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June 14, 2010 1 min read

I'm Still Hungry
by Lora Zarubin

Historic Appeal
Valerie Gordon is on a mission to resurrect some of Los Angeles' sweetest memories-first up, the Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake

After I asked her to re-create the Coffee Crunch Cake from my beloved Blum’s for a wedding-cake story we did in this magazine last year, Valerie Gordon—of Valerie Confections—was both overwhelmed and surprised by the response. After the article, she fielded more than 150 inquiries in the first week and sold 40 cakes—none, ironically, for a wedding.

That rousing success got Gordon to wondering what other treasured L.A. desserts are still etched in people’s hearts just waiting to be rediscovered. And so the Classic Cake Collection was born.

Kicking off her project is the exquisite Brown Derby Grapefruit Cake. As there are many online recipes purporting to be the original, Gordon worked hard to research the confection’s history. Eventually, she honed in on a recipe that both honors the spirit of the classic while adding new vitality with fresh ingredients.

Other pastries in the pipeline: the Bullock’s Wilshire Tea Room’s Coconut Cream Pie, Chasen’s Banana Shortcake and Blum’s Lemon Crunch Cake. And the retro list is sure to expand. “I’d be happy to take suggestions from fans of classic Los Angeles—and California—desserts,” Gordon says. Sweet.