Bad Cake

I often write to describe the explosions of taste bud ecstasy that I experience almost daily while living in Paris. Today I bring you devastating news – bad cake does exist in Paris. It was my own fault though – I should have guessed from the name of the café that it was going to be bad. Twinkie. Not a good sign.

I walk past this café on Rue St Denis quite regularly and the decor and general ‘vibe’ of the place suggested it could be a good place to try. But the name kept stopping me from entering as it conjured up bad, sweet American lollies and it was clearly going to be a try-hard ‘American style’ café. However, yesterday I found myself going there with my primary school buddy and now York resident, Jane, who was visiting Paris for a few days. I had wanted to take her to a new place that I had spotted, Café Madame but for some reason it was closed. There was no signage to suggest when or if it would ever open again. A typical Parisian “Bofffffff!” attitude. So we walked across the road and went to Twinkie. Sigh.

The place is nicely decorated and the guy serving was very friendly. But the cake… oh the cake. The menu offered mostly Brunch options, with bagels, pancakes, and cooked breakfasts. As we were just there for coffee, I was hoping for a nice piece of cake. The only sweet options were pancakes or cheesecake, neither of which I wanted. However, I asked if there were any other cakes not mentioned and the waiter mentioned their Gâteau de Jour – an apple tea cake. Perfect.

When someone says “Apple tea cake” in my head I think of custardy-spongey-buttery-cake with soft chunks of cooked apple and maybe some flaked almonds. Perhaps a touch of cinnamon. What arrived was this:

Twinkie Apple Cake


I wasn’t sure why a giant mountain of whipped cream with Smarties was required until I tasted the cake. It was dry, lacked flavour and the apple – I’m not entirely sure there was any. There was something that could have been apple at some point in its life but it had been turned into horrible glacé awfulness. And then there was lemon peel. WHY?! WHY LEMON PEEL?! Yes, I just generally hate lemon peel, but I have gotten over my childhood refusal to eat it in Hot Cross Buns and am willing to consume it. But there is absolutely no reason to put it on an apple tea cake.

I took one bite and almost cried. So disappointing. I had brought a visiting friend to a place called Twinkie that served really bad cake. And to add to the fun, Jane found the nozzle of the whipped cream container floating in her hot chocolate. Never again.

Luckily for me, I had an afternoon tea appointment at Helmut Newcake and could reset my fabulous-cake-consumption with an apricot and pistachio tart. DELICIOUS. Thank you, Helmut. Thank you.

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3 Responses to “Bad Cake”

  1. Handy Andy says:

    You should do reviews on Trip Advisor. Good news however – Hostess (maker of Twinkies) is going bust, or so I heard on CNN. They want the govt to bail it out or nationalise it or some crap.

  2. Sarah says:

    Oh nooo… Twinkie is one of my favorite place for brunch. It’s tasty, cosy and friendly. I’m sad it wasn’t a good experience for you…
    However, you made want to go to Helmut Newcake 😉

  3. Jess says:

    Hi Sarah
    I probably was a bit harsh… I didn’t try the breakfasts so maybe I should go back and give the pancakes a go. It was just really, really bad cake… and the floating piece of plastic in the hot chocolate didn’t really add to the experience! But definitely go to Helmut Newcake!! It is one of my favourites 🙂

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