If you want to find the best French patisseries in Orange County, seek out one that's Asian owned. Here's three examples off the top of my head: Au Cœur de Paris, Boulangerie Pierre & Patisserie, and Irvine's Layer Cake Bakery. Joining their ranks is Chubbicakes, a two-week old bakery in the heart of Little Saigon that features macarons, cake pops, mini-cupcakes, and their namesake Chubbicake.
What's a Chubbicake? It's a personal-sized dome of layer cake covered in white fondant that you can decorate with colored fondant and edible markers. Think of them as a cake shop version of a Color Me Mine store, a place where a blank canvas awaits you to personalize however you desire.
That's inspiring and awesome if you have mad art skills. If (like this author) the praise heaped on your stick-figure drawings ended sometime around kindergarten, then maybe stick to the shop's macarons or cake pops when gifting someone special. We haven't tried the cake pops yet, but we can attest that the macarons are some of the best we've had in Orange County. The raspberry macaron was filled with an unusual layer of fruit gelée whose texture was denser than we expected. I'll attribute that to a creative chef that's coloring outside the lines, and I think unorthodox creativity is a good thing in a pastry chef. I loved the green pistachio version, though: a classically crisp-shelled meringue that absorbs just enough moisture from the pistachio buttercream to tie the sweet's crispy-chewy-creamy textures together perfectly.
The Chubbicake-sharing also works virtually, as in Facebook sharing. Beautifully lighted and decorated like an Apple store in light wood tones and acrylic whites, part of the fun of going to Chubbicake is taking photos on the store's iMac, and uploading photos of you and your friends with your adorably decorated cakes. Think of it as a purikura photo booth that's more delicious.
Bakery owner Lorraine Tran is a young, CIA-trained chef who interned at The French Laundry, and has appeared on TV's Ace of Cakes. That unorthodox creativity we talked about before? Tran is the one who came up with the Beating Heart cake you may have seen on Youtube. We don't know whose idea it was to incorporate the photo-sharing aspect of the business, but we think it's a brilliant way to appeal to the teens-and-twenties generation that seems to make up a large part of the new shop's core customers.
Cubbicakes. 13908 Brookhurst St. Garden Grove. 714-467-6132. chubbicakes.com