Cake That! in Manahawkin

AAAAGH! Get me out of the house!

After a long frozen wintery stretch, the prospect of an unseasonably warm Saturday gave my wife and I the impetus to throw the little ones into the car and get the hecks out of Dodge. Where? Anywhere! Just as long as it was outside.

One of our favorite local spots to bring the kids is the “pirate” park down in Barnegat (also known as Project Playground) by the high school. On this day, our AAAAGH!s became ARRRRR!s as we ran around after our children, watching them scale a real pirate ship! Alright, so it wasn’t a real pirate ship, but it was a real pretend made-of-wood pirate ship-looking thing, so you just hush.

Anyway, here’s the thing about playgrounds: they tend to be rather wet after a recent melting of snow. And muddy. As much as you may try to keep yourself neat and clean, you help your younger youngster down from a high ledge, get her shoe dragging across your clothes, and now you look like you’ve been rolling around as much a they have. But who cares? ARRRRRR mateys!

After an afternoon of sailing the high seas for adventure, there’s nothing a band of pirates wants more than cupcakes. Yes, I said cupcakes, so you just hush…again. We piloted our ship to a little cupcake place in Manahawkin called Cake That! The place may have been little, but the cupcakes were normal-sized. And wonderful.

Truth be told, calling Cake That! a cupcake place is selling it rather short. They do make regular cakes (which are anything but regular – check out their work on their site) as well as doughnuts, cookies and biscotti. Coffee is avalable in different flavors and styles, thanks to How You Brewin’? Coffee Company from LBI providing their locally-roasted beans. But it’s their cupcakes that have brought acclaim to Cake That! They got the finals of “Cake Wars” on Food Network, and their cupcakes were part of the festivities leading up to The Big Game this past February.

But back to the hungry and dirty band of pirates. Upon arrival, a plentiful display of standard and specialty cupcakes awaited us in clear cases. Vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, chicken and waffle…chicken and waffle? Oh yeah, a chicken nugget perched upon a mini-waffle, which was perched upon a spiral of butter cream, which was perched upon the cupcake itself, which had a base of another mini-waffle. All kinds of wrong, with all kinds of you-know-you-want-to-eat-this attitude eminating from it (yes, cupcakes can have attitude – do you need to be hushed a third time, because so help me…). The woman at the counter was very enthusiastic about my selection of the chicken and waffle cupcake. People working in cupcake places should be happy; cupcakes are nothing if not little bundles of happiness with frosting.

Chicken and waffle cupcake

Was it good? Difficult to eat, but worth the effort. A subtle touch to the overall effect was the fact that the cake itself was not overly sweet. The flavor was more in line with a buttery biscuit.

Meanwhile, our daughter had a double chocolate cupcake. Eating for her is still very much a total-body experience, so there was cupcake pretty much everywhere. And with the dirt she had tracked in from the pirate park, you couldn’t tell where the dirt ended and the cupcake began on the floor below her.


We apologize to the folks at Cake That! for the mess. But it’s hard to be upset with someone as cute as this.

Filled with tasty treats, our pirate band headed back home. Colder days may come still, but it is a comfort to have bright beams of light such as Cake That! to warm you up when you need it.

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