Satura Cakes - A world of desserts, wedding cakes, pastries, cookies and more...
Planning a wedding? Satura Cakes offers complimentary tastings and consultations!
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Featuring unique high quality, organic and local ingredients, Satura Cakes strives to bring "never another ordinary bite" to the American palate. With unique and gourmet offerings such as the maple-syrup basted French toast, gluten-free Flourless Chocolate cake, and delicious Salty Chocolate tea cookies (featuring Himalayan rock salt and Swiss chocolates), this Japanese-European concept is truly loved by many. Order a birthday cake to pick up at your convenience, schedule a complimentary wedding cake consultation or send cookies or a gift package to a friend!
Why Our Cakes Are Extraordinary
- We approach our work as artisans and craftspeople.
- Our cakes are lighter than ordinary cakes...
- We highlight fine and expensive ingredients: fruits, nuts, chocolate, and natural flavorings like Bourbon vanilla, leaving modest amounts of sugars to play a supporting role.
- We choose ingredients and flavorings based on their taste, freshness, beauty, seasonality, and nutritional value.
- We use real butter and milk fats in our cakes, not artificially-hydrogenated oil.
- We feature fresh, local, seasonal, and organic ingredients.
- Enjoyed in moderation, our cakes are a more pleasurable and more nutritious alternative to most of those that are commonly available.
- Our cakes are the result of a worldwide interplay of culinary influences: Rooted in the European classics, refined under the hands of a new generation of Japanese pastry chefs, and enhanced with America’s bounty of fresh ingredients. (See The Global Evolution of Cake, below.)
Think about the last piece of cake you ate. Was it so enjoyable that you felt an impulse to share it with a friend or loved one? Did you find yourself telling someone how good it was? If your answers are “no,” chances are you ate a piece of ordinary cake. Was it worth the calories?
We believe that high-calorie treats should always be maddeningly delicious. The inspiration for our business derived from our surprising realization that the quality of cakes found in bakeries in Tokyo are generally superior to those commonly found in the United States. Japanese pastry chefs have adapted European-style cakes and pastries to the point where they now stand as a separately-identifiable type of cakes, with particular characteristics of appearance, taste, and texture. We formed a partnership with a highly-acclaimed Japanese bakery (Anniversary Company, www.anniversary-web.co.jp/ ) in order to bring these specialties
to America. The best way we have found to describe our products is, “Japanese innovations on European-style cakes.” The Japanese elements are essentially an appreciation for refinement, subtlety, elegance, delicacy, seasonality, and meticulous presentation:
Japanese cuisine is world renowned for its meticulous preparation and refinement in presentation. The food is served in small, carefully arranged portions, with emphasis on visual appeal—the interplay of colors, textures, shapes, and overall design. They have also developed a sensitivity to the individual foods as they are processed for eating. Unlike the Chinese and other Asians, who blend herbs, spices and main ingredients into a bouquet of flavors, the Japanese prize the particular properties of each ingredient and emphasize the equal importance of their individual flavors and textures.
-- Davidson, A. (1999). The Oxford Companion to Food. New York: Oxford University Press (pp. 413-414).
We created Satura Cakes because we love truly good cake, because we love to share it, because it’s too hard to find, and because we think you will appreciate the difference.
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Why Ordinary Cakes are ... Ordinary
There are some passionate, creative, and talented bakers and pastry chefs in the American food community. We know some, and we are thrilled when we eat a masterfully-crafted piece of cake or pastry. The fact is, however, that a very good cake is hard to find...
When we do encounter a truly excellent pastry or piece of cake, it’s often at a distant specialty shop, or at a fine restaurant after we’ve eaten a full meal. Since portion sizes keep increasing—along with the size of the American waistline—we often found that even good cake can leave us thinking, “Why did I eat that?” We think that a true “treat” should deliver an answer instead of a question.
