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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Is the Cupcake Dead? New Shop Cako Isn't Exactly Helping

Posted By on Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 4:49 PM

click to enlarge Cute as a cupcake. - M. BRODY
  • M. Brody
  • Cute as a cupcake.
Cupcakes are certainly not the new new thing. And yet we're still willing to part with a few bucks for the confection with built-in portion control, though we won't drive to Palo Alto for one!

Cako, a bakery/caterer, has just opened a small white-painted storefront on O'Farrell, near Union Square, and just half a block from the cable car tracks. The shop features oversized cupcakes ($3.50), mini cupcakes ($1), and cookies ($1). Also brownies ($1.50), though none were available when we stopped by -- which also happened to be the day The New York Times not only published a piece about cupcake bakeries in the Middle East, but wondered if food trucks were the cupcake bakeries of 2009.

Cako's pastries are baked off site, at Cako's Jackson Street facility, so there's no alluring whiff of warm buttery dough to greet you. We stood behind several tourists who were happy indeed to purchase the sweet version of the walkaway crab cocktail.

click to enlarge Not bad -- but maybe not so great, either. - M. BRODY
  • M. Brody
  • Not bad -- but maybe not so great, either.
We tried mint and chocolate decadence varieties - both were moist, with a good ratio of cake to frosting. With its fresh taste and crunch of sprinkles, the mint was better. We didn't think simple chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, even scattered with white chocolate, quite deserved the moniker of decadent. (Even Hostess hides whipped cream - well, pretend whipped cream -- in its cupcakes.) Still, the cupcakes were better than a dry, disappointing snickerdoodle cookie, bizarrely bereft of cinnamon (its raison d'etre) and austere in the extreme. We thought it might have been hanging around for a bit, but Cako's servers assured us that fresh sweets are trucked in daily.

Cako 211 O'Farrell (at Powell), 404-7303

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Meredith Brody

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