Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More Cupcakes in Chicago IL Review

If you google "best cupcakes in Chicago", More Cupcakes pops up. I visited this cupcake shop on a very cold day in Chicago. I wanted to sit in the cupcake shop with a warm cup of coffee and savor every bite of my cupcake. That was what I wanted to do, instead, I had to take my cupcake elsewhere because More cupcake has no tables to sit at. I do believe there might have been a standing bar though. This place was a nice clean neutral decorated shop very similar to Sprinkles and Craves.  The big difference was that Sprinkles and Craves have at least 5-10 people frosting and decorating their cupcakes at all hours.  More cupcakes only had the girl at the front counter who had to take orders, answer phones, and handle anything else that was thrown her way.  Through it all, the More Cupcake counter girl was a real trooper.

The inside of More Cupcakes
 I ordered the Salted Caramel cupcake (I keep hoping that I have missed the salted caramel flavor boat because I have not yet tasted anything even close to the infamous salted caramel flavor that everyone keeps raving about at any cupcake shop) and a Chocolate Caramel cupcake. I am glad I ordered two because if I would have based my review solely on the dry day old Salted Caramel cupcake (the carmel filling inside the cupcake was good) with a  tasteless frosting(I kinda think they forgot to add sugar), I most likely wouldn't have even consider a do over at More Cupcakes, but then there is the Chocolate Caramel cupcake, which was the total opposite of the Salted Caramel cupcake. The chocolate Caramel cupcake was super moist and dense (a thick stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth cupcake. My favorite!) with a gooey caramel filling. You just can't go wrong with a filled cupcake. The girl behind the counter said most of More cupcakes are filled. The frosting was smooth and rich and not too sweet. 
More Cupcake wedding tier....I'm going to make my own wedding tier...if I ever get married again!
I think next time I am home longer than 24 hours I am going set up the cupcake lab and start searching recipes for my ultimate Salted Carmel cupcake.  My only problem is, I don't know what a salted carmel cupcake is suppose to taste like! Does anyone have a place that makes a to die for Salted Carmel caupcake? I remember in the beginning of my cupcake quest thinking what is the big deal about a red velvet cupcake? I have tasted a big deal Red Velvet and can appreciate popular cupcake flavor phases. So now I am out to find the big deal Salted Carmel cupcake.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cake Love Review

Our time in the DC area is more precious now since our jobs have taken us away from the area ( I actually enjoy the time away but miss the area's cupcakes). Today was a rare day that Tony and I were together in the DC area and what better thing to do than go sight seeing and cupcake tasting! I had read a few years ago somewhere that CakeLove won some cupcake contest beating Baked and Wired.  After tasting Baked and Wired cupcakes early on in my cupcake tasting I was skeptical. Baked and Wired cupcakes are delicious.  Tony and I arrived at the Campbell Street location around 2:00PM.  We skipped lunch to save our taste buds for serious cupcake tasting.  When we arrived at CakeLove there were about a dozen different flavors available.  Tony ordered a chocolate lemon coconut and because I read on Yelp that the salted carmel was the best, I ordered the salted caramel.  I was looking forward to sitting down in the shop with a cup of coffee and eating my cupcake.  When I looked at the coffee pots on display, I changed my mind.  The coffee looked like it hadn't been brewed since the morning and the pots looked like they hadn't been cleaned in months (a few tablesspoons of salt, a few tablespoons of lemon juice, fill pot with ice and swirl.  In a matter of seconds you have a sparkling clean coffee pot).  

Chocolate Lemon Coconut
 Salted Caramel
A bit disapointed we sat at our table and right before we opened our box of cupcakes we noticed several signs displayed around the store "eat cupcakes at room temperature". We thought the sign meant that if you took the cupcakes home and put them in the refrigerator to let them thaw first.  When we opened the box and attempted to eat the cupcakes we JUST bought, we realize that the sign really meant when you bought them "fresh" from the store.   These cupcakes were hard as a rock cold! Sort of frozen.  Who goes to a bakery and "waits" for something to thaw? We decided not to make this trip a total bust, packed up our cupcakes and headed to lunch, hoping our cupcakes will be thawed by the time we finish eating lunch.  An hour later, our cupcakes sitting at room temperature (like the sign said), they were still not thawed.  When they were thawed enough to eat, the taste and texture was disappointing.  The cupcakes were dry, I'm sure that if these cupcakes were not ever frozen or chilled, they might have been tasty.  The frosting on the chocolate coconut was not memorable and the lemon dollop on top took over the taste of the barely there coconut.  The salted caramel (I just don't get the whole salted caramel craze) was a basic vanilla cupcake with a basic vanilla butter cream with a drizzle of caramel and a few bites with a hint of salt in them.

