Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Cupcake by Any Other Name

Fellow blogger Wasabimon pointed out this new cupcake bakery one night as we walked around San Francisco’s Union Square. Of course, we didn’t buy anything because Wasabimon doesn’t eat gluten.

So I had to return on the weekend to check out this month-old bakery located on O’Farrell Street (and near the really touristy shops along Powell). First off, I don’t get the name, and their Web site doesn’t offer any clues behind it. Is Cako a play on cake? Or did someone misspell it and didn’t realize it? Despite the pretty graphics, Cako makes me think of ka-ka. I know, I’m weird with word-association games.

When you walk in, you almost think you’re in a temporary shop. The inside doesn’t really match the outside appearance. The sparse interiors include a glass counter filled with pretty cupcakes, a handwritten sign hanging on top and white curtains separating the front from the storage room in the back. It all looks a bit makeshift.

Anywho, that didn’t matter because the cupcakes look so interesting and pretty. Cako offers regular sized cupcakes and mini cupcakes, and there are a few original flavors along with traditional cupcakes like Red Velvet. (I think there’s an ordinance that you have to offer Red Velvet in order to sell cupcakes in San Francisco.) There are some wild flavors, like a chocolate decadent cupcake with a huge chocolate-covered strawberry on top.

I ended up getting the S’Mores, which is probably the most unique cupcake I’ve ever ordered. Cako’s S’Mores is a spice cake that has a marshmallow icing top and a graham cracker crust on the bottom. Eating this cupcake is a messy proposition because you get graham cracker crumbs falling all over you as you try to balance the oozing marshmallow icing from falling all over the edges of your crumbling cake.

Sounds interesting but tasted a bit off. The icing was ok, although a bit sweet. And the cake was really crumbly, so a bit of a challenge. The graham cracker crust is what threw it for me, but I did love the creativity.

I made another visit to Cako to try another cupcake. I asked the counter person if any of the cupcakes, which are handmade, have a filling. (I love filled cupcakes like they sell at Kara’s.) The girl gave me a look and said “um, you get a lot of sugar already in the icing.” Oh snap. I guess she doesn’t know I’m a cupcake fanatic.

I spied a pumpkin cheesecake cupcake introduced for the fall season, so I got myself one and brought it home for dessert. The pumpkin flavor was actually pretty nice, and the cheesecake was in the icing. It wasn’t really thick, but fluffy and light and slightly sweeter than I would have liked. But still, I found it enjoyable.

Cako sells their regular-sized cupcakes for $3.50 each. It doesn’t really have the quaint settings of some cupcake places, but it sure is convenient for me since it’s near Union Square and close to public transportation. And you can’t beat their creativity.

Cako Bakery, 211 O’Farrell St. (at Powell), San Francisco. PH: 415.404.7303. www.cakobakery.com

More cupcake posts:
Frosting Bake Shop
In Line at Sprinkles Cupcakes
Orange Creamsicle Cupcake Recipe


Carolyn Jung said...

What? No lemon cupcake for you?? I'm guessing they don't make one? Hah. I can't believe you indulged in a non-lemon baked good for once.

Single Guy Ben said...

You're right Carolyn, they didn't have any lemon flavors! They might for the winter season when citrus is at peak. But I did like the pumpkin!

Hungry Dog said...

What a strange response from the girl working there! What does sugar have to do with wanting a filled cupcake (and for the record, I love those too!) Sounds like a place with potential that needs a little more time and attention to detail.

agent713 said...

"So I HAD to return on the weekend"
Thanks for taking one for the team ;)

The s'more one sounds interesting, even if it didn't quite work.

Mrs. L said...

I had a S'More cupcake at a little place I found in San Carlos and I found that one off too. The graham cracker crust at the bottom kinda got lost cuz the cupcake and topping popped right off and I ate that before the crust! Would have liked to have a little marshmallow filling to go with the chocolate cupcake and not just have it on the top as icing.

Kim said...

Darn. Someone beat me to it. I kept meaning to tell you about this place. Glad you checked it out!

Stephanie Stiavetti said...

Oh Ben, you could have totally gotten a cupcake that night! I wouldn't have stopped you. :)

Anonymous said...

Cupcakes may be good, but it seems impossible for them to provide a receipt. This may not matter to some, but to those of us wanting to use Cako bakery for business orders, receipts are a must.

Anonymous said...

Just went there recently and the cupcakes were awesome! I think they made some changes from previous times I've been there, the Red Velvet was amazing! Let me know what you think, if you get a chance to stop by.