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Peter Lin Jan 19, 2006 09:32 PM

Just thought I'd give my opinion about this place. We bought a cake, the hazelnut crunch, and were extremely disappointed. Not only was the frosting overly sweet and oily, but it was literally dripping off of the cake after sitting at room temperature for less than 30 minutes. The cake was dry and not particularly flavorful. The cost was 40$ for a 6 inch cake, way too much for what we got. Anybody else have any better experiences with Cakelove?


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  1. f
    foodgeek RE: Peter Lin Jan 19, 2006 10:29 PM

    Tried several types of cake at their cafe, love cafe. the cakes were gorgeous, but not tasty. was disspointed.

    16 Replies
    1. re: foodgeek
      jackie RE: foodgeek Jan 20, 2006 06:10 AM

      Y'all are not alone. Despite all the great hype and pr campaigns, the actual product looks beautiful and tastes pretty bad. Spending $40+ on a cake with frosting that tastes like sweetened crisco is a shame.

      Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

      1. re: jackie
        DCFoodieperson RE: jackie Jan 20, 2006 06:17 AM

        yawn- why I was not overly impressed with the product - and said product was eaten at room temperature- I am even more bored by this endless bandwagon

        1. re: DCFoodieperson
          J RE: DCFoodieperson Jan 20, 2006 08:31 AM

          Chalmers is right...it is also important to see if cakelove improves...which I'm hoping it does. Clearly, it hasn't yet. Thanks for the review.

          1. re: J
            WG RE: J Jan 20, 2006 08:49 AM

            Some of us have been waiting for Cakelove to get it's act together since it opened! The wait obviously continues. They're basically coasting on location and the notoriety of the proprietor.

            Why people, who can afford $40 for a cake, are willing to put up with this nonsense is beyond me.

            1. re: WG
              MB RE: WG Jan 20, 2006 08:52 AM

              Because they're people like my friend who care more about being able to say their cake came from CakeLove, than about what it tastes like. I know I'm pointing out the obvious, but among the fashionistas - not the foodies - CakeLove is the place to buy your cakes in D.C.

              1. re: MB
                RL RE: MB Jan 20, 2006 09:06 AM

                Hmm, two things that suck on U Street, Ben's Chili Bowl (overhyped greasy spoon) and Cake Love, but all getting by with novelty and hype. Maybe I need to open up a Noba (cousin of Nobu) there and people will come in droves for my sushi catered by Ace sushi, the supplier for Safeway.

                1. re: RL
                  WG RE: RL Jan 20, 2006 09:22 AM

                  Ben's isn't THAT bad. Their halfsmokes rock! It's Florida Avenue Grill that's cruising on the greasyspoon novelty.

                  What I find worse than Ben's is Coppis: $20 for a personal pizza with about $2 worth of ingredients? Or Pollys: you want HOW much for a burger with no fries?

                  Indeed, the fashionistas rule on U Street.

                  1. re: WG
                    RL RE: WG Jan 20, 2006 09:30 AM

                    Ben's isn't that bad, but their overhype makes you wonder what's so special about this place? If Ben's opened up last week instead of having been there since the 60's, would anyone care? With regard to their halfsmokes, I think they don't even make them on the premises, but buy them. I think only lately, they've resorted to making their own chili.

                    1. re: RL
                      WG RE: RL Jan 20, 2006 09:49 AM

                      There's a lot of sentimental attachement to Bens because it was one of the few establishments that survived the 1968 riots. There's also the clientel: compare the mix of young/old, black/white, to the homogenized patrons of some of the other U Street establishments.

                      And they definitely don't make their own halfsmokes. But compare them to the ones available on the Mall (boiled) or the local 7-11 (nasty).

                      1. re: WG
                        Alan RE: WG Jan 20, 2006 10:58 AM

                        Yeah, I don't know about overhype for Ben's. It's a neighborhood landmark, but the only hype I've read about it being a great place to eat as opposed to just taking in the atmosphere have been places like roadfood.com.

