How to find the perfect birthday cake in Metro Vancouver

Don't forget the candles.

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      Birthday cakes are a symbol of celebration, a wish-making ritual, and, most importantly, a delicious treat to dig into on someone’s day of birth.

      But it can be stressful when you’re the one tasked with choosing a birthday cake. What flavour do you go for? What style of cake will satisfy everyone at the celebration? Will it be within budget? These are all valid questions when ordering this symbolic dessert.

      Here’s a short but sweet guide to some of the most popular spots to pick up birthday cakes around town.

      Cadeaux Bakery's London Fog sheet cake.
      Tammy Kwan

      Classic crowd-pleasers

      Cadeaux Bakery (172 Powell Street) is known for its beautiful layered cakes, usually featuring a Swiss-meringue butter cream or Chantilly cream frosting. Popular flavours include London fog and dark-chocolate praline, and custom cake orders are also taken—just be sure to give one to two weeks of notice.

      Soirette (1433 West Pender Street) specializes in photogenic butter pound cakes, many decorated in pretty pastel hues and topped with macarons. Flavours rotate seasonally, but signature picks include chocolate hazelnut, chocolate Earl Grey, and vanilla caramel.

      Trafiq (4216 Main Street) is a busy café creating some fan-favourite cakes that are sweet and moist. Popular flavours like salted caramel, tiramisu, and carrot cake almost have a cult following. You can also order custom chocolate plaques that are brushed with gold dust and handwritten with white chocolate for a sweet birthday message.


      Yan Bakery's fresh mango cake is a best-seller.
      Tammy Kwan

      Asian-style slices

      Yan Bakery (2070 East Hastings Street) is a fuss-free Chinese bakery that requires advance ordering and accepts only cash. Its unassuming storefront is plastered with laminated photos of regular customers (you’ll find some famous faces), and it’s known for Asian-style cakes featuring flavours like fresh mango, chestnut, and taro.

      Saint Germain Bakery (various locations) is the largest Chinese bakery chain in Vancouver. Online ordering is available (customers can take 12 percent off online orders), and it offers creations like fresh mango, mango-passionfruit mousse, Black Forest, and more.

      La Patisserie (1405–4771 McClelland Road, Richmond) creates tasty Chinese baked goods and pastries, but its cakes are also showstoppers. Go for its fresh mango, mixed fruit, chestnut, or white forest cake. It also takes orders for custom cakes, which can be made with a traditional or modern touch.


      A matcha-black sesame cake from Remi Patisserie can be ordered through social media.
      Tammy Kwan

      Online order creations

      Buttermere has been running its online cake business for a few years but has recently opened a brick-and-mortar shop (636 Main Street). Order from its website, which features unique rotating French-style cake creations with an Asian twist, such as matcha lava, oolong peach, and strawberry devil. Custom orders are also available, and always works of art. Daily cake pickup is at Torafuku (958 Main Street).

      Remi Patisserie serves mouthwatering pastries at weekly pop-ups around the city but also takes cake orders. Its cake menu changes seasonally, and flavours like matcha–black sesame and Thai iced tea are currently available. An omakase (chef’s choice) cake option is also available, whose flavour won’t be revealed until you take your first bite. Cake pickup is at Sweet Barrel Creamery (2729 Arbutus Street).


      Lemonade Gluten Free Bakery's chocolate-campire cake.
      Tammy Kwan

      Gluten-free and vegan-friendly

      The Gluten Free Epicurean (633 East 15th Avenue) whips up gluten-free baked goods and cakes, with dairy-free, vegan, and nut-free options. Choose from flavours like double-chocolate raspberry, lemon lavender, London fog, and many more. The best part is they look and taste great.

      Lemonade Gluten Free Bakery (3385 Cambie Street) is a neighbourhood gem, offering a menu that includes gluten-free bread, pastries, and freshly made cakes. Some of the options include lemon cheesecake, white-chocolate raspberry cheesecake, carrot cake with cream-cheese icing, and a fan-favourite: chocolate-campfire cake finished with (dairy-free) toasted Italian meringue.


      The classic Dairy Queen ice-cream cake with a custom printed design.
      Tammy Kwan

      Chain-store goodies

      T&T Supermarket is the largest Asian grocery chain in Canada, so it should be no surprise that its bakeries create crowd-pleasing Asian-style cakes. Consistent and competitively priced, customers will find a range of flavours like fresh mango, chocolate mixed fruit, fresh chestnut, and more. Some of its more unique creations that may appeal to younger crowds feature cartoon-shaped designs, such as a hamburger, panda, and Hello Kitty.  

      Whole Foods is probably the last place you would think of to pick up a cake within budget, but surprisingly, its repertoire of celebratory desserts are budget-friendly and delicious. Cake availability varies at every location, but popular picks include berry chantilly, chocolate-hazelnut crunch, carrot, tiramisu, strawberry chiffon, and black and white (chocolate and vanilla). Some gluten-free and vegan options are served, and free birthday messages written in white or dark chocolate are also included.

      Dairy Queen may be a fast-food company, but that doesn’t mean it can’t serve up some tasty birthday treats. They offer ice-cream logs and mini blizzards cakes, but its classic ice-cream cakes are the iconic, fail-proof options. Made with fudge, chocolate cookie crunch, and vanilla and chocolate soft-serve, you can choose to decorate it with a custom design (photos can be printed on for an additional cost), or just go with the default décor. Either way, your taste buds will be happy.

      Follow Tammy Kwan on Twitter @ch0c0tam and Instagram @ch0c0tam.