Monday, February 9, 2015

Cupcakery Review: Cako

Cako - visited February 2, 2015
I first heard of Cako when I saw their little kiosk at my local shopping mall. It was set up in the center, a square formation of display cases showing cupcakes, regular size and mini. I didn't try it the one at the mall though as these days I only go shopping when I'm on a mission to find something and I didn't have time for cupcake dawdling. Gone are the days when I browse or do retail therapy. My wallet thanks me; my closet does not.
Anyway, last week I was in San Francisco for a conference and lo and behold, near my hotel was a Cako cupcake shop. I didn't even know they had an actual shop and for some reason only kept picturing them as mall kiosks.
Since I was there, I had to try it, right? The shop itself is rather small but cupcake shops don't need a lot of retail space. I would think they'd want more room for the kitchen so they can bake onsite and ensure fresh cupcakes daily. As a consumer, I know I would.

Although not very big, the display cases held a nice assortment of cupcakes. It's always hard to choose just one so I went for two. Ha. The first choice was easy - Samoa. Not only is it one of my favorite flavor combination (chocolate, vanilla, coconut and caramel - what's not to love?) but I have fond memories of the Samoa cupcake I'd had from Sift and was hoping for something similar.
I waffled over the second choice. It was a toss up between the Salted Caramel and the Snickers but the Snickers cupcake won: a chocolate cupcake topped with caramel buttercream, drizzled with caramel and topped with a chunk of Snickers.

There was a Maple Bacon cupcake but I've never been a believer in bacon in my desserts and am indifferent to bacon in general so that was easy to pass up. My bacon-lovin' friends just gave me the side eye, I know it.

The packaging on my two cupcakes was cute and exactly like the one from Minicakes by Tasha - both cupcakes anchored in a plastic shell that fit inside a cellophane bag, folded over and stickered with the cupcakery's logo. Cute.

I have to admit, when I bought the cupcakes, it was after dinner and I was full so I didn't actually eat them that night. If I'd been thinking properly, I shouldn't have bought them until the next day so they could be as fresh as possible but my Pavlovian response as soon as I saw the Cako shop was typical - must buy now.

So I did what was normal for me. Got up early the next morning, ran 4 miles in the hotel gym and had the Samoa cupcake for breakfast. It was good although I have to give the nod to Sift's Samoa cupcake as being better. The frosting from Sift that I raved about was better than Cako's and so was their cupcake. In fairness, that could be because I had the Cako one when it was technically "day old" but I still think Sift's was better.

Since even I tend not to eat 2 cupcakes for breakfast (I'd run only 4 miles after all, not 14), I waited even longer to try the Snickers one. It held up pretty well. I'm still not a frosting person so I ate mostly the cupcake. It was good but I think it was like something I could make. In a blind taste test, I'm not sure I could distinguish it from the chocolate cupcake from Crumbs Cookies n Cream mix. Which still makes it a good cupcake, just not one that would particularly stand out in the sea of cupcakes I've eaten and will likely continue to eat.
Each cupcake was $3.50 and Cako also offers mini cupcakes for $2 each so their pricing is in line with other cupcake shops. It always amazes me how many cupcake shops there are. Less amazing is I will likely try every one I come across.

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