Susie Cakes in Marin
Last summer, thanks to Chowhounds, I found Susie Cakes in Newport Beach. This place is a dream come true for someone like me who loves old fashion homemade cakes and generous servings to boot. Imagine my elation to find out that they were coming to the bay area, Greenbrae to be precise and looking for a location in SF in the future. I didn't make it to the opening yesterday, still trying to work off the holiday cheer...but wanted to find out from those that have tried it, what you thought.
We stopped by middle of last week on our way to a matinee. I got one frosted sugar cookie, and my husband got a whoopie pie. The total was $8, and I am very sad to report that they were both terrible. The cookie had zero flavor, felt stale, and the frosting was like dust; the whoopie pie was one-dimensional with a gritty/greasy mouthfeel. I can't comment on their flavor, but the cupcakes in the case looked like the frosting had been applied with a trowel. Another customer asked for a sample (of anything) and was refused, which was odd, because there was a tray of cut-up cupcakes on a shelf behind the glass case.
Believe me, I am rooting for just about every new business out there right now, and am hoping these were opening jitters. In any case, I won't be going back. If I'm out and about and feel like paying for a cookie, Tea Cake bake shop in Corte Madera is much better (and the cookies cost $2).
I stopped at Susie Cakes last Friday, the day before it's Grand Opening. I bought two cupcakes, one Vanilla with blue/green icing and the other, Vanilla with Coconut Icing. Neither one blew me away. They were a little sweet, and yes, heavy on the icing. Cake was on the dry side.
They also have pudding and I bought a butterscotch toffee flavor after the sales person said that it was the best she ever had. I thought that it tasted a little burnt and didn't compare favorably with either the butterscotch pudding from Lark Creek or the butterscotch creme brulee from the Buckeye Roadhouse.
The cost for the three items was almost $13.00 - too high for what they were.
The cupcakes from Frosting Bake Shop in Mill Valley werre MUCH better, IMHO.
It's located near Victoria Pastry which still has excellent cakes and I hope that Susie Cakes doesn't drive Victoria Pastry out of business.
re: Bob Copeland
Wow! I bought half a dozen of various cupcakes the day of the Grand Opening and served them that evening at a dinner party. Everyone commented on how wonderful they were, moist and flavorful. So many bakeries used pre-packaged mixes and shortenings. Since Susie Cakes bakes from scratch, the prices will reflect that. By the way, the Grand Opening was great, lots of free samples and plenty of staff, music, and face painting for the kids, great fun..
Sorry, Jim ... I went in there to disprove all the negative reports and the frosting was so sweet I got a sugar headache. I'm going to give the rest of the cake slice another try tommorrow, but I was vastly disappointed. It is no Just Dessert (the early days).
I am actually sorely tempted to go back and kick the butts of all those gushing, Marin housewives in the store estatically proclaiming their love of the place. I haven't been this disappointed with a bakery since Miette.
Susie Cakes really does remind me of Miette ... with high prices ... all style and looks but disappointing baked goods.
That being said, they are better than Miette in that the staff is super friendly and helpful and the taste is better.
It is the sugar that ruins things here. As I mentioned, the frosting was so sweet I got a sugar headache. The slice of chocolate cake I bought was so large it made Cheesecake Factory look like it was serving mini-slices. LIke the Max''s Deli chain it was one of those seven or eight layer cakes, though again, it was double the size of a Max slice.
The ingredients are better. However, this is just a case where quality doesn't equal good taste. The cake itself was fine, nice crumb and moist ... but that frosting ... ugh. Looking at the Yelp reviews I have to suspect ever single review saying the frosting was not too sweet is a shill. What do these people do ... snack on sugar cubes?
I was really looking forward to finding a good chocolate cake. I've never found one in the Bay Area even close to the one Just Dessert made when it first opened. Even the current supermarket Just Dessert cake is better than this.
Oh yeah ... one final gripe ... don't call it classic American cake ... that has TWO layers NOT eight.
I also bought a red velvet cupcake. My original plan was to have the chocolate cake for breakfast yesterday and the cupcake later. After two awful bites of the cake, I didn't want anymore. I'm still working on the cake. Tried it with strong coffee today ... too much left ... will probably feed it to the seagulls.
Anyway, the same frosting problem with the cream cheese frosting ... first taste just overwhelmingly sweet. The cake was fine, but nothing outstanding.
As to price, on one hand it is SORT of in line with a bakery in this class. A three dollar cupcake isn't out of line. That chocolate cake slice at $5.50 was a super steal ... had it been better.
