So, who enjoys battling downtown traffic? Certainly not me (my disdain for traffic is an entirely different story). BUT I battled traffic just for BabyCakes NYC. A little bit about BabyCakes: originally from New York (obviously), certified Kosher, parve and vegan, and they have a really friendly staff. The cupcakery is located in the fashion district of Los Angeles, so not exactly an easy relaxing cupcake outing. Parking, as usual in LA, was a pain and I paid a dollar of my prized quarters (college kid doing laundry) for 20 minutes of parking (BTW, Los Angeles, I really hope I’m reaping some sort of benefit from all the parking meter money you steal from me). The shop totally redeems itself when you walk inside. It is small, has a few tables and is pretty quaintly decorated. It’s clean and quiet amongst the busyness of downtown. And, like I said, nicest, friendliest staff.
To be honest I wish they hadn’t told me it was a vegan cupcake (I did not know this prior to walking into the cupcakery), because I have so many preconceived notions about vegan food. It automatically causes a disgusted look on my face and makes me take three steps back. But, hey, I was already there, I’d battled Los Angeles, so I decided to try them to see if the friend who recommended it was right.
So what do you put into a vegan cupcake? I have no freaking idea – I’m a happy carnivore so I don’t really don’t look too carefully into vegan recipes (just for reference, my father considers vegetarianism and veganism a type of eating disorder – so that’s how I was raised). Turns out no one else knows what on earth is in a vegan cupcake, so they have a whole section on their website dedicated to explaining what they put in their cupcakes. They use rice flour or garbanzo/fava bean mix (I just ate beans in cupcake form?!), spelt, an ancient grain (has it not been used for years because it’s a bad ingredient??) that apparently has complex carbohydrates, more protein (did I really need protein from my cupcake?), more magnesium, and digestive enzymes. For sweeteners they use agave nectar (it is from a cactus). So sounds pretty cool and healthy right? Ya… not so much. Turns out the butter/lard/fat combination is essential to the cupcake experience.
I tried two of their cupcakes: a pumpkin cupcake and a chocolate cupcake with mocha frosting.
Atmosphere of the cupcakery – 2
The actual cupcakery was the bomb. SO cute, such nice people working there, super laid-back atmosphere, and quaint tables to sit at. BUT dealing with downtown LA traffic and parking knocks it down to a 2. Sorry downtown LA, your automobile situation really does detract from my experience as a citizen.
Moistness of the cake in the cupcake – 3
In the pumpkin cupcake, it looked and tasted more like carrot bread. It was pretty thick, moist and dense, and had only a slight hint of pumpkin (though probably could have used some more). It wasn’t bad per say, just not what I wanted (sorry BabyCakes). Then when it came to the chocolate cupcake, there was the typical problem with vegan food – lack of eggs (or perhaps cholesterol, it may clog my arteries… but it tastes good). It was pretty dry, and had a slight burnt taste. If I didn’t know better, I’d say it was like three days old. Attention to all vegans: you are SERIOUSLY MISSING OUT. CONVERT BACK.
Okay, I can’t lie, this is really where they gained some points with me. Their frosting was pretty bomb. The pumpkin frosting was medium to heavy thickness but very smooth and sweet. Quite surprising and not at all what I was expecting. Still very sweet and definitely good! For the mocha cupcake, the frosting was pretty good as well! Definitely on the sweeter side, but pretty good!
Packaging – 1
Typical cupcake packaging that I appreciated, easy to remove wrapper (when a cupcake won’t let go of it’s wrapper I think there might be some unnatural attachment that worries me) and didn’t take too much of the cupcake with it. They do have the option of a “cupcake insurance” holder that you can get in your box, which I highly appreciated. It was, however, like $0.75 more, and I decided to just walk efficiently and carefully, then drive like the usual aggressive driver that LA has made me, and my cupcakes were totally fine. So unless you plan on tripping, it’s not really necessary.
Feeling after eating the cupcake – 4
Suffice it to say, these cupcakes didn’t really change my viewpoint about vegan foods. I’m still not a fan, and seriously disappointed I didn’t get the fluffy cupcake I was looking forward to. BUT I do like pumpkin bread a lot, so getting to have pumpkin bread-like stuff today was a bonus.
Overall rating: 2.4
Definitely on the lower side. Morals of the adventure:
a) Stop being vegan
b) Don’t become a vegan
c) West coast knows how to do cupcakes – nice try NYC
130 E 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014
Cupcake Price $4.50-$4.75
By: Elise Fabbro