Expectations in and of themselves aren't bad per se. But expectations when it comes to food always leaves me disappointed. After all, how could anything possibly live up to its hype?
Porto's Bakery in Glendale has been featured on tv and has half-hour long lines at lunchtime. From reading the hype, I was expecting some type of gustatory enlightenment. A melt in your mouth airiness with the cakes, smooth creaminess with the custard, a perfumed sweetness to the fruit filling.
Or at the very least a darned good cake.
As this is a bakery, I judge bakeries by their cakes. Sure they feature breads and sandwiches and other pastries, but as they also feature special occasion cakes and wedding cakes, I expect a really good cake. I should also say I'm not a fan of Latino sweets to begin with as I've always found them too sweet. Yes, there is such a thing.
I tried their best-selling Cuban cake with pineapple and custard filling. The spongy part of the cake? A bit too heavy and somewhat damp. I don't mind dampness in cakes when it's tres leche cake, in which case with three kinds of milk it should be damp. But this was not tres leche. The custard and pineapple filling was too sparse. The frosting was light enough but the thicker decorative parts of the icing left small sugar crystals to melt in my mouth. Too heavy, too sweet, too wet. But at least the candy flowers were pretty.
Their famed guava and cream cheese strudel fared slightly better in my estimation. The sponge cake wasn't so heavy. The cheese was whipped so light. The guava filling was nice and thick.
As cakes are dessert, something I enjoy after my meal. I like them light, just slightly sweet, a palate cleanser if you will. These cakes eaten at the end of even a very light meal? Too much. Few of our guests could finish their small slices either.
But eaten first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee or tea, much better. Of course, that's not necessarily a good endorsement. I ate them because they were there, taking up room in my fridge. I wouldn't drive out of my way, wait in line for half an hour, just for these cakes.
Porto's Bakery (several locations)
315 N. Brand Blvd.
Glendale, CA 91203