What: The Opera Cake
Where: Pastry Swan’s Fix, a Dessert House, 73580 El Paseo, Palm Desert
How much: $8.50
Contact: 760-340-3040; www.pastryswan.com
Why: It’s a dessert with a lot going on.
Epicurious.com tells the story of opera cake like this: “Many believe that Louis Clichy was its creator because he premiered the gâteau (cake), with his name written across the top, at the 1903 Exposition Culinaire in Paris. It became the signature cake of Clichy’s shop on the Boulevard Beaumarchais. However, another pastry shop, Dalloyau, sold a very similar dessert, known as L’Opéra (in honor of the Paris Opera), and some claim that theirs was the original.”
I don’t know who deserves credit for inventing opera cake, but I do know this: The version served al El Paseo’s Fix, a Dessert House, is pretty freaking incredible.
The Fix opened in 2011 and serves the yummy goodies produced by Pastry Swan, long one of the valley’s top bakeries. However, The Fix doesn’t just offer yummy baked goods; it also serves full meals, including pizzas, sandwiches and salads. Plus there’s a full bar!
However, let’s put aside the booze and entreés for now, because The Fix is most renowned for one thing: desserts. It’s in the restaurant name for a reason, after all.
Desserts are exactly what we were looking for on El Paseo one recent afternoon, and The Fix gave us, well, our desired sugar fix. Everything we had was yummy, but the opera, well, took the cake: The almond sponge cake with chocolate, coffee and marzipan notes was fantastic. This dessert is not for the faint of heart: It has a lot going on thanks to all of the varied yet complementary flavors. It’s also quite rich: After devouring a piece of opera cake, you won’t want a second piece right away.
However, you probably will want another the next day. Bon appétit.