Grouping the so-called "sweets holidays" together in one big sticky lump isn't fair to the holidays in question, nor to the talented treat-makers creating those iconic edibles that are so often paired with specific occasions on the calendar.
Halloween has its candy corn, Christmas its peppermint everything, and Valentine's Day? Traditional chocolates and crunchy conversation hearts reign. But a number of boundary-testing, icing-acing Southern California bakers are taking the Cupid-iest of holidays to new heights in the dessert department.
One such spot is Cake Monkey, the still-recently-opened shop on Beverly Boulevard near the Fairfax District. The recent spate of special celebrations have seen special confections in the cases, and Valentine's Day 2016 will deliver on the delectable front, in a few ways.
For the host throwing a Feb. 14 dinner there's the Triple Berry Crunch, a full-on Valentine's cake. It's interesting, as cake, as a concept, isn't as associated with the mid-February holiday, save elementary school-style cupcakes.
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Inside the Triple Berry Crunch? Vanilla buttercream and raspberry crumble, to lend some pinkiness to the ultra-pink'd-out party this could easily be the center of (and, truly, Valentine's parties, for the grown-ups, deserve to be a thing, complete with paper cut-out decorations and all).
Pop pies, staples of the bakery, have become pop hearts for the special Sunday, with a quartet of flavors to choose from: cider roasted apple, brown sugar, chocolate almond, and blueberry crumble.
And to complete the Valentine's sweet table -- much like a Halloween party sweet table, less the orange flourishes and hanging bats -- there are pink macaroons and shortbread linzer cookies in the shape of hearts. (They're raspberry, by the by, which is truly the unofficial flavor of the Love Holiday, perhaps after the singular taste of conversation hearts.)
Ready to be a bit fancier and change up your approach to goodies during one of our most indulgent occasions? Pink, posh, and plenty flavorful desserts await in the Cake Monkey case.