Monday, 18 October 2010

A tale of two bakeries

My Love Bakery book arrived last Friday at work and the one cupcake my colleague and I drooled over the most was the rhubarb and custard cake. It sounded absolutely fabulous and was immediately added to must bake soon list.

So obviously I was mega-chuffed when I ventured to Love Bakery on the Saturday hungover (and alone as my other half was too hungover to leave the comfort of the duvet!) and spotted them on sale. As I was hungover and had previously been unable to keep food down that day I bought a box of four and pootled off down the Kings Road with them.

We didn't get round to eating the cupcakes till the Sunday as we both still felt a little under the weather on Saturday night, but the cakes did not suffer for it and still tasted incredibly moist and flavoursome. This always worries me about bakeries where I buy a cupcake and eat it the same day and its hard - when do they make them? Anyways back to Love. The rhubarb and custard has now been added to my favourite cupcakes of all time list - a lovely moist base with a rhubarb compote in the middle, and a custard frosting, with crumble on top. This is pure comfort food in a cupcake!

My second choice of cupcake was the banana toffee cupcake. This was a very tasty banana cake, topped with gorgeous caramel frosting - this cake was luscious. The only thing I didn't enjoy was the fondant bananas on top - I find them just too sweet but hey they looked gorgeous and the cupcake was to die for so who cares!
 Look at that frosting - you just wanna dive in!

Next up were Manny's cakes. I opted for the red velvet for him as his first choice. He loved the red velvet declaring it the best he's tried, apart from mine (he's too sweet sometimes!). It was a really moist, very red cake, but the cake wasn't marred by the flavour of food colouring, which can sometimes happen with red velvets.

Look at the colour of that! 

Finally was his double chocolate - always with the double chocolate. After the disappointment of the "valrohna triple chocolate" from Cox, Cookies and Cake he was very happy to have a chocolate cake that tasted of chocolate. Perhaps the Love Bakery ladies could teach Mr Lanlard and Cox how to make chocolate cakes?

The second bakery visited was an old favourite, Crumbs and Doilies. And alas it is a very different story than Love Bakery. If you check though my blog I have eaten a lot of cupcakes from Crumbs and Doilies in many flavours from lemon and poppyseed to Christmas flavour - all have been pretty and more importantly all have been tasty. Until recently that is. The last time we bought cakes from them was in April 2010 when we went to Partridges Market to get their flavour of the month, Mexican Chilli Chocolate. It was dry, disappointing and flavourless. Never one to judge a bakery on just one cake as they could be having an off day I decided to give them another go and this weekend seemed perfect as their flavour of the month was Mojito. I fell in love with Mojitos when we went to Madrid last month to see Manowar so these sounded right up my street. We had planned to get just two cakes but they were offering a box of four for a fiver (two were £4) so we opted for two mojito, a chocolate and a rose vanilla.

Then we went to the pub as it was cold and wet outside and we couldn't be bothered to shop.

The pub also explains why my pictures look like this

To be honest I didn't have much to work with.. These are the mojito cupcakes. These are billed as;

a winning combination of lime, mint and a little Havana Club rum. Awesome.

And that did sound awesome. Unfortunately they tasted of nothing. Ok there was the merest hint of lime but nothing else. No mint, and I certainly got no rum. The frosting was weird - I really don't know what it was - a mush with no flavour, except a tonne of sugar crystals on top. Incredibly disappointing. And  to top it all, incredibly dry.

Next, Manny's chocolate cupcake;

A rich chocolate sponge made with Valrhona cocoa, smothered with dark Callebaut chocolate buttercream

I didn't try this but he was bitterly disappointed - he said there was a minimum of chocolate flavour and he didn't believe this was Valrhona chocolate. Again it was dry and again flavourless.

Finally, my rose vanilla;

A light, fragrant cupcake made using organic Madagascan vanilla and naturally distilled organic Persian damask rosewater. Available with pink icing only.