                        I do like Ben's. If anyone knows another place to get a grilled smoked sausage with tasty chili, definitely share it, but I don't know if there is one. Other than Ben's, DC isn't a hot dog town, as far as I can tell.

                        1. re: Alan
                          RL RE: Alan Jan 20, 2006 11:24 AM

                          I think hard times cafe does half smokes, and Johnny's Half shell makes their own hot dogs, available lunch only though.

                          1. re: RL
                            qwertyy RE: RL Jan 20, 2006 02:12 PM

                            Yes, Johnny's has house-made hotdogs for lunch. And a fine eight dollar hotdog it is, if you like eight dollar hot dogs. I personally like hotdogs that manage to be tasty AND cheap because that's kind of the whole point of a hot dog, isn't it?

                            1. re: qwertyy
                              The Chowhound Team RE: qwertyy Jan 21, 2006 12:02 AM

                              Hi all,

                              We removed some off topic posts that wandered away from food found uniquely in the DC / Baltimore area. Please help keep it on track.

                  2. re: RL
                    foodgeek RE: RL Jan 20, 2006 11:19 AM

                    And I took an out of state friend to both Ben's and Love Cafe in the same evening. I had never been to eother and was a bit embarrassed about my choices. Yes, the dogs at ben's are good...but i much prefer Hard Times Chili.

                    1. re: foodgeek
                      Steve RE: foodgeek Jan 20, 2006 02:16 PM

                      It's a crime to take anyone to Ben's as long as Oohs and Aahs is open. Late at night, when nothing else is open, is the only time to go to Ben's, and even then the only appropriate order is a half-smoke (NOT a hot dog)with chili and a cherry shake.

                      Then, I give Ben's the thumbs up.

                    2. re: RL
                      BaltoMike RE: RL Aug 9, 2009 09:51 AM

                      I love Ben's chili bow. Have to disagree. The chili is really good and especially on a hot dog with some fries!!!! Salivate......

        2. a
          Adam RE: Peter Lin Jan 20, 2006 08:25 AM

          The only thing he makes that I really like are his Eclairs. His cakes kinda suck - always very very sweet.

          1. r
            RL RE: Peter Lin Jan 20, 2006 09:00 AM

            There was a decent debate going on about this subject especially between Tom Sietsema of the Wash.Post and Warren Brown, the owner of Cake Love. Most pretty much agreed that his offerings are overhyped and overpriced with the baked goods being pretty, but barely edible.

            Because of this, Warren Brown came up with a new angle that all his offerings need to be brought to room temperature before consumption. Now this revelation that cakes are melting faster than the wicked witch of the east. Too funny.

            I've seen his show Sugar Rush on HGTV, and what I noticed is that he focuses more on making a cake or baked good look pretty rather than the taste. Just throwing together "fresh" ingredients doesn't necessarily make something taste good. What more can you expect from a professionally trained lawyer turned baker who had no formal culinary training?

            I think if you called Cake Love to complain, he may give you a refund or something else as I don't think he wants any more bad publicity to ruin his momentum.


            1 Reply
            1. re: RL
              wombat RE: RL Jan 23, 2006 11:42 AM

              They now put a little card in your bag that tells you the temperature that you should eat it at. They even have it on a tshirt. It's pretty funny.

              I agree with the other poster about the eclairs. Otherwise, well, I thought I was going to get really fat when they opened in Silver Spring, but so far, not.

            2. d
              DC Gal RE: Peter Lin Jan 20, 2006 10:19 AM

              I love when I have the opportunity to go to NYC and get a REAL cupcake or cake. I love the mosit cake with the sugary sweet buttercream fristing. I keep wondering why no one has opened the same type of bakery in DC. I've made it my mission to find the best cupcake in NYC. So far, I've tried Crumbs, Magnolia, Buttercup, Cupcake Cafe, and one other whose name I cannot recall. Buttercup is my favorite by far! They have the best cupcakes and the best selection in my opinion. The red velvet with cream cheese frosting is to die for. They offer franchises. So, any of you Chowhounds here in DC who have the finances to do so - I say - GO FOR IT! I think this thread proves that the DC market is looking for a REAL bakery with sweet and wonderful cakes. They CAN be pretty AND delicious! I wish CakeLove understood that. They don't!

