Saturday, August 17, 2019

Village Bakery Cinnamon Crumb Creme Cake (Aldi)

It doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it's moist and delicious.
I love cinnamon. Don't get me wrong, I love sweets of all shapes and sizes and colors and kinds, but it's cinnamon that has my pick for underrated fave, if not something even more distinguished than that. There's just something about that simple, yet ultra-sweet mix of cinnamon and sugar that seems to dance on my tongue the way very few things do, enticing me into bite after bite when I should be done...it's like the dessert equivalent of Eve, tempting me with her forbidden fruits. So when I saw the Village Bakery Cinnamon Crumb Cake in an Aldi ad, I knew to resist it was an exercise in futility. After all, it had been a while since I last treated myself to the decadence of a cinnamon treat, making me well overdue to ransack my tastebuds with exquisite deliciousness.

Of course, being the cheapskate I am, the $3.99 price tag did give me some pause for thought, especially since it looks pretty small, at least when compared to other, “standard” cakes. Don't let the look fool you, though, because unless you're in a house full of cinnamon-obsessed crazies, there is plenty to go around. The cake looks as you would expect, with a nice layer of cinnamon streusel on top, finished with a hardened layer of icing.

Cutting into it with surgical precision revealed a rather nice surprise: deep layers of cinnamon on the inside, as well. I know that's a part of virtually all of these cakes, but all too often there seems to be way more of the “white” cake, with some cinnamon seemingly thrown in as an afterthought, but here, the cinnamon shade takes up over half of the inside cake, a welcome sight. As expected, the cake is moist and inviting, with utensils swiftly cutting through the bottom half, assuming they are strong enough to penetrate that thick cinnamon top.

Tastewise...well, let's just say it was even better than what I was expecting, which was just a standard, mass-produced cinnamon cake. After all, that's what this is, right? I don't think I would confuse it for anything homemade, but I do think it's a notch above standard supermarket fare, with an intense cinnamon flavor that, rather appropriately, steals the show. Some that I've had (which are still delicious...I don't think there's a wrong way to make a cinnamon crumb cake) seem to be afraid of being too sweet, and use the cinnamon more sparingly than they ought to; here there's gobs of it, but it's also perfectly counterbalanced by the remaining touch of “flavorless” (by comparison) white cake, which prevents the whole thing from becoming too overwhelmed with the common spice. Paired up with that “crystalized” icing—which did taste way better than I was expecting—it all threatens to become “too sweet”, as it did for my wife (who, for reference, is not nearly the cinnamon fan I am). But for me, it balanced right on the tippy-top of the “just right” fence; our two-year-old son, who was given a small piece for breakfast, would also agree.

Like father, like son, I suppose.

Overall: 8/10. This isn't a case of an item rewriting any rules—at the end of the day, this is just a standard-definition cinnamon crumb cake—but it's a case of one that does most everything right. It's not afraid to heap on the cinnamon, the way some cakes seem to gingerly approach it, nor is it afraid to layer on a generous drizzle of vanilla icing (that far exceeded what I was expecting, in terms of taste). Yet, despite all that, I never once felt it veered into “too sweet” territory (though my cinnamon-conservative wife disagreed). The texture is fluffy and moist, with the top providing a satisfying layer of “crunch”, both when cut into, and when chewing. Despite my initial hesitance, there is plenty of cake to go around for the $3.99 asking price (though, admittedly, there's no way I would buy them all the time at this price if they were offered all the time). Half-thankfully and half-unfortunately, it's only available as a special buy, so if you see it in-store, grab one (or two) while you can!

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