I have a deep, dark confession to make.
I don't love cakelove. I might not even like it. And that's pretty crazy considering how many of my bells it rings.
Warren Brown, owner of cakelove was featured on Food Network eons ago, then got his own series. I liked the initial profile - DC guy leaps from the rat race to follow his passion for baked goods. Love that! Also, Warren's kinda hot. Also, DC!!!!!!!! And finally, and you know this is no afterthought, freaking CAKE! And FROSTING! I mean seriously, what is there not to love?
My first bite into a cakelove cupcake a few years ago, I knew instantly what was not lovable: graininess. Every cupcake I've had from cakelove tastes and feels as though it were made with coarse cornmeal. After my first encounter with a cakelove cupcake, I wrote off the unpleasant mouth feel to my overzealousness to chow down on the cake before it had come up to the right temperature.
That's where we get to Point #2: Rules. cakelove has some pretty peculiar rules about its cupcakes. It stores them super chilled. I gather this is some sort of food safety code, but I've had other cakes and cupcakes before and maybe those zany, raw-milk lovin' scofflaws are cutting corners with frigid food temps, but their cakes can be eaten in roughly the same decade as they are taken from the store. cakelove says you should wait until your cupcake has warmed to room temperature. That's just, just, just crazy.
"Hello ma'am, won't you have one of our beautiful if grainy cupcakes?"
"Oh yes, I'm starved and that looks spectacular."
(Sinister laughter as cake is supplied.) "Excellent, now just wait 45 minutes, would you?"
And yet, cakelove still beckons. I mean come on, they're popping up all over the DC area. How can you avoid baked goodness at every turn? So it happened that I gave cakelove one more try. I was in Tyson's Corner. I was starving (more on that later). I really wanted a chocolate chip cookie. I noticed cakelove had chocolate chip cookies. I bought some, along with two cupcakes. The cupcakes were (well one was the other is languishing on the counter - a high crime of dessert waste) grainy, as usual. But who can't manage a decent chocolate chip cookie? Who I ask you?
You know the answer. It is, I am sad to say, cakelove.
Seriously, if you put a cakelove chocolate chip cookie up against a three-day old Pillsbury slice and bake cookie, Pillsbury would win. And that is shocking. cakelove's texture: fail, no chewiness, just stale crunch. Taste: extreme fail, no salt makes the plastic-flavored chocolate chips taste both sweet and hollow at the same time. Plus there's a feeling that you just ate cheaper ingredients than they have at The Great Cookie (which I would rate an 8 against cakelove's 2).
Sigh. Where's a woman to get a decent baked good in this town?