              8 Replies
              1. re: DC Gal
                Tugboat RE: DC Gal Jan 20, 2006 11:28 AM

                So you have tried the Cakelove version(s)? How does it differ?

                1. re: Tugboat
                  DC Gal RE: Tugboat Jan 20, 2006 01:31 PM

                  The cakes in NYC are moist. CakeLove's are dry and crumbly. The cakes in YC have wonderful flavor. To me, CakeLove's do not. The icing used by the NYC bakeries have that sugary texture where you can almost feel yourself getting a cavity and the sugar high is to die for (yes, I consider this a GOOD thing). I would equate the icing used at CakeLove to sweetened and flavored shortening. It has no sugary texture to it. And, the cakes in NYC, or really the cupcakes have sprinkles - which are just plain fun. I don't think I have ever seen a sprinkle at CakeLove. And, I don't count chocolate shavings as sprinkles.

                  So, those are the differences to me. I think it comes down to the old fashioned cupcake your mom or grandma used to make (the NYC version) versus the more "upscale" version trying to be the "homespun" version (the CakeLove attempt). I'll take the real thing (like mom or grandma made) anyday!

                  Hmmmm. I think I may have to find an excuse for a business trip to New York REALLY soon.

                2. re: DC Gal
                  foodgeek RE: DC Gal Jan 20, 2006 11:46 AM

                  Try ordering a cake from nataliaselegantcreations.com. Natalia makes the best cakes and delivers, with delivery prices varying by area. Free delivery for Falls Church and Arlington. Dean & Deluca carries some of her stuff as well. She even had a write-up in the Post food section this summer.

                  1. re: DC Gal
                    Bonz RE: DC Gal Jan 20, 2006 02:42 PM

                    Excellent baked goods can be found at Baked & Wired in Georgetown, at 1052 Thomas Jefferson St., right by the C&O Canal. Far better than Cakelove's -- which are simply a rip-off, in my opinion.

                    1. re: Bonz
                      Foodgeek RE: Bonz Jan 20, 2006 04:02 PM

                      Does Baked and Wired still have extremely limited hours, mainly business hours?

                      1. re: Foodgeek
                        Bonz RE: Foodgeek Jan 20, 2006 04:27 PM

                        It has been open every time I have gone by, so it doesn't seem limited at all to me.

                        1. re: Bonz
                          foodgeek RE: Bonz Jan 20, 2006 10:49 PM

                          It used to only be business hours. like until 5pm. Maybe they've extended the hours.

                      2. re: Bonz
                        luvfood RE: Bonz Jan 30, 2006 05:20 PM

                        I'm SO glad I'm not the only person in this city that thinks CakeLove is a TOTAL rip-off and frankly not very good. I paid $6.00 for a "red white and blue" which is basically a cupcake-ish thing with (way too much) butter cream and a few berries. When the sales person was ringing it up and said, "$6.60" I nearly fell over. I'm happy to spend the $$ on truly delicious pastries/sweets...but this was NOT it.

                        For truly magnificent French pastries, Patisserie Poupon in Georgetown is amazing.

                    2. c
                      Carol S. RE: Peter Lin Jan 20, 2006 08:47 PM

                      There was a very interesting post that I found from using the search engine that you may find interesting. The link is below. It does not seem to have changed much over the years.

                      Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Carol S.
                        DC Gal RE: Carol S. Jan 23, 2006 10:42 AM

                        Very interesting - good find.

                        I cannot fathom paying $100 for one of his cakes. She's a really good friend to do that for her girlfriend's birthday. I think I would have just gone with a big box of cupcakes!

