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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hmmmmm....Hummingbird cake!

Victor and I hit up the Magnolia Bakery on Beverly Blvd here in LA a few weeks ago and they had a Hummingbird cupcake. Honestly, until we walked into Magnolia, I had never heard of Hummingbird cake (not sure how I missed this?). Apparently it is a southern creation that dates all the way back to....1978 when Helen Wiser's recipe won the Favorite Cake Award at the Kentucky State Fair! At least that is what my "extensive" internet research is showing. It is a banana, pineapple and pecan cake typically served with a cream cheese frosting. Magnolia's Hummingbird cupcake was moist and full of banana and pineapple flavor. I would not describe the cake as dense, but it was not the lightest either....it was more the consistency of banana bread. Actually, it reminded me of my friend Alex's carrot cake since she adds crushed pineapple to her recipe. Next time I have some overripe bananas on hand, I am going to try my hand at making my own hummingbird cake.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sweets from The Sweets Truck

About once or twice a week, some of LA's trendy food trucks make their way down to my office. The Buttermilk Truck comes quite often...but I confess I have never tried them. My co-workers had described their food as "good but not exactly good for you"...I try to eat a good healthy breakfast Monday through Friday , so I have been unable to bring myself to order red velvet chocolate chip pancake bites on a Tuesday morning.
Last week, The Sweets Truck rolled into the area. Basically, they are a mobile bake shop selling the sweet wares of some independent bakers. They also serve up some fancy coffee drinks. I was a little weirded out on the coffee thing due to the mobile nature of their operation (where does the water come from? how do they clean the pot before making a fresh batch?). I am sure the truck has all of these little issues worked out but it just wasn't for me. However, I decided to get some things that Victor and I could enjoy for dessert that night. I got the S'mores Chocolate Ganache Cookie Sandwich (pictured above on the left) and a red velvet cupcake from Auntie Em's (pictured on the right).
  • The chocolate chip cookie part of the cookie sandwich was average; the most memorable part of this treat was the rubberiness of the marshmallow...and I mean "memorable" as in I remember I wasn't impressed and probably would never buy another one of these cookie sandwiches. Maybe it was a bad choice of flavor on my part but at $3 a pop, I probably won't bother to try another flavor.
  • The Auntie Em's cupcake on the other hand was super moist and delicious. I had read some positive reviews online about their cupcakes when they first opened (the yelp reviews are pretty mixed now) but it seems like every time we are in Eaglerock, the store is already closed (8 am - 7 pm M to F, 8 am to 4 pm on Saturday and Sunday). Although tasty, the presentation was a bit underwhelming. That may sound harsh, but if you are going to charge $3.50 for a cupcake, which is what some professional bakeries are charging these days, you need to compete visually on that level as well. If your goal is an authentic "homemade" look, then maybe alter the price down to $2.50 or $2. On Auntie Em's website, it appears they have small ($1.25), medium ($2.50) and large size ($3.50) cupcakes...The Sweets Truck only had one size which I paid $3.50 for so I am assuming the truck was carrying the large size.