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CAKE! In Lexington

Very quietly, about a week ago, Lexington gained a new bakery downtown. It's called Cake, and is housed in one of the repurposed victorian houses on Mass Ave. We noticed the small sign in the window and the handful of patrons at the seating on the porch yesterday. So after an early dinner, we walked on over.

It was about 6:30, and the shop closes at 6:00. However, the door was open and we walked in before we noticed the sign. The proprietor, Michelle, was very welcoming and said, "As long as I'm here, we're open." The shop is very small, and specializes in, not surprisingly, special occasion cakes. However, they also had three refrigerator cases full of lovely cupcakes (both full-sized and mini) and a few lovely cakes just ready to be finished with the customer's wording. They make everything from scratch in what looked like a completely spotless kitchen. They also seemed to offer coffee. It looks to be primarily a take-away bakery, though there is one small table with a few chairs on the porch.

So with the convenient excuse of getting my daughter a last-night-before-school-starts treat, we bought one each of the 7 cupcake flavors featured and hurried home with our stash of goodies. (Full-sized cupcakes are $2 each, and she takes credit cards - whew!).

I grabbed a menu on the way out, so I can relate what we tried in our grand cupcake tasting. Here goes:

Midnight Delight: Dense fudge cake filled with sweet chocolate pastry cream topped with Ghiradelli cocoa icing. (Chocolate heaven!)

Berries & Gold: Rich gold cake filled with fresh raspberry preserves and a whipped Chambord buttercream. (My daughter's favorite. It was topped with a beautiful little berry candy).

Mocha Express: Bittersweet chocolate cake iced in a cappuccino buttercream and garnished with a mocha espresso bean. (My favorite - great coffee flavor, lovely chocolate cake.)

Black Tie Affair: Sweet vanilla bean cake filled with our own pastry cream and dressed in ganache. (This was like the best Boston cream pie you've ever eaten. The ganache was a beautifully intense dark chocolate)

The Minuteman: Moist gold cake layered with strawberries (fresh from Wilson's Farm), light whipped cream then topped with a vanilla buttercream. (You read that right - whipped cream topped with buttercream. This was basically like a delicious, moist little strawberry shortcake.)

One that wasn't on the menu was basically like a devil dog - chocolate devil's food cake topped with white buttercream. This was my husband's favorite.

Last but not least, a very simple yellow cake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles. My guess is this is to appeal to kids with less sophisticated tastes. We didn't taste it last night, and my husband snagged it for breakfast while we weren't looking.

On the menu but somehow we missed getting them, is also a carrot cake with pineapple cream cheese icing and a red velvet cake wth cream cheese icing. I can't wait to get back to try them.

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  1. Thank you! I know where I'm headed soon. I'll report back. The never-ending search for great cupcakes continues....

    1. Where on Mass Ave would this be? Thanks.
      I know some people are getting worn by the cupcake thing, but not me. its
      one of those can't-resist things which is made more fun by hitting new and old places
      and checking out crazy or old fashioned flavors. It makes me warm "all over my body".
      I wont' say who was famous for that quote..it'll give away my youthfulness :)

      6 Replies
      1. re: Buddernut

        Seconding Buddernut's request for landmarks - trying to read the discreet signs on those houses-cum-shops while driving by AND looking for a parking space is a recipe for a fender-bender....

        1. re: greygarious

          I'm terrible with remembering exactly where things are. If you're driving East towards Arlington, it's just past Lexx on the right.

          1. re: Eatin in Woostah

            Where the Paint-a-Plate type place is/was?

            1. re: justbeingpolite

              Sorry, I didn't know there was a paint-a-plate place. We've only been in Lexington a little over a year. It's next to a travel agency, past the rug place. I guess it's clear where my focus lies! I can find the food, but that's about it.

        2. re: Buddernut

          1628 Mass Ave.
          Lexington, MA 02420
          Contact: Michelle Ryan
          Email: mitch@cakeperiod.com

        3. Thanks for this post! I stopped by on my way home and got one of each cupcake to share with friends this weekend. The place is super cute and has only been open a week and a half, which explains why even Google couldn't find it.

          I chatted with the owner and told her that I learned about the shop on Chowhound. She said she's really in the business of cakes for birthdays, showers, etc. but that the cupcake part seems to be popular.

          The cupcakes are super cute and are all nestled together in a box in my fridge, just waiting to be enjoyed. I was disappointed that there were no Midnight Delights but everything else was there. Will report back on all of them but especially the carrot cake!

          Thanks Eatin in Woostah!

          1. I stopped by today and got a mocha delight and then a minuteman cupcake. They didn't seem to have many cupcakes left but the ones I bought were fresh and not too sweet. I am not a frosting fan, so I scraped off most of the mocha frosting but enjoyed the cake. The minuteman cupcake was delicious--love the whipped cream!!

            For those who need more visual landmarks, as you travel from Lexington to Arlington, Cake is in the 3rd yellow building after Lexx. First there's a travel agency, then Gypsy Moon, and then you'll see a round sign that says Emilia Creations (or something) on the next building-- pale yellow and what I like to call gingerbread trim, but I have no idea if that's what it's really called. Cake is around the corner of that same building as Emilia Creations.

            Thanks for letting us know about this place!

            1. I'll offer the faint praise that this is the best cupcakery I've tried - the price is tolerable at $2 each for an average sized cupcake with a dollop of soft-serve styled frosting - and the somewhat dense cake was moist, flavorful and not too sweet (tried yellow, red velvet, and carrot - all consistently good if a bit dense).

              There is no retailing to speak of - just a fridge with some cupcakes in it with some labels on them (not all accurate) and inventory was pretty low on Thursday mid-afternoon..?

              The cream cheese frosting was much too sweet for my taste - prefer more cream cheese than sugar and the plain white buttercream was also a bit too sweet but sufficiently buttery to merit a thumbs up.

              The proprietor was courteous and professional, but not especially warm or friendly when I was there - and I was the only customer at the time.

              Still haven't found the cupcake shop that's destination-worthy to me, but this is miles ahead of Sweet and Lulus/Lyndells for me.

              1. We live in Lexington and found out about Cake on the local email group. They're closed on Mondays (we found this out on Monday!).

                There is no outside sign, only a sign in the window. If you're looking for them, they're about 200 feet past Lexx and just about across the street from the post office. The hours are being adjusted, but I think they're T-Th 10-6, F 10-8, Sa 10-5, Su 12-3. But (as another poster said) if the light is on, they're open even if it's outside the posted hours.

                There are cupcake samples and free coffee/tea in the lobby even when Cake is closed.

                I was concerned about one thing, as I am with any food establishment. Do the cupcakes have transfats?
                I also inquired about nuts, as some people have severe nut allergies.

                Michelle said that she didn't use anything with transfats. She showed me the shortening container, I checked the label, and there are no transfats, no partially-hydrogenated oils. (This is good because these fats are very bad for you.)

                Michelle told me that she is aware of nut sensitivities. Only one cupcake has nuts in it, and she makes these on a day separate from days she makes the other cupcakes, cleaning the kitchen thoroughly, so that the non-nut varieties have no traces of nuts. (Also a good thing.)

                That said we ordered the mocha express and the midnight delight. I had the mocha express first, and was pleased with the blending of flavors chocolate and coffee. This is a fine cupcake.

                The midnight delight was a little disappointing. The chocolate has a slight aftertaste of bourbon or some liquor, and I'm adverse to alcohol flavors. The taste of the one I had had more of a creamy taste than of chocolate.

                At $2 per cupcake we think they are a little on the pricey side, but this is Lexington and rents are high. I'm pleased to see a non-bank business move into the town, and think that if she were to offer espresso drinks along with the cupcakes she'll have a dynamite dessert place in Lexington. Worth a visit and a taste.

                2 Replies
                1. re: CarefulEaters

                  Hi Careful,
                  As far as I can tell, most places that are specifically "cupcakeries" charge more than $2 per cupcake. I thought the $2 was pretty reasonable. But as she's said, she mostly is in business to sell special occasion cakes. The cupcakes are more for sampling, though I think she could do a really nice dessert business if she were to stay open a bit later Friday and Saturday.

                  It's funny - I saw the discussion string on the Lexington list-serve the day after we went. She had a temporary sign in the yard the day we stopped by, so I'm guessing that drew some added attention.

                  1. re: CarefulEaters

                    Uhh, you think $2 is expensive for a cupcake?

                  2. I haven't gotten there yet, but I hope the proprietress sees all these posts. Although special occasion cakes may be her business plan, if there's a strong market potential for a cupcake-focussed bakery-cafe, she'd be prudent to widen her scope.

                    1. I was in there yesterday. If anybody is looking for the hours, I found them!

                      Mondays - Closed
                      Tues thru Thursdays - 10am to 6pm
                      Friday - 10am to 8pm
                      Saturday - 10am to 5pm
                      Sunday - 12pm to 5pm

                      Has anybody bought a cake there yet? I'm curious to see how it is. I have my brother's birthday next week, and I was thinking about going here for the cake.

                      1. Stopped by this afternoon. Place was hopping with teens doing a cupcake eatoff. Oh to be young and able to eat all those sweets and fit into size 4 jeans! Place is super cute and the owner was very nice. Here are photos of the carrot cake, mocha, berries & gold, and midnigth delight. Cake is dense , not too sweet, and just enough frosting. Definitely worth the $2.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: fayth

                          "Cake is dense , not too sweet..."

                          I don't care how stupid or acerbic it is; it looks great! Thanks for the pics, and for the hours, pecan sandie.

                        2. I finally got to try the cupcakes on Thursday. I tried the Black Tie Affair, Midnight Delight, and Mocha Express.

                          The Mocha Express was my favorite. Wow that cappuccino frosting is good! I also enjoyed the Midnight Delight. It was also good but that was more for my husband who doesn't believe there can ever be TOO much chocolate. The ganache on the Black Tie Affair was excellent but the cupcake was too dry so that one was a disappointment.

                          Funny thing though is that my MIL saw the box and said she had tried it previously but thought the Midnight Delight was too dry. I didn't find that at all. So I wonder how much it varies day to day... I'd love the Black Tie Affair if it was just more moist.

                          I'd also like to note that I went at quarter to 6 on Thursday evening and I thought I'd only have slim picking for cupcake choices but they were amply stocked.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: heypielady

                            We found the Midnight Delight to have that Devil Dog style of dryness, which my husband completely loves.

                          2. Since seeing this thread and driving by Cake several times, I've stopped in to get cupcakes and have ordered a few birthday cakes there as well.

                            Michelle is incredibly accommodating. I called the day before a birthday to order a cake and she put together a custom cake in less than 24 hours (vanilla cake with lemon butter cream and raspberry preserves).

                            I had wanted a lemon cake and she said if I had given her more time she'd have been able to do that for me, so if there is some flavor you don't see on their menu, ask!

                            The flowers she used to decorate it were spectacular. We brought the cake with us to a local restaurant and people at the tables around us were amazed at how gorgeous the cake was. We shared the cake with other tables and everyone raved at how delicious it was.

                            I was able to give her more notice for the next birthday cake I ordered (red velvet with cream cheese frosting). We gave her some vague suggestion about a horse theme for the design and what she came up with was stunning.

                            While there I ordered several dozen cupcakes to bring to work with me. They were quickly scooped up and everyone loved them.

                            Michelle and Mitch are a pleasure to work with and I'd highly recommend Cake.

                            1. I know they market them as "muffins" but I still say the Gingerbread Construction Company (Winchester/Wakefield) has the best cupcakes around... to me these are not muffins but cupcakes... they are delicious and aren't as sweet as cupcakes seem to be...