Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Starbucks, San Francisco

Cupcakes tried: red velvet, lemon meringue

Overall reaction: not so Grande

Lo and behold the famous coffee shop on every street corner sells cupcakes! The red velvet cupcake was a big disappointment. Basically it tasted like dyed red cornbread. Its only saving grace was the bit of chocolate filling in the middle. The lemon meringue cupcake was pretty good but not great. The lemon curd filling and dollop of meringue on top was a nice compliment. However, both cupcakes were stingy with their toppings.

My words of advice: Obviously cupcakes aren't their forté. Don't quit your day job Starbucks, stick to your factory made coffee not your factory made cupcakes.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Miette, San Francisco

Cupcakes & cakes tried: old fashioned, gingerbread, mini sharffen berger, chocolate creme cake, lemon tart

Overall reaction: C'est Marveilleux!

This little bakeshop/pâtisserie is so sweet and petite! I'm sure that Napoleon would have declared, "C'est une victoire!" as he nibbled on a bit of cake.

The Old Fashioned cupcake was wonderful. The chocolate cake was perfect and paired with a delicious marshmallow creme topping. Visions of sugarplums definitely danced around inside my head.

The Mini Scharffen Berger cake was richly elegant. Bravo, Bravo! Encore, Encore!

The Lemon Tart had a good crust but was a little thin on the curd, which could have been a bit tangier. Still tasted great though.

The Chocolate Cream cake was made up of alternating layers of chocolate cake and whipped cream. Everything about this cake was excellent except for the tiny pieces of cacao nibs scattered throughout. The cacao nibs interfered with enjoying this cake completely and to boot, they kept getting stuck in my teeth.

The Gingerbread cupcake was actually my least favorite treat. The cream cheese frosting was yummy on top but the cake tasted only of molasses. Four of my friends tried this cupcake as well and the first thing they said but not in unison was, "Whoa, too much molasses." This eased my mind, as I thought maybe I was acting a little harshly towards this cupcake. I think Ginger was definitely not happy with Molasses having the entire spotlight.

My words of advice: Très Yum! Will definitely be going back.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Just call me Baker

A few friends of mine have told me that I need to state that I am an actual baker on this blog. So here it is...I am a baker and cake designer (mostly self-taught with a few classes here and there) and a graphic designer. I come to the table with experience and a few bags of flour to back me up. I have an excellent palate when it comes to sweets and my acute design sense allows me to be very perceptive to composition and how concepts become works of art and/or delicious treats. I am not snobby or egotistical so I believe I will judge what I eat fairly.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Citizen Cupcake Cafe, San Francisco

Cupcakes tried: lem-ania and chocolate chip mania cupcake

Overall reaction: not impressed

First off there weren't many cupcakes to choose from, it was more of a cafe than a cupcake shop. I'd have to say the name of the place is quite deceiving. The cookie cupcake was ok. The miniature cookie on top was a nice touch and the chocolate chips that lined the bottom of the cupcake was yummy as well. All this helped to mask the fact that the actually cake part of the cupcake was dry and lacking in flavor. It reminded me of an over baked cookie. So I guess it achieved its intended purpose – a chocolate chip cookie (which most people over bake).
The lemon cupcake was strange. The lemon curd filling was the best part about this cupcake, lemony and tangy. However the cake didn't have a lot of flavor and the lemon zest frosting was a bad combo leaving a really weird aftertaste in my mouth. gross.

My words of advice: Just stick with a cup of coffee.

Aroma Cafe, Studio City

Cupcakes tried: extra large chocolate oreo cupcake, various layer cakes and pies

Overall reaction: charming and delightful

My eyes were easily dazzled as I walked in to view the display case of oversized desserts and cakes piled with chopped candy bars. The cupcakes looked really fun, they were piled high with frosting that was slightly disarrayed adding to the appeal because they weren't so perfect. I decided I had to try one. The cupcake proved to be disappointing. The cake was very dry and the frosting was too shortening based, (like supermarket cake frosting).

Most of the cakes and pies are really good, some cakes are a little dry but overall you can't go wrong with a slice. Their blueberry heart scones are wonderful, especially warmed and with a little bit of butter. It's always hard to find a good scone.

My words of advice: Skip lunch and head straight for the desserts.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Kara's Cupcakes, San Francisco

Cupcakes tried: meyer lemony lemon, chocolate velvet, rasberry dazzle, sweet vanilla

Overall reaction: Didn't Kare for them

Kara's cupcakes seem to be the rave of S.F. A couple good things that I can say about the cupcakes is that the cake was really moist, had nice flavor and the presentation of the cupcakes and the shop had a sweet simplicity about it. The downfall is the buttercream on top. The buttercream was just not right for any of the cupcakes. Talk about eating a bite full of butter. It was more of a traditional buttercream, which is fine, but there wasn't enough flavor added to the buttercream to steer it away from tasting like a hunk of butter. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE buttercream. I think that this kind works great in cakes when there is other fillings and elements to go hand in hand with it, making it taste wonderful. But on top of a cupcake – no thanks! The lemon cupcake was absolutely horrible and not enough filling for $3.25.

My words of advice: Scrape off the tops of the cupcakes and put your own frosting on top. I guarantee it will taste better.

Sprinkles, Beverly Hills

Cupcakes tried: chocolate, strawberry, carrot, and coconut

Overall reaction: Way too much hype

The presentation of the cupcakes are wonderful, simple, contemporary and packaged very nicely. That however is the one positive thing I have to say about it. It's no wonder the hoity-toities of LA love these cupcakes, as they are beautiful on the outside and quite empty and soulless on the inside. I have had these cupcakes on numerous occasions, as they like to show up at parties and other events. The cake part can never be predictable, it's moist sometimes, dry other times, and usually lacks good flavor. On one occasion, I decided to try a chocolate cupcake and a strawberry cupcake. I took a bite of the chocolate one and thought it was OK, and then I took a bite of the strawberry cupcake and lo and behold they tasted exactly the same. How is that possible, they are two completely different flavors? Plus, the frosting is way tooooo sugary.

My words of advice: Don't judge a cupcake by its cover.

An Introduction

So, you ask...who is this girl and why am I writing this?

I'm an ordinary girl who bakes and loves sweets. I grew up in a large Italian family where food reigned and not just any food – great food. My eyes light up at the mention of cupcakes, cakes and other baked goodies and treats. However, I have become very disappointed in the lack of quality and taste that most places and people boast to be amazing. People have stopped depending on their own taste buds and have started to side with whatever is trendy and new. They either don't know the difference between what is ok and what is great, or they just don't care. I still care. If something looks good, it better taste just as good. I find most cupcakes are unimaginative and lacking in taste. I will gladly bow down and rejoice in a great cupcake. I'm on a journey for a cupcake you simply can't live without, one that makes you smile as you bite into it, and one that reminds you of what childhood dreams where made of. This is my quest and this blog is the reviews of my findings.