I confess. I’ve been putting off writing about the final cake tasting. Mostly because I didn’t want to put an end to my cake tasting adventure. But after several tastings, I was not enjoying critiquing each bite and wondering how well it would go with all the other food. So Paul and I agreed that Sweet Cheeks Baking was going to be our last cake tasting. And make a decision after that.
Sweet Cheeks is based out of a commercial kitchen on Alvarado Canyon Road. There is no walk-up store front to peruse their goods. You can either order their breads, cakes and clothing online or schedule an appointment for a tasting. According to their Web site they have also been featured on the Food Network.
Sweet Cheeks Bakery is nestled in a quasi-industrial part of San Diego near Interstate 8. There’s nothing pretty about the location but the smell of baked goods led us to the front door. We went through the small office to the kitchen, where the actual tasting was done.
The tasting was set up for us on an island near the entrance of the kitchen. I had explained to Elaine, one of the two owners of Sweet Cheeks and our contact, that we were interested in red velvet cake and a complimentary second cake flavor. So along with two mini muffins of red velvet were two samples of vanilla sour cream and blackout cake. Italian buttercream, ganache, peanut butter, a house buttercream and cream cheese frostings accompanied the cake samples.
The set up was nothing unusual but having the tasting in a commercial kitchen was fascinating. We were surrounding by cooling cakes, bags of shredded carrots, big industrial mixers and a huge walk-in refrigerator. I wish I had taken photos of the entire kitchen but I feared that they may have thought were were spies from competing bakeries.
If the other previous cake tastings were classes leading up to a diploma, the tasting at Sweet Cheeks was the graduate program. Elaine created a replica of our cake out of cake molds and cake boards. To accommodate the guests, she built a prop with three tiers; the second tier being much taller than the rest as suggested by our choice of design. It was amazing to see the approximate size of our cake. It was smaller than I had envisioned but it gave me a good idea of how much to expect.
Back to the cake. All three flavors were good although a bit on the dry side, which may be due to the small mini-muffin sizes of the samples. But I could tell that all were very fresh and baked that day.
The peanut butter frosting, although very good, just didn’t seem to fit it in with the other flavors, especially with Red Velvet as the main flavor. With the wide variety of fillings and frostings to taste, six in all, there didn’t seem to be enough cake to try many variations. Paul didn’t like the Italian buttercream (I loved it) but wanted to stick to the traditional cream cheese filling. We were also split on the vanilla sour cream and blackout cake.
Overall, we left Sweet Cheeks feeling pretty satisfied. With all the tastings we had done over the last few weeks, Sweet Cheeks was an ending on a sweet note. And at about $4 a slice it’s well within our budget.
Now we just have to make a phone call and place an order for a cake. There is still a lot of discussion because there are two top contenders each with their strengths and weaknesses.
A great, big hearty thanks to Jennywenny who suggested I try Sweet Cheeks Bakery a few posts ago. Thank you!