For almost forty years, The Prolific Oven on Waverley Street in downtown Palo Alto has been “creating breads and pastries for the discriminating palate.” It’s no wonder this patisserie has won multiple awards for its sumptuous cakes and was voted by the San Jose Mercury News as one of the best places to get your holiday pumpkin pie. As stated on their website, “it’s not only a difference you can taste but it’s what sets us apart from other bakeries in the Bay Area.”
Owned and operated by Harriet Spier of Menlo Park until 2008, the bakeshop still features her signature recipes, which centered around fresh, natural ingredients and scratch-baked daily. That means every pastry, cookie, bread, pie, tart, turnover, and specialty dessert uses the finest real butter and cream, fresh eggs, pure vanilla extract, beautifully ripe fruits. Ahead of her time, Spier focused on making her business environmentally friendly, donating leftover baked goods to local organizations as well as recycling and composting.
The Prolific Oven offers an incredible variety of baked goods but is best known for their cakes. Far and away, their best seller is their chocolate cake. Chocolate with rum or coffee cream cheese frosting. Chocolate orange almond. Chocolate on chocolate. They also create stunning wedding cakes, buche de Noel (Yule logs), birthday cakes, cakes for graduations, anniversaries, Passover, Fourth of July.
For years, the original Palo Alto location was the epicenter, serving as a retail store as well as a bakery. Over the years, the bakery branched out, with locations in Santa Clara’s Rivermark Village and the newest in Sunnyvale, which opened in 2015. Each has its own distinct ambiance, tailored to its customers but the quality and excellence remain steadfast. This remained true even when there was a change of ownership in 2008—Harriet Spier’s tried and true recipes live on in each and every dessert and baked good. The Prolific Oven also offers catering for groups big and small, including corporate events, private parties, holidays, weddings, or just because.
Today, the downtown Palo Alto bakery and coffeehouse remains a favorite for sweets and casual meals, a place to gather with friends over organic fair-trade coffee and still-warm muffins and pastries, grab a made-to-order sandwich or salad for lunch, or indulge in a simple or decadent dessert. Like a piece of their chocolate-on-chocolate cake.
The Prolific Oven on Waverley Street is open seven days a week, serving coffee, baked goods, and lunch between 11am and 3pm. Open well into the evening, your sweet tooth will never need to go unheeded.
Quality ingredients. Unique recipes. Welcoming atmosphere. Amazing desserts. If you’ve never indulged in dessert from The Prolific Oven, you deserve to treat yourself at this iconic bakery café in Palo Alto’s charming downtown.