June 7, 2009 (Lemon Grove)—“What is special about this place is that we make the most challenging cakes—cakes that nobody else around town will take,” said Luis Francisco Montero, baker at the Grove Pastry Shop in Lemon Grove. Montero spoke with East County Magazine during an East County Chamber of Commerce reception earlier this week at the bakery, which celebrates its 54th year in business.
Montero’s most challenging creations include a three-dimensional spaceship cake and a 500-piece saxophone case measuring approximately half the size of a door, which each key hand-made separately.
“It takes ten years or more to learn how to bake,” Gene Gage explained, adding that it is becoming very difficult to find skilled bakers. He used to hire retired military bakers, but the military is no longer teaching those skills. “All our cakes are made by hand—our butter creams, our custards, everything,” Gage said.
The bakery specializes in wedding cakes with delicious fillings and frostings. Other elaborate cakes on display during our visit included a cake shaped like a diapered baby, alphabet blocks, and an assortment of elaborate cakes for a variety of special occasions from graduations to birthdays. Additional specialty cakes range from mango mousse charlotte to strawberry succulence.
As its name implies, the Grove Pastry Shop also makes an assortment of pastries as well as cookies and breads. Teresa’s breads, named after owner Teresa Johnson, feature varieties such as apple nut and blueberry. The breads are sold in Costco, Henry’s, Sprouts, Fraser Farms, Windmill Farms and other local stores. In addition, the shop also sells wholesale to local restaurants and hopes to soon begin taking orders online to keep up with demand that continues to grow, more than half a century after the shop first opened its doors in East County.
To view a gallery of the shop’s creations or learn more, visit www.grovepastryshop.com. The shop is located at 3308 Main Street in Lemon Grove, telephone (619)466-3277.