Cake World Bakery
Chestnut Concha / Ombligo
Cochito / Cochinito
Galleta de Grajea
Queso Pan Fino
Always on the lookout for good local Bakeries, particularly ethnic mainstays offering something aside from the typical Cupcake or Brownie, it was admittedly surprising when business downtown led the car past Cake World Bakery, the Panaderia at 220 North Maryland Parkway flying well below Las Vegas’ PR-driven radar despite being located at that same address for the better part of two decades.
Not to be mistaken with the similarly named Cake World on North Tenaya Way, the focus of both spaces on Mexican Pan Dulce and custom-orders but entirely unrelated, Cake World Bakery is owned and operated by Juan Castenada who immigrated from Guanajuato in 1959, the son of a baker eventually picking up the family trade after a couple of career changes and never looking back after opening the single-story blue shop in 2002.
Certainly not a part of town frequented by tourists or even middle-class locals, though the slow gentrification of East Fremont including the likes of nearby PublicUS has created a cultural shift that makes the small Bakery’s barred windows seem a bit overly-cautious in 2018, guests entering Cake World Bakery will immediately find themselves greeted by either Juan or one of his family members, a pair of racks decked out in Pastries separating seating from the kitchen while chillers reside to the right full of Cakes and Beverages.
Far more English-fluent than other Panaderia in town, both the kyphotic woman behind the counter and her coworkers pleasant and accommodating to questions as they boxed several pre-orders including an elaborate Birthday Cake that must have been three feet in length, it was after several minutes indecision that an order was arranged in addition to inquiry about individual slices of Tres Leches, the product unfortunately sold out at 5:30pm but Mr. Castenada more than happy to make one fresh and even show how it was done.
Inexpensive as those familiar with such places might anticipate, six Pan Dulce and the stacked Sponge Cake topped with Cream, Custard, and Condensed Milk tallying just $7, it was at a booth inside the Bakery that items were divided and tasted, the Concha-like Bread flavored by Sugar and Chestnuts starting things off and better than any other found thus far in Las Vegas while Pig-shaped Gingerbread was soft and spongy, though not nearly as spicy as the European equivalent.
Moving next to a Cookie with Sprinkles, the traditionally crispy Galleta de Grajea substituted by moist cake not dissimilar to a Black & White Cookie and all the better for it, those seeking something with a bit more crunch would do well to opt for one of Cake World Bakery’s Elephant Ears covered with caramelized Sugar or the laminated Cream Cheese Danish that tiptoes the line between sweet and savory.
Saving the expected “best for last,” a sizable Empanada chockablock full of Guava Jelly every bit as sweet as anticipated, those looking for an alternative to Drago Sister’s world-class Tres Leches a bit further North will be happy to know that Chef Castenada’s many years in the business have yielded a textbook recipe that arrives soaking-wet while maintaining texturally complexity thanks to smooth Custard between layers of Cake and the addition of chopped Nuts on top of Pastry Cream.
FOUR STARS: Not quite as well stocked as Las Vegas’ other Panaderia, though quality certainly makes up for quantity in most cases, Cake World Bakery is an underregarded gem” hidden” in plain sight to everyone but their longtime customers and a place more non-Hispanics would do well to discover based on the combination of value and taste.
RECOMMENDED: Galleta de Grajea, Oreja, Queso Pan Fino, Guava Empanada, Tres Leches.
AVOID: The Cochito tastes more like Rye with a bit of sweetness than the traditional Gingerbread most are familiar with.
TIP: 7a-8p Monday through Saturday and 10a-5p Sunday, call (702) 471-7111 or visit the store for custom orders.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor