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Jul 31, 2006 12:23 AM

Better & better – Bakesale Betty creams cupcake competition and serves superior strawberry shortcake and perfect potato salad.

Whew. Say that three times fast.

I have never had a better biscuit-based strawberry shortcake than the one from Bakesale Betty’s last week.

The macerated strawberries were full of flavor, the scone-like biscuit absorbed the juices without getting soggy and the whipped cream, not at all sweet and almost like crème fraiche, was the perfect pairing with the berries and biscuit.

They make a different shortcake too. It is a whole sponge cake with about four layers of cake each layer filled with strawberries and whipped cream. I thought that was what the individual serving would be ... a piece of that cake. This is so much better. It leaves Swanton Berry Farm’s biscuit shortcake ... well, in the dust ... at the farm.

The potato salad is usually everything I hate in potato salad ... no mayo, dressed in a mustard based dressing ...YET ... I’m addicted to it. The skin-on red potatoes are cooked to the perfect texture liberally sprinkled with chopped parsley and mixed with the mustard based dressing. What makes it SOOO good is the light touch with the dressing. Just enough for flavor but not enough to call attention to itself. Little slivers of red onion for accent ... might be pickled red onion. Just so good.

The salad looked excellent and I added it to my order. Well, you know Bakesale Betty’s. Since I was there almost everyday last week, they gave me the salad gratis ... so in the interest of full disclosure ... however my love of that potato salad had nothing to do with the lack of price. I’ll be back for lots more on my dime. I do love that about Bakesale Betty’s. That unexpected freebie every now and then and it is always generous.

So I look over and see there were cupcakes. They don’t look like the kind I like. They have the look of Teacakes cupcakes with the frosting that doesn’t cover the top. I expect to hate them. That first cupcake led to my diet downfall this week at Betty’s. The first cupcake was so amazingly good that I returned the next day to try the other flavor.

The chocolate cupcake is intensely chocolaty devils food cake that is moist and light. A dollop of very smooth, ganache-like BITTERSWEET chocolate buttercream on top gives the cupcake an adult edge. I don’t have reliable feedback on the vanilla cupcake I bought the next day. I didn’t get to eat it until the next morning and by then the cake had dried out a bit. However, it still had a lovely buttery taste with a background of vanilla. The same tasty chocolate frosting topped the vanilla cupcake.

Based on the quality of these cupcakes, I think I might like to buy my next birthday cake at Bakesale Betty’s.

While there is nothing I dislike at Betty’s, some of the items are only ok to me. However, as time goes along, it seems this bakery keeps raising the bar and producing new incrementally delicious items.

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  1. The key to Betty's potato salad (and her egg salad) is that super peppery olive oil she uses. I'm an egg salad hater, and I often find myself craving Betty's (it doesn't hurt that the eggs are not overcooked).

    Another nice recent sandwich addition is the roast eggplant, pepper, and goat cheese w/ rocket. It's generally served on the Acme white roll, but I thought it was even better the day Alison made me one on the wheat bread she tends to use for the egg salad and ham & cheese sandwiches. There's also a fresh mozarella & tomato sandwich, which is nice, but far lighter than any of the other Betty lunch offerings (this may be a good thing).

    I'm in total agreement as regards the strawberry shortcake. The shortcake batter is the same as the scone batter, so if you're a fan of the scones, do not miss this.

    1. >It is a whole sponge cake...<

      >shortcake batter is the same as the scone batter, so if you're a fan of the scones<

      Now I'm confused. Sponge cake and scones are almost opposite things to me. Shortcake to me should be biscuit or scone-like and not the sponge cake you get some places. Can you straighten me out about Bakesale Betty's?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Mick Ruthven

        They have two different versions of strawberry shortcake. Looking at some old posts it seems the layered cake might be called strawberry and cream cake. It looks a little like Neldham's squares. However it is a big cake.

        The other shortcake is the individual scone topped with strawberries and whipped cream.

      2. I haven't had Bakesale Betty's cupcakes, but I'm skeptical that they can be better than Love at First Bite's "pretty in pink" cupcakes, which are delightful strawberry decadence through and through.
        Love at First Bite is in Berkeley, Walnut/Vine, same complex as Peet's and Chesters.

        1 Reply
        1. re: peterme

          Yeah, I had the strawberry decadence. I'm just not a fan of Love at First Bite. I really WANT to like them ... stellar ingrediants, interesting flavors, but for me the taste isn't there. Other people love it though. My favorite cupcaakes to date are still La Farine, FatApples and Bakesale Betty's chocolate.

          I was in La Farine on Sunday and it seems they are expanding their cupcake range. They had four different varieties including a carrot cupcake. I was really, really tempted, but I've ate WAY too many sweets last week.