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What's with Susie Cakes?

Funwithfood Feb 25, 2011 09:58 PM

Much ado about nothing: Pricey, mediocre flavor, worse than supermarket appearance.

Am I missing something?

  1. s
    Sugarsnap Feb 26, 2011 12:13 AM

    I totally agree. I never saw what the attraction was. They are extremely overpriced. Sweet Lady Jane sells cupcakes for around the same price and they definitely are bigger and better tasting.
    Actually, the cupcakes they sell in the supermarkets taste better.

    1. b
      bulavinaka Feb 26, 2011 06:07 AM

      Taste is a very subjective issue, but I have to disagree with both of you. SusieCakes' flavor, balance of flavors (sweetness/flavor/fat) moistness, crumb, and texture and seasonal offerings are superior to average supermarket baked goods, at least on my palate.

      "Appearance" of supermarket cakes and cupcakes are typically very uniform and inspire no whim or style - very institutional. SusieCakes' style has "Americana" down pat.

      I've never tried SLJ's cupcakes, but her cakes are good - as long as they're fresh - which had been an issue with me and why I stopped going a few years ago (along with the overbearing customer service issues). My favorite items of her's have always been her lemon fill-in-the-blank. I prefer Lido in Manhattan Beach when looking for a SLJ sub - the family running the shop used to work for SLJ. Great products with the SLJ artistic flair, very similar in most ways except I get treated like I exist.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bulavinaka
        wienermobile Feb 26, 2011 07:46 AM

        I agree with bulavinaka I am another fan of SusieCakes. The peanut butter cupcake is wonderful. Very moist and creamy.

        SusieCakes Bakery
        11708 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

        2043 Westcliff Dr, Newport Beach, CA

      2. s
        sel Feb 26, 2011 07:50 AM

        While I've only been to SusieCakes' a handfull of times, one of my lads loves their lemon bars and the butterscotch with ? pudding while a bit expensive is really delicious!
        Note that while CHOW linked to WLA and Newport branchs, I've only been to the store in Manhattan Village.

        SusieCakes Bakery
        11708 San Vicente Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

        2043 Westcliff Dr, Newport Beach, CA

        1. calabasaschow Feb 26, 2011 08:35 AM

          I can only speak for the Susie Cakes in Calabasas, but I think in the realm of cupcakes, their red velvet is one of the gold standards out there. The frosting is amazing and they are able to maintain a high quality throughout the day. That being said, the value proposition is definitely not part of SC's virtues...I once ordered 4 dozen cupcakes, and asked if they might consider a quantity discount...short answer was sorry.

          1. soniabegonia Feb 26, 2011 09:52 AM

            I agree with you. Their frosting is overly sweet and the cake is too dense and also too sweet. The frosting doesn't taste like real buttercream. I don't know what they put in there but it ain't all butter. I'm sure there's a butter substitute in there. I can taste it.

            1. t
              TailbackU Feb 26, 2011 09:52 AM

              While I consider their cupcakes to be pretty average by LA standards, their cakes are divine and easily some of the best in the city. We catered our red velvet wedding cake from them.

              1. m
                mikester Feb 28, 2011 12:46 PM

                As others have said, it's a subjective thing but at least at the Newport Beach location, Susie Cakes knocks it out of the park for me - I love pretty much everything I've tried here but my favorite is the carrot cake. As far as a comparison to a supermarket, I just don't see that at all - the quality of the ingrediants is quite apparent to me and I don't claim to have super-taster skills.

                Expensive yes, but so good !

                1. l
                  laytonj1 Feb 28, 2011 03:01 PM

                  We had a sheet cake from Susie Cakes (Newport Beach) last week for my nieces Christening. The vanilla celebration cake looked cute, but was horribly dense and very dry. The cake was so heavy... it must have weighed 30 pounds. Very disappointing for the price.

                  I have had other desserts from there that were much better, but I will be getting my cakes elsewhere.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: laytonj1
                    bulavinaka Feb 28, 2011 05:35 PM

                    I didn't know they offered sheet cakes. I've always found their traditional layer cakes to be on the mark - never dry, but they can have some heft to them. Also, as a caviat, I inspect the cut cakes for any "aging" when going for a slice. If they appear to have been sitting for a while, I'll pass. This is obvious advice for anywhere though...

                  2. Funwithfood Feb 28, 2011 04:37 PM

                    I'm not addressing cupcakes, but mostly their holiday offerings. They offer a 9" pie at Thanksgiving for $27, which is smaller and looks worse than the one at Bristol Farms for less than $10.00. Maybe it tastes 3x better, but I expect more attention to detail for an upscale bakery.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Funwithfood
                      calabasaschow Mar 2, 2011 11:16 AM

                      Didn't try Susie Cakes' pies, but had their cakes & cupcakes (red velvet is their claim to fame) for many different occasions. Their design aesthetic is simple and home-made-ish, not artistic or architectural...the taste component is what they excel at. I think bulavinaka described it well. That being said, some people who have tried cakes from the high end asian bakeries may find SC's cakes to be sweeter and "heavier" tasting. But for a true Americana experience. can't do better than SC (IMHO).

                      1. re: calabasaschow
                        Funwithfood Mar 2, 2011 08:34 PM

                        Again, not addressing cupcakes.

                        Their cupcakes are within the margin.

                        1. re: Funwithfood
                          bulavinaka Mar 2, 2011 08:51 PM

                          I think the generality of your initial post is doomed to receive repeats of these types of responses. SusieCakes is known for their cupcakes and cakes for the most part - not pies. And there in may lie the problem to begin with - pies are not their forte. I've never tried them, but at least now I know there is at least one dissenting vote.

                          1. re: bulavinaka
                            Funwithfood Mar 2, 2011 08:55 PM

                            Only dissenting in how horrible they look!

                            Once purchased their summer blueberry pie for $24: Ugly, pricey...tasty :).

                      2. re: Funwithfood
                        mikester Mar 4, 2011 02:23 PM

                        wow, $27 is a lot of money for a 9-inch pie !

                      3. r
                        rainey Mar 2, 2011 09:02 PM

                        I'm done with them!

                        I went to the Calabasas location to get a marble cake with white buttercream for my grandson's 6 mo birthday. They wouldn't sell it to me because marble cake with chocolate icing is their "signature" cake.

                        Excuse me. Because they have some precious idea about their identity they won't put the white buttercream that they have in production on a custom cake that is also part of their production? I should spend MY money to buy what THEY want to make?

                        I went a few more miles to Sur la Table and got the cake pans to make my own and fired off a letter which they haven't bothered to respond to.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: rainey
                          bulavinaka Mar 2, 2011 09:10 PM

                          If that inflexibility gets your goat, I hope for your sake that you never step into Father's Office. Personally, I think a business should be allowed to set their own rules, for what ever reason, as long as they don't violate any health or safety codes. As in your case, money will flow accordingly. I draw the line at rude arrogant service.

                          1. re: bulavinaka
                            rainey Mar 3, 2011 07:00 AM

                            They did set their rule. ...even if a marble cake with chocolate icing isn't the most original or hard to find thing to come down the pike. And they maintained their rule. Hooray for them!

                            Now I have a bigger variety of pan sizes and they have one less customer.

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