Update: This restaurant is closed.
VANEATS.ca has once again put together a pretty nifty package deal for an establishment we’ve been meaning to try with their ManCakes Madness deal for ManCakes Bakery on Robson. This time it will cost you $9.95 for 6 mini cupcakes and 2 hot drinks. You can also upgrade and double your cupcakes for an extra $6. These deals basically work out to 2 bucks a drink and a buck a piece for the cupcakes. Not bad considering the high artisanal quality of the cakes.
You probably guessed from the title (or Rocky’s vacant yet quintessentially tough-guy gaze above), but if you still haven’t caught the buzz about ManCakes these ain’t your old lady’s frilly cutesy-wootsy Sallycakes. No, it’s time to man up and put your daddy’s boots on boy, cuz at ManCakes they slop the icing on like so much caulking and then top with meat for added protein and chest hair.
Fancy a spot of tea Sally? Oh, I’m sorry they don’t carry lavender rosehip oolong. How about some TEAPIGS? What’s that, you’ll have a coffee instead then? Sorry Sal, they don’t serve strawberries and cream frappuccino. How’s about a mug of DEATH WISH, said to be the world’s strongest coffee. Seriously, this stuff tastes like it ought to be illegal.
On to the cupcakes. We sampled (and I do mean sampled; it worked out to a small bite each of each one) a “toolbox” of half a dozen minis, clockwise from top they are Buffalo Wing, Rum & Coke, Pizza (Feature Flavour), Bacon Chili Chocolate, Apple Brie, and Breakfast. For the most part, the flavours were as awesome as the name would imply. Here’s the rundown:
Buffalo Wing – Spiced base, Baked blue cheesecake mousse, Hot sauce infused buttercream icing, Crispy chicken crumbles.
The spiced base tasted like a “traditional mom’s” recipe spicecake, and a very good one at that. Wendy thought the blue cheesecake mousse was just sweet, not very blue-cheesy. However the chicken crumble worked wonders, very salty and there was just enough of it to really work in combination with the sweet. The staff also asked us if we would like a bit of hot sauce so we took it with a couple drops of Frank’s. The icing was only mildly spicy but the Frank’s turned this eat into a salty heat/sweet treat that couldn’t be beat!
Rum & Coke – Vanilla base, Coke cream filling, Rum infused buttercream icing, Crushed coke candy topping.
The vanilla and coke flavours really stood out, however we both wished for a hint of rum but couldn’t detect it. The crushed coke candy topping really was a stroke of genius though. It gave an added “pop” of carbonation to the cupcake. In fact we were told that they initially tried Pop Rocks but the moisture of the cupcake ruined the popping effect, so they came up with this substitution. ManCakes must truly have some mad culinary scientists working behind the scenes; I picture them with lab coats and notepads, the works!
Pizza (Feature Flavour) – Vanilla base, Tomato jam filling, Parmesan buttercream icing, Pepperoni topping.
This was Wendy’s favourite, and I agree with her that they should definitely add this to their regular lineup. The parmesan flavour really shone through and worked in partnership with the vanilla. The tomato jam could have been strawberry filling for all I could tell; it was pretty sweet. The pepperoni slices, even though tiny, packed a salty wallop. These guys sure know how to do the sweet and salty thing, which Wendy and I both love.
Bacon Chili Chocolate – Chocolate base, Ancho chili chocolate-ganache filling, Vanilla buttercream icing, Crumbled bacon.
I looked forward to this one the most. It’s another decent salty/sweet combo, but the chili didn’t pack enough heat for me and I didn’t feel the mild tingle until after I’d finished chewing. I think this one needs to “man up” and go back to the test kitchen. After visiting Grocery Showcase West the past couple of days I can say without a doubt that food trends are happily moving towards the spicier end of the spectrum due to consumer demand (more on this in our upcoming GSW coverage post), and ManCakes will hopefully take note.
Apple Brie – Spice base, Sweet apple cider jelly filling, Brie buttercream icing, Crushed pretzel brittle.
This one was pretty tame. Not much to say here except that brie has such a mild flavour that it’s difficult to translate to an icing. Spicecake was very cinnamony and the salty pretzel brittle was pleasant.
Breakfast – Vanilla base, Smoked bacon & egg custard filling, Maple syrup buttercream icing, Crispy granola crunch.
Cupcakes for breakfast? Count us in, you know we had to try the Breakfast ManCake! Maple syrup was the predominant flavour, and although the bacon was visible it was hard to taste beneath the syrup. The egg custard was noticeable though and was a great addition, the granola crunch was good too although it lost a bit of its crunchiness somewhere en route to our mouths.
I have a feeling that we may be missing a bit of the masculine glory of a full size ManCake with these mini versions, but it was still an excellent and unique experience and a good way to decide which flavours to go back and try again in full size. We would wholeheartedly recommend picking up a VanEATS voucher to try it for yourself.