What do you expect from a bakery?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it's a place where bread, cakes, cookies, and other baked foods are made or sold.
Now, my standards exceed the basic definition. When I choose a bakery business over a grocery store, I expect better quality, creativity, and technique.
If I opt for a bakery and receive a comparable store product, I'll wonder about the value.
Such was my experience at Sugar & Spice Bakery in La Mirada, California.
I first heard of the small shop through Groupon. Although I didn't purchase the deal, they seemed worth a visit.
I stopped by on a Saturday afternoon, a couple of hours before close. There were still a variety of cupcakes.
Many had descriptions rather than names - chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and lemon. Some were filled; some were not. A few were glazed with fruit. Others were topped with mousse instead of frosting.
I had a hard time choosing. Overall, the selection was ordinary. Even down to the Oreo and PB&J. I had hoped to find something unique.
Eventually, I spotted a large cupcake with bacon, solving one decision. Then, I settled for a small lemon combination.
That night, I started with their cinnamon cake topped with cinnamon hazelnut buttercream and candied bacon.
The cake was moist with a fresh-baked quality, and medium density. The taste of cinnamon was obvious in every bite, almost pungent.
The spice was apparent in the frosting as well. Combined with the cake, the hazelnut was undetectable and its flavor nearly overshadowed the bacon.
When finished, I thought nice but forgettable. I could've found similar at my local store, especially the buttercream.
With ambivalence, I approached my second cupcake from Sugar & Spice Bakery. It was a lemon cake with raspberry filling, topped with a raspberry mousse.
A zing of lemon greeted my taste buds upon the first bite. It caught me by surprise, as I was expecting more raspberries.
I don't believe it came from the lemon cake. Its flavor and texture was similar to a boxed cake mix. Instead, I believe the lemon was added after baking. Perhaps it was in the raspberry center like that of a jelly donut. Or in the mousse that resembled raspberry flavored Cool Whip.
Regardless, the idea was good, but I didn't care for the execution. It was too strong. Along with the average ingredients, I opted to save calories rather than finish.
I give Sugar & Spice Bakery 3 out of 5 stars. At $5.50, the cupcakes were affordable. However, I can't say they were worth it.
Think I'll remember to forget this one and stick with my favorite grocery store.
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