It can be easy to miss Sinners and Saints, which is tucked in between fast food restaurants and auto body shops on busy Lincoln Avenue in Venice. But despite its small size, the bakery offers treats of both the "saintly" and "sinner" varieties; the former being gluten-free and vegan, the latter, traditional sweets.
As a bakery, it's good, but as a gluten-free bakery, it's fantastic. Not feeling too naughty, I indulged in some saintly treats to-go, if a Tres Leches Cake ($6.00) and a Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie ($1.50) can ever count as "saintly."
The Tres Leches cake was the standout of the two. The serving was more like a heaping spoonful of gooey bread pudding than a perfect slice of cake. It was topped with a dollop of whipped cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and two ruby red strawberry slices.
The gluten-free vanilla sponge cake is made from a mixture of rice flour and potato and tapioca starches. Dense and moist without being soggy or wet, it stood up well to the rich, full sweetness of the three milks: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream. As sponge cake goes, it was light and airy, aptly living up to its name. But it was also sturdy, not crumbly, and this combination allowed it to absorb almost all the syrupy caramel, leaving but a few drops in the bowl.
This is not a dessert for the faint hearted. It is quite sweet and most definitely filling (I saved half for later), so you don't have to be a true saint to indulge.