Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cupcakin in the Big Easy

Earlier in the month I took a trip down to New Orleans to enjoy the great music and food of Jazz Fest.  Jazz Fest is an incredible day time festival with music from many different genres and tent after tent of traditional NOLA grub.  The music was great and I had some of the best cajun and seafood money can buy (or at least on my small budget).  Shockingly enough there were no cupcake tents at Jazz Fest so I had to venture out to find a local cupcakery.  This was my 3rd time visiting the Crescent City, but my first time experiencing it on a scooter.  I had rented a Vespa for a few days, and if you have any trips planned in the near future this is the way to do it!  There is so much to see in New Orleans and whipping down the streets on a scooter is by far the best way to see all that this city has to offer.
I ended up at Bee Sweet Cupcakes (no website) on Magazine Street.  Bee Sweet is a great little cupcakery full of bright colors and rows of delicious cupcakes.  I decided to go with the S'Mores variety.  As you can see this is a chocolate cupcake with a milk chocolate icing, topped with marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate chips.  1) the cake - great taste very moist.  I was very happy with the actual cake flavor and consistency.  2) the icing - loved the icing alone.  the milk chocolate flavor was perfect.  In all honesty, I didn't love all the jazz on top.  There was a lot going on at once.  3) Presentation - I like the presentation!  It looks exciting, like you just can't wait to bite in and enjoy all that chocolatey goodness.  Then when you do, per my comment above, there is just too much going on.  4) Creativity - Fairly creative.  I haven't seen many S'mores out in the market place, but when I do see them they are each a little different which I appreciate.  This is the first one I have seen where it is a traditional cupcake topped with S'Mores accessories.  5) Overall Happiness - very happy.  Chocolatey goodness in the big easy - not much room for disappