Temptation Has Arrived on the East End and Thy Name is Frutcake

Ashley says…

Frutcake is the latest venture by the people who brought us Bluegrass Kitchen and Tricky Fish.  It is also on the east end, located in the building that used to house Delish Express.   It has the same tables and chairs inside and out that were in the place before, but I imagine most of their business is take-out. 

I stopped into Frutcake one morning on my way to work.  A couple of my co-workers make it part of their daily routines.  I usually avoid such places because most of the time, I eat healthy and try to avoid the things that will make my pants fit tighter.  I decided to splurge today and take one for the team and fork the place. 

Frutcake is a coffee and espresso bar as well as an organic pastry shop.  They offer a few daily coffee flavors as well as the standard coffee shop drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos, etc.  While waiting on the barista to make my latte, I examined the day’s pastry offerings and tried a sample of the lemon bar.  The lemon bar was very rich, very lemony and very good.  I was sort of missing the powdered sugar we always sprinkled on the ones we made from a box mix growing up, but these were just as wonderful without it. 

Once my latte was created (it’s a complicated and interesting procedure to watch), I asked the barista what each of the pastries were.  On the counter were orange zest scones, goat cheese & thyme scones, banana walnut muffins and plain sticky buns.  I was told cranberry orange muffins were baking and would be done in another five minutes or so.  Inside the case was a pie, lemon bars, caramel brownies, a cake and a peach galette.  On top of the case was fresh made granola, chocolate chip cookies, gluten-free and regular brownies, monkey bread and a tray of pecan sticky buns straight out of the oven screaming my name.  I decided on an orange zest scone and one of the beautiful pecan sticky buns.  As the employee was trying to get my sticky bun off the tray, he had to call in for backup.  This thing was so big,  warm, gooey and sticky that it took two of them to lift it out and place it in the bag.  My total for a small latte and two pastries was $8.49.

I waited until I got to work, which is just two blocks away, to dive into my breakfast.  I cut both in half and nuked the scone for 10 seconds.  The scone was nice and soft like a biscuit and had just a hint of orange and not really sweet.  It supposedly had an orange glaze on it, but I didn’t detect it. I was expecting something to be drizzled on it right before it was packaged up for me.  It didn’t happen.

One acronym for the sticky bun:  OMG!  This was probably the best pastry I’ve eaten…EVER!  It was still hot, not warm, HOT when I dove into it.  The dough  was super tender and soft and the glaze and pecans were just awesome.  I’ve had lots of sticky buns that look way better than they taste.  They are usually tough (stale) and very disappointing.  If you like sticky buns, you will not be disappointed with Frutcake’s, especially if it’s right out of the oven. 

Before I give Frutcake a fork rating, I think I need to sample a few more items, ahhemmm, you know, to get more of an overall opinion.  

Round 2: 

I was a little wary on my second visit to Frutcake.  I was worried they might be sold out of most things since it was just a couple hours from closing time.  I was completely wrong.  The case and counters were full of fresh-baked goodies such cinnamon rolls, sweet and savory scones, rice crispy treats, cookies and various pies and muffins .  Absent, though, were the sticky buns.  I’m not sure if they were even on the menu this day, but if they were and were sold out, I completely understand. 

This visit, I got a larger sampling of Frutcake’s offerings, for the sake of this review, of course.   I got a brownie, a crème brulee (my absolute FAVORITE dessert), an oatmeal/raisin/cranberry/walnut cookie and granola.  I took them home with me and shared them with my husband.   Hey, I love me some sweets and I can eat A LOT, but I’m not THAT much of a glutton, usually.  

The brownie was very soft and very chocolatey.  It was a good brownie, but a little boring.  To me, box mix brownies are just as good and I can make  a whole pan of them for what I paid for this one.

The cookies are HUGE.   I mean they are bigger than a cat’s head and about ¾ of an inch thick.  This one had lots of stuff in it and it was really good.  I even detected chocolate chips in it.

The crème brulee, I must say, was a huge disappointment for me.  It tasted like it was made with coffee.  The employee didn’t say it had coffee in it and there was no sign next to them on the display case, but there was no doubt.  I am not a big coffee drinker (unless I add about 10 sweeteners, milk, cream, flavored syrups, etc. to the point it really doesn’t even taste like coffee) and I don’t like coffee flavored things (ice cream, etc.), so I didn’t like it at all.  My husband, who  loves his coffee black, really liked the crème brulee.  He devoured it.  I almost spit my bite out.   I won’t be getting that again.  Bleecckkk!

