Thursday, November 10, 2016


Update Review, November 2016

I've encountered SusieCakes several times before.  I wasn't ever impressed with their basic cupcakes, but I did find their sugar cookies to be above average, and their fancy cakes had promise.  So I was happy to try more of their products when we had them for an event.
Election Day Assortment.
For election day, our office got voting themed cookies and cupcakes.  I was a bit disappointed by the assortment, since I don't ever really like cookies and  didn't like their cupcakes before, but I still eagerly dove in.

We had one type of cookie (iced sugar cookie) and 4 types of cupcakes: red velvet, chocolate, vanilla, and flourless chocolate.  The flourless chocolate turned out to be amazing.
Frosted Sugar Cookie.  $3.25.
"Thin, buttery and tender cookies with decorative royal icing."

The cookies were simple sugar cookies coated in icing, the same as I had before, just a different themed shape this time.  Sweet cookie, sweet icing, fairly classic.  Nothing earth shattering, but actually a pretty good sugar cookie.
Red Velvet Cupcake.
"Deep red, moist cake lightly flavored with cocoa, topped with traditional cream cheese frosting. "

The red velvet cupcake was, well, a standard red velvet cupcake.  Moist enough cake, although fairly plain tasting.  It had a slight red velvet tang from what I imagine was buttermilk, but it wasn't particularly strong.

The cream cheese frosting was great though, very cream-cheesy, and there was plenty of it.

Overall, a solid, but standard, cupcake, and since I'm not a big cupcake lover, it was just kinda ok.
Red Velvet (May 2017).
I had another red velvet a few months later, and was even less impressed.  There was no tang or interest to the cake (although, it was moist).  The frosting, while it tasted like cream cheese, also wasn't great.  Everything about this was highly mediocre.

The decorations, for Easter, were cute though.
Flourless Chocolate Cupcake with Vanilla Buttercream.
The flourless chocolate cupcake however was glorious.

The cake was a rich, dense, very chocolatey cake, more like a brownie than a moist cake, which makes sense, since it was flowerless.  The top was slightly crispy, just as I like.

The frosting was just sweet vanilla buttercream, but it complimented the rich cake very well.  And there was plenty of it.

Overall, a fantastic cupcake, and I'd gladly eat a dozen myself.

Update: We had plenty of these left over, so I ended up saving and freezing some.  I defrosted one in the fridge overnight, and it came out great.  The cake was still dense, chocolately, and fantastic.  The frosting though, just sweet.  Meh.  I actually removed most of it, and just enjoyed the cake, which is a bit miraculous, given that I only usually eat cake for 1) the frosting or 2) accompanying ice cream.  Which, actually, probably would have gone great.

Original Review, January 2015

SusieCakes is, you guessed it, a cake shop, or more accurately, a chain of cake shops, located throughout both Northern and Southern California.  They are known for their speciality and custom layer cakes, including "Susie's Famous Southern Red Velvet", but they also make cupcakes, cheesecake, puddings, pies, brownies, and cookies.  When you enter the shop, it is hard to look past the cakes though, as most are 4-6 layers, quite impressive looking.

The San Francisco location is located in the Marina, right on Chestnut Street.  Service is always fairly friendly, and they generally have a sample of one of their specialty cakes out on the counter, which I of course love.  The cakes I've tried have all been quite tasty, and I like their cookies, but the cupcakes I didn't like.

I'd love to return though to try their pudding, since I love puddings, and theirs come complete with whipped cream.  I also just saw whoopie pies on the menu, which always bring back nostalgia for me.  And, if I were ever ordering a full cake, I'd definitely consider SusieCakes, since, as I said, I've liked the cakes.


Pumpkin Halloween Sugar Cookie.  $3.25.
"Thin buttery and tender cookies with decorative royal icing."

I'm not generally one to gravitate towards cookies, but a co-worker brought in assorted decorated cookies for Halloween, and they were too cute not to try.  Plus, look at at the icing!

It was a very classic sugar cookie.  Nice and soft, not hard and crisp like they sometimes can be.  There was shiny, sweet icing on top, a bit crunchy, but I liked that.  Sprinkles ... for fun and more sugar.

It was a cute shape, nicely decorated, and was quite tasty for such a simple cookie.  I'd eat another (and in fact, went back and had a ghost shaped one later, which was just as tasty).  I've seen adorable turkey cookies for Thanksgiving too, so they clearly have fun with seasonal shapes.

It was a large cookie, but $3.25 for such a basic cookie did seem steep, although I guess the decorating time is really what you pay for.


Mini Vanilla Cupcake with Vanilla Frosting.  $20/dozen.
Another day, someone brought in mini cupcakes from SusieCakes.  Again, not my favorite dessert item, but, how do I resist trying a dessert?

I love frosting, but there was just way too much of it on this cupcake.  It was just sweet, I didn't taste any vanilla, and didn't have a great mouthfeel.  It tasted like ... butter.  Just butter.  Ok, sweet butter.  The cake itself was somewhere in-between moist and dry, just kinda there.  It also didn't have any flavor.

I did not like this at all.
Mini Chocolate Cupcake with Chocolate Frosting.  $20/dozen.
I was so disappointed by the vanilla, that I also tried the chocolate version.

