Haley Crumbacher became owner of the lovely little spot at 228 Old Santa Fe Trail just 10 days before the coronavirus lockdown began in March.
But the pandemic has only impelled Crumbacher to double down on her mission to make Cake’s Corner Cafe a place of love and community.
“We have a beautiful community of people all going through lockdown in their own ways,” said Crumbacher, who grew up in Santa Fe and worked at the cafe under previous ownership before taking over in March. “All these beautiful souls helping to support us, and in turn coming in for a warm smile, away from whatever’s going on in the world. It’s solidified the purpose of building community and taking care of people for me, and I love it.”
Cake’s — that’s Crumbacher’s nickname — serves its breakfast menu all day, including frittatas, a Monte Cristo panini, French toast, breakfast sandwich, pastries and lighter options. They offer Lavazza coffee and espresso drinks, as well as choices including teas, Italian sodas and a Mexican mocha made with locally sourced dark chocolate with hints of lavender, cinnamon and vanilla. I tried the mocha, with its hint of sweetness allowing the depth of the chocolate to shine through, and a blueberry Italian soda, a sweeter, refreshing option with fresh blueberries bouncing merrily on the surface.
Lunch items (also available all day) include an array of paninis, eight-inch pizzas and salads. For the adventurous, there’s a secret menu: I devoured the Chris club, a flavorful combination of chicken, bacon, pepperoni, pesto, avocado, lettuce and tomato. Paired with the house salad — topped with olives, artichokes, tomatoes, a generous sprinkling of Parmesan and the flavorful homemade balsamic dressing — it’s a hugely satisfying meal. Don’t miss the spicy garbanzo bean salad, which is available as a side or a la carte — the olive oil complements the beans’ earthiness, and the marinated peppers offer tangy contrast.
And of course, there are sweets: Cakes and Danishes vary by the day. The cookie brownie is chewy in all the right ways, and the chile in the chocolate spice cake added real heat to the dense richness. The raspberry limoncello cake is a light, lift-your-spirits daydream of a dessert.
In dark times, Cake’s Corner Cafe is doing its darnedest to lift those spirits. Crumbacher is looking forward to celebrating an official opening when the time is right, but in the meantime, guests can stop by for a little bit of brightness: a fresh-baked pastry, a filling panini or just a hot drink to go.
“Hard times can certainly bring out the best, and we aim to believe that,” Crumbacher said. “A lot of people are isolated right now and completely alone. We have a lot of customers who come into the cafe daily, and we are pretty much the only other humans they see. It’s more than just making food at this point.”