For the Love of Cake
9 out of 10
There’s something about not being allowed to have it that makes it so seductive. That being said, I will not eat just any cake. I will only eat home-made, preservative-free cake. I usually also avoid cupcakes because by the time you’re done eating one you want another. They’re just too small and unsatisfying. There’s never enough icing. The icing is too greasy and doesn’t taste like anything. The cake part is bland or dry. Basically, there are just too many things that can go wrong and ruin my cake experience for me to spend money buying, or time baking, cupcakes.
But the fact is, I love cake, and I will go out of my way to try a restaurant or a food that has received a lot of buzz. I just need to know if it’s really that good. With this little cupcake shop, For The Love Of Cake, I really had no excuse, since it was a hop, skip and a jump from where I was staying in Toronto, in Liberty Village.
There’s a little shopping complex in the developing south-east area of Liberty Village that plays host to a dance studio, a few hair salons, some designer clothing shops and most recently a high-end cheese shop, but why would you eat cheese when you can eat these cupcakes? Normally, I would never say that, but these cupcakes, oh god, these cupcakes.
They are called “4 dimensional cupcakes“, which is silly, but makes for good marketing. It just means that most of them are filled with something, as well as being topped with something, and garnished with something. So there are a few more flavours involved than your a-ver-age cupcake.
I tried a grand total of 5 cupcakes over the course of a week and a half, and these two were the best. The chocolate cupcake was like no other chocolate cupcake. Not too dense, not too airy or light, and never dry since all the cupcakes are sold the day they’re made. Usually I’m all about the icing, but this cake was just incredible. Since eating these cupcakes, I’ve searched far and wide for a better chocolate cupcake, or one that can even compare, and I just can’t find one. Then the vanilla angel food cake…it was the equivalent of the joy created by the chocolate, but in a luscious vanilla. It actually tasted like vanilla, and was light but rich, with the perfect texture. I never thought there was a perfect texture because different people would prefer different textures, but no, these are just the best.
Cookies and Cream came close to being as good as the salted caramel (the same chocolate base was used so it had a big head start in the direction of being amazing) but it was filled with chocolate ganache instead of caramel. The ganache was too bittersweet and overwhelmed the cupcake base that really wanted to be filled with semisweet or milk chocolate. Either way, it just couldn’t compare to the caramel, which was supposed to ooze out of the cupcake. I could have used more caramel and more oozing, but what was there was still delicious. The best part of the cookies and cream was the oreo cookie garnish. Somehow the oreo cookie wasn’t rock hard, like they usually are from a package, and the vanilla frosting was so much better and richer than whipped cream.
Besides its four-dimensional cupcakes, For The Love Of Cakes is known for its “mancakes“. These range from the standard usage of Guinness in desserts (like a regular stout cake, or the chocolate version with Irish whiskey ganache), or a regular black forest cupcake with the traditional kirsch brandy. The only really unique cupcake is the maple-bacon option where a maple and bacon-flavoured cupcake is filled with blueberries jelly, topped with a maple frosting, and garnished with bacon bits. The blueberries and maple are a brilliant idea for a combination, and the bacon just acts as salt flavouring in a similar way to salted caramel.
Gimmicks aside, the rest of cakes at For the Love of Cake are all pretty good. Some are bigger than others, so you feel like you get your moneys-worth with some of them more than others. $3 can get you a mouthful or a meal. Then there are some that don’t have 4 dimensions, like the lemon meringue. It just has a lemon base, deliciously sweet and sour lemon curd, and a toasted meringue frosting. Toasting is not a dimension. Fortunately there’s LOTS of meringue, so I will stop complaining and enjoy the beautiful cupcake.
Another interesting cupcake was the Japanese ginger: a ginger cupcake filled with a plum sake jelly, topped with cream cheese frosting and a plum slice covered in a sake glaze. The plum sake jelly was absolutely delicious and the garnish of plum was nice, but the cupcake was pretty small, and the cream cheese was too rich and didn’t fit with the tangy jelly. I think a different kind of frosting would have worked better. The pieces of candied ginger in the cupcake batter itself were very nice touches, and made it worth hunting through the cake to find and savour them.
Since my favourite shop, Sitting Around Eating Bonbons, closed down I was left guilty-pleasure-less in Toronto. Now, I’m happy to say I have a new addiction, the best cupcakes in Toronto, and I’ve very much reconsidered my stance on the whole concept of cupcakes.
Expect To Pay: $3 per cupcake, $15.90 for 6, or order a minimum of four online for pick-up at $2.50 each