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Twiggs: A Southern Bakery for Southern Californians

By Ratasha Smith

Twiggs Bakery and Coffeehouse has been a labor of love for owners Dan Stringfield and Bernie Horan. Today, Twiggs sells everything from elaborate sculpted cakes to simple baked goods to enjoy with morning coffee.

When Stringfield and Horan first took over Twiggs in 1997, it was just a coffeehouse. They would purchase pastries from other distributors to sell- despite the fact that Stringfield as a professionally-trained pastry chef.

But, after one year of successfully running the business, the "dough" came rolling in. They were able to purchase a commercial bakery half a block away and began making their own baked goods.

"Like a lot of bakers and chefs, when I first opened my place I was duplicating what had been done in successful places I'd worked at before," Stringfield says. "I had worked at a very successful bakery in Northern California that did all European style cakes and desserts- mousse cakes, frangipane tarts, etc. When I first opened Twiggs, we were really a European style bakery. Over time, however, I begin to gain confidence in my own vision and voice." he says.

Today, Twiggs still makes fancy confections- but is known for its simpler Southern treats. Stringfield, who grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, tells us that he "gradually begin to do more home-style cakes and pies from my childhood, but far less sweet." By modifying old family recipes and recipes from church cookbooks, he was able to create baked goods that would retain their homemade charm but still appeal to European and Californian tastes. "I now think of Twiggs as a Southern bakery for the Southern Californians," Stringfield says.'

Fresh ingredients and Southern charm makes for the perfect recipe at Twiggs- where everything is made from scratch. "We grate fresh carrots for the carrot cake and squeeze lemons for the lemon curd," says Stringfield.

In San Diego, Twiggs has become famous for its fresh biscuits- a recipe that Stringfield modified from a Methodist church cookbook. "We sell a ton of them every morning, particularly on weekends when we sell biscuit sandwiches (biscuit with egg, cheese and sausage or bacon). Eating one of our biscuits right out of the oven always takes me back home to the Smoky Mountains which makes me happy." he says.

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About The Author

Ratasha Smith is a correspondent for the Inner-City Newspaper in New Haven,...

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