Archive for January, 2012


(Jen’s note: This one has some naughty and crass words in it in my attempt to use humor and sarcasm relating a stressful situation. It’s how I deal with stuff in real life and pretty close to how I talk.  I hope you forgive me.)

I had this small cake to deliver Saturday at about 5pm.

Devil's Food Cake, dark chocolate buttercream filling, dark chocolate ganache

Devil's Food Cake, dark chocolate buttercream filling, dark chocolate ganache, fleur de sel, sugar lotus flowers

As I’m putting it in my car I realized the floorboard of the passenger side had smutz on the rug because (of course) I forgot to get the van cleaned earlier. Being super picky about making sure nothing nasty gets on my cake, I went against my better judgment and put the cake on the passenger seat. It’s only a little cake, I told myself, it’ll be fine! I mean, I could have put it in the skid-proof cargo area, but that seemed silly, such a small cake in the cargo area. So I decided to take a chance.

Traffic was terrible. Terrible. San Francisco doesn’t have “freeways” to get across town, it’s all surface streets and whoever planned them needs a good flogging. It didn’t help that I was coming from a very heavy tourist area and trying to get to an even heavier tourist area, and although I thought I gave myself time, traffic was not moving and I knew I was running late. I HATE being late.

One thing we DO have going for us here is a very funky web of side streets and alleys that we can sometimes use to bypass horrible intersections and slow streets.

Alley

Alley. It starts by going under the San Francisco Chronicle building and takes you straight to one of the worst areas in SF - the 6th Street Corridor.

These allies, although mostly lined with apartments and businesses, can be sketchy. But whatever, I’m a city girl, and I had a cake to deliver, so I weaved thru oncoming traffic and managed to hook a left onto Minna to get to the 6th Street corridor. If you don’t know the area, it’s heavy drugs, lots of homeless, and seriously crazy people hanging out in front of half-way houses, needle exchanges, SROs, liquor stores and porn shops. You know, totally normal.

I notice on my left is a crazy-looking middle aged white dude riding a very janky bicycle on the sidewalk next to me, but he is holding onto a very nice, very shiny bike, peddling like crazy and constantly looking over his shoulder. I also noticed the bolt cutters he had strapped to his very janky bike so I knew he just stole the very shiny bike… and I was observing his get-a-way.

And because karma’s a bitch, I hit him. Actually, he hit me.

Replay it in my head: he was riding on the “sidewalk”, which in this alley is not much of a sidewalk, and he was riding as fast as he could, trying to also hold onto a 2nd bike. I am not sure what he hit to eat shit, if he was attempting to dodge and weave thru all the garbage and junkies on the ground, or if he was just completely drugged-out, but he hit something, flew off his bike and bounced off my fender. I, of course, slammed on my brakes and freaked the hell out.

I sat there astonished as this dude immediately jumped back on his bike, grabbed the other bike, told me “sorry” and peddled his butt off fleeing the scene. I’m like, wait, what? I didn’t know what to do. The dude left! Like in a freakin movie! He didn’t seem injured, I was maybe going 10 mph and he was actually going faster then me. Do I call the police? Do I get out of the car? He was gone around a corner before I could even blink. And although there were probably 20 people hanging about and milling around in this very popular drug alley, not a single one was even looking at me or seemed to have noticed that Mr. Bike Thief just bounced off my fender doing 10mph! In fact, the very non-action of the universe after such a thing happened made me second-guess that it happened at all.

Huh. Allrighty then. I took a deep breath, realized I was causing a traffic jam of cars behind me, and went on my way.

That’s when I realized my pretty little cake had gone flying off the passenger seat when I slammed on my breaks. If it had been an all-buttercream cake it would have been completely ruined. But it was ganache, and although it had some cracking, it was fixable. And miracle of miracles, I grabbed a few spare sugar lotus flowers “just in case” on my way out of the shop which saved my butt because the ones on the cake were broken.

Once the cake was safely at the venue I inspected the van and yeah, it totally did happen. There is no damage, but there is a “clean spot” on my otherwise dirty van that Mr. Bike Thief cleaned with his shirt. Or face. Whatever.

