Thursday, September 4, 2008

On to dessert: Babycakes

Last year, Riba was diagnosed as celiac, which meant no gluten. Since then, the diagnosis has been revoked, but during that time she got wise to all the gluten-free options within eating range. This is how she knew about Babycakes, which specializes in gluten- and refined-sugar free vegan (I know, unless your last name is Goodman, your hopes for this place are plunging with each adjective, but hold on!) baked goods.

Riba is on their mailing list, so she knew that they were giving away free frosting shots. Around the same time she mentioned this, she also told me that the ice cream sandwich I was eyeing was filled not with ice cream, or even sorbet, but with frosting. I began to have my doubts about this stop on the tasting tour.

But I didn't have to marry it, I simply had to sample a few items, and everything looked pretty, so I persevered. After five minutes of deliberation (there was a lot of deliberation at all these places since we were sharing everything), we settled on a carrot cupcake, a chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich, and frosting shots all around.

Perhaps unwisely, given that it was pure sweetness with nothing cakey to mellow it out, we had the frosting first. The frosting was purple. I don't know why, I don't think it tasted like any sort of purple food. And it was sweet. But not too sweet, not headache-in-a-jar, needs-no-refrigeration, suspiciously-long-shelf-life pre-fab sweet. And not even tastes-so-good-even-though-I-know-how-much-butter-went-into-making-this buttercream icing sweet. I won't go so far as to say it tasted like a stand-alone dessert, but it tasted pretty good, and the texture was amazing: creamy and unusually smooth.

Riba and Alexis were sad to see it go so fast:

But they found consolation quickly:

The carrot cupcake was good, though a little dry. But that seems to be a pretty common cupcake issue, regardless of ingredients. It's hard to make cream cheese frosting without cream cheese though, so it lacked the deliciousness that comes from expectation and familiarity.

Even though it was a hot day, we saved the "ice cream" sandwich for last. But only about two minutes had passed since we paid and left the shop, so it hadn't had time to thaw, let alone melt.

Chocolate chip cookies are one of my favorite foods, and ice cream sandwiches rank pretty high up there too, and though this was novel and tasted pretty good, it paled in comparison to the real thing. However, say I had to go gluten-free or could no longer eat refined sugars for some reason, you can bet I'd reverse engineer the crap out of this recipe and make them at home.

The chocolate chip cookie was thin, almost like a lace cookie, and very very crispy. I now better understand the purpose of butter and eggs in the usual recipe. The frosting was cold, held the cookies together, and was creamy and smooth. But the frosting lacked that depth of flavor that you get from ice cream. Luckily, our next stop was the gelateria around the corner...

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