This smelt funny and the smell overwhelmed me before I even took a bite. Like butter but not fresh. But I persevered (the things I do for my blog) and again it was utterly tasteless. There was no hint of vanilla, no rosewater nothing. I sniffed the cupcake trying desperately to get a hint of rose water - nothing. It didn't smell of anything at all. I'd at least expected a hint of vanilla. The cake was beyond dry and we were eating them the day we bought them. Things like this seriously worry me. When I bake I use nothing but the  best ingredients, and occasionally we eat cupcakes about 3 days after they're baked (you can't eat all the cupcakes at once can you!!) and they still taste MUCH fresher than these.

I don't know what's happened with Crumbs and Doilies - have they changed bakers, suppliers? Does anyone know. I'm bitterly disappointed. I've been recommending them to people for years but I'm afraid I won't be doing that any more.


Belle said...

I've never been to Love Bakery, I've been meaning to for a while. Must go soon!

When it comes to dry cupcakes at bakeries I think some bakering freeze cake and defrost them as and when they're needed. I def think this was the case for CoxC&C.

I've never been overly fond of C&D, I tried them a few years ago and just thought they were dry and flavourless. I haven't gone out of my way to try them since.

The Secluded Tea Party said...

Hey : )

I love your blog so I gave you an award

Have a fab week : )

Miss Sue Flay

Manny said...

I completely agree, normally you can't go wrong with a chocolate cupcake with me but the one from C & D was dry and hardly tasted of chocolate, and all I got from the mojito one was a bit of lime flavour. Sad because they used to be one of my favourites too!

Love Bakery are one of the best, definately somewhere I'm always happy to get cakes from :)

blackbookkitchendiaries said...

i've never been to those bakery before but i wish i had though, they sound absolutely divine. i think i would love the rose vanilla.

Jenniffer said...

I hate it when bakers spare the flavor in their cupcakes, especially when they are billed as "chocolate chili" and "mojito". Enjoyed reading through your posts!

Baking Addict said...

I'll have to give Love Bakery a try. The cupcakes look awesome. Let me know what you think of the book. I've never tried C&D and I have to say I won't be rushing there now. thanks.

Sarah-Jane - said...

oh dear - some mixed reviews here.

I've only occassionally frozen cake and found it kept no problem at all.

Glad you found some good ones! Goodness knows why some places sell stuff that really isn't fit to eat. You'd think they'd realise themselves (or do you reckon they go somewhere else if they fancy a cupcake ?!?)

The Caked Crusader said...

Never been to Love bakery but have baked the apple and cinnamon recipe in their book - one of the best cupcakes I've ever had. Ever!

I heart cupcakes said...

Belle- I recommend Love Bakery, I've had a few cakes from there and they are always fresh and very tasty. I've always had fresh, flavoursome cupcakes from C&D in the past but recently they've been vile.
As for CCC - I have no idea. Even if frozen it wouldn't explain the tasteless frosting!

Sue - thank you :)

Manny - I know you used to love C&D - its very disappointing indeed!

Blackbook - the rose vanilla would've been lovely IF it tasted of rose or vanilla

Jennifer -thank you. I totally agree. They should've been billed as plain, dry cake but I don't suppose that would sell :(

Baking Addict - I recommend Love. And there is a gorgeous little cupcake cafe nearby for a coffee and another cake called the Chelsea Teapot

Sarah Jane -I think the problem is they just aren't fresh or well made to start with! I wonder if they do go somewhere else to get cake ;)

Samantha - again, I recommend it. I've made the vanilla, and am baking from the book again tomorrow - it is a lovely book.

edith said...

Love bakery is one of my favorites. Never had an off cupcake there.

On the other hand, C&D has never been my big favorite. I tried many of the flavores, remember last years chocolate orange special was very good, but somehow I stopped buying them after a dissapointing caramel cupcake. I know you reviewed it and liket it, but for me it was the beginning of good sounding but flavorless cakes.

I saw a newish cupcakery just off Notthing Hill, on Church street, called (i think) the cupcake company. Have you been there?

I heart cupcakes said...

Hi Edith
I'm with you - always had great tasting, fresh cupcakes from there.

I always had really nice, fresh cakes from C&D but now I've decided not to bother with them again.

I've heard of it but not been yet - we headed over that way a few months ago to go but got waylaid with record shopping and pubs! I must check it out