30 November 2009

Goodbye sweet cake, goodbye

By: Jessica B.

That’s right, this entire post is about a cake. A very special cake, so buckle up those tastebuds.

This week, I’m mourning a very sad loss. The loss of the BEST CAKE EVER. That’s right, I said, EVER.

It’s sour cream chocolate with vanilla buttercream frosting and it’s like taking a bite of heaven and digesting clouds of sunshine and moonbeams.

I’ve mentioned it on here a few times because I have at birthdays and well, it’s just that fabulous. And I’ve had this as my birthday cake since I was a kid. And considering I just turned 30, that is, well a long time and a lot of cakes.

So why am I mourning it’s loss? Because last weekend, my brother texted to tell me that the bakery is closing due to the economy and ownership change. And that it was closing on Thanksgiving.

No joke, I nearly started to cry.

This cake was going to be my wedding cake and be a tradition I carry on for a family I may have one day. And now, the thought of it not being there for my next birthday breaks my heart.

What? Breaks my heart? A cake?

Yes, it’s dramatic and overblown but it’s more than that. It’s the symbolism that a long-time tradition is now gone.

And last week, my mom and dad surprised me at work by emailing to say they’re getting one more cake for us to enjoy at our separate Thanksgivings as a way to say goodbye. Bittersweet.

So now, I pour some malt liquor on the sidewalk to honor that bakery and say goodbye. I even play a little Peter Gabriel, clutching a branded napkin in it’s honor.

Goodbye Shaker Baker and thank you for being there with us for so long.

So questions for the evening! Do you have a favorite cake that you can’t live without? Or what is a longstanding food tradition in your family, for holidays or birthdays?

And here’s some cake porn to take us out tonight:

I’ll miss you :(


  1. Ahunter says:

    I too searched all over Milwaukee for a cake that came close with no luck. I finally found a woman who used to work at shaker baker and she said they all had to sign a confidentiality agreement so no one will ever have the recipe. :(. So sad. If anyone has something close, please share. I have a close chocolate cake recipe but not the frosting. I do have the name of the frosting but it only is sold in 70lb. Buckets.

  2. Linda H says:

    Just checking back in if someone could please, please share the recipe!!!!!

  3. Debbie V says:

    I was just searching the internet to see if I could find the recipe for Shaker Bakers chocolate cake, yesterday was my sons B-day, we got him a cake, it was so-so…and again like all the years before his comment was “It sure isn’t no Shaker Baker cake”, since they have closed I have been searching and trying out every bakery around, unfortunately no luck NO ONE comes close to making a cake like they did. So every B-Day we try a new cake, say it’s just ok and than talk for hours about how good it was when we had Shaker Baker cakes. All of our families B-days, Holidays and celebrations included Shaker Baker, it’s like we lost a family member….I’m LOST without them, I wish someone would of bought the bakery.
    So I told my son I would try and find the recipe and make his son my(grandson)a Shaker Baker cake for his B-day which is in Oct. If you do have the recipe PLEASE, could you share it with me, you would be making my whole family so happy and I would greatly appreciate it & maybe somehow I could repay the favor to you one day Thanks Deb

  4. Linda H says:

    Sandy can you PLEASE Share the recipe!! We followed them for years from when they started in Elm Grove to North Ave, then Bluemound. It’s my husbands favorite. We’d get the cupcakes too that
    they made from the same recipe. Please, Please. I think we are ok on the buttercream recipe…
    but I need the “heavy” cake there was nothing like it. Thanks! Linda in Okauchee

  5. Sandy Trythall says:

    I happen to have the Shaker Baker Chocolate Cake recipe. I understand your mourning, and I was shocked because I didn’t know until the following May that they were gone. I mourned for a while, then when to my recipe box and took out the recipe my very good friend gave to me. I make it for many occassions, but earlier this year, I made it for our church’s fish fry. It was an excellent seller! I’ve been working on perfecting my buttercream recipe because that has been the only thing missing. I think I’ve got it!

  6. malamutes says:

    I like you…..am soooo saddened by the closing of Shaker Baker!! They 1st started out on North Ave. ( a block west of 124th) around 1992. I lived up the block frm them….i used to buy their cakes ALL the time….it was the ONLY place i would EVER buy a cake frm…My fav. was the Chocolate Sour Cream w/ Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting as well….Lordy i miss them….can’t find a bakery that EVEN comes close to the taste! And i’ve been looking for yrs!!! Wish their was some way to contact them!!

