ll probably get a grand tour!

  32. We have a cookie following that is great. wE have fresh bakded cookies- 5-6 types every day for Just $1.00. all of the procees go to charity. Tell you readers to come in and say hi and get a cookie. Trust me they’ll be back
    Preferred Sonoam Caterers 416 East D Street Petaluma

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