Balcazar Bakery serves up Colombian sweets in Raleigh | Dish | Indy Week
Pin It
You there, with the Entenmann's, listen up.

Balcazar Bakery serves up Colombian sweets in Raleigh 

Be sure to try Balcazar Bakery's tres leches cake.

Photo by Eric Kaufman

Be sure to try Balcazar Bakery's tres leches cake.

See also: The Triangle's Latino supermarkets | Mexican cuisine: A glossary | The Indy's restaurant guide

All right, hand over that box of cake mix. Take your hands off the cookie dough tube. You there, with the Entenmann's, listen up. You're in for a real summer sweet treat.

Tucked into one wing of the Ashton International strip mall on Capital Boulevard is a storefront with an unassuming "BAKERY" sign above it. If you peek in, you might notice some maps on the wall, one of Mexico and one of "Mi Colombia Linda," or you might catch a little boy toying with his soccer ball.

But don't be shy—go on in. At Balcazar Bakery, you won't be disappointed.

For six years now, the Balcazar family has sold cakes, pastries, breads, coffee and fruit shakes out of this storefront, and built a loyal following among Triangle Latinos. But the store isn't all empanadas and flan: the husband and wife team of Jaime and Jasmith Balcazar have their pastry bases covered. They offer international styles ("lines," they call them) of sweets in three large cases and two upright glass stands. The American line has strawberry shortcake; the French has Napoleons and mousse au chocolat; the Italian has sinfully good tiramisu; and the Colombian section features traditional cheese breads like pandebonos, in the shape of a donut, and buñuelos, slightly larger than a golf ball.

"We love more salt than sweet," says Jasmith, who manages the business end of things. "We usually eat coffee or chocolate with all of this," she says, pointing to the shelf of Colombian breads.

The Balcazar family is from the Tunjuelito section of Bogota, Colombia, where Jaime, the maestros pasteleros, went to pastry school and later owned his first bakery. After managing two bakeries in New York, he was hired as pastry chef at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary, then opened Balcazar Bakery. Dad has passed on his trade secrets; their four children probably know more about baking than a first-year culinary student. The youngest, 6, cracks eggs and measures sugar. The older three—13, 14 and 18—have learned to decorate the cakes; as I stand at the counter ordering pastry after pastry, the oldest brings out an elaborate white and green 8-inch round he's just finished.

A traditionalist, Jaime deems his favorite item in the store to be the Linzer torte. His wife, the romantic, prefers a guava and cheese pastry called Romeo and Juliet. Jaime is quick to share a photo album of cakes he's designed. They range from rainbow-colored children's birthday cakes to elegant multitiered fondant cakes for weddings and quinceañera. A lovely sample cake with fondant calla lilies sits on a high shelf; it could compete with a Martha Stewart design any day.

The tres leches cake is their specialty (it's so well known they don't waste valuable glass-case space, so just ask for it), and the prepared slices come with one layer of peach and one strawberry. They can customize a whole cake (Jasmith recommends pineapple and coconut fillings), and at only $20, you don't need a special occasion.

For anyone driving down Capital Boulevard to get to work downtown, it's a quick stop by Balcazar for a 9 a.m. coffee and the best flaky elephant ear this side of Paris. Or if your waistline has been feeling a little snug, go for the $2.75 mango shake—and see if the boy with the soccer ball will play a little keep-away.

Balcazar Bakery is located at 4020 Capital Blvd. in Raleigh, just south of the U.S. 1 and 401 split, in the Ashton International shopping center; 878-5120.

  • You there, with the Entenmann's, listen up.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Dish

  • Candy crush: Celebrating the Triangle's sweet tooth

    Once you've tasted artisanal chocolate, sans the chemicals and preservatives, eating a Snickers bar is like drinking Folgers, and chasing it with a bottle of Rhinelander and a shot of Cutty Sark.
    • Dec 4, 2013
  • Escazu's new line of micro-batch chocolates

    Escazu's micro-batch bars replicate the distinct flavors of the shop's four popular drinking chocolates: Spain, Xochiaya (Mexico), Italy and France.
    • Dec 4, 2013
  • Loaded for (Gummy) bear

    Off Departure Drive in Raleigh, Derek and Brett Lawson manufacture the World's Largest Gummy Bear, weighing in at 5 pounds.
    • Dec 4, 2013
  • More »

More by Jane Hobson Snyder

Latest videos from the INDY

Twitter Activity

Comments

La Piazza Pizza is second to none the best

7277 N Carolina 42, Raleigh, NC 27603

A Pure …

by goodfood85 on Pizza! On the hunt for the Triangle's best pies (Dish)

Does anyone know if the raspados truck is still there? I tried stopping by the other day but did not …

by ncsu_grad on Raspados: shaved ice, syrup and a spoon (Dish)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

© 2015 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation