SusieCakes 

When I go to a bakery, there is one thing on my mind: dessert.

SusieCakes, however, makes my sweet tooth fall out.

SusieCakes, a bakery chain from Southern California, opened its first Sacramento-area location (564 Pavilions Ln.) on Jan. 24.

The chain began in Brentwood, California, in 2006. Today, founder Susan Sarich has 13 locations (and two more coming soon) all across the state.

“(Sarich) was really drawn to the community spirit (in Sacramento),” said Lisa Roa, the general manager.

I attended the Sacramento location’s opening festivities, where I was greeted by smiling ladies handing out samples.

With a free miniature chocolate cupcake in one hand and a menu in the other, I pushed my way through a crowd of customers to get a good look at the cakes.

A large display case featured Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day cakes, which were covered generously with rolled fondant (a thick, dough-like icing) as well as a Barbie cake – a ballgown-shaped cake with a Barbie sticking out of the top.

Evidently, most of the time was spent decorating these specialty cakes, since the $3.25 red velvet cupcakes were frosted and decorated with…crumbs (they also sell miniature versions for $2). I bought one to see if it tasted better than it looked.

I was disappointed. The cake was extremely dry and the frosting overpoweringly sweet.

I also tried the flourless chocolate cupcake, the peanut butter cupcake and the mocha cupcake (all $3.25). The flourless cupcake was dense and had an aftertaste of raw coffee grounds.

Speaking of coffee grounds, all the cupcakes I tried were crumbly. I spent more time picking morsels off my plate than eating cupcakes.

All of these cupcakes were also advertised as “frosting-filled,” but no cupcake I tried had frosting piped in the center.

Both the peanut butter and mocha cupcakes were subpar.

They were simply chocolate cupcakes with flavored frosting on top.

The peanut butter frosting was decent, but the mocha was perfect only if I had wanted to pull an all-nighter.

I also tried the Sweetheart Sandwich ($3.25), which was two butter cookies with frosting in the middle. The cookies were delicious, but they were hard to enjoy because of the rocky nonpareils covering the top cookie.

Wanting to give SusieCakes a second chance, I returned two weeks later with sophomores Isabelle Leavy and Austin Talamantes to try some more desserts.

Talamantes ordered the mint-chocolate cupcake, which again, was just a chocolate cupcake with flavored frosting on top.

The cake was really dry, and as Leavy put it, everything else was too sweet.

Talamantes agreed.

I also tried a slice of Luscious Lemon, which was the only cake I sampled that wasn’t dry.

However, it had the same problem: too sweet. The cake was covered in frosting and sprinkles, which made it hard to eat. Additionally, it wasn’t lemon-flavored. A too-sweet lemon curd layered inside the cake provided the citrus.

My suspicions proved true when I talked to Roa: SusieCakes uses the same base batters for several of their cupcakes, which is the store’s fatal flaw.

Additionally, their high prices are a turn-off. There is no way I’d pay $2 for a bite-size cupcake. Ever.

—Elena Lipman

Milk & Cookies

Convenience is an industry – the easier a business makes buying something, the more likely you are to buy it.

The Kindle store prospers off of its nearly instant book delivery, and fast casual food chains like Chipotle are flourishing.

It says something about humankind’s inherent desire for instant gratification and laziness, but I’m not here to judge.

I understand.

You’re sitting on the couch exhausted after a long day of work or school, and the last thing you want to do is cook for yourself.

So the idea of a nice meal that’s only minutes away is more than enticing.

But after you finish that lovely Chipotle burrito, what about dessert?

Have no fear. Cookies & Milk is here.

Cookies & Milk is convenience in its purest form – a cookie delivery service.

There’s no brick-and-mortar store. They make the cookies in their midtown bakery and deliver right to your door.

No, I’m not pulling your leg. They really do deliver as late as 1:30 a.m. (There is a God!)

All you have to do is pull the phone out of your pocket and dial.

And within 30 minutes, a wide variety of cookies is delivered to your door.

Cookies & Milk offers six types: chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, chocolate crinkle, peanut butter, sugar and a rotating special.

As I’m writing this, the special is orange creamsicle, but a quick look at their Facebook page reveals other tantalizing variations.

In the past they’ve offered many other exotic flavors, including Froot Loops, bacon, Oreo cream and, for shameless Starbucks fanatics, pumpkin spice.

Of course, I ordered the week’s special along with all of the regulars, and I had a hot box of freshly baked cookies in my hands in 30 minutes.

The chocolate chip cookies were divine; each bite of the still warm, chocolate-packed dessert was blissful.

The extremely moist, chewy cookies didn’t just taste good – they looked like they had been pulled out of Martha Stewart’s oven.

That might be a slight exaggeration, but the thin cookie was speckled with lots of chocolate chips and had an impressive radius of about 2 inches.

I mean, it was a nice-looking cookie. And the crackle cookie was also beautiful. The outside, dusted with powdered sugar, was nicely cracked with small fault lines running throughout.

And, yes, it was delicious as well. The inside was soft and lacked the artificial taste that often characterizes store-bought cookies.

The only disappointment was the unusual orange creamsicle cookie, and even that wasn’t bad.

The cookie’s texture and moisture level were a bit off. Inside, it was too bready and airy, while the edges were a tad too crispy.

But even then, I’m not complaining. I ate the entire thing with its flavorful orange zest and white chocolate chips.

So what’ll these too-good-to-be-true cookies cost you? Each cookie is $1.50, and a dozen costs $15. That’s a steal, considering Cookie Connection sells a dozen for $25, without delivery.

However, single-order cookies are obviously not an option, and Cookies & Milk requires you to order at least $15 worth of sugary goodness.

Another logistical concern is Cookies & Milk’s delivery radius. Basically, if you live in Midtown, downtown, Curtis Park, Land Park or East Sacramento, then you’re good to go because delivery is free!

But to see the exact delivery map, you need to check their website.

However, those of you who live in Carmichael or Folsom shouldn’t despair.

Cookies & Milk does do “cookie deals,” where they’ll meet you at a location within their delivery radius.

No matter how, what or where you order, you really should give Cookies & Milk a call.

They’ll give Granny a run for her money.

—Maxwell Shukuya

Previously published in the print edition on Feb. 17, 2015.

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