I honestly do not like to leave negative reviews.  I think that any person who opens a cupcake shop rocks! I wish them all the luck in the world and I would love to give them as much positive exposure as possible.  However, if a cupcake shop is going to charge gourmet prices the cupcakes, the cupcake shop better deliver gourmet cupcakes. I am tired of spending good money on a "gourmet" cupcake that tastes like generic supermarket cupcakes. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Curbside Cupcake Review

I found this mobile cupcakery from searching "cupcake" on facebook one day.   We happened to be in DC checking out CakeLove and thought how cool would it be to track down this cupcake truck! So, I checked out their latest status on facebook.  Their status said they were at Union Station on 1st. We drove in circles for over 35 minutes trying to find the pink Curbside Cupcake truck and just when we were about to give up, we saw a flash of pink driving down a road. Guess what? They were heading our way!  We pulled over for them to pass and then we followed them all the way to their next stop which was the Navy Yard.

 I was so excited that we found Curbside Cupcake that as soon as they stopped I jumped out of my car and ran to the truck order window and waited for them to open it (I don't know why I thought they would be just as excited to see me as I was to see them).  When the window finally dropped down and opened I was greeted by sourpuss 1.  He didn't even say hello! He just looked at me like are you going to order or what? I was a little taken back but I eventually spoke up and asked for a carrot cake, a pumpkin walnut (the facebook posts said they were the best) and at the last minute I ordered a red velvet cupcake.  Sourpuss 1 took my $9.00 cash (there is a minimum of a $15.00 charge for credit cards) and said I needed to go to the next window to pick up the cupcakes.  The next window was closed so I waited for the window panel to lower down and open up.  Guess who I saw behind that window? Sourpuss 2! Again, no hello, no smile, nothing.  He pulled out a paper bag and put my "gourmet" cupcakes in the brown paper bag.  I felt like I was paying for overpriced donuts by the way they were packaged.  I have visited many cupcake shops and none of them packaged their cupcakes in a brown paper bag, even at the grocery stores, they do not package cupcakes in a plain old paper bag.  However, the gentleman behind me in line ordered a half dozen cupcakes and they were packaged in a clear plastic container.  I guess I just didn't spend enough money.
Now, for the cupcake word...WOW.  We started with the carrot cupcake.  The cupcake frosting was all messed up from the paper, but this cupcake's taste and frosting flavor was perfect. The cupcake was moist and the frosting was a great tasting cream cheese frosting.  Next, was the pumpkin walnut.  Again, the cupcake was perfect.  Moist, very flavorful but the frosting on this cupcake was less desirable.  The frosting on this cupcake was a sugary buttercream.  We took the sugary mess off the cupcake and enjoyed this perfect cupcake without any frosting. It was "yum!" This cupcake would have been dreamy if the same frosting was used on it as the carrot cupcake.  Last, but certainly not least was the red velvet topped with the same sugary mess as the pumpkin walnut.  The taste and density of this red velvet cupcake is one of my favorites.  The chocolate flavor really comes out when you savor the flavor of this cupcake.  I have to say the Curbside red velvet cupcake (cupcake only) is one of my top 3 best tasting cupcakes.  Their choice of frosting on this cupcake has got to go or tone it down.  The frosting should accent a cupcake not weigh it down. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Magnolia Bakery Review

Tony and my adventure to New York city for New Year's Eve to see the ball drop was ALMOST a total bust.  I say almost because even though we didn't get to even get a peek at the ball, we did get a cupcake fix. When we arrived at NY Penn Station at 9pm the roads anywhere near Time Square were already blocked off.  We heard from a local that you could get a glimpse from central park and 7th Ave.  We walked 10 blocks to central park and seen a massive mob forming in front of 7th ave. We decided to bypass viewing the ball at this point and head over to Magnolias for a sweet night cap.  Once at Magnolias, there was not a big selection to choose from.  In fact, there were red velvet, carrot, and caramel.  There were brownies, bars, and other sweet treats available though.    We ordered a red velvet, a peanut butter bar, and a coconut bar.  When we got to the register the charge was $6.45.  I was like WOW for a cupcake and 2 bars? That's pretty cheap!  UNTIL I opened the box on our train ride home.  Tony and I hopped on the last train out of the city before the ball dropped.  We had the train car pretty much to ourselves.  It was a nice sweet relaxing ride.  We opened the Magnolia box and found only the red velvet cupcake and the peanut butter bar.  The coconut bar was missing.  Tony was devistated, being the good woman I am, I gave him the chocolate Rockette that was on top of the red velvet cupcake.  The red velvet cupcake itself was dry, but the frosting was very good.  The peanut butter bar was delicious fresh peanut butter tasting and not sickening sweet.  We would have loved to have tasted the coconut bar.  On our next trip we will stop by again and hopefully Magnolia's will have a bigger cupcake selection and get our order correct.
Red Velvet cupcake and Peanut Butter Bar