Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bakery Review: Sift Cupcake and Dessert Bar

Sift Cupcake and Dessert Bar - visited March 3, 2014
Prepare for a post with lots of pictures. Because this is it. After my niece Lauren and I filled up on dim sum, we headed out of Chinatown and made our way down (and up) California to go to Sift Cupcake & Dessert Bar. I'd first heard of Sift by watching Cupcake Wars. A big reason I watch Cupcake Wars is to find out about local small business cupcakeries - more places to try out. Whenever I hear of any in my area, it goes on my list of places to visit someday. For Sift, this was the day.

Last summer, I did the same thing with Frost. Frost Cupcake Factory actually won their episode of Cupcake Wars but if you recall my review of their cupcakes, I was rather disappointed as the textures on most of the cupcakes I bought were dry and their flavors weren't very spectacular in terms of taste. So my expectations for Sift were a lot lower because Sift got knocked out in one of the qualifying rounds and, unlike Frost, couldn't boast being Cupcake War winners.

But before I get to the cupcakes, let's talk about Sift's cute little bakery because it really was a cute little bakery. Sift is located in lower Pacific Heights; Lauren and I were so busy talking when we were walking there that we actually passed it because we were on the other side of the street. We had to double back to find it.

The bakery storefront itself isn't very big but for a cupcakery, it's still a decent size, similar to Sprinkles and Kara's Cupcakes. It's very cheery and filled with pastel colors. One look at their display cases and I was predisposed to like them anyway. They also were smart in their display and storage space by having shelves house their cupcake boxes (above). The cupcake boxes have cute sayings on them and double as decorations until they're needed.

Sift has a selection of not just cupcakes but also "soda pop" (not to be confused with the likes of Diet Coke and their ilk because they didn't have any but actual old-fashioned soda pop) as well as layer cakes, macarons, Krispy cakes (amped up Rice Krispie treats), and whoopie pies. I have a one-track mind and I came for cupcakes so cupcakes are what we bought.
When faced with such mouthwatering choices, it's always hard to narrow down my selections. I highly recommend you check out Sift's flavor menu so you can appreciate my First World struggle. In the end, I bought a Samoa Cupcake and Lauren chose a carrot cupcake. We also bought a red velvet and a chocolate one for Lauren to bring back for Shyla.
Red Velvet and All for the Cookie cupcakes

The carrot cupcake was topped with the traditional cream cheese frosting and decorated with an icing decoration of a carrot. It was my favorite way carrot cake (or cupcake) should be made: with just carrots. The flavor card on the bakery counter that describes each flavor even points out there are no nuts or raisins in their carrot cupcake. Points for Sift. It was also a really good cupcake, cakey, fluffy and moist but not greasy.

The Samoa cupcake was a coconut cake filled with chocolate ganache and topped with vanilla frosting garnished with toasted coconut and ganache drizzle. If that sounded good to you, it's because it was. I loved this cupcake. Let me repeat that: I loved this cupcake. Moist, fluffy, perfect coconut flavor. And here's the shocking thing: I also loved the frosting. If you know me at all, you know I always say I'm not a frosting person, I only like a little frosting to go with my cake and I never profess love for frosting. This is the only cupcakery I've been to where I not only like the frosting but I ate it all. Yup, you read that right. I love Sprinkles red velvet cupcake and I prefer their frosting over most places but I don't ever eat all of the frosting on a Sprinkles cupcake. Not so with Sift's Samoa cupcake. Loved it. The toasted coconut on top was the perfect complement in texture and flavor with the frosting too.

I even liked the ganache filling although if I had to give one piece of feedback to Sift, I'd recommend they switch out the chocolate ganache for a caramel filling instead. The chocolate is already represented in the drizzle on top but I was missing the caramel component of a traditional Samoa. Still, this was a darn good cupcake, chocolate ganache filling included, so I have no complaints. Actually, let me rephrase that: I enjoyed this cupcake so much that I did something else I never do. I bought another one. Buying another cupcake isn't so unusual but typically I would get a different flavor to try. But I liked the Samoa so much that I had to have another one. Not right that moment of course but I bought it for later. And just to really push the outer limits of my waistband, I also chose one of the chocolate cupcakes to try out another time.
Carrot Cupcake on the left, Samoa on the right
I bought the "Sky is Falling" cupcake which was a chocolate cupcake filled with white chocolate mousse and topped with a chocolate buttercream. But I was really greedy for the Samoa again. I had the second one the next day and it was just as good as the first one, even a "day old" and I ate all the frosting again. You've no idea how mind-boggling that is to me.
I didn't get to the Sky is Falling cupcake until the following day - in the interests of moderation, one high-calorie treat a day is all I normally allow myself. This one was more typical of other cupcakes I've had elsewhere. I don't know whether it's because it was two days old by then or it just wasn't as good as the Samoa to hook me in but on this one, I ate the cupcake but left a lot of the frosting. It was good but just not as good as the Samoa. Sorry I don't have a picture other than the bakery case. For once, I forgot to take one before I ate it.
All in all, I thought Sift's cupcakes were delicious and I enjoyed them much more than the ones from Frost. I'll have to hunt up their Cupcake Wars episode again and see where they went wrong in the competition but they win in my cupcake book.

1 comment:

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