Too Close for Cupcakes

Toast Bakery Cafe - Peanut Butter Chocolate CupcakesAs consumers, it’s not uncommon for us to see two businesses establish a marketing partnership. Usually their products or services are related, but not the same. By joining forces, it can benefit them and us.

Now you may be saying that’s all fine and dandy. However, what does any of this have to do with cupcakes?

Well my friends, in regards to my latest cupcake mission – a lot!

It was a Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles, California and I was approaching my destination, Toast Bakery Cafe.

They were located on a popular street where parking was scarce. So I was looking for the eatery and an open spot.

As luck would have it, I arrived just in time to secure a space across the street. 

Thus, it wasn’t until I faced the bakery cafe that I fully assessed my surroundings. That’s when I saw their neighbor.

My jaw dropped.

It was the cupcake shop that shattered my basic cupcake beliefs last summer and proved to be an unpleasant experience.

I had ordered from their cupcake truck. So it was a surprise to come across their store, moreover next door to a bakery?

Dumbfounded, I proceeded into Toast Bakery Cafe and made my way towards their bakery counter. I spotted the cupcakes on the bottom shelf and asked an associate for help.

He then did something most odd. 

He advised me there were more cupcakes next door. 

I looked to my right and there was an open wall, leading straight to the adjoining shop. 

Toast Bakery Cafe - Lemon CupcakeThis was ridiculous. Why would any business encourage me to leave and look elsewhere? I thought.

“No thanks,” I said kindly. Then I asked if they were affiliated with the shop next door.

He said they used to sell their cupcakes, but not anymore. 

Whew, because I definitely would’ve left!

Their selection of flavors were traditional – chocolate, vanilla, marble, lemon, and coconut. The price was $3.00 each.

I selected two and drove home, hoping their cozy neighbor didn’t influence the bakery cafe’s cupcakes.

That night, I started with their Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcake. Chocolate cake should be simple; still I’ve found it to be hit or miss. Sometimes it’s deep and decadent. Other times, it’s dry or average.

This chocolate cake was a satisfying devil’s food. Its texture reminded me of a moist, cake-like brownie. It was good enough to stand-alone, an important quality since the frosting didn’t extend to the cake’s edges.

The peanut butter frosting was creamy, but not too thick. It wasn’t sugary and had a medium flavor. I could’ve done without the tiny decorative beads. I liked the look, but not the feel in my mouth.

Next I tried their Lemon Cupcake. I can never have too many lemon desserts, especially when the weather is warmer.

With the edges exposed, my first bite was cake. Its texture was similar to pound cake – lemony and buttery. As I continued eating, I spied flecks of lemon zest in the batter.

The rich cream cheese frosting was garnished in lemon zest as well. Oh, it added just the right zing.

I give Toast Bakery Cafe 4 out of 5 stars. That’s much better than their neighbors fared with me.

Considering the crossover in products, the proximity to one another seems too close for comfort. Yet they manage to exist in harmony.

I don’t understand it; but at least I know who has the better cupcakes. And as a Frosting Fanatic, that’s enough.

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