Dessert Detectives: Icing on the Cake

Reviewing popular menu items based on quality and taste

Ayah Ali-Ahmad

Twice a month, El Estoque takes on a new case at a bakery or café, trying to decipher the quality and cost of its most popular items. Continuing the alphabetical trend, we went to Icing on the Cake, a bakery and gift shop in Los Gatos that serves specialized cakes, a variety of pastries and an assortment of novelties. 

Cookies and Cream Cupcake: $3.95

Rating: 7/10

Found at the end of the displays of baked goods, the cookies and cream cupcake sits on the third shelf as one of the many cupcake flavors offered. The Oreo-studded vanilla and sugar buttercream frosting stands tall as it perches on top of the cupcake. After removing the cupcake wrapper and revealing the dark, moist chocolate cake, I was able to truly enjoy the entirety of the cupcake. The frosting alone lacks flavor, only giving a hint of Oreo and vanilla, but the buttermilk cake’s richness with the intense dark chocolate ties the cupcake together. The deep chocolate complements the lighter vanilla flavoring from the frosting to make it more vibrant, which makes the traditional cookies and cream flavor visible. Because there is no seating at the bakery, everything is packaged to go; the packaging for their cupcakes is neat and helps prevent the frosting from smudging along the sides of the box. Its overall sweetness and classic cookies and cream flavor raises the standards of any other product labeled with the same name. 

Citrus Sweeties Shortbread: $2.95 

Rating: 9/10

Unlike with the clever cupcake packaging, the frosting on some of the shortbreads and other cookies with frosting smudged when placed in bags. Fortunately, the highlight of this biscuit was the frosting itself because of its bright flavor and unique light texture. The eggless, buttered shortbread cookie was quite crumbly but did not absorb any moisture from the glaze, making it easier to eat even after leaving the cookie out for a bit. The vibrant pop of citrus which seemed to come from either orange zest or lemon juice made me understand why one biscuit would cost $3. 

 

 

 

 

Harvest Crunch Cake: $4.50

Rating: 8/10 

This all-butter seasonal pound cake was so moist and thick that I found myself grabbing for a glass of water after just a few bites. Although pound cakes are traditionally moister, pieces of this one stuck to the packaging, making it only possible to eat with a fork, which was unflattering to eat. Despite its flaws, the cake tasted delicious. The four layers of cake and filling made for a mix of bright pecan, brown sugar, pumpkin and cinnamon flavors. The crunch from the diced pecans in the filling really helped this cake shine. The nuttiness with the brown sugar regulated the sweetness, and I didn’t mind having to use extra strength to chew the moist and very dense pound cake. This would have been a 10 for its ability to capture fall flavors if it weren’t for the unattractive overall texture. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall: 8/10

$$/$$$

The environment in Icing on the Cake is remarkably welcoming with their interior decorations and excellent customer service. It fits the ambiance of downtown Los Gatos, as it is a smaller business that offers a lot more than initially assumed by the name. The personality within each product reflects the effort put into it by the bakers, which can also be said for the novelties sold too. Even with a slightly stuffy environment from all the products in the shop, the bakery stays organized with a ticket system and quick service. Its baked goods aren’t for those who lack a sweet tooth. Each cake is well-stocked, even in the late afternoon when I arrived. They also seem conscious of waste by labeling and reselling day-old products for less. Some products offered are vegan and wheatless, but most are likely to contain nuts. They provide a wide selection of almost anything under the baked goods category, and the prices match the quality given. I wish, however, that they had a seating area. They close in the late afternoon, so for those walking by for dessert after dinner in downtown, they’ll have to eat elsewhere unless the one table outside isn’t in use.