What better way to enjoy the fifth day of May than to switch your cuisine for the day. On this particular day, a taco truck was residing next to Raquel’s and happened to be where we ate lunch off of East Grand. So, naturally, we walked over to get desserts for later. Upon entering the storefront, the decor and format reminds one of the inside of a Dairy Queen…but from twenty years ago. I’m all for minimal decor and excellent food, so I was excited to see the options they would have available. There are various ice creams on a stick as well as a few that can be sold by the scoop. Behind the counter there are about four coolers with glass double doors showing off a few more of their offerings. Items included, jello, Jarritos, sodas, and boxed up slices of cake. A hand-written sign marked only one of the at least four different kind of cakes they were selling, and it read “Kahlua tres leches”. Obviously, this would be one of our choices, but judging solely on the looks of the other cakes, I selected a half chocolate and half mystery topped cake.
This bakery does custom-made birthday and wedding cakes, and I’ve heard their cheesecake is quite good. The only whole cakes I saw were one three-layered cake for a wedding and a small sheet cake decorated with Dora the Explorer photos. One cooler behind the counter was dedicated solely to boxed sheet cakes, though I’m not sure if they were reserved or a free-for-all.
After running errands, we looked forward to rewarding ourselves with what looked to be a delicious dessert. Both cakes were topped with whip cream and garnished with slices of fruit or a whole cherry. The tres leches had lost some of its liquid in the time it waited for us to complete our shopping, but the flavor was still there (Kahlua and all). The cake itself was a little too coarse for my liking. It tasted more shortcake-like than actual cake-like. The cake I randomly selected turned out to be a plain chocolate cake topped with a flan. The first few bites were okay with the flan but after that I separated the two layers and only ate the chocolate bottom. It’s flavor was lacking and led me to dip it in the remaining Kahlua milk from the other cake.
While I typically love tres leches cake, I was very disappointed with this bakery. Maybe they were bogged down with it being Cinco de Mayo, but with no one in the store itself, I don’t see that being a factor. Also, the worker offered little to no assistance when trying to decide between the cakes. She didn’t even tell us what they were, but instead let us decide based on appearances. If I were to go again, I’d try something else and not go back to the tres leches or the chocolate flan cake.
Pasteleria Raquel’s/Raquel’s Pastry
1521 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50316