Most cake available in the United States today is mass-produced by the commercial food industry in huge quantities using inexpensive ingredients and artificial additives. Surprisingly, even a cake baked in your local bakery is more likely to have been created from an industrially-manufactured mix than to have been made from scratch (we recommend you ask). Even the fancy-looking cakes in display cases of upscale supermarkets are likely made from mass-produced commercial mixes.
Because they are inexpensive, easier to work with, and keep longer than natural fats, most commercially-made cakes contain artificially-hydrogenated shortenings. Not only are these shortenings flavorless, but they leave an unpleasant film or coating in the mouth. “Melts in your mouth” is an overused phrase, but we invite you to pay careful attention to how your next piece of ordinary cake feels in your mouth. Can you detect a film? Is it a pleasant sensation? What flavor is it? Does it really have a taste except “sweet?” Is it a truly enjoyable experience?
To add injury to insult, hydrogenated shortenings contain trans fats. The butter and milk fats that we use (for all it’s delicious flavor and good “mouthfeel”) does contain moderate amounts of saturated fats, which can increase LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. We honestly do recommend you limit your intake (and thus our smaller portion sizes). Trans fats, however, not only increase bad cholesterol, they also decrease HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Furthermore, trans fats increase triglyceride levels (associated with increased risk for hearth disease), and increase the risk of developing diabetes (UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, April, 2002). A Harvard University
study found that trans fats are twice as bad for your heart and arteries as saturated fats (the kind contained in natural dairy ingredients): “[The] combined effect [of trans fats] on the ratio of LDL to HDL cholesterol is double that of saturated fatty acids.” For more information see www.hsph.harvard.edu.
To compensate for inexpensive, inferior flavors and ingredients, the Big Food industry relies on high amounts of sugar and unhealthy trans fats to produce an inexpensive product that most consumers will accept. We are here to do it better!
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The Global Evolution of Cake
Cakes can be simply defined as baked treats made essentially of wheat flour, sugar, eggs, and often milk and fat. When a cake batter is heated in the oven, expanding air in the mixture is captured by elastic strands of gluten (wheat protein in the flour)…
This process is like blowing up thousands of tiny balloons inside the batter. The mixture thus rises, then gels and sets, leaving cake with its soft, light, porous structure.
The most celebrated types of cake in the world are creations of the Europeans. Evidence of the oldest crude cakes has been found in the remains of villages near lakes in Switzerland. Crushed grains were moistened, formed into “cakes” and cooked on hot rocks. Things had gotten a bit more exciting by the dawn of the Roman Empire: The ancient Romans made a type of cake from barley, raisins, pine nuts, pomegranate seeds, and sweet wine. This was called a “satura,” “saturated” as it was with such good things. Revolutionary yes, but this kind of cake was still flat, dense, tough and heavy. (So why did we name our business after this cake? See below!)
By the early centuries A.D., the Romans had discovered yeast as a leavening. For the sake of simplicity, we will say that leavenings cause cakes to rise by producing air in the batter, creating a lighter result. The yeasts available at the time, however, drawn from the foam produced on beer, were hard to work with. By the 1800s, yeast was abandoned as a leavening in favor of the foaming power of beaten egg whites.
Until the mid-1800s, cakes were typically enjoyed in Europe as small accompaniment to a glass of sweet wine, such as Madeira. Around the mid-19th century, the French adopted Russian-style multi-course dinners, and the concept of dessert as a separate, sweet part of a meal took hold across Europe. The innovations of the day became the modern European classics. Around the same time, cake-making underwent a technological revolution with the advent of baking powder, baking soda, and the development of ovens with reliable temperature controls. Home baking of cakes developed as a tradition in Europe and North America.
Alas, technology has its drawbacks. Automated production and the availability of cheap, long-lasting shortenings brought about the ability to industrially mass-produce inexpensive cake of a poor, if generally consistent and safe, quality. As we have said, good cake can still be found, but cake-making as an art has became the sole preserve of a few professional and home bakers.
