No Love for CakeLove
As I mentioned before, I'm brand new to the District. In fact, this is day 8 of my new life on the East Coast. With this new transition comes adjustments to weather (How ridiculous is this weather, people? I'll tell you. It's ridiculous!) and discoveries of fun things to do and great places to spend money on delicious eats. Which brings me to cupcakes.
I casually mentioned to one of my co-workers yesterday that I wished there was a great cupcake place nearby. To my surprise, she told me there were actually a couple bakeries devoted to cupcakes in the city; the closest shop to the office is a mere 15-minute hop over to U Street. After a lengthy discussion about our preferences regarding the tasty treats, I decided I'd try the first bakery this morning.
The less-than-humble "The CakeLove Story" section of Warren Brown's "About CakeLove" shrine to himself and the play-by-play of his creative "brilliance" was more than enough to leave a bad taste in my mouth, let alone the misspellings, punctuation errors and typos that littered his site. (Note to Mr. Brown: I would be thrilled to tidy up your site. I am a copy editor, after all.) I'm getting dizzy just trying to figure out whether the name of his creation is Cakelove, CakeLove or cakelove. Let's just pick a way to write it and stick with it, OK?
CakeLove seems to just be a glorified Safeway bakery. For one, I couldn't believe my eyes when the person behind the counter wrapped the first cupcake, a raspberry frosting on vanilla concoction, in wax paper. What happened to the idea of using tongs to delicately place a frosted treat into a cardboard box, preferably in little cupcake stands? The folks at this shop definitely have the right idea when it comes to the cute cardboard boxes, but Brown needs to hit up a couple other cupcakeries — yes, I'm making that word up — and see how the treats should be presented. Heck, he should use his Food Network show to pay for the trip!
First stop on the tour: Magnolia Bakery in New York City, made famous on an episode of Sex and the City. It was my first true cupcake experience, and boy was it glorious. I bought enough to take a couple home with me to Seattle, but they didn't even make it off the plane.
Trophy Cupcakes, in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle, has great presentation, in addition to amazing frosting, though the cupcakes themselves are a bit hard to stomach. I don't know about you, but my ideal cupcake shouldn't make me feel like I just ate a brick. Those were some dense little cakes.
More recently, I visited Cupcake Royale, in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood. Known for its "Legalize frostitution" bumper stickers and shirts, Cupcake Royale comes in a close second in quality to Magnolia Bakery. Its recipe of just-the-right-amount-of-fluff and frosting to (almost) swoon for makes it a top dessert stop on my 2008 Sweets Tour.
CakeLove, though? I'd say skip it. The frosting looks gross (especially at room temperature), the cake is a tad too dense for my palate, and just looking at the chocolate on chocolate treat on my desk makes me want to have a burger and a milkshake to wash down the nasty, cheap Safeway/Costco-like buttercream frosting taste lingering on my tongue.
I hope the next cupcake shop suggestion is far better than this.