The Curious Case of an Ordinary Bakery

Muffin Top Bakery - Choc Covered Cake

I almost didn’t write this post.

Not just once, but a few times. In the bakery, I nearly turned away. After my first taste, I wondered what was special? And when I sat down to type, I questioned how to begin?

It’s so much easier to discuss a great or disappointing experience. But what makes average titillating?

Please allow me to expand on the matter.

I chose Muffin Top Bakery for this week’s mission. With two Inland Empire locations, their Riverside shop was more convenient. Their variety of gluten-free and vegan treats, earned them a spot on the Inland Empire Hot List. Additionally, most comments on their Facebook page were positive.

Wanting to satisfy my frosting craving, I dropped by on a weekday afternoon. Upon entering, I realized the shop did not align with expectations.

Not a frosted cake was in sight.

Instead, there were racks of assorted breads. Display shelves were lined with cookies, pastries, truffles, and of course, muffin tops. 

I paused.

Muffin Top Bakery - Cannolis

Should I turnaround or make the most of it?

I’ve been in similar quandaries before, and walked away. But this time, I stayed.

Peering closer, I spotted chocolate frosted brownies. That’s always a no-brainer, so there was one item. By asking questions, I was able to find another. Then finally, I heard the call of a pastry.

When I left Muffin Top Bakery, I had purchased three desserts for $8.50. The associate also advised that cupcakes would be available the next day. I hoped my selections would abate my sweet tooth before then.

That evening, I started with the Chocolate Covered Vanilla Cake. It’s exactly as it sounds, vanilla cake covered in chocolate, no filling or fluff. 

The chocolate was not of finer quality, but it was good. The cake was like a common boxed cake. It needed the chocolate or some accompaniment to enhance. I finished the dessert because it fulfilled a need. There were better ways to spend calories.

I continued on to their Cannoli. This was a first for me. I’ve always resisted the allure of the Italian pastry at bakeshops. But seeing the brimming display at Muffin Top Bakery was harder to ignore.

This proved to be a nice choice. True to its Sicilian roots, their cannoli was filled with smooth ricotta, instead of a custard and cream. Thus, its sweetness came from the generous chocolate chips and sprinkle of powdered sugar on the crisp, pastry shell. 

Muffin Top Bakery - Frosted Brownies

The next day, I concluded with the Chocolate Frosted Brownie.

Remember, this is the one that should have been a sure thing.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

It had the look – fudgy texture and glossy frosting. Yet, the first bite revealed imperfections. 

The thick brownie lacked any rich chocolate flavor. In fact, there was an odd aftertaste. The frosting had no depth either.

I didn’t even make it halfway through before I put my fork down. I had just baked a better brownie last week. Moreover, for $2.50, there were better brownie mixes in stores.

I give Muffin Top Bakery 3 out of 5 stars.

In retrospect, I wouldn’t have missed much by walking away.

Ordinary may not be as stimulating. However, it does help me appreciate exceptional moments more.


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