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  8. LavaGirl says:

    When one door of happiness closes…it’s time to find another!
    I’m five hours away now, but totally miss and crave the Marzipan Cake at the Swedish Bakery in Chicago.

  9. Erin says:

    This really is a very sad story. I’m a little teary over your loss of cake.

  10. uugh! that is not good! i would be devastated if my favorite homemade icecream shop would go out of business! one of the things i always made my dad stop at on the way home from the airport, even in december!

  11. AuburnKat says:

    OK, now I want some cake! =)

  12. Megkathleen says:

    I think you need to track down the owners and get the recipe!

  13. Lil' Woman says:

    Tear…I’ll send you a 40 to pour out for your beloved cake! :)

  14. katelin says:

    oh man that stinks, that cake does look pretty dang good though. luckily my favorite cakes can be found in boxes, funfetti and red velvet, haha. i’m easy to please.

  15. buy essay says:

    That’s sad! I suggest that you get in touch with the owners/baker so you know them when you need one of those cakes!

  16. What everyone else said — get in touch with the owners/baker so you know them when you need one of those cakes!

  17. April says:

    My birthday tradition was skipped this year. Every year when I was little my mom let us pick what we wanted for dinner, and I always wanted my grandma’s chicken and noodles. When Grandma visited us she would have insomnia and stay up all night making noodles, freezing them for us to have later. Before she died, she taught me how to make the noodles a couple times, the first time we were at my brother’s house and used a beer bottle for a rolling pin. Over the past couple of years I’ve made them myself but the one thing I didn’t want to do for my birthday was cook, so no birthday noodles! Oh well! I will resume the tradition next year.

    And holy jeebus that cake looks good.

  18. Kate says:

    You should totally try to get the recipe for the cake! And then post it here for all of us cake lovers! I would love to try to make it.

  19. jenn says:

    my grandmother’s polish food. she hand makes pierogi’s and they are to die for. shes teaching all of us to make them because i will be heartbroken when she no longer can!

  20. Kyla Roma says:

    Oh I hate that!! My favorite restaurant closed down last year and it was such a loss. I totally feel your pain.

    Maybe if you can’t get the recipe you can get their contact info for special orders?

  21. Emily Jane says:

    Oh no!! Try and get the recipe!

    I hate losing food that holds a special nostalgic sort of place. My biggest one was when I moved from England to Canada, and wasn’t going to be able to get a dessert called Angel Delight any more. It was the best thing ever. They still make it, so once every couple of years when my dad gets to visit home, I ask him to bring back like 12 packets!! Another one was when they stopped making Vienetta ice cream – a very sad day indeed :(

  22. see if you can get the recipe!

  23. cassie says:

    now I’m picturing you standing outside the bakery holding a boombox above your head a la say anything…lol! I second whoever said try and get the recipe and show them the post!

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  25. Heidi Renée says:

    I’m with Nicole–ask for the recipe! It’s worth a try.

  26. MetalSmitten says:

    Aw, no, that is totally sad. What sucks is that fantastic, locally-owned places like that go under while Walmart booms and booms, ‘cos everyone is afraid of spending a little money.

  27. See if you can get the recipe! Like, show them this post and tell them how much it means to you. And then give it to me and I’ll bake it next time I’m in Chi :)

  28. Erin says:

    While I don’t have a food item from a bakery that I would miss, I will miss my mom’s pecan pie on the day (that is hopefully very far away) that she is no longer with us. I used to ask for it for my birthday instead of cake.

    I’m sure nothing will ever replace that cake, but here’s hoping you can find something that’s almost as good.

  29. NOOOOOO. That was delicious cake and I will mourn our loss.

  30. mandy says:

    It is sad when local hometown businesses close. When I was a kid there was this ice cream place in the historic market district that had the coolest architecture, the best homemade ice cream, and a huge chocolate pot where you could watch workers make candy — we went there on special occasions and when it went out of business I felt the same way. The store front is still empty and I hate driving past it.

  31. Iva says:

    oh no! I’m so sorry!….maybe you can put in a special request with the owners for your wedding?