Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Local Hostess to the Nth Degree

There's a really super bakery in Los Angeles that produces fantastic and innovative pastries and gets them to people in a unique way. Cake Monkey Bakery does not yet have a retail storefront, so they distribute a few of their most popular single-serve cakes to specific retail partners. Finding one at a store is sort of like a bakery treasure hunt. "There's the Cake Monkey foil-wrapped cakes! Do they have the kind I want??"

Some may find this a sort of pleasure-hunt game, others may find it annoying. I say let's be grateful for the opportunity to even have cakes like this, meaning their rules are okay by me. Cake Monkey treats are baked in Burbank, and to get some you have to find a retail store that sells them. Too frustrating? Then place an order directly, like the time I picked up a special order of limited-edition passion fruit brown butter bars (and did not regret it!). The benefit of ordering ahead is you get much more choice, since only four of their cakes are sold at retail partners and there are so many more choices online (like these Inside Out 'Smores).

CMB Inside Out 'Smores
As an ardent fan, I've stored a short list of places that sell CMB in my mind, so when I'm driving past such a place it doesn't take much for my car to screech to a stop so I can buy my favorite cake of all time, the Peanut Butter & Marshmallow Cakewich. As you can see above, the PBMC is the perfect little bundle of "Yellow Cake Sandwich, Peanut Buttercream, Housemade Marshmallow, Coated with Bittersweet Chocolate". Amen to that. The cake is just the right size, and if I'm in a patient mood my treasure cake will be sliced down the middle with one half devoured as a midday snack and the other half saved for an after dinner retreat to heaven. The PBMC is actually like a gourmet version of a Peanut Butter Kandy Kake by Tastykake, with the added how-did-I-live-without-this-before bonus of marshmallow cream.

CMB El Rollo
If you're wondering, the only thing CMB has in common with Hostess is that right now they're doing a special Hostess promotion probably because one of their signature silver-foil wrapped cakes, the El Rollo, is pretty similar in style to a Hostess Ho-Ho. I've shared CMB's ultimate version of the Ho-Ho for dessert at Umami burger, a local upscale hamburger chain that's been serving CBM cakewiches on their dessert menu seemingly since CBM began. People love that Ho-Ho El Rollo, though it's too rich and chocolatey for me. If I'm gonna have it, I'll take the Drake's Yodel version any day (to reminisce about my East Coast tastebuds of youth down memory lane).

If you look on the Cake Monkey menu, please don't blame me if you suddenly gain 20 pounds after the binge dessert blur that hits you. You can also play it safe by just looking at the pretty pictures, where you'll see a plethora of unique and delightful mini cakes (that can be ordered any time ;) like these beauties running about $7 each:

CMB Choc Caramel
Chocolate Caramel Cake - Chocolate Cake, Housemade Caramel, Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate Frosting & Carmelized Rice Krispies
Coconut Cake - Brown Butter Cake, Housemade Caramel, Toasted Coconut, Shredded Coconut Frosting
Lemon Custard Cake - Tart Lemon Cake, Meyer Lemon Custard, Homemade Huckleberry Preserves, Toasted Marshmallow Frosting
Must Love Chocolate - Chocolate Brown Butter Cake, Crunchy Valrhona Chocolate Pearls & Dark Chocolate Buttercream, Crumbled Honeycomb
(etc. etc. etc.)

Looks good hmm? Now please indulge me for a moment:
"Knock Knock." "Who's there?" "Hostess." "Hostess Who?"

Exactly. Has a knock-knock joke ever rung more true? The artisinal baking movement may have something to do with the end of the mass-produced snack cake and subsequent demise of Hostess (not that I'm happy about that), and I'm certainly not blaming the likes of Cake Monkey Bakery! They're a piece of the bigger picture, and thank goodness they are. So if you've got a hankering for something from Cake Monkey, either stop by one of the LA places listed below, call in an order for LA delivery, or if you live somewhere else go ahead and order some mail order because CBM ships nationwide!

Whatever CBM treat becomes your favorite, you'll likely push any residual national snack cake loyalties over to this new promised land (in that I promise you will love it).

CMB Pop Pies
Where to find Cake Monkey Bakery in LA:

1) Wrapped Cakes:
The Oaks Gourmet in Hollywood, Silver Lake Wine in Silver Lake, Everson Royce wine store in Pasadena, or any other place where you notice a pile of silver-foil wrapped cakes at the register.
2) On Dessert Menu: Umami Burger all over LA
3) Fresh Pop Pies (aka pop-tarts) + Wrapped Cakes: Paper & Plastik Cafe in mid-Wilshire

Until we eat again,

ps: all photos are from the Cake Monkey Bakery website, in order to promote Cake Monkey Bakery

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