Why is it so hard to make a good cupcake? In my opinion, there’s always a problem with either the frosting or the cake. Invariably, if the frosting’s bad then the cake is moist and if the frosting’s amazing and you want to start slathering it all over non-bakery-made items merely for the illicit pleasure of licking it all off again, then the cake’s either dry or completely unremarkable.
Why is this? I’ve had cupcakes from a few local (and foreign) establishments and the results have shown this to be the case. For example, I had a cupcake date with a good friend of mine recently and we went to this little place called “Cupcake Royale.” They had a variety of lovely cupcakes there (though I’ve seen better presentation before, if we’re being perfectly honest) but I wasn’t in love with mine.
The cake part was moist and acceptable (I ordered a chocolate cupcake with cream cheese frosting) but the frosting. Ugh, the frosting. I kid you not, if I hadn’t paid $2.50 for that cupcake I would have been convinced it was slopped right out of a $.99 jar of Duncan Hines’ frosting. It was dry, it only vaguely at best approximated cream cheese, and it did not in any way merit the cupcake it was parading around on. The chocolate curls on it were nice, though.
For another example, there’s a local bakery around these here parts called Hoffman’s. This bakery provides some of the most delectable delights know to man and are the only place I’ve ever found cupcakes that satisfied my need for both style, quality, and yum.
They have this buttercream frosting that, I kid you not, tastes so good I seriously considered telling Wes I’d sneezed on his cupcake just so that I could steal it from him. It’s Heaven, I tell you! They also style the frosting so that you feel like you’re eating couture cupcakes, which is ironic really because eating those cupcakes is one way to guarantee that no part of you will ever come into contact with couture again.
Now that I’ve declared my undying love for the frosting and style of these cupcakes we get to the only fly in the ointment: the cake part. It’s moist, so eating it’s not unpleasant, but it’s not exactly a flavor explosion either. It’s just a bit…unremarkable, really. This may seem like a good idea in theory but when the frosting is that good, the last thing you want is for the cake beneath it to hit a flat note. You want your cake to be worthwhile in it’s own right. You want your cake to sing, gosh dang it!
Now, word on the street is that Trophy Cupcakes also makes a good cupcake, or so says Martha Stewart. We’re celebrating my lovely sister-in-law’s birthday tonight and I’m 98% sure that the sweets will have come from Trophy Cupcakes so I’m excited to say the least about what’s to come. Now’s the time for Martha to make good on her reputation. If these cupcakes are as good as she says then I promise to never again deride her recommendation that I use two hours before every dinner party hot-gluing pieces of yard waste onto napkin rings in an effort to be “festive.”