When my husband was young, his mother got him a Pink Champagne Cake from the Phoenix bakery for every birthday. He just had his 72nd birthday, and we've tried to find a replica or the recipe for several years. We found pink champagne cakes in Beaverton, but not one in Southern Oregon. Do you have any ideas? I tried making one myself, but it wasn't my best production as I'm not Martha Stewart.
— Tanny M., via email
We can save you a trip to Beaverton to find "a" Pink Champagne Cake, but depending how specific your husband's dessert nostalgia is for the recipe sold through a long-defunct Phoenix bakery, it might not take the cake.
Food 4 Less sells a Pink Champagne Cake, but readers passionate about the cake sold by Rogue Bakery in Phoenix in the 1960s through '70s say the recipes aren't the same.
"Much to our chagrin, no one has ever duplicated the Pink Champagne Cake," reader Pat Powpow commented in a Since You Asked question in 2015.
In 2015, the cake's mention sparked an outpouring from reminiscing readers who recalled those white chiffon layers and cream filling adorned with pink buttercream and pink-dyed white chocolate shavings, so your husband is far from alone in his fondness for the recipe.
The bakery was located at 4219 S. Pacific Highway, where the Chevron station now stands. It was first listed in Polk directories and phone books starting in 1962, though some readers remember the business operating in the 1950s and it being owned by Dick and Lillian Hendrix, according to Powpow. Mrs. Hendrix was behind the shop's elaborate wedding and sheet cakes and later taught art at Medford High School in the '70s.
By 1972, the business had expanded to a second location inside Thunderbird Market, and by 1974, it was renamed Phoenix Cake Shop. A former employee remembers the shop was run by a man named Jim Vitale, and that the shop specialized in just such a pink cake. The location changed business names and ownership several times throughout the 1980s and began its prolonged vacancy in 1988.
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