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« Batter Chatter: Interview with a Cadbury Creme Egg | Main | Cake Byte: Sweet News from Cakespy »
Sunday
Mar092008

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes: A Cakewalk With Some Greenpeace Hippies in Berkeley, CA and Environs

Cakespy Note: Photo credit for the above image goes to Flickr user bgreenlee, via the Crixa Cakes Pool

Greenpeace. With all of those hopeful-faced "do you have a moment for the environment" street-crew employees sprinkled on city corners, it can be hard to remember what it is they do in the first place (hey, just saying). Luckily for us, Cake Gumshoe Bridget (in the red shirt, photo left--hope she doesn't mind us choosing that photo) just sohappens to work for the Greenpeace Headquarters--so she's able to keep the rest of us in line about what they really do (you know, like protecting the environment, animals, our planet...all that good stuff). But man, saving the world can sure work up an appetite--so while her crew was on a field mission in Berkeley, it was sweet, sugary treats that kept them going. While they were only there for a short time and therefore weren't able to hit up all of the bakeries in the area, they did take some extra field notes on three stops that impressed them on their visit; here's what those damn hippies saw, tasted and loved in the Berkeley area (excerpted directly from Cake Gumshoe Bridget's field notes):

First Stop: Crixa Cakes, which may also be known as cake heaven; they had unique cakes such as Budapest coffee cake, ginger cake, Romeo G, and an assortment of flourless cakes, and cupcakes--my lord!--all of the basics and one that particularly caught my eye was the Raspberry Cream cupcake which was decorated like it was topped with roses. My friend and I got said cupcake and the fresh ginger cake along with the recommended ginger tea. The cake was perfectly spiced and sweet, and the cupcake was devilishly rich. My only warning is take your treat to go, or you may never leave. Cakespy Note: Though our dear Cake Gumshoe Bridget didn't sample it, we couldn't neglect to mention that Crixa has a coffin Springerle mold--holy sweetness! Crixa Cakes, 2748 Adeline Street, Berkeley, CA; (510) 548-0421. Online at crixacakes.com.



Second Stop: Love at First Bite a cupcakery (!) which had a ridiculous assortment of cupcakes, such as Monkey Love, True Love, Hummingbird, and Pumpkin Bliss. I needless to say was overwhelmed. I asked the counter girl about every one and which one sold the best. "First Love" (which is a madagascar bourbon cupcake) and the Matcha Green Tea cupcake (which is a delicate green tea cupcake)." Her point was, in fact, proven since they were out of both and it was only 2pm. Decisions, decisions--I went with "Bunny Love" which is a carrot cupcake with pecans and pineapple, and also ordered a mini cupcake of Pumpkin Bliss. So no excuses if you're on a so-called "diet" since a mini cupcake is half the size of a normal one--and besides, they are too cute to resist! Cakespy Note: We cannot fail to mention the overall friendliness of the entire (French Bulldog-loving) staff at this bakery; we thank them for their permission to use the photo, left, of their cupcakes. Love at First Bite, 1510 Walnut Street, Suite G Berkeley, CA; (510) 848-5727; online at loveatfirstbitebakery.com.

Last (but by no means least) Stop: The Teacake Bakeshop. This was a sophisticated, classic bakery. No outlandish varieties, no bells and whistles. Just simple and decadent. The cupcakes are seasonally decorated so the shelves were filled with pastels, bunnies, and flowers. and shelve on top of shelf of cookies. Since I outdid myself during the week on cakes I opted for a shortbread cupcake cookie. Genius! a cookie in costume! I also purchased a vanilla frosted "softie" sugar cookie for my roommate who response was "that ruled" which I translate from frat boy lingo as "Wow, why this cookie held that fresh out of the oven softness topped with rich butter cream-- I'm speechless" Teacake Bakeshop is also known for their boxed gift sets for any occasion (which are shippable!). They also had cookie sandwiches with your choice of filling. mmm... Teacake Bakeshop, 5615 Bay St., Emeryville, CA; (888) 558-0188. Online at teacakebakeshop.com.

Any suggestions on other bakeries we must visit on our next trek to the East Bay? Let us know!

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