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Pink Champagne Cake mystery solved, with readers' help

We have a bit of a cake correction here at Since You Asked headquarters.  

We answered a question Friday about an "unforgettable" Pink Champagne Cake made at a Phoenix bakery.  Our guess which bakery sold it was off by a few decades, thanks to about a dozen good-natured responses from readers who still remember the cake and the shop fondly.

Several longtime Phoenix residents remember the cake coming from the Rogue Bakery starting about the 1950s, although the first phone book listing the business we found was in 1962.  The shop was owned by Dick and Lillian Hendrix at 4219 S. Pacific Highway, now the location of the new Chevron station.  Pat Powpow wrote in and described the cake as having white chiffon layers and cream filling, iced with pink buttercream frosting and topped with pink white chocolate shavings.

Powpow remembers Mrs. Hendrix decorated elaborate wedding and sheet cakes at the shop, and that she was an artist. The Hendrixes' son would go on to teach art at Medford High School for many years.

Some readers pointed out that a Pink Champagne Cake can be found at Food 4 Less, but correctly or incorrectly, some folks look to the past with rose-colored (er... pink-colored) glasses.

"Much to our chagrin, no one has ever duplicated the Pink Champagne Cake," Powpow exclaimed.

"It was THE bakery to go to in the 1960s when I was a kid," reader Laurie Reid Carlson remembered. "Our family always had a Pink Champagne Cake for birthdays, and it was very much looked forward to."

Allison Jackson also wrote in about her birthday memories of the cake.

"Back in the day, a birthday party was deemed extra special if candles were being wished upon while perched on top of a Pink Champagne Cake," she said, adding that for her mother the Phoenix bakery's mastery of the cake was worth the five mile drive south. "I can still taste these pink birthday desserts from my childhood. They were magical. Truly."

The 1972 Bell telephone book ad boasted that the bakery had expanded to two locations, one in Phoenix and one located inside the Thunderbird Market in Medford.  

The next year, the location was listed as Phoenix Cake Shop. Pat Hawes remembered working at the Phoenix Cake Shop in 1974, run by a man named Jim Vitale, and that the shop's specialty was their Pink Champagne Cake.

Sadly, all good things must come to an end.

The 1981 Polk directory for Ashland listed that address as The Sugar Bowl Bakery, and the 1987 Polk directory listed it as the Phoenix Bakery, but the address was listed as vacant by 1988.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.