Long Beach native and renowned pastry chef Cecilia Tolone had her second pop-up at Belmont Shore’s Colossus Bread earlier this month.

At 3 a.m. on the morning of Fat Tuesday, Tolone began preparing semlor, traditional Swedish sweet buns flavored with cardamom, a sweet almond paste and freshly whipped cream.

“These buns have been eaten is Sweden for literally hundreds of years,” Tolone said. “Swedes go absolutely crazy for these.”

The perfectly circular cardamom buns are baked until golden brown. A triangular hole is shaped at the top of the bun where the almond paste and whipped cream sit. The pastry is then topped with the dough cut from the top and sprinkled with powdered sugar.


This is the second year Tolone has returned home to Long Beach to bake the special pastry at Colossus Bread. Colossus owner Kristin Colazas Rodriguez has known Tolone for a number of years, bonding over being female pastry chefs and their Long Beach roots.

Tolone also worked in restaurants and bakeries in the Bay Area, including The French Laundry in Yountville, before moving to Sweden in 2016. There, she worked her way up to pastry chef at Frantzén, ranked sixth on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and Sweden’s first and only three-Michelin star restaurant.

“Sweden has a really big pastry culture,” Tolone said. “I have now been living in Stockholm for about eight years, but it’s so cold in Sweden in the winter I come home for January, February.”

Since leaving Frantzén, Tolone now works as a recipe developer and content creator in Sweden. Her social media accounts, where she posts baking videos, recipes and behind the scenes have amassed over 150,000 followers.

The semlor event received resounding praise, with customers lined up outside before the 7 a.m. start time on Feb. 13. Almost 800 of her semlor were sold that day.