Restaurant: Fratelli Bakery
Last visited: May 28, 2011
Location: Vancouver, BC (Commercial Drive/Grandview)
Address: 1795 Commercial Drive
Price Range: $10 or less
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Food: 5.5 (based on Saint Honore Cake only)
- Since 1997
- Locally owned operated
- Authentic Italian baking
- Extensive variety of baked goods
- Freshly baked breads
- Famous for Saint Honore Cake
- Local favourite
- Some breakfast items
- Some savoury baked goods
- To-go bakery
- Very limited seating (small bar)
- Tuesday – Saturday 7:30am – 5:30pm
- Sunday 9:00am – 4:00pm
- Closed Mondays
**Recommendations: Saint Honore Cake
I’m honouring the Saint Honore Cake! I’ve never been to Fratelli Bakery before, so I can’t comment on anything else, but this is definitely the must try item here. It’s a small authentic Italian to-go bakery specializing in a large variety of baked goods and Vancouverites do consider it a local favourite. Although the name suggest Italian and they do pride themselves on their Italian baked goods, they do offer lots of French and American baked goods too. From muffins, scones, cakes, cookies, pies, cannolis and even freshly baked bread there’s something for every occasion.
The most famous thing is of course their signature Saint Honore Cake. I find that pretty ironic because a Saint Honore Cake is traditionally a French cake, but it is often seen at both French and Italian bakeries. Actually I’ve even had them more often at Italian restaurants and bakeries than I have French. They’re different in style and everyone has their own version of the Saint Honore Cake, but this is definitely one of the best versions I’ve had, authentic or not. For what it is, it is a must try cake and one of the best Saint Honore Cakes in Vancouver, BC. At least I can’t think of another one that competes with it.
My amazing friend surprised me with this beautiful cake and it was definitely a delicious surprise! It’s a very time consuming cake and it’s a labour of love, so I think it’s totally worth it. Although it looks very gourmet, the Fratelli’s Saint Honore is actually a more “rustic” version compared to some of the traditional ones.
Honestly, just looking at the box gets me excited! However I do feel a double chin already. It’s a dangerously addicting cake because although very rich, it’s not that sweet, so you feel like you can have more… I had two fat slices and it wasn’t the best idea, but I like to show my appreciation and I did love it!
PS: A Follow Me Foodie Tasty Twist is to order a bigger size than you need and freeze the leftovers. You can let it thaw a bit and eat it as a frozen treat 😉
On the table:
- Our famous Saint Honore cake is made with a layer of puff pastry on the bottom, topped with a layer of white sponge cake, Bavarian cream, buttercream, and Vermouth. On top is a delicious combination of whipped cream and Bavarian cream-filled puffs dipped in chocolate.
- This cake can be prepared with or without alcohol.
- 5′ (serves 5) $17, 8′ (serves 10) $27, 11′ (serves 16) $36, 13′ (serves 20) $48
- We had the 8′ for 4 people… oh my god this was a delicious cake!
- It was an extra $1 for the chocolate shavings which I think should be included. They leave it blank in case you want writing.
- It’s a 2.0 version of a cream puff with lots of custard, some cake and chocolate. It’s almost like an eclair but I think better.
- Traditionally the top would have thin sugar strands of caramel and the surrounding profiteroles should be dipped in caramel too, but I was fine with this slightly more “rustic” and American version.
- It’s super rich, and very creamy and much richer in texture than it is in flavour because it’s really not that sweet.
- It’s also mostly cream and Bavarian custard rather than cake and crust so you don’t get full from the carbs either.
- The texture is almost all creamy and although there is some flaky pastry it’s soft and not crunchy or crispy.
- The custard and cream are ultra thick and rich, but because there’s layers of choux pastry (puff pastry) the dessert is still very airy and light.
- This had alcohol but I couldn’t taste any of it. It was Vermouth, but I’ve only had it with Marsala wine, the standard rum and once even with zabaglione.
- It’s vanilla in flavour with some bittersweet hints of chocolate and it’s just so easy to enjoy.
- The top is piped with an almost overwhelming amount of thick and heavy whipped cream.
