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Here's The Dessert Valerie Gordon Will Revive For LAist

A surprised woman from the 1950s reacts to the news about which old school L.A. dessert Valerie Gordon plans to revive. (George Marks/Getty Images)
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Remember back in June when we announced that dessert queen and food anthropologist Valerie Gordon was collaborating with LAist to revive a beloved Los Angeles dessert?

Remember when we asked you, our audience, what dessert she should revive? Remember when you sent us all your fabulous suggestions?

We were looking for something delicious. Something with deep Los Angeles roots. Something you can no longer find but is still lodged in your sense-memory bank since you first tried it at age eight, or age 38.

LAist fam, you came through and sent us plenty of sweet ideas.

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Lemon hazelnut meringue cake from the Rose Cafe. The marjolaine with raspberry sauce at Spago. The "Italian cassita" (maybe they mean a cassata?) from Datillo's restaurant in Whittier. The Edward's Mansion orange tart. Mandelbread from Valley Plaza Bakery. Banana scones from Old Town Baking Co. in Pasadena. And, of course, multiple requests for LAUSD's famous coffee cake. We know how much you love that stuff but recipes are readily available online.

Gordon, the baker extraordinaire and business owner behind Valerie Confections, sorted through all these and after careful consideration, she has made her pick. It isn't a giant cake with a person jumping out of it. It is... drumroll please...


... the strawberry cream cake from Clifton's Cafeteria!

Monica Melgoza nominated the dessert (although she's not the only fan), with its layers of sponge and berries and cream, which Clifton's used to offer on the regular. For her, it's more than a delicious cake, although it's that too.

"My mom is an immigrant from Mexico," Melgoza writes. "The first cake she EVER had was this cake. To her it means America. She tells us the story all the time. It's a long story."

We're told that Clifton's has at least half a dozen strawberry cake recipes spanning the many years the dessert was served. Perhaps when owner Andrew Meiran reopens Clifton's, in whatever new form it takes, the strawberry cake, like a dormant Jedi master, will once again rise. And by rise we mean be on the menu.

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Until then, Gordon is on the case. She'll be working on her iteration of the dessert, and if you've eaten Clifton's strawberry cake, she wants to talk to you. Email us at You might even get to taste-test her creation.

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