There's Definitely Something Being Frosted Over
Ever since CakeLove and Love Cafe opened on U Street, owner and media darling Warren Brown has been defending his sweet treats against criticism that they're subpar because they're served out of refrigerated cases. His unwavering explanation: the health department makes him do it, and yes, deep sigh, he knows that his cakes and cupcakes suffer as a result. If only the customers would educate themselves. Brown even helpfully printed instructional stickers that reference the DC health codes on the back. Given these draconian mandates from the health department butterazis all these years, it's a miracle that he's managed to overcome the odds to get such glowing press from everyone from the Post to People magazine to Oprah.
But then, this week on Brown's own blog, came
"We’re taking the chill off our cupcakes so that every visitor to Love Café gets the best of CakeLove. No one will have to wait for their cupcake to come up to room temperature anymore—now cupcakes will already be at room temperature."
Wow! After years of getting assailed because of a health department rule against which he was powerless, suddenly he can start serving room temperature cupcakes! That must have involved a ton of lobbying, lawyers, and such to get the law changed right? Let's call the health department and ask them about the big shakeup. They must be up to their ears in aftermath of this change!
On second thought, before we add to the health department's surely cah-razy time right now, let's take a closer look at the rest of his blog post:
"Why change things around at Love Cafe? Lots of reasons, but so that I don’t bore you, here’s just one. I love our buttercream and cupcakes, but only when served at room temperature. So why not offer to frost cupcakes at Love Café? I guess a fear of duplicating work is what kept the cupcake production streamlined and localized at the CakeLove."
Looks like Brown's former life as a lawyer is coming in handy. "I guess a fear of duplicating work is what kept the cupcake production streamlined..." I'm going to go out on a limb here and interpret that verbal tapdancing: We've always known that if we whip these cupcakes up in big old batches and refrigerate them, we can store them longer and it makes us a heck of a lot more money than keeping fresher stock in limited quantities, plus we can blame the health department (although no other bakery in town feels the need to do so) when they taste utterly mediocre. We are the masters of economies of scale thinking. But now we think we might be able to work up a system where people pay even more for their frosted-to-order cupcakes, so poof! the old health department rule doesn't affect the same buttercream products anymore.
Mr. Brown? I'm not buyin' it, cupcake.