- It’s a very thick cream, but very lightly sweetened and not greasy in texture. I couldn’t even tell there was any buttercream in this, it just tastes like thick whipped cream.
- The crust should be more of a buttery quiche or pie crust, but this was a flaky soft croissant crust. It wasn’t crispy, but soft and bread like and it tasted the same as the choux pastry used for the cream puffs.
- Usually the bottom crust is different from the choux pastry, but it didn’t bother me.
- The crust and the ring of the crust is filled with a very thick and rich indulgent Bavarian cream custard which keeps it very moist.
- This Bavarian cream is the highlight and it’s one of the best I’ve had. It’s freaking AMAZING. I could eat it plain. It’s so thick and velvety smooth it just coats your mouth. You could probably stick a spoon through it although it’s still creamy.
- The sweetness comes from this Bavarian cream, but it’s still not that sweet, but just very flavourful with some vanilla extract, but no alcohol flavour (which it should have).
- On top of the bottom custard layer is a relatively thin sponge cake which was very moist and it seemed soaked with some sweet syrup, but it wasn’t wet. This could be where the Vermouth came in, but I couldn’t taste it.
- The cake layer gave the Saint Honore some contrasting texture which I loved. I was reminded of flavours from a Boston Cream.
- It has just the right balance of each layer, although I wouldn’t mind a bit less whipped cream.
- It’s very decadent and the first few bites are easy, until the richness sneaks up on you at the end.
- The giant cream puffs were mini versions of the cake, but even more indulgent because of the Bavarian cream! One per person! I had 2 back to back and if I were to do it again I’d give a few hours break in between.
- The cream puffs are amazing because they’re filled with the rich and incredibly thick Bavarian cream that’s scented with vanilla.
- The pastry is a very light and airy choux pastry with big holes and it’s nice and stretchy and not dry at all.
- You bite into these indulgent cream puffs and out oozes this extremely creamy rich Bavarian custard filling which is perfect with the pastry and then you get the crisp shell of bittersweet chocolate too.
- It’s truly a decadent bite of heaven.
Fratelli’s Diplomat cake is really good too.
I love Fratelli’s! I can’t believe this is your first time!
@Debs – I want to try their Princess Cake too!! How’s does their Diplomat compare to Notte’s Bon Ton?
@Laura – I know!!! Embarrassing!! I’m rarely in that area.. but a bakery should have gotten me there earlier! I’ll go back for sure! What’s your favourite?
you have one amazing friend:)
Fratelli’s is awesome!! My office is close by so we visit often!! The other baked goods are pretty tasty too!! 🙂
nomnomnomnom i work close to commercial drive! i must pick up some of those cream puffs because i definitely can’t finish that cake!
Wow that looks amazing ! Never been to them, must try soon.
Our wedding cake was a St. Honore (but neither of us is Italian …..). That bakery is now long gone, but was at the corner of Commercial & Kitchener in the ’90s, where the shawarma joint is now. Anyone remember the name of that bakery ?
@vivian – lol I know!!! I’m sooo lucky!!
@Eric – I want to try the Princess cake and Diplomat! Any other recs?!
@Linda – they offer smaller size for the cake! A tiny one 🙂 for 5 ppl! and remember my tasty twist to just freeze the leftovers 🙂
@LotusRapper – Oh I’m not sure which bakery that was, but I guarantee that you should surprise your wife with this cake! She’ll love it! … wow St. Honore… nice choice for a wedding cake! Fancy couple you guys are!
I can’t believe this is your first time trying Fratelli’s! I love that place! Reminds me of my childhood… ahhh yummy, yummy Italian pastries. I really love their St. Honore cake and I’m glad you do too. You might also like their Diplomat cake, I do! Their tiramisu is also very good. They also have this really chocolatey cake, I can’t remember the name of it but it had chocolate ganache and it was just so delicious and decadent! Their biscotti are also very good. You HAVE to go back and try other things, especially since you love desserts!
@Mijune – great idea …. I’ll go buy one to surprise her, it’ll be a treat.
