Appetite: Check it out, Hot Cakes

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The new SusieCakes in Marin makes of bakes it. Photo by Virginia Miller

BAKERIES AROUND THE BAY AREA

Here's a few bakeries worth hitting when outside of the city in Marin or South Bay for breakfast, a snack, dessert...

THE NEW: SusieCakes in Marin, Grand Opening 1/23

I took a pleasant jaunt up to Marin for the first NorCal soft opening of SusieCakes and chat with owner, Susan Sarich. She's experienced much success in LA with her bakery, now with four locations, but always wanted a Bay Area shop. (She used to live here but faced some difficulties opening a shop here before.) I'm glad she's back, albeit north of the city in a Greenbrae shopping center. She hopes for more in the Bay Area at some point, but is focused here, with a Grand Opening this Saturday, 1/23. Her emphasis is on classic, heartwarming sweets, re-creating family and childhood favorites. Layered cakes are a mainstay, with all kinds of custom options, red velvet being the bestseller. With a rich cream cheese frosting, it's my favorite of the cakes I tried ($33-$46 or $5.50 for a slice).

There are also cupcakes, cookies, less common Whoopie Pies (aka "gobs", a Pennsylvania tradition), and a killer, creamy butterscotch pudding, made with slow churned, European-style butter (as are all the baked goods)... and this comes from someone who is not a fan of pudding. The space is crisp, clean, with retro flair, down to adorable bandannas worn by each staff member. On another playful, Willie Wonka-esque note, Saturday's opening includes 10 Golden Tickets hidden inside 10 "frosting-filled” cupcakes. Each equals a different gift, from a cake decorating class, to free cakes or cupcakes. For sugar-holics, securing a Golden Ticket also means you're one of only 10 to be in the grand prize drawing for a year's supply of cakes in the Cake-of-the-Month Club.

10am-7pm

310 Bon Air Center, Greenbrae

415-461-2253

www.susiecakesla.com

SOUTH BAY

**Palo Alto’s Mayfield Bakery is pricey, with artisan bread and chichi pastries but oh, so delicious: try loaves, muffins, tarts.

**Rolling Pin Donuts is old school to the max...and pretty much a San Bruno institution.

**If you happen down to Los Gatos, Fleur de Cocoa is a classic French patisserie with genuine croissants and beloved Chocolate Royal (hazelnut) cake.

MARIN

**Yes, it's a local chain but there's only three Teacake Bake Shops: two in the East Bay (Emeryville, Lafayette), one in a Corte Madera outdoor shopping mall. The shops offer the usual array of cupcakes and brownies, but what I can't get enough of is the addictive cookies, like Spiced Iced Molasses, Peanutty Chocolate or Lemon Pout.

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