So, why do I tell this story besides to share that I totally just hit someone with my car on Saturday? After the shock wore off I realized that I just got LUCKY. L-U-C-K-Y. If he was a normal person, I’d be all kinds of screwed right now. As I sat stunned in my car practically hyperventilating because I could have just killed someone, I couldn’t help but to keep running thru a checklist of all my insurance coverage and wondering if it would have been enough to cover something like that. So lesson #1, I need to call my Farmer’s Agent to make sure I have a ton of insurance and that my van is completely covered… because you never know when the fist of mighty Zeus might smack down another meth-filled junkie in process of stealing a bike making him eat shit and bounce off your fender. This is San Francisco. It could happen, is all I’m sayin.

And my pretty little cake… it would have been completely fine and would have totally survived the abrupt stop if it had been on the floorboard of the passenger seat or in my skid-proofed cargo area. So Lesson #2, never put a cake on the seat, no matter what.

And finally, I never would have put a cake on the seat if my freakin van was clean enough to put a cake on the floorboard in the first place. So lesson #3, make sure the van is washed if I know I have to make a delivery, even if it was just raining.

So yeah, that happened.

Oh, and before you think I’m a really horrible person, I did call the police after I delivered the cake. They were completely NOT interested in the whole I-hit-him-he-hit-me with the car thing after hearing where the incident took place. Apparently it’s not a pedestrian hit-and-run when the pedestrian flees the scene and there were no injuries. Yay, I guess. However, the officer on the phone took the generic description I had of what Mr. Bounce-Off-My-Fender looked like along with the shiny bike he was fleeing with, apparently that was something worthy of reporting, which made me feel a lot better about the entire situation.

So, if you had a baby blue fancy bike jacked from the 5th and Mission area, I’m sorry but you probably are not getting it back. But if it makes you feel better, I totally hit that dick with my car for you.

You’re welcome.

Advertisements

Georgetown Cupcakes, home of the show “DC Cupcakes”, just broke the world record making the world’s largest cupcake.  TLC aired an hour-long special about it last week.  This is not a review on how I feel about the show, although I rarely watch it because it drives me up the wall (and this special was no exception), but I tuned in about 1/2 way thru because I caught wind that for 24 hours after that episode was aired, there was a promo code to get 40% off  cupcakes, and they ship all over the US.  With the promo code, shipping was practically free.  W00t!  I have no plans of ever being in the vicinity of Georgetown Cupcakes’ storefront and I’m a sucker for sales, so I figured, what the hell? I’ve blown $33 bucks on much stupider stuff, might as well order some.

But honestly, I was major curious how they ship.  I mean yeah, I wanted to taste their cupcakes but I REALLY wanted to see how they do their packaging, because as any professional baker will tell you, figuring out perfect packaging is like searching for the Lost Ark, and just when you think you have it all figured out you see a competitor come up with something way cool.  But also, there is lots of misinformation in the cake world about what you really need in order to ship baked goods.  I’ve read people say you need special kitchens, special permits, special nutritional labels, and pay special interstate taxes.  I’ve never found any documentation to back this up and the owners of my commercial kitchen says you don’t need any of that, but I figured, if there WAS something special, famed Georgetown Cupcakes would most certainly have it.

They ship via Federal Express overnight, and here is breakdown of what I got:

The Outer Box

The Outer Box

The main box reminded me of a large folding shoebox made of super heavy cardboard.  It is super-branded, covered in pink with Georgetown Cupcakes’ signature black design pattern covering the entire box.  NO mistake of what’s in it and where it came from.  The only label on this box is the Fedex sticker.

Mylar envelope

Mylar envelope

Open the box and you see this – a padded Mylar envelope that is mostly sealed.  There is a card (tucked into the top of the envelope) that explains that the cupcakes were baked the prior day, shipped frozen, and to leave them out for 3 hours to defrost.  It had no nutritional info nor did it have an ingredients label, but did have the standard “food allergy” warning.  I don’t think that is a legal requirement, I think it’s done for liability purposes (but I could be wrong).

Inside the envelope

Inside the Envelope

Another box with this single ice pack.  Not dry ice, but a simple cheap gel coolant pack.  (reusable!)

The Inner Box

The Inner Box

A better photo of the inner box, made of the same super-thick cardboard as the outer box.  Other then the logo on top, there is no other label on it.

Finally, cupcakes in sight!

Finally, cupcakes in sight!

