I once said the hardest thing about giving up dairy was giving up cheese. Well, in the summer, the hardest thing for me to give up is soft serve ice cream. I love soft serve.
For years I’ve been on a quest to find a dairy-free soft serve. So when my friend Sasha texted me that Babycakes on Larchmont had one, I almost dropped everything to race over there.
To clear up any confusion, Babycakes is now called Erin McKenna’s Bakery. They had to change the name because of a “proprietary legal issue.” Sad because Babycakes is so much catchier.
Everything at Babycakes is dairy-free. Everything. Soy-free, gluten-free, and certified kosher as well. They’re known for their gluten-free donuts, but I haven’t tried those. I made a beeline for the vanilla soft serve. So how was it?
In a word: good. It’s coconut-based, but you can’t taste the coconut at all. As for the texture, it’s not silky smooth, but I wouldn’t call it gritty or chalky. It also melts more quickly than dairy ice cream. This unfortunately means you need to scarf it down fast, before it turns into a puddle.
Overall, I’d say it’s a few small technological advancements away from being just right.
I also tried a sample of the chocolate soft serve and it was pretty good. For those who can’t decide, you can get a swirl. Toppings that day were cookie crumble, chocolate chips, coconut, and caramel. I wish they had hot fudge (although that would’ve melted my ice cream even faster). I also wish they had cones.
As with most eating establishments that cater to people with food allergies and dietary restrictions, Babycakes is not cheap. A plain kid’s size soft serve was $2.75. It seemed awfully expensive, but the kid’s size was all I needed. I left feeling satisfied.
I wouldn’t rush back, but the next time I’m in the area, I might try a cupcake. You gotta give bonus points to a bakery that displays a Belinda Carlisle album as part of its decor.
ERIN MCKENNA’S BAKERY, 236 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90004