HOME > Chowhound > Washington DC & Baltimore >


Sorry, Cakelove Haters.

There's a lot of Cakelove hating on this board, so I bit into my coffee flavored cupcake from the new Canton branch with skepticism.

And, sorry to the haters, but we're gonna have to agree to disagree.

That cupcake was awesome. Like a cappuccino in cupcake form. Much more intense flavor than I expected. I'll grant you that the texture wasn't as fluffy as some cupcakes, but I'm ok with a denser texture if it means better flavor.

I've waited in the down-the-block line for the world famous Magnolia's cupcake in NYC. I think their texture was better, but I'll take Cakelove for taste any day.

Different strokes for different folks I guess.

This hound is excited to try some more flavors.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Is it possible yours was a fresher batch than they're getting? Think they make them all day? Did you get yours early and maybe they're made only overnight and they get staler as the day goes on? Wonder if they make them at the Baltimore location or bring them from DC?

    2 Replies
    1. re: chowsearch

      ^^Good question! My issue with them was stale DRY cake (as well as HEAVY thick frosting) - but as for the cake part. You might be on to something!

      1. re: chowsearch

        My complaint is with the price. At the DC store this summer I paid $7.00 for a piece of hazelnut cake. That's not right. I've had excellent cake in Seattle for less than $5.00. Sure, cost of living is higher here, but I'd say $5.50 for one slice of cake from a cake shop is the highest a customer should be charged. Even if the ingredients are "natural."

      2. Maybe the Canton branch is better?
        I just popped in to the Silver Spring branch on Sun with a friend. We tried samples and they were like the ones I've had at that branch b/f--dry cake, tasteless frosting.
        perhaps the Canton bakers can visit the other shops.

        1. Yeah!!! I am so glad you posted this. I went to Cakelove last weekend and we tried 3 different cake slices and thought they all were wonderful. The new german chocolate was our favorite. The icing was fantastic (I loved the surprise of cocount)! We also got the Carrot Cake which was good, it makes me want to try the Pumpkin cake, because I thought the cream cheese icing was so yummy. We got the strawberry shortcake also, which was good, but nothing special. After all the bashing on this board... but usually the bashing is about cupcakes.....

          Interstingly enough, I could have sworn I read somewhere that the Canton branch gets their cakes from the Silver Spring branch....

          Found the link! Either the Sun is reporting false information, or Canton gets its baked goods from Silver Spring.

          1. Glad to hear that you had a good experience! The fist time I went to the one in DC it was like eating a sawdust muffin! Sadly, on my "give them another chance" trip it was the same.

            1 Reply
            1. Maybe this has been discussed before, but the Cakelove experience ABSOLUTELY depends on the temperature of the item. Anything cooler than then room will not taste good at all... something to do with the fat content I think. However, room temp cupcakes are fantastic and don't have that dry/heavy feeling at all.

              6 Replies
              1. re: scotcheroo

                Yeah, when I bought my cake slices I was told almost 3 times to make sure I eat them at room temperature. I would be interested to hear if the people who at dry cakes/cupcakes had them cold...

                1. re: enginerd

                  room temp. all 3 times.

                  maybe it's a preference thing. a friend brought cake home from there and really liked it. the only thing I've not hated was the brownie. I'd actually prefer packaged cupcakes to cakelove's. The frosting is a big part for me, though. i love, love, love icing and I find theirs to taste of nothing but fat. (well, the raspberry had a little flavor, more than the others i tried, but mostly it just tasted of fat to me.

                  1. re: enginerd

                    So I don't get it --are the cakes and cupcakes frozen?

                  2. re: scotcheroo

                    Yeah Yeah Yeah, I ate my cupcakes AT room temperature. They were still dry as dirt. Next excuse?

                    1. re: beauxgoris

                      I wasn't making excuses, I was just asking.

                      To each his own...

                    2. re: scotcheroo

                      Yes! We gave our cupcakes an hour (while we ate dinner) and they were perfect for dessert. We tried their cupcakes before without letting them warm, and they tasted dry and sad with a waxy frosting.

                    3. Glad you enjoyed the cupcake. I'm afraid I qualify as a CakeLove hater... I've yet to try anything there that I'd like to eat again. I even waited for everything to reach room temp... My gripe is that, while their baked goods have a somewhat rich, creamy texture, there's just not enough sweetness for my taste buds. It seems to me as if, instead of adding sugar, they just add lots of butter. Anyway, to each their own :)

                      1. I went to the Cakelove Cafe on U street and had a slice (can't remember which one but I am sure it had a ton of chocolate). I thought it was pretty good not dry or anything but I dont remember wowed. My major issue was how are you supposed to wait for it to become room temp when you have good looking piece of cake sitting in front of you! Its too much torture for me.

                        1. My main problem with Cakelove is that virtually nothing they make requires any appreciable skill to produce. Nearly everything is something that is easy for home bakers to make. I like bakeries which make things that I can't make easily at home, and the things that Cakelove makes, I believe I make better. I find most of Cakelove's products to be heavy and dry. Where are the items made from puff pastry and pastry creams & custards? Not at Cakelove. I think that even supermarket bakery counters have better baked goods than Cakelove.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: potrzebie

                            I pretty much agree that Cake LOve's cupcakes were dry....Baltimore Cupcake same thing........ Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker ( whichever is on sales for $1 per box) gets my vote !!!!

                          2. I'm sorry. I've had some goodies from Cakelove and they were truly disgusting.

                            1. Cake slices are better than the cupcakes.

                              It makes me think... I don't like Magnolia's, but lots of people do. Maybe the mass public likes "bad" cupcakes, just like they enjoy chains, so that's why they make them that way. Maybe we are the ones who have strange taste? Hmmm.... nah, couldn't be, I like to think everyone will evolve with time, hehe. :P

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: bmorecupcake

                                All of my friends have had the same reaction to Cakelove. You want to like it, everything about it seems so wonderful. Except the food! Every one of my friends independently finds the food disgusting!