Now we finally see some cupcakes, 12 of them in a super thick, plastic clamshell container.  I ordered a variety pack and pretty much chose at random.

Inside the Clamshell

Inside the Clamshell (from top left to right):  Strawberry,  red velvet, lemon berry, carrot, toasted marshmallow fudge, salted caramel, milk chocolate birthday, chocolate2, chocolate salted caramel, toffee crunch, vanilla, and lemon blossom

As if the packaging wasn’t enough, they have lollypop sticks inserted in each cupcake, I assume to keep them from hitting the top of the clamshell if the box is dropped or something.  I don;t see how that could have effected anything because these girls were frozen solid when I opened this box.

My over-all impression: I know cake is fragile, but it’s not THAT fragile.  The San Francisco hippie in me shakes my head at the waist of paper and resources that went into all this packaging.  Is it necessary?  Could they reduce some of it?  I think so.  I mean, these aren’t Faberge eggs, they’re cupcakes for crying out loud!

Oh, how did we like them, you may be asking?

Um, well...

Um, well…

Just to clarify, I got these to examine the packaging and to taste something that I normally wouldn’t, but the plan never was for my husband and I to actually eat these.  Please understand, I have cake available 24/7, so it’s not very often that we would eat, say, a whole one of MY cupcakes, let alone a whole dozen of Georgetown Cupcakes.  This is a pic of them today right before they go out to the trash to give you an idea of what we liked.  I believe these are the exact cupcakes that people wait in massive lines for and that nothing in flavor or texture was lost due to shipping. Hubbie liked the cream cheese frosting so that’s why you see the frosting missing off one, but honestly this just isn’t our type of cake… it’s too sweet for us.  But comparing these to say, SusieCakes or other cupcakes of the same fame that I’ve had, these are good, and I appreciate their price point (as opposed to SusieCakes, $3.00 for failed scratch cake with fake frosting from a can.  A can!  But hey, I guess it IS pretty genius to fill a failed sunken cupcake with frosting, turn it into a marketing ploy and call them “frosting filled!”).  Anyway, I really felt these Georgetown Cupcakes are priced appropriately and even though we didn’t eat all of them, I felt I got my money’s worth.

Gotta Try:  Toffee Crunch.  I swiped just frosting.  Meh.  I nibbled just cake.  Meh.  I took a bite putting it all together, and it was the tastiest of the bunch.  The flavors really worked well with each other.  2nd runner up was the Carrot cake.  Kind of a mystery to me, it seemed like a butter cake when most carrot cakes are oil-based.  Makes me want to experiment.  And with the cream cheese frosting (that hubbie ate all of), it was good.

Pass on:  Both salted caramels.  I know these are “fad” flavors, but if you are going to call something “salted caramel”, I want to taste salt AND caramel, and the chocolate needs to be rich and dark to work.

Completely gross:  Both lemon flavors.  100% artificial flavor.  They top them with those fake gummy lemons and manage to make the entire cupcake taste like it.  Complete mystery how they do it, but one I’m not willing to try and figure out.  Also, if I would have known they added so much pink food color to the frosting of the lemon berry cupcake, I never would have ordered it.  Bleach.

So there you go!

Have you had Georgetown Cupcakes?  What’s your favorite flavor?  Post a comment!

UPDATE 5/27/13:  I’m not sure which blog/website/Facebook etc has started to send traffic to this post, so thank you.  But guess what?  Crappy comments about how wasteful I am won’t be approved for public view and I have a little button called “delete” as soon as you try and post one, just so you know, in case you want to save yourself some time being petty, mean and douchbag-y.  Seriously, if me tossing this box of cupcakes was so offensive to you, guess what?  I throw food away every single day.  In fact, tons of perfectly good food is tossed in the US every day just because it isn’t pretty enough for you to buy it.  And just so you know, because some of you seem to be completely clueless, homeless shelters are NOT going to happily accept a 1/2 eaten box of cupcakes.  They won’t even take a NEW box of cupcakes.  If you’ve ever actually tried to take food to a homeless shelter, you would know that they will only take HEALTHY, NUTRITIOUS food to feed to people that can’t feed themselves.  And these cupcakes, kids, are as far from healthy and nutritious as one could get.  I know – I actually MAKE healthy(er) cupcakes and cake, and regularly donate to charities and shelters around San Francisco.