Friday, March 28, 2008

Can We Just Date for Now? Love At First Bite Bakery

Wrapping up my visit to Berkeley’s “Gourmet Ghetto” a few weeks ago, I ventured into one of the area’s popular cupcake bakery—the Love At First Bite Bakery. Cute name.

I love a good cupcake as you can tell in my posts here, here and here. So I had to check out this Berkeley spot, which I’ll call Love for short (just like how some people call Jennifer Love Hewitt). Love, the bakery, isn’t easy to spot off the street. It’s in this odd mini wooden complex of shops and stores near the corner of Vine and Walnut Streets a block east of Shattuck Avenue.

It helps to keep an eye out for the sign on Vine Street, which I totally walked right by. I noticed it later on my way out.

Once you’ve wandered into the heart of the wooden complex (it’s almost like going deep into the forest), you find this cute little bakery with the workers in the back icing the many cupcakes. In the front at the window is a table with cake stands filled with a variety of flavors to choose from.

There are also some cupcakes in the counter, and Love had some unusual names like Hummingbird (a Southern-style cake with banana, pineapple and pecans) and Bunny Love (the cute version of carrot cake). The cupcakes are priced at $2.75, which is a whole dollar cheaper than my favorite cupcake, Kara’s in San Francisco.

Love is pretty small but they did have this section that sold all sorts of children books and gifts.

Here are the workers I was telling you about busy icing the cakes. I don’t know if they bake the cupcakes on site because I didn’t really smell the aroma of freshly baked cupcakes. But they were definitely busy making the cupcakes look pretty. While I was there, a few people came in for their pre-orders so it looks like Love is pretty popular for the parties.

I ended up getting three flavors: the Lemon Kiss (a lemon cake with lemon buttercream frosting), the Matcha Green Tea (a cake made from matcha tea and topped with matcha-infused whipped cream), and the PB Affair (an ode to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups made with devil’s food chocolate cake and peanut butter buttercream frosting).

The Lemon Kiss was just OK, I found the actual cake part a bit on the dry side. The Matcha Green Tea cake had a nicer texture and the icing was a bit more sweet, but it didn’t have a strong green tea flavor. It was very subtle but tasty. I really wanted to enjoy the PB Affair because I love Reese’s PeanutButter Cups growing up. But it didn’t achieve the wonderful blending of chocolate and peanut butter. Instead it was just chocolate cake with a topping that was thick like, well, peanut butter. The only nice part was the quarter chunk of Peanut Butter Cup on top.

While the cupcakes were cute and clever, Love At First Bite is just nice, but not mesmerizing. I give it points for a reasonable price point for a definite boutique cupcake feel. So while I can’t commit to Love, I can say it was a nice first date.

Love At First Bite Cupcakery & Bakery, 1510 Walnut St., Suite G, Berkeley. PH: 510.848.5727. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays.


Anonymous said...

I had the "Chocolate Razzle" once at Love at First Bite, which was a chocolate cupcake with raspberry buttercream topped with a raspberry. It was very cute but the frosting was SOOO sweet (my tooth actually ached!) that I couldn't even finish it. The cupcake itself was moist though.

Interestingly, the banana pudding was fresh and yummy and my mum enjoyed their rugelach. I guess we're just not big cupcake fans.

Passionate Eater said...

You really are the cupcake guru! As for the PB Affair, I too would think that it was delicious, but it sounds like it clashed more than it melded. If they had Reese's Pieces on the top, I think they would achieve "my kind" of melding. :)