It was better than the vanilla, but only slightly.  Again, the cake was somewhere in-between moist and dry, just kinda there, but at least it had decent chocolate flavor.  The frosting was also better, again it had a decent chocolate level, so there was something to it.

But overall, not a winner, and I wouldn't get again.


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Tropical Coconut Cake. $6.25/slice.

“Vanilla cake layered with pineapple accented coconut filling & topped with fluffy coconut buttercream and shredded coconut”.

This was actually pretty good, and I bought a slice after trying the sample.  So enticing!

The cake was moist and fruity from the pineapple and coconut filling.  There was perhaps too much shredded coconut on top, so it somewhat overwhelmed.  The buttercream was also quite good, which makes me think that something may have just gone wrong with the batch I had on the vanilla cupcake?  I'm not sure how it could be so good on the cake, and so very bad on the cupcake.

The price for this was rather high though, $6.25 for a single slice.  Full sized round cakes are also available, $36 for 6", or $49 for 9", or you can go the sheet cake route, $215 for a full sheet, $110 for half, or $75 for a quarter.
Vanilla Celebration Cake. $49 / 9 inch round.
"6-layers of vanilla cake baked with colorful sugar confetti, filled & frosted with our signature retro-blue vanilla frosting."

To celebrate a co-worker's birthday, a co-worker brought in the aptly named "Celebration Cake".  It was a beautiful, 6 layer high creation, fairly stunning, particularly when sliced so you could see the confetti throughout the base cake.

The cake itself was just a vanilla cake, although studded with the pops of color.  It was just basic cake, not too dry, not too moist, not very exciting.  The frosting was a cool minty-blue color, so I thought it was flavored, but alas, it was just flavored sweet.  It was creamy, good enough frosting, but still, just plain sweet frosting.

This cake wasn't bad, but it was far more exciting looking than it tasted.  Festive, but boring.

Update August 2017: Another birthday, another celebration cake.  I felt exactly the same way about it.  The cake was ... fine, but boring.  Not too dry, but not interesting.  And the frosting looked far better than it was, it was just sweet, sweet, sweet.

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"Four layers of our vanilla cake with a light vanilla pudding, fresh strawberries & blueberries topped with whipped cream."

This was ... fine.  I liked the ideas behind it, but the fruit itself wasn't particularly flavorful, juicy, or ripe, and the whipped cream and pudding were unremarkable ... as was the plain vanilla cake.

Overall, everything was made well, moist cake, etc, but, it didn't add up to anything special.

SusieCakes Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Waffling Leftovers: Cinnamon Sugar Knots

Yes, I love to take leftovers and stick them in my waffle iron.  If you've missed all my previous posts, check out my master post on waffling leftovers first, and then come read this, so you know what you are getting into.

By now, you should be familiar with the concept.  It is simple really.  Take a random leftover, stick it, generally unmodified, into a waffle iron, wait a few minutes, and consume the results.  This story is no different.

This waffling adventure was inspired by my previous successes of waffling sticky buns and glazed donuts, as I had something that was basically a cross between the two: a cinnamon sugar knot.  The knot was a cinnamon and sugar coated buttery roll made from pizza dough, shaped in a knot.  It was a no brainer to waffle it.

So, the important question: Cinnamon sugar knots: Will it waffle?  A: Of course, and it basically turns into a Liège waffle, crazy caramelized on the outside.
The Original: Cinnamon Sugar Knot.
The original was a cinnamon sugar knot from Ramuntos, a local pizza joint in my hometown.  By now, you know that I prefer waffled leftover pizza to regular pizza, so it should come as no surprise that I'd want to throw other pizza leftovers into the waffle iron too.  In this case though, I wanted to waffle the knot.

Ramunto's makes incredible savory garlic and romano cheese knots (which I'm sure would waffle great too), but I had my eye set on the sweet versions, pizza dough folded into a knot, drenched in butter, and rolled in a very generous amount of cinnamon and sugar.

When fresh, they are delicious, so buttery and sweet, and served warm.
Leftover Cinnamon Sugar Knots.
The shelf life of the knots isn't so great though.  I had one the next day, and tried it both cold and warmed up in the toaster oven, and it had lost much of the appeal.  It was kinda dry and stale tasting.

Still, I couldn't let all that amazing butter and sugar go to waste.  Plus, given my experience with the glazed donuts, I had a pretty good idea that the butter and sugar crust would easily turn into caramelized magic once waffled.
Waffled Cinnamon Sugar Knots!
This was a very simple item to waffle.  I pre-heated the iron to 350 degrees, stuck the full cinnamon knot in, and mushed down the lid.  No other prep necessary.

A few minutes later, I checked on it, and it was ready.  Some of the sugar did turn into a thin caramel sauce in the waffle grill, but it didn't actually make a mess, and I was easily able to extract it as it cooled slightly.

The knot basically turned into a Liège waffle, as I hoped.  It worked even better than I had imagined.  The outside was very crisp and caramelized, the inside stayed doughy.  It did still taste a little stale, but, that wasn't the waffle iron's fault, I started with a rather stale item in the first place.  Definitely an improvement over the leftover version, but the original was still superior.  I wonder if waffling a fresh one would be good?

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Travelin' Tuesday: Munich

The past few weeks have highlighted my discoveries in the city of Munich, Germany, ranging from restaurants and beer gardens, to fast food, to packaged products.

This post is your overview, for quick reference.

Hotel / Airline



Ice Cream