Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Cake Love or Not To Love, THAT is the question

A few weeks ago, a few of us had a cathartic conversation regarding CAKE LOVE here in DC. We had our positives, but we had our negatives and ultimately said that Cakelove is overrated.

This was posted in today's Washington Post online chat with food critic Tom Sietsema:
Tom Sietsema: Gang, I received the following earlier this week from cake baker Warren Love, who gave me permission to reprint it here. (I declined his offer to send me samples, but retried a few on my own, as an anonymous shopper.)

Hello Tom,Warren Brown from CakeLove here.

I want to extend additional information about our products which it appears may clear up some confusion about how to serve products from CakeLove. I have seen on-line @ Ask Tom several comments that state CakeLove tastes like lard or is dry and is hard. To me, this suggests that people are eating the cakes, cupcakes, and other pastries at temperatures other than room temperature. We've seen similar comments in the past from customers who were eating the product straight from the fridge. Cold, butter based cake will taste just how your readers have described it. Because of that, we advise that everything from CakeLove be served at room temperature. To be sure, we refrigerate our products because of the fresh and perishable ingredients included, whether in the fillings or buttercreams. Not everyone wants to wait though and many people remain new customers, so we've renewed our efforts to make people aware of the importance of"serving cake @ room temp."At Love Cafe, we ask that customers wait 5-15 minutes before eating slices of cake, crunchy feet with buttercream, buzz balls, cupcakes or any other refrigerated pastry. At CakeLove where visitors and customers can get whole cakes and pastries to go, we ask/encourage people to leave whole cakes at room temp for no less than 60-90 minutes prior to slicing. The cheesecake is an exception that tastes good chilly or @ room temp. When I can, I give our cakes up to 4 hours before slicing into it.

In general, the longer the wait, the better the taste. I once had a Strawberry Shortcake after flying (unrefrigerated) to South Carolina with it from DC. The flavors @ room temp vs. refrigerated are markedly different. A customer once said the New German Chocolate cake is good cold but 10,000 times better when it's at room temp. I agree 100%.Under this renewed initiative to serve no cake before its time, we made palm cards in the spirit of a cautionary road sign. It features a person with a cake, a thermometer at 72 degrees, and the phrase "serve cake @ room temp". I hope people find it cute as well as informative. I'd be happy to send you the palm card so you can see it.

Also, we have a comprehensive serving guide on our new web site, It's amazing how much scratch made cakes and pastries are a novelty in the market- especially those made with butter. We're happy to and welcome the opportunity to share with our customers and visitors the steps we encourage to really enjoy what we bake everyday. I would greatly appreciate it if you would share this info with your readers. In addition, I would like to send to your attention a sampler platter of our products for your review @ room temp. If you are interested, please provide me with a time and place for delivery.

Best Regards,
Warren Brown
CakeLove/Love Cafe
"Sugar Rush" on Food Network @ 9:30pm EST/8:30 CST

Thanks MCB for passing this on. Let's discuss!


Dancer in DC said...

Well I have certainly said that they taste like lard frosting cakes before. So I'm willing to give this theory a chance.

But it still doesn't explain the plain cake part.

Anyway, this certainly merits further testing.

Anonymous said...

Such an interesting phenomenon. I'd chalk it up to people simply having different tastes, but people seem to have such strong feelings about this place: ya love it or ya think it's *very* overrated. I've tried Cake Love cupcakes on a number of occasions, once having given the cupcake a full day to come up to room temp, and I still say I'd give the place a 2 or 3 out of 10.

Someone in the chat mentioned that the place really took off after Warren appeared on Oprah, on a segment about people who quit their ordinary day jobs to pursue a dream. It's certainly a great story, and I tip my hat to him for having the courage to take that plunge.

But that doesn't mean I have to like the dry cake with slippery, salty icing.

Makes me wonder... what other local institutions do you think don't live up their hype?

Dancer in DC said...

Old Ebbitt Grill - I think it's so...meh. Also not a fan of Cafe Atlantico.

Stef said...

Room temp still doesn't make the frosting taste better, and there's still WAY too much of it.

As for other overrated places?
Any of the Kimton hotel bars. They're overrated AND overpriced. The Diner. Although it's hard for me to beat the convenience - if given the time, I prefer to walk down to Luna Grill for brunch. Tryst. I'm not a fanatic about needing to go to independent coffee places, and it's too smoky and too much of a scene for me.

Onyah said...

I know for a fact that every CakeLove cake that I have tried (and there have been several, as they're who we have used whenever we have events at work) has been sitting at room temperature for an entire morning (since our teeny fridge can't hold a whole cake). And all those people's dry/lardy comments still apply. Sorry - I don't buy it. Totally overrated.

DC Food Blog said...

Shouldn't they be called- Cake You'll Love Later --J