                        My husband bought my 30th birthday cake from Loretta of CakeLore. I had fallen in love with a friend's wedding cake and had also gone along for the cake tasting. My birthday cake was as beautiful as a wedding cake. It was her "grandma's chocolate cake" with fresh raspberry filling and white chocolate cream cheese icing. She frosted it to look like a gift with a big bow made of fondant. Ii was beautiful. And, in all honesty, it may have cost him $100-125, but I think that is worth it because it was spectacular. I would pay that for a cake like that and it was also quite big. Compare that to a 12" cake with crooked writing - no comparison in my book.

                        I know that Loretta only does birthday cakes by special request and my husband had to call her way in advance, but her cakes are worth it. He did have to drive out ot her house to pick it up, but I think she would have delivered it for a price. But, again, I find that understandable since she doesn't have a shop. I cannot understand why CakeLove can't have ordered cakes ready before 4:00. Seems like he needs to take a course in the basics of business.

                      2. c
                        cakelover RE: Peter Lin Sep 18, 2008 01:19 PM

                        I agree, I literally just left Cakelove on U Street. Got a slice of cake and a two cupcakes, $14.30, DISGUSTINGLY DRY. I would have returned it, if only I had tasted before I got back to work. NEVER AGAIN

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: cakelover
                          chicken kabob RE: cakelover Sep 18, 2008 01:49 PM

                          Call me crazy but I actually really enjoy the cheap (vanilla/vanilla only) birthday cake (sold by slice) from Safeway or Giant!

                          1. re: cakelover
                            monkeyrotica RE: cakelover Sep 19, 2008 08:44 AM

                            Wow. A three-year-old Cakelove thread and people are STILL hating on the place. I gotta wonder how they can stay in business.

                          2. t
                            thecheeseisblue RE: Peter Lin Sep 19, 2008 09:35 AM

                            I've sampled CakeLove since they opened in Bmore in the last year. Though the owner seems to be a really nice guy (including all who work there) the cake appears quite overpriced. For $6-7 a slice, you get dry cake with some unique icing. Nice, not special. Without better pricing, I don't see it lasting very long in Canton.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: thecheeseisblue
                              cyber foodie RE: thecheeseisblue Sep 21, 2008 10:38 PM

                              I've had mixed experiences at the Cakelove in Canton. I had a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting. The cake bit was moist & flavorful. The icing was flavorful & not overly sweet but definitely sweet enough. Maybe it helps when they have samples out & freshly baked goods. Another day, I popped by to get some cupcakes for friends (I assumed they'd be good as I'd enjoyed the previous experience). They cupcakes were dry & tasted old.

                              I think the prices for the cakes at Cakelove are ludicrous for what you get! I far prefer to order from Patisserie Poupon in Baltimore (love the Georgetown location too). You get something that is truly to die for & beautiful.

                              P.S. I'm a fashionista & I think life is too short to eat bad cake (especially if you're spending the calories!). Trendy is utterly meaningless once you (or your guests) bite into something that tastes slightly better than a used hockey puck with a glaze of fluffy oil.

                            2. r
                              RedVelvetRae RE: Peter Lin Aug 7, 2009 08:48 AM

                              Cakelove has nice marketing, but a very poor product. Way overpriced and mediocre at best. I can't believe this place is still open and flourishing. Will never again patronize this "bakery."

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: RedVelvetRae
                                monkeyrotica RE: RedVelvetRae Aug 7, 2009 09:47 AM

                                You wouldn't have any association with Red Velvet Cupcakery, one of Cakelove's competitors? I don't disagree with your critique, I just noticed your name.

                              2. w
                                windycity RE: Peter Lin Aug 7, 2009 01:41 PM

                                I love the owner's politics. Not so much his cupcakes, sadly.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: windycity
                                  jerseygirldawn RE: windycity Aug 8, 2009 07:43 AM

                                  Cake Love sells vegan cupcakes. My son is allergic to eggs (and nuts) so this is why I tried it.
                                  I got my 4 year old his vegan cupcake and got regular cupcakes for my friends and I. They were all actually unedible! I mean horrible. They were not at all moist, the frostings on all of them sucked and they were just all around chalky and flavorless!! To make matters worse, they are a small fortune!
                                  DO NOT GO TO CAKE LOVE. I hear there is a place in DC by the Spy Museum called Red Velvet. I hear their cupcakes are delicious but I havent tried them yet.