                                One friend of mine suggested that perhaps they use some kind of cheap plasticine fat rather than real butter. As someone above noted, thick gobs of icing are "waxy." That's a good description: "waxy."

                              2. It is true that the basic cupcakes are no better than what you can make from scratch at home. But, few of us have the time to make them. They taste like the cake your grandma made and they did not come from a box. The frostings have wonderful flavors and are true butter cream. Again, many folks have spent the late eighties and nineties avoiding anything that is made with real fat and real milk and have come to enjoy the stuff that the grocery stores present as cupcakes.

                                For years, my family and I traveled to DC on at least one Sunday a month to splurge on Cake Love cupcakes. I am not a shill for either Cake Love or some other bakery that might not like hearing good things about the products of the new kid on the block. Additionally, in the words of one poster, to each his own. We like what we like and do not need someone else to affirm our choices. So, if it is Twinkies that float your boat or your own home-made baked goods, or CakeLoves's products, enjoy them because tomorrow is not promised to any of us and we should go out happy. Enough said, at least by me. Take care all.

                                1. Without judging CL...
                                  A cupcake at $____ (fill in ridiculous price here) should be exceptional in every aspect -- not just the flavor and mouthfeel of the frosting. Not just the texture of the cake. I can buy a six pack of Entenmann's cupcakes for the price of one designer cupcake. Occasionally, major supermarket chains pound out a decent cupcake too. A $3.00 cupcake should be the moistest G_d_D_ _n cupcake you've ever eaten in your life-- and taste that way CONSISTENTLY. That's what professionals get paid to do.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: chris9b9

                                    QFT. Agree wholeheartedly. I also think that at this point (after 50 years of a fast food lifestyle) people don't have a clue what the taste difference is between something made with land-o-lakes or plugra. Shortening or real butter. For $3 a pop I better be getting something that cost at least a buck to make.

                                    As a "professional," I wouldn't let anything leave out of my door that taste anything remotely like a CakeLove cupcake. Not to mention - we're talking cupcakes. They should be ready-to-eat when you leave the store. There's no real reason for the excessive refrigeration other than poor production schedules and the inability to properly estimate daily sales. I shouldn't have to wait an hour for them to come to room temp. (Not that it mattered for my CakeLove experience!)

                                  2. This weekend I tried the cupcakes from the newly opened Georgetown Cupcakes. I tried various flavors, including the Red Velvet, Key Lime Pie, "Chocolate Cubed," and Vanilla. Overall, their cupcakes were quite good (far better in my opinion than anything at Cake Love). They were creamy, buttery, and sweet. My favorite was the Key Lime Pie -- it had a genuine, fresh lime flavor, but was not overpowering. I'd definitely recommend the place.

                                    1. I commented on this in another thread, but was at the Canton branch this weekend and tossed out my cupcake-- after waiting for it to thaw. The cake was dry and the frosting tasteless, with nothing to indicate it was strawberry except the color. I bake a lot, and thought that Cakelove's cupcakes were a total waste of calories.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: imgould

                                        wow i have never seen such wildly differing opinions on here! i don't eat this kind of stuff but now i'm going to have to go out of my way and get something next time i'm on U street just to see for myself. it just seems weird that so many people REALLY dislike CakeLove yet they keep opening branch locations so SOMEBODY is eating it. maybe every one is a first (and last) time customer!

                                        1. re: DCDOLL

                                          >>it just seems weird that so many people REALLY dislike CakeLove yet they keep opening branch locations so SOMEBODY is eating it.

                                          McDonald's serves something like 50 million hamburgers each day. Doesn't mean they're good hamburgers...

                                          1. re: DanielK

                                            I've had CakeLove twice - once in Shrlington and once in U St. The Shirlington cupcake was dried out and the staff was really, really rude - they practically threw the cupcake at us. The cupcake we had at the U St. place was alright.

                                            Has anyone tried the cupcakes at Baked & Wired in Georgetown? We really liked their chocolate cupcake.

                                            But personally, nothing beats homemade cupcakes.

                                            1. re: DanielK

                                              No argument...i'm with you...and i wouldn't eat McDonalds if i was starving...i'd rather eat dirt! (come to think of it i think that may be a principle ingredient in their burgers!)
                                              I just think it's interesting that people will pay alot of money for a really crappy cupcake that's all. Part of Mc-Vom-ald's appeal to a certain element is that it's cheap....this isn't the case with CakeLove and you would think people with enough $ to spend that much on a cupcake would protest by taking their $ elsewhere after one try. That's all i meant.

                                              1. re: DCDOLL

                                                I think it has a lot to do with the fact that he has a TV show on Food Network.

                                                1. re: charmedgirl

                                                  Yeah i am sure that is a big factor esp for tourists but i think it would be interesting if someone surveyed all the people coming in the door to ask them if they had ever been there before. Maybe with all the publicity you will continue to get people in but i would be surprised if many of them were 'repeaters'.

                                        2. I stopped in the Canton branch the other day, and must say that while I may not be a Cakelove "hater," I am a Cakelove "this is not good and very expensive and I don't bake but I could make better cupcakes with Duncan Hines cake mix if I had to" person.

                                          What a supreme waste of money and calories.

                                          And, they had samples sitting out, not covered, and they were bone dry and quickly getting stale. I have no clue why this place has garnered so much press, and while I'm not at all impressed with the product, I must say that the marketing of this place has left me in awe.