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Originally published August 3, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified August 3, 2007 at 2:02 AM

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Hiroki's cake case makes you want to have it all and eat it, too

The first time you step into Hiroki Desserts, you might be tempted to buy everything in the cake case and immediately cram as many as possible...

Special to the Seattle Times

Hiroki Desserts

2224 N. 56th St., Seattle; 206-547-4128

Dessert

$

Hours: 11:30 a.m.- 9 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays.

Drinks: Blue Willow tea, espresso drinks, green-tea latte.

Credit cards: Visa, MasterCard.

Access: No obstacles (but entry is narrow).

Rating: Recommended.

The first time you step into Hiroki Desserts, you might be tempted to buy everything in the cake case and immediately cram as many as possible into your mouth.

Or, if you have more self-control, you'll keep coming back until you've sampled them all. Trouble is, chef Hiroki Inoue likes to change his offerings with two or three new varieties every weekend — you won't know how to say no.

Hiroki has been wooing dessert fiends to its Wallingford location for five years. They are drawn to its signature green-tea tiramisu and subtly sweet cakes and pastries that often feature a twist on the traditional (such as homemade dulce de leche replacing cream in cream puffs). And despite a lighter hand with the sugar, desserts remain a rich treat.

The cafe is set up like a typical bakery with cases of tempting cakes, luscious cookies and soft breads greeting you at the door. But a soothing mint-and-sky-blue seating area may persuade you to sit down for a pot of hot tea ($3.50) and take in a sumptuous dessert or two with a friend.

Service here is warm and helpful, particularly if you bump into owner Inoue, who talks customers through tea options and the makeup of spices in the turkey curry roll (delicious).

But before you sit down, first you must choose. At the cold case, an éclair ($4) might beckon, its rich chocolate surface glistening. The honey-cheese-mango Bavarian cake ($5.50) and frangipane pear chiffon cake ($5.50) also vie for attention. And I can't even go into the orange rolls ($3) that emerge hot from the oven every Saturday and Sunday around 9:30 a.m.

There are limited savory items on the weekends, while sweet standards are available regularly during the week. Hiroki's desserts also show up at some restaurants around town.

Head to the tiny cafe for a weekend breakfast, or spend a languorous afternoon there. Then go back again and again ... .

Check please

Turkey Curry Soft Roll: This scrumptious golden roll — available on weekends — contains a wonderfully savory mixture of sliced turkey rolled up with mild Indian spices and a small hunk of cheese. Request it warm for a satisfying snack.

Green Tea Tiramisu: Matcha (green-tea powder), plum wine and liqueurs separate this signature dessert from other tiramisu variations. The green-tea powder adds a subtle yet pervasive flavor boost and a beautiful jade sheen. It's also on the dense side for tiramisu and quite rich.

Frangipane Pear Chiffon Cake: This French classic layers chiffon cake with almond filling, fresh pears and almond slivers. The juicy pears added an appreciated spurt to the light chiffon cake and crunchy almonds.

Hawaiian Haupia Cake: More Hawaiian-influenced desserts are being added to the cafe's selection, and I hope they all taste as good as this one. A layer of moist chiffon cake supports a delicate topping of coconut milk, cream, fresh mango chunks and shredded coconut. It's light, creamy and goes down way too easily.

Turkey Curry Soft Roll $3.25

Green Tea Tiramisu $5.00

Frangipane Pear Chiffon Cake $5.50

Hawaiian Haupia

Nicole Tsong: ntsong@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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