Thursday, May 12, 2016

Noe Valley Bakery

Noe Valley Bakery is, you guessed it, a bakery in Noe Valley.  They make all your standard baked goods, including bread, breakfast pastries, cakes, pies, cookies, and more.

The stuff must be good, as they have been in business for 21 years.  But that is about all I know about the place, as I haven't actually been there myself.  But, I hosted a dinner party and one of my guests came with a box of treats.  Note to self: host more parties!

You know how much I love desserts, so, I was pretty excited to rip open the box basically as soon as dinner was over.
From Top Left (clockwise):
  • Milky Way Bombe(2): "Flourless chocolate cake, malted chocolate mousse, caramel mousse, Valhrona Croquants, chocolate ganache".
  • Carrot Cupcake: "Shredded Carrots, Pineapple, Toasted Walnuts, Cream Cheese Icing."
  • The Republic: "Stout Chocolate Cupcake, House-made Salted Caramel Bavarian, Irish Cream Buttercream".
  • Red Velvet Cupcake: "Buttermilk Chocolate Cupcake, Cream Cheese Icing".
  • Chocolate Fudge Cupcake: "Devils Food Cupcake, Old Fashion Fudge Frosting, Sprinkles".
  • Chocolate Caramel Fleur de Sel: "Devil’s Food Chocolate Cupcake, House-made Caramel Bavarian, Chocolate Ganache, Grey Sea Salt".
The box had 5 different cupcakes and 2 Milky Way Bombes.  We also had 6 people who wanted to try basically everything,  So, rather than forcing choices, we cut the selections into 4 chunks each (smaller just didn't seem possible).  I missed out on the filled cupcakes (The Republic and Chocolate Caramel Fleur de Sel), but tried all others.  All of the cupcakes were decorated differently, with some kind of garnish on top, a touch I appreciated.

The first item I grabbed was the carrot cupcake.  I love good carrot cake, but I know I have strong preferences for my carrot cake, as my Great Aunt makes a "famous" version that pretty much no other version lives up to (the only one I've found is the carrot cake from Flour & Co, which, um, is even better than my Great Aunt's!)  Noe Valley Bakery's was ... fine.  The cake was moist.  It had shredded carrot inside, and I guess some pineapple and walnuts, although I didn't really detect either of these elements.  It didn't have much spicing.  The frosting was classic cream cheese icing, soft, fluffy, and pretty good.  The candied carrot garnish was cute.  Overall, it was absolutely fine, but not particularly exciting.

The next cupcake I grabbed was Red Velvet.  It had the same cream cheese frosting as the carrot, and a garnish of a little red dot.  The "red velvet" flavor was actually quite good, I was impressed.  It had a real buttermilk tang, something so many red velvets do not have.  I also appreciated that it had a slightly crispy top.  I always like that contrasting texture.

Finally, after the others had polished off the chocolate filled cupcakes, I had the final chunk of the final chocolate selection, the non-filled Chocolate Fudge Cupcake.  I'm just not one for chocolate cakes, so I mostly ignored the chocolate ones, but, I'll admit, this was a decent chocolate cake, very rich dark chocolate flavor (I guess Devil's Food IS more than "just" chocolate).  The frosting was pretty classic, good, chocolate frosting.

Overall, all the cupcakes were fine, but, I wouldn't go running back for more.  Then again, I'm not usually that big of a fan of cupcakes (or cake) anyway.  I need to be in the right mood to really want cake.
Milky Way Bombe: Inside.
"Flourless chocolate cake, malted chocolate mousse, caramel mousse, Valhrona Croquants, chocolate ganache".

The Milky Way Bombe however was another story.  A very unique item, and I'm glad our guest brought two of these!

The base was flourless chocolate cake, a thin layer, as you can see here.  It was moist, but not particularly dark or rich.  On top of that was the layer of caramel mousse, a lighter color than the malted chocolate mousse above it.  It was fluffy and sweet, but I didn't know it was "caramel".  The malted chocolate mousse was great, really creamy, fluffy, smooth, pretty much perfect chocolate mousse.  The entire thing was coated in a thick layer of rich chocolate ganache.

I really liked the chocolate mousse and the ganache, and would happily just eat a bowl of the mousse.  The Bombe was certainly best to share, as it was pretty rich.
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