Review: Tip Top Cakes
Tip Top Cakes opened its doors to customers in late 2016. Since opening, the West Side Story has stopped in twice to try a variety of their baked goods and coffee drinks.
Tip Top Cakes is one of the first businesses to occupy the newly renovated 5th St. in Coralville. From the outside, a customer can see into the shop as its windows stretching from one end to the other. Inside, the bakery is quaint, decorated with a mix of modern and antique styles. Atop a brick counter, a wide variety of pastries including muffins, cookies and donuts sit. Connected to the counter is a pastry case that houses even more baked goods that require refrigeration. Unfortunately, the items do not have a label sitting next to them, but the staff did answer questions about what everything was. Above the counter, a chalkboard menu hangs on the wall, and an additional seasonal menu is located next to the register. The seating inside was limited; I counted only ten seats, eight high-top seats overlooking 5th St. and two bright orange chairs sitting at a small, round, metal table. Overall, the shop had a nice atmosphere and growing potential due to the location.
What we ordered
The first time I went was right after the shop first opened. Knowing I would not be capable of trying so many sweet treats alone, I was accompanied by my brother, my sister and our mom. We ordered a pecan roll, a vanilla cupcake, an oatmeal raisin cookie, a chocolate peanut butter cookie and an eggnog latte; we took the items to-go as a snowstorm was beginning to roll into town. The eggnog latte was first to be enjoyed, and it was certainly a treat. I did not get a chance to try it, but it received positive reviews from my family, such as “so good” and “to die for.” The latte was smooth, light and delivered on the promise of eggnog flavor. It had a bit of coffee flavor without overpowering the flavor of the eggnog. Both cookies and the cupcake got good ratings from my family, but the best item of the day had to be the pecan roll. It had a thick caramel coating and a crunch from the pecans without being difficult to eat. It was quite enjoyable, making the stickiness worth it.
The second time we went was in early March; this time I noticed that the items appeared to be more catered towards breakfast with many varieties of muffins and donuts. I was tempted to try a coffee drink, and I ended up ordering one off the special menu; “The Cutie,” a latte with maple syrup and orange zest. I enjoyed the incredibly smooth foam on top of the latte. The orange flavor was nice and light, but I was a little sad that I could not distinctly taste the maple syrup. Additionally, my mother ordered the chai tea latte, which she said was smooth and had a good chai flavor, but she liked the eggnog she had last time better. On the food side of things, we ordered an almond florentine bar and a blueberry muffin. We took the items to-go. The florentine bar had a pastry crust, raspberry filling and almond topping. I found the bar to be absolutely delicious. The pasty crust on the bottom was light and buttery, proving that the crust should not be an afterthought. The filling had a nice raspberry flavor that came through, and the topping was a crunchy addition to the bar giving it a nice balance of textures. As for the blueberry muffin, my brother, a man of few words, said that he liked it, but there could’ve been less of the topping on it. The prices of all of the items were on par with other nearby coffee shops and bakeries. Overall, I really enjoyed Tip Top Cakes; there are a few things that could be improved, but I am looking forward to continuing to visit as it evolves.
Location: 708 5th Street, Coralville, Iowa.
Hours: 7am-4pm Tuesday-Friday, 7:30am-2pm Saturday, closed Sunday, Monday.
Parking: We had no trouble scoring a parking spot. There is a fair number located directly outside the shops and parking was free. However, as more businesses move into the empty storefronts, parking may become hard to find.
Phone number: (319) 358-5736
Social media: Tip Top Cakes has a facebook page and they also have an Instagram (@sleuthcoffee) account for the coffee portion of the business. I really like these two pages as they post often about their newest creations; in fact I just saw that they will now be offering grab-and-go sandwiches.