BUT, a 6" cake is $33. A 9" cake is $46. A 9" fruit pie is $24.95 setting an all time Bay Area high, almost doubling the price of the area's most expensive pie. And give me a break, add a nickel to the price. In this case that is pricey, and the price trick isn't going to make me gasp any less. Cream pies are $18.95. A 5" small pie is $8.95 (sheesh)
Jumbo Whoopie pie 6" $50 9" $85
6 layer 'cupcake' cake 6" $59, 9" $89, 12" $179
Pudding single $4.95, large $24.95
Cheesecake $4.95, 8" $32
Custom Cakes 1/4 sheet $65, half sheet $95, full sheet $180
3-tiered of 6", 9" and 12" cakes $225
THEY CHARGE $3 TO WRITE "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" ON YOUR CAKE !!!
How trifling is that?
Cookies are $2, bars and brownies are $3, individual Whoppie Pies are $5.
They had house-made caramels and I was intrigued by the licorice caramel however at $1 for a wrapped piece little bigger than a Bazooka bubble gum I put it back.
It is a cute shop tho with all those pastel cupcakes and baked goods attractively displayed. They also have lots of party favors and cards.
This is the eight year old speaking ... they had surprise balls ... these are balls wrapped in crepe paper which you unwinde and find little toys and trinkets. As a kid, this was one of my all-time favorite things. They are $16.95 here. Can't really fault that price. A few ... uh ... decades back ... these would set you back $7 bucks.
When I saw the location though my heart fell. They have a prominent corner. a few doors down, the superior Victoria Bakery is hidden. I'll say some little bakery prayers that people are smart enough to pick the better bakery ... and it is NOT Susie.
310 Bon Air Center, Greenbrae, CA 94904
Breakfast of champions ... I just wiped out two months of oatmeal eating. Man, that made fruit Trix taste like it needed added sugar.
I do have this sudden whooosh of energy .., look out Berkeley Bowl shoppers ... you don't want to cross me for the next hour or so.
The other thing that ticks me off is that despite their claims of using quality ingredients, nothing is organic. At those prices they should be using organic. Go to Fat Angel a few miles away.
Of course, this could all be the sugar talking. I know these kind of posts discourage people who like the place. I may have just, as the saying goes, ordered wrong. I hope if there is some stuff worth the price, people would post.
Actually because so much was negative in this post already, I was going to start a new post with a working title of "I liked Suzie Cakes" ... so much for that. But it might not be a bad idea for fans to start a thread about what is pro about the place.
And Jim, I really am sorry for dissing this place you like. I usually agree with your tastes which threw me off here. You don't post often, so I hope this doesn't discourage you because you've given me some swell tips in the past. Just a difference of tastes here.
Not to pile on, but what I saw at Susie Cake's looked so amateurish compared to Miette, where everything is really lovely (but similarly doesn't taste very good). Still shaking my head over the appearance of the cupcakes. Maybe it was an off day decorating-wise.
By the way, I recently stopped in to Love at First Bite (Walnut Square, Berkeley), and shared a great hummingbird cupcake (banana, pineapple, pecan w/cream cheese frosting). The coconut cupcake was also good, but nothing amazing. $2.75 each.
>I was really looking forward to finding a good chocolate cake. I've never found one in the Bay Area even close to the one Just Dessert made when it first opened.<
Have you tried Sweet Things in the Cove Shopping Center in Tiburon? I'm not up to date with their offerings but they've made great chocolate things for a long time.
re: Mick Ruthven
I've only been to each of the Sweet Things bakeries twice. Once at Easter and recently at Christmas. I was dazzled and distracted by the holiday offerings, so if they had chocolate cake, I didn't notice. I did have some sort of good chocolate Christmas tree, but it had ganache.
The problem is that there are lots of good chocolate cakes in the Bay Area, but very few classic Amercian chocolate cakes with buttercream frosting ... and fewer still where you can only buy a slice and not have to commit to a whole cake.
The old-school bakeries like Virginia, Neldams, Schuberts, etc just suck big time. Enterman's is better than their plain chocolate cake. I tried Downtown Bakery in Healdurg and not only do they not sell by the slice, they use ganache. The vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting I had was one of the few truly miserable things I've ever had from Downtown Bakery.
So I was really looking forward to Susie's with them promising classic American desserts. If they just cut down on the sugar, I might be ok with it ... and made it two layers not six ... and just served a normal size slice.
Tablehopper mentioned Sat 8/7/10 Susie Cakes in Marin & now in Marina, SF is having a 40c cookie all day - including chocolate chip, snickerdoodles, and iced molasses.
The main party will be at the Greenbrae location in Marin, which is turning four, with a kid-friendly party from 1pm-4pm (the first 100 customers from 1pm-4pm will receive a free box of four mini cupcakes), and the same deal on cookies.
SusieCakes Marina, 2109 Chestnut St. at Steiner; SF
SusieCakes Marin/Greenbrae, Bon Air Shopping Center.
310 Bon Air Center, Greenbrae, CA 94904