IIRC (hey it was a loooong time ago) our wedding St. Honore had 3 layers, hehe.
@Dilara – I know!! I’m so late trying it!! I can’t wait to try their Diplomat! I love Diplomat cakes! Ok Dilara your excitement makes me want to go back for more things NOW!!
@LotusRapper – !!! yay! I bet she’ll love it! They have small ones too for 5 people so you don’t have to buy a huge one. WOW! 3 layers of Saint Honore?! MMM
Have you had the “Bon Bon” cake from 1st Avenue Bakery by Renfrew? I think that St. Honore is pretty amazing too!
@MyFoodprint – Um what?!?! NOOOO!!! What’s the name of the bakery?
@ Mijune: “They have small ones too for 5 people”
Correction: “They have small one as single serving for LotusRapper ……”
@MyFoodPrint: is that the bakery inside the plaza where T&T is ? Come to think of it I did buy a cake there once (forgot which one) and it was surprisingly quite good.
On related note: Valley Bakery on Hastings in N. Burnaby is very good too, and good value. They were there as long as I could remember when growing up in Bby:
@LotusRapper – you think like ME!!! We had a 10 servings one and I ate 2 slices back to back and took the rest home!! Ohh thanks for the Valley Bakery tip! Are they the ones making delicious key lime pie tarts?
@Mijune – LOL. Except for me, the “rest” may not make it all the way home !!
Not sure about the key lime pie tarts …… have you heard that Valley makes them ? If so do let me know (or wherever that bakery is). That ‘hood is my (very) old haunt and I go by there now and then for nostalgia’s sake. I had some darn good key lime pies in Key West, where KLPs are all the more famous.
@LotusRapper – I JUST confirmed the name of the bakery making good key lime pie tarts… and it was Valley Bakery lol.. I love them! Never been to location, but I have them at friend’s houses etc. 🙂
@Mijune – guess *what* I had for dessert tonight ? ……
Yup, Fratelli’s St. Honore with the chocolate shavings on top. It’s for my Mom’s b-day (yesterday) but we felt tonight’s a better night to celebrate, given the long weekend & all. Evening started with dinner with the fam at Shanghai # 1. First time there, pretty ok. Important thing is Mom liked them, that’s all that matters. But oh you shoulda seen the ensuing struggle for the check [lowers head in embarassment ……] !
Anyway it was back home for the cake. Although we were all pretty stuffed from dinner, we all still managed to squeeze in one piece each. I actually planned on buying the smallest 6″ round, but when I got to Fratelli’s it just looked so small and sad. I couldn’t resist and sprung for the next size up (8″ 0r 10″ ?). Mmmmmmm, it was good 🙂 Haven’t had a St. Honore for awhile I gotta say, and the wait was worth it.
BTW, while cruising The Drive, I suddenly remembered the name of the defunct bakery where I used to buy St. Honore …… Carmelo’s ! That location is now a shawarma vendor.
Thx again for your review. Not only did it bring back good old memories, it started new good ones for me 😀
@Mijune – so it was Valley !!
And guess what, from mid-July thru end of August I’ll be cat-sitting for our friends who live up on Capitol Hill in Bby (actually cat was ours for 10 years but [sobs] , oh, long story ……). So Valley Bakery will somehow be um, along my daily drive there ……
@LotusRapper – I loved your comments!! Happy birthday to your mom! Is she Asian? It’s funny because the older generation of Asian tend to dislike non-Asian desserts because they think they’re too sweet, but they end up liking the Saint Honore from Fratelli! I’ve witnessed it more than once and I think it’s the cream they like? They don’t care for the chocolate though. Glad she enjoyed it though and you’re right, that’s all that matters!
PS: Dangerous! I’m referring to your “daily drive”… I support you though. It’s a waste not to visit… one for the wife.. one for you.. one for mom… one for you… use “buying it for others” as an excuse.
Yup, parents are Asian, I’m a Canto-boy through and through, tho’ my crappy Cantonese would not show that. First language was Mandarin.
She (and Dad) are ok with dairy products as long as they are sweet, lol. But cheeses not so much, which is common amongst the older generation.