A quick post this morning, and hopefully one later on, depending on how much work I choose to get done today…
Just Baked – Canton, MI
Yesterday, Boyfriend joined a gym. Like so many Americans, on the eve of December 31, boyfriend resolved to be more active and lose weight this year. So, after dinner last night, we drove over to Lifetime Fitness to sign him up. Right before we turned on Haggerty, I made the decision to give him one last night of caloric freedom. Making a hard right into a nearly empty parking lot, we looked up to gaze at the beautifully lit pink cupcake sign, giddy (well, I was at least) at the thought of an imminent sugar bender.
Just Baked is a Michigan chain of bakeries with a newly opened storefront on Ford Road across from IKEA. Other locations include Livonia, Royal Oak, Novi and Ann Arbor, but I’m pretty sure the Canton location is the most recent (and not even on their main website yet). They are known for their slightly oversized cupcakes in tempting flavors such as White Chocolate Raspberry, Somoa, Grasshopper, S’More and Tiramisu, just to name five of the 50 cupcakes they have listed on their website.
When we walked in, I knew I had made a mistake. I had been wanting to stop into Just Baked since it opened only a week ago. I had heard tales of cupcake combinations that you would never dream of, all deliciously topped with perfectly piped frosting. But what we saw on this night was row after row of empty trays behind the glass. Barely a dozen cupcakes remained in their least popular flavors of the day. Boyfriend asked the teenager behind the counter, “I take it the empty trays mean you are sold out of all of those flavors?” The girl gave him a bored look and replied, “We were really busy today.”
After some consideration (very little, however, because there weren’t a lot of options to consider) I decided on the Red Velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting. Boyfriend picked the Carrot Cake, which also had a cream cheese frosting. The cupcakes were $2.95 a piece, which we paid and stole away to the car to escape the forlorn cupcake trays, empty of both cupcakes and my hope of the perfect “last desert” for Boyfriend.
Ok, so maybe I’m being a little dramatic. The cupcakes were not bad, by any means, but I just know I didn’t get the full effect by eating a cupcake that I felt I could have made (better) myself. The Red Velvet, which, I have to admit and Boyfriend called me out on, I had never had anywhere and wasn’t exactly sure what it was supposed to taste like, was simply a red-colored vanilla cake. The frosting was nothing exceptional. Boyfriend’s cupcake was better, light and airy as opposed to some carrot cakes that are heavy with oil. And we both agreed that we hadn’t dared to look at the plaques on the empty trays, not wanting to know what we were missing.
I kind of broke that vow today, after looking at the Just Baked website, and lucky for them, I will be returning to try at least a couple more flavors before I will completely write them off as a “I-can-do-better-myself” establishment, because I do believe I did not experience all that Just Baked had to offer. But it is still surprising that this cupcake-exclusive bakery, a place that only serves one thing, could run out of so much of their product over the course of the day. I get that they want their cupcakes to be fresh, but how about taking inventory halfway through the day and gearing up for the after-dinner, pre-gym rush? What about keeping an emergency stash in the back? Cupcakes are freezable, people; I’m sure most of you wouldn’t know the difference.
For now, I’m giving Just Baked two and half pickles, but I know I did not get the full Just Baked experienced (I did not “get baked,” if you will), and I hope to provide an update at a later date. Additional pickle points were lost on the unfriendly and unhelpful counter staff, as well as the “I-could-do-this-in-my-own-kitchen” quality of the desert. I will be going back, but I now know to plan my visit for early in the day, when the cupcake choices are plentiful, and hopefully the counter staff aren’t so burnt (ha! …no?) out.