The Bakery – the opulent cheesecake
It was in the early 1990s that the cheesecake made a firm presence on the list of favourite patisseries in Cairo – and later in Alexandria and elsewhere. And the Bakery was one of the first to have associated its name with quality cheesecake. It still does – for many people. The small size berry topped cheesecake from the Bakery could offer adequate dessert for up to ten people. It is soft, rich and never too sweet.
Cake Café – the definitive carrot cake
If there is one cake that is ultimately associated with cold weather and homey gatherings it would be definitely the carrot cake with white icing. And if there is one place in Cairo that could firmly contest for the best recipe and baking of a carrot cake then it is unequivocally Cake Café. It is moist, rich and never too sweet. It is only available in the large size that could leave some 20 people with generous servings.
Le Carnaval – the ultimate gateaux soirees
One of the things that Le Carnaval could be safely credited for is the strong re-introduction of the gateaux soiress to the dessert choices in Cairo. And its selection of these small and luring sweets are diverse enough for those who care for chocolate-base or fruit-base dessert.
Fauchon – the essential fruitcake
The fruit pound cake is something that nobody could go wrong with. True, it could verge on the plain and predictable – but not if the patisserie is Fauchon; then it has a truly elegant taste and texture. And it surly fits perfectly with the remainder of the holiday season.
Nola – the cupcake delight
If any one patisserie in town could claim that it knows how to best play around with the cupcakes and re-introduce it in many forms and shapes – all of which are surly appealing, then Nola could be this one place. Having produced a variety of Christmas/New Year decorated regular and mini cupcakes, it also produced the subtle little transparent dessert cups that are filled with a few spoonful of what makes a softer-version cupcake. It looks mouth watering and it does taste good. It is offered in diverse flavours.
One has to be careful with carrying the little glasses given that they are poorly fitted in the regular cupcakes boxes for the lack of the right size boxes.
La poire – the fundamental mille-feuille
It might be basic and not widely decorated for the Christmas dinner as other cakes could be, but for sure la poire’s mille-feuille, in its jam only version or in its quarto-flavours version, is always a celebration in its own right. It must be both the recipe (the temperature of butter and eggs are crucial for the taste and texture of a good mille-feuille) and the high-demand that la poire has on this particular cake that are bound to grant a very fresh-baked dessert.
Sale Sucre – the lush servings
It is somewhere between the traditional French profitroles and the more intercontinental date cake, that Sale Sucre presented its petits choux with dates. The dessert that comes in a simple and fairly large plastic serving bowl is firmly sweet – with the unmistakable caramelised dates topping and rich with lots of crème fresh. And with the strong cinnamon scent, it is firmly a winter dessert.
Simonds - the graceful mango mousse
Simonds is never going out of fashion – no matter how many new patisseries are finding their way to the market. Simonds is not just surviving off its well-deserved name but it is also finding its way to expand its already varied assorts. And if you are not going for the traditional generous chocolate cake then the mango and strawberry mousse offer a delightful and unexpected choice for this year’s Christmas dessert.
Dukes – the giant cupcake
It looks pretty – to say the least. The pyramid-shaped sequel of butter-based and berry-flavoured topping that comes in a delightful contrast with the white-chocolate cup. Dukes giant berry cupcake is a perfect dessert for the Christmas dinner, especially with the perfectly made berry filling that lies at the heart of the sponge cake underneath. The only trouble is that the cutting of the cake could get a bit complicated given that the icing, the cake and the white-chocolate cup are of firmly different thickness: the cake is too soft compared to the icing and the white-chocolate cup is too thick by contrast. Keeping the cake in the fridge could make the cutting a challenge – but keeping it at a room temperature could make things easier.
Le Chantilly – the familiar strudel
If Christmas is essentially about family gatherings and family memories, then for some – especially those who live near the Swiss restaurants, and above all the Heliopolis branch Le Chantilly, would not want to pass on the traditional Christmas fruit strudel. This compact puff pastry fruity delight is about as close as it gets to home-baked cakes.