Be careful not to lick the display case upon entering Hotcakes Bakes, an irresistibly cute sweet shop on the corner of Washington Boulevard. From red velvet cupcakes, lemon and pecan bars and Snickerdoodle cookies (cinnamon sugar-coated sugar cookies with a mix of crunch and soft center), to pumpkin cheesecake, S’mores Macaroons (almond flour and graham cracker meringue cookies with a chocolate icing and marshmallow cream filling) and cannelles (batter cooked in fluted molds to a caramelized finish), there’s no end to the drool-icious creations whipped up inside this sugary-smelling spot.

About a year and a half ago, Elfie Weiss and Katrina Moore decided to open Hotcakes Bakes after agreeing that there were no good bakeries in West Los Angeles – at least not ones that were baking really good cakes.

So they left their careers behind (Moore has a background in advertising), put their heads and hands together and launched Hotcakes Bakes, an old-fashioned bakery. It’s a family business, independently owned, and all goods are baked on the premises.

Soon after opening their doors, the L.A. Times listed the shop on its “great-for-cake bakery” list. And they’ve been smelling sweet success ever since!

Moore calls their cupcakes a gateway drug to all their other delicacies, so if you have to start somewhere, try the red velvet cupcakes, which are very popular in February.

February will also be a big month for their flourless chocolate cake.

“It’s practically a candy bar,” Moore gushes.

It can be ordered in personal size (serves 2-4, $10) in the shape of a heart or the standard circle. It’s the perfect token for that special someone to let them know how sweet they are for Valentine’s Day!

For more information, call (310) 397-2324 or visit www.hotcakesbakes.com.