As most of you have seen from my Facebook profile, I occasionally enjoy stuffing my face with cake on a weekday.
That was no different this week when Wedding Photographer Tracey Buyce and I teamed up to taste some of the finest wedding cakes this area has to offer. A huge thank you to Gaffney’s Restaurant for letting us use their enclosed patio, and to Jordan Baker from Heavenscent for providing us with some beautiful flowers for the photo shoot!
*All Photography Done By Tracey Buyce Photography
From Albany to Saratoga, we were able to gather seven eager bakers to produce a wedding cake sampling for us to try, without any specifications for what it should look like or taste like (besides being camera ready). We also had a bride-to-be with us, Nikki Gagnon of Corinna Beau Letterpress and Design, (photographed below) who is in the process of choosing a type of wedding cake for her big day.
Boy was I surprised when the cakes started to arrive, and of course they were all gorgeous. I mean seriously beautiful looking cakes, and all pretty large for a tasting – but hey, that just meant more for me to take home! 🙂
Now let’s get to it. I’ll list which cakes we tasted in what order along with the descriptions of flavors and my thoughts on the taste of each one.
Cake #1: Sweet Expressions by Amy Mears (Albany, NY)
Almond cake with raspberry filling and a brown butter butter cream frosting
I’m all about this cake. First and foremost, I love the texture of this frosting. I’m totally more into the slightly thicker frosting’s that are still creamy, but are a little more firm. Powdered sugar all the way!
Aside from this awesome frosting, the almond cake flavor really came through, which was a really nice change of pace from the traditional chocolate or vanilla. If I’m straying from my beloved chocolate cake, I need a cake that’s light and airy. This was all that and more. Finally, the raspberry filling added a nice tart flavor, and a good contrast to the sweetness in the frosting and the nuttiness of the cake.
Cake #2: Gourmet Confections (77 Teliska ave Rensselaer, NY)
Dark chocolate belgium cake with truffle filling/white Belgium peanut butter cream filling and dark Belgium truffle cream filling with a Belgium truffle buttercream frosting
Wow was this cake indulgent. Moisture was at 100% with this cake, and the frosting was silky smooth. Imagine eating one of those Lindt chocolate truffles in cake form. This was it. The type of frosting on this particular cake isn’t really my thing because it’s super smooth and buttery, but the quality of the cake and fillings won my heart. I especially enjoyed the layer of peanut butter cream filling. Amen.
Cake #3: Cuffs Cakes (1613 Union St. Schenectady, NY)
Almond cake with raspberry filling and a buttercream frosting. Cupcakes were same as cake as well as mango passion fruit.
If you’re going to binge on a cake for hours, this is the cake to binge on. The almond flavor was very subtle, but this cake was super light it almost reminded me of an angel food cake. I was a huge fan of the inside of this cake, with the almond/raspberry combo. The frosting on the other hand was a little too buttery for my taste, but again I am biased towards the slightly thicker frosting.
They also provided us with two flavors of cupcakes, one that was exactly the same as the cake, and a second that was mango passion fruit, which was like a tropical vacation in your mouth. A bit pungent, but if you’re into tropical flavors or a cake that’s fruity, you should absolutely try this one!
Cake #4: Spa City Baking Co. (88 Front Street, Ballston Spa, NY)
Vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream. The cupcakes were a vanilla with vanilla, a gluten-free chocolate with chocolate ganache, a carrot with cream cheese and a blueberry pancake with maple.
How cute is this? They put an A on the cake for me! At least that’s what I’m telling myself, but I’m not sure they actually did it for me. Still adorbs!
This was a very traditional vanilla on vanilla cake. I had the pleasure of cutting into this bad boy, and while I struggled a bit initially, I was able to cut a decent slice. Unfortunately, right after I sliced it up, it began to crumble onto the plate. Honestly, I know this cake wasn’t the best representation of what Spa City Baking Co. has to offer. I’ve tasted their cake separately from this tasting recently, and it’s really quite amazing. They’re also very new, so this could have been a curve ball for them to prepare the cake with little notice.
On the other hand, they also presented us with cupcakes in a variety of flavors, and there was one specifically I just HAVE to call out. The blueberry pancake with maple frosting.
Wowowow. First off – who even comes up with something so spectacular in cupcake form? It was like a nostalgic Sunday morning breakfast from childhood. If you’re around Spa City Baking Co. in the near future, you MUST try this one. Oh and one more thing – they have fresh doughnuts every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. You’re welcome.
Cake #5: Coccadotts (1179 Central Ave, Albany, NY)
Vanilla cake with a layer of euro raspberry, a layer of dark chocolate mousse, and a layer of ganache, all iced in buttercream
I have to start this one by saying HOLY CRAP. Do you see that wedding cake I see? Not only is it pretty, but it’s huge. Like a legit 3-tier wedding cake. Coccadotts went above and beyond for our cake tasting, and for that I want to say an enormous thank you!
Onto the review. This was a very classic yellow cake. In fact, it might have been one of the best yellow cakes I’ve ever had. The moisture level was unbelievable, and the chocolate raspberry filling rocked my world. All around this was a really great cake, and the frosting was on point as well. While I’m truly more of a chocolate cake kind of girl, this cake made quite the impact on my belly, and my overall thoughts on yellow cake!
Cake #6: Leah’s Cakery (3 Curry Ave, Round Lake, NY)
Brown sugar vanilla cake with raspberry jam and raspberry cream filling and frosted in vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream
As far as design goes, I think I loved the look of this cake the most. I’m all about simplicity, and it couldn’t have gotten more simple and elegant than this. That flower on top is also incredibly detailed, which I really appreciate.
When we picked up the cake the morning of the challenge, Leah instructed us to let the cake get to room temperature. When we thought it had, we cut in, but unfortunately it hadn’t reached that point, because it was still slightly cold when we tasted.
With that being said, you could still get a good grasp of the flavor of the cake. It was really different, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and while after hearing it was a brown sugar cake I would’ve expected a super sweet cake, the sweetness was surprisingly tame. In combination with the tart raspberry fillings, it was totally a well rounded cake, regardless of the temperature. Again with the frosting, it was a bit rich for me as far as the buttery silky texture goes, but the meringue made it a little lighter which was nice.
Cake #7: The Bread Basket Bakery (65 Spring Street, Saratoga Springs, NY)
Chocolate cake with a mocha mousse filling topped with cream cheese frosting
The details of those flowers are cray. It’s SO pretty.
But we’re not judging on appearance here, we’re judging on flavor. Well I don’t think The Bread Basket knew this before the tasting, but I’m kind of obsessed with their chocolate cake. To me, they have just the perfect, simple chocolate cake that I just want to stuff my face with all day every day.
The mocha mousse filling in the cake just put it over the top, adding a little depth of flavor to an already wonderful cake.
And then there’s the cream cheese frosting. I am a big advocate of cream cheese frosting, especially when paired with a perfectly balanced chocolate cake. As much as I love the frosting at The Bread Basket, it was a bit too thick for me on this cake. Maybe scraped down a little bit, this cake would be simply perfection. PERFECTION.
Here’s some more of us eating:
Here are my final thoughts: Someday down the road, if/when I get married, I would order a naked chocolate cake from The Bread Basket with layers of frosting in-between the cake, and that’s it. Simple, chocolatey, and just perfect.
Do you have a favorite cake place that wasn’t mentioned in this blog? Please comment below and share your experience with me!