And the Japanese part? Even we are still learning, but what we do know is that the Portuguese introduced baking to Japan during their first trading encounters in the 1500s. Japan still uses pan, the Portuguese word for “bread.” At some point, and most intensely during the economic boom in the Japanese economy a few decades ago, Japanese chefs became very interested in learning about fine European cakes. Chefs from Japan traveled to France and Italy to learn classic baking and cake-making. Upon returning to Japan, these professionals began innovating and modifying, adapting the classic recipes to Japanese tastes which are suited to less-sweet cakes with a lighter texture
and a cultural appreciation for “refined elegance” (miyabi). Chefs from Japan, a country with no native wheat crops, stunned the baking world when a Japanese team won the Coupe de Monde (the “world cup in baking”) in Paris in 2002.
Oh. And how did we choose our name? In studying the early history of baking, we learned that “satura” was the name of a type of cake made in the ancient Roman Empire. Primitive though it was, the satura contained innovative ingredients likely to be found in the kitchens of today’s most cutting-edge gourmets: pine nuts, pomegranates, raisins, and sweet wine. After sitting neglected on our list of possible names for months, we began to notice that our Japanese team members kept rating the name highly. When we asked them, they said that the word “sounded Japanese” and “sounded nice” to Japanese people (it is not at all
a Japanese word). Once we discovered this bicultural connection between the European origins of cake and one of its highest refinements in the hands of modern Japanese pastry chefs, we knew we had our name.
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“Our mission is: Never another ordinary bite.”
This represents our promise to deliver the finest, cakes, baked goods, chocolates, coffees and teas in the world.
We started Satura Cakes because fantastically delicious cakes made with fresh, high-quality ingredients are too difficult to find. We think a high-calorie treat should be enjoyed in moderate quantities and should always be maddeningly pleasurable. We bake our cakes from scratch, every day, right here in our Los Altos bakeshop. We use real flour, eggs, sugar, butter and dairy. We never use mixes or artificially hydrogenated oils that contain trans fats. After enjoying our cakes, hand-crafted from the finest available ingredients by artisan pastry chefs, we are confident you’ll never want to settle for the ordinary ever again.
“Never another ordinary bite” has a second meaning, just as important as the first. This represents our commitment to maintain our quality standards as we change and grow. Satura Cakes will never produce an ordinary bite!
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Satura Cakes is guided by the following principles in executing our mission:
We have faith in our customers’ ability to recognize a total commitment to quality. We will not experiment with ways to cut corners or skimp on costs just to see what we could “get away with.” We believe that an internally-experienced feeling of pride among our staff is our most effective marketing tool.
We value human diversity. We aim to take this idea beyond empty words by staying honestly engaged with issues related to diversity in the workplace. We know we will have to openly confront the challenges and difficulties of this effort, as well as enjoy the benefits.
We believe that possibilities are limited only by imagination. Aside from our aim of providing the best cakes in the world, exactly what we will do and how we will do it as we grow over the years is wonderfully unpredictable. We believe that encouraging and rewarding ideas and opinions—from our staff, from our customers, and from our friends and partners—is one of the smartest (and most fun) business strategies we should employ. Innovation leads to prosperity, and support and affirmation leads to innovation.
We endeavor to support the health, happiness and well-being of our team, our customers, and our communities. We will do this by striving to provide an open and acknowledging work environment, and by providing for our team’s health, safety, livelihoods and personal and professional growth as best we can. We will do this by listening to our customers and responding to their needs and desires. We will do this by supporting those who work to improve our communities.
We believe that profitability and growth are key requirements for advancing our mission and we are committed to making good business decisions for our company and its team.
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Trained in both Europe and Japan, Motohashi's Anniversary Co. bakery was the first in Japan to begin selling real wedding cakes (previously, wedding cakes in Japan were inedible symbolic decorations). Today, baking 500 wedding cakes per month, Anniversary is the largest wedding cake producer in Japan, and perhaps the world (the Guinness Book of World Records is currently researching this supposition).
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