I’d had the fresh made granola before that a co-worker brought back to the rest of us on a previous visit.  My first bite I thought tasted a little burnt.  To make sure, I tried another bite.  My second, through fiftyith bites were all pretty yummy.  It’s one of those things that as long as it’s there, I’m going to keep eating it.  We took it with us on our vacation and a few days later it was a little soft, but a few minutes in a 250 degree oven crisped it up nicely.

Frutcake’s “menu” changes daily.  They sometimes list the daily offerings on their Facebook page.  Search for Frutcake (without an “i”) and click the “Like” button to get their daily posts on your FB page.  Frutcake also offers some lunch items, which at times may be vegetarian such as Benedictine (cream cheese spread with cucumber), organic romaine on Charleston Bakery olive bread and mock chicken (do what???) curry salad with organic quinoa taboulah.

Frutcake has some really nice looking and great tasting desserts and pastries.  There are still several things I’d like to try.  And from what I understand, they will, if they don’t already, be offering some breakfast sandwiches in the near future.   To some people, the prices may be a little high, but this is good stuff, folks.  It’s made fresh every day by a real person and with real, quality ingredients.  No artificial or processed stuff here.  Since it’s not exactly a restaurant or a place typically reviewed by this blog and I really have nothing to compare it to, it’s a little difficult for me to give it a fork rating.  But I must, so I give it FOUR FORKS and strongly recommend trying it for yourself.

Susan says…

The aroma of fresh baked goods welcomes you at the door.  Misty & I stopped by before work one day to sample some of the goodies.  It was tough to limit ourselves to just three items because everything looked delicious.  But limit we did – we left there with a cinnamon roll, a savory scone and a cranberry muffin, all still warm from the oven.

The cranberry-almond muffin was large, moist and soft.  It was neither overly sweet nor was it overloaded with cranberries.  Slivered almonds adorned the top of the muffin.   It was good, but the least impressive of the three items, in my opinion.

The gigantic cinnamon roll impressed me, though!  It was delicious.  Some people (ahem, Misty) may think it has too much butter in it but those people would be wrong.  OMG  it’s buttery.  There were soft spots and crispy spots.  There were streuselesque bits scattered over the top of the roll.  There is none left now.

The savory scone was my favorite item.  Made with goat cheese and herbs, this moist and flaky scone hit a homerun with me.  I think it would taste great alongside a salad for lunch. 

Another nice thing about this establishment: the Chef came out and talked to us while we were making up our minds.  We talked about the selections and she gave us a great tip about freezing ice cubes made of coffee to put in my morning iced coffee each day.  That way the coffee doesn’t get watered down as the ice melts. 

I could see Frutcake becoming a very dangerous temptation to me since my workplace is nearby.  It is a wonderful addition to our downtown eateries.   For a bakery, I agree with Ashley: FOUR FORKS.

Frutcake
1589-A Washington St East
Charleston, WV 25311
(304) 346-2871
Frütcake on Urbanspoon
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7 responses to “Temptation Has Arrived on the East End and Thy Name is Frutcake

  1. Dang it, Susan. Here I am trying to be good on my diet and then I read your description of the cinnamon rolls. I WANT ONE NOW! And seriously, is there really such a thing as too much butter? I’m with Paula Deen on this one.

  2. Alice Galloway

    OMG is right! Wish I could fly on over and sample several, if not all, of the goodies while relaxing with a cup of Joe. Congratulations, Keeley and Jon. Love the name, too.

    Alice

  3. demosthenes.or.locke

    I showed up about 11 on saturday and the cinnamon rolls were gone. Get there early. I had a bacon cheddar chive scone and a fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookie. Both were excellent. I hope this place survives, I won’t be back to Panera as long as it does.

  4. Mmmm, a high fructose corn syrup store with gigantic cinnamon buns! How appropriate for Charleston.

  5. Hippie Killer

    …and how appropriate that SH would leave a negative comment about a place he’s never even been to! What an ass.

  6. Hey Hillbilly what cinnamon roll recipe are you using that calls for high fructose corn syrup? I talked to the chef when I was in last week and they don’t use corn syrup at all in any of their recipes, they use organic agave syrup if the recipe calls for it. Have you even tried the bakery? The staff will answer any questions you have.

  7. Mr. Hillbilly-

    I am going to have to agree with ruthie. You really need to give it a try before you pass judgment. I was really impressed – not only with the quality of the baked goods but the friendliness of the pastry chef. I believe you will find Frutcake to be an asset to the East End of Charleston. And you know I am not just saying that because I like the owners. ;-)

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