The first time I heard of Jamaica’s Cakes was when the HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm had a storyline about penis-shaped cakes, like the kind you see at bachelorette parties. This bakery doesn’t actually specialize in erotic cakes, but I read that Jamaica, the owner and head baker, made all the cakes that were used in that episode.
When my husband and I got married, I wanted our wedding cake to look like a giant Hostess cupcake. So we ordered exactly that from Jamaica’s. The proportions were a little off, but everyone knew what it was supposed to be — and it was absolutely delicious.
This week I finally tried one of the vegan cupcakes at Jamaica’s. The cake was moist and dense (in a good way), and the frosting was smooth, not gritty or oily. It had too much frosting for my taste — I prefer Big Sugar Bakeshop‘s frosting-to-cake ratio. But I did think that the rainbow sprinkles, along with its not quite uniform shape, gave the cupcake a fun homemade look and childlike appeal.
Now for the bad news. When I asked what they used in place of butter, they told me margarine. Remember margarine, the imitation butter that was all the rage back when people thought butter was bad for you? It’s made mostly of vegetable oil, but after the oil is processed (what is known as hydrogenation), it can’t be recognized by the body. (You may remember the big ado when the no-fat “oleo” was causing “anal leakage.”)
Some margarines are now made to be more healthful, phasing out the use of hydrogenated oils. But I have to admit it still grosses me out. Even though I’m lactose-intolerant, I can handle small amounts of butter, and I would choose butter over margarine any day.
Given this, I probably won’t go back for a cupcake, but I might consider Jamaica’s if I need another custom cake. Just not a vegan one.
JAMAICA’S CAKES, 11511 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064