After 33 years, East Bay cake artist Katrina Rozelle is closing her bakery – The Mercury News

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Katrina Rozelle Topp decorates one of her show-stopper cakes. (Bob Pepping/Bay Area News Group archives)

It’s a sweet chapter with a bittersweet end.

Pastry artist Katrina Rozelle Topp is retiring and closing her East Bay baking operation — after 33 years of creating lavish cakes for star-studded events as well as thousands of desserts for everyday celebrations.

Customers have until Feb. 1 to visit and order from her Katrina Rozelle Pastries & Desserts shop in Alamo. Her original location, in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood, has already shut its doors.

“Though a bittersweet decision, it’s time to step back and slow down,” she and her husband, Ken, announced in a note on the website.

Topp’s over-the-top creations have included a replica of San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, complete with arches and 450 handmade roses, to feed 650 guests (that one took four hours to set up, using stepladders) and a 7-foot-tall masked cake for the San Francisco Opera.

But thousands in the Bay Area will remember her for the cakes baked for their epic weddings, milestone birthdays, golden anniversaries and holiday celebrations. Photos on the website depict fondant-draped cakes in the shape of handbags, a Noah’s ark cake for a bar mitzvah, a duck pond creation for a nature enthusiast’s birthday, a Texas-themed cake for someone moving to the Lone Star State — and a stunning “Will You Marry Me?” cake in the form of a gift box that opens to reveal a sweet engagement ring.

Even what she called her “Everyday Cakes” were special, with their layers of hazelnut-chocolate ganache and ribbons of mango mousse.

In an interview, she said, “I simply can’t adequately express how touching the outpouring of appreciation for our efforts has been. I can only say that, as with any small brick-and-mortar business, we would never have succeeded without the strong support of our local community.”

To that end, Topp has a post-retirement gift planned for those loyal customers:

She is hoping to head into her kitchen to reformat her recipes for home use, and will make those available via a book or blog.

“We have been absolutely swamped with business since word got out that we are closing,” she said, but her team of bakers is still producing a limited array of whole cakes for purchase, including the Obsession, Gianduja Mousse, Erica Torte, Mocha Madness, Chocolate Decadence, Almond Vanilla and Lemon Chiffon.

They also will offer their full line of cookies, along with chocolate cupcakes and gluten-free carrot cupcakes, as long as supplies last.

A California Culinary Academy graduate, Topp started her career at Narsai’s in Kensington, then became the pastry chef at Délices in Walnut Creek. She opened her eponymous College Avenue shop in 1987 and the Alamo one in 1991. Over the years, her cakes have been featured in Brides, Town and Country and Style magazines, and she has demonstrated her skills at the Chefs’ Holiday events at Yosemite’s Ahwahnee hotel.

Details: The Alamo location of Katrina Rozelle Pastries & Desserts will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday (closed Monday) at 215 Alamo Plaza, Alamo; 925-837-6337;

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