                                  1. re: jerseygirldawn
                                    Jacey RE: jerseygirldawn Aug 9, 2009 07:37 PM

                                    Hello Cupcake also has one vegan (and gluten free) cupcake flavor a day. I tried a sample of one. I guess it's good but I don't have much to compare it to. I do know that Hello Cupcake needs to do something about their customer service.

                                    1. re: Jacey
                                      Jeserf RE: Jacey Aug 10, 2009 07:15 AM

                                      I very much like Hello Cupcake...but the ONE vegan one I tried was terribly, actually painfully oversweet. Never found the service lacking, and they've even been helpful when I've had to pick some up but had my dog with me (brought them out for me so she wasn't on that busy stretch of CT Ave alone).

                                      If you want vegan cupcake or other baked goods for your son made in a facility that is vegan, go to Sticky Fingers in Columbia Heights. Their cupcakes are very moist, but my favorite thing ever is the cowvin cake thingy - the bar. mmm. also the devil bars are amazing. I truly love that place - great spot, owners dedicated to providing vegan goods that don't taste like dirt. And they always support the DC Humane Society by giving us free baked goods when we volunteer outside their shop :)

                                    2. re: jerseygirldawn
                                      tifferbe_2000 RE: jerseygirldawn Aug 13, 2009 05:49 AM

                                      I work right by Red Velvet in the Penn Quarter, and they are pretty good, though I think slighty (only just) overpriced. I love the Morning Call cupcake, which is chocolate with a espresso buttercream frosting...that frosting is like crack, I'm totally hooked.

                                  2. g
                                    gibby0517 RE: Peter Lin Aug 13, 2009 07:52 AM

                                    I agree with Peter.Vastly overrated and way overpriced.

                                    1. r
                                      r0cc00 RE: Peter Lin Aug 14, 2009 07:40 AM

                                      with all due respect to DC cupcake fans, why are we paying so much for a dozen ($30+/12!!)?

                                      I luv the NYC cupcakes esp from Sugar Sweet Sunshine on the LES - $18/12 too!

                                      DC area cupcake proprietors need to wakeup & realize this is a 2nd rate cupcake city charging 1st rate prices. Geesh!

                                      1. c
                                        cakegirl23 RE: Peter Lin Aug 26, 2009 07:12 AM

                                        I agree there cakes are terrible. I had two cupcakes, first which i thought was way expensive $7.00 for 2 . I thought i would give them a try, since i was at the National Harbor in DC. Very bad, I was so dissapointed that i did'nt either finish the cupcakes. I was so upset for wasting my money that i just through them in the trash. instead of baking from scratch (cause that seems to not work for them) they should consider using a mix and use flavor extracts.

                                        1. f
                                          fisherdm RE: Peter Lin Aug 26, 2009 12:54 PM

                                          Buy a Duncan Hines mix and save yourself $80 bucks. It'll taste better too.

                                          1. k
                                            ktroncoso RE: Peter Lin Aug 26, 2009 01:21 PM

                                            I completely with you on that. I've been in on a few occasions and each time, I've tried their sample of the day and ehh...VERY disappointing. As cute as that place is with their whole concept and theme, I was really rootin' for this place. All I can say is, I have yet to be WOW'd when trying any of their items.

                                            1. johnb RE: Peter Lin Aug 26, 2009 08:29 PM

                                              It's hard to understand how Cakelove stays in business. There have been innumerable threads about them (try a search) and seemingly everybody agrees the stuff is overpriced and not very compelling. But still it just goes on and on. Clearly most customers out there have greater hype sensitivity than taste sensitivity. I guess that's nothing new. And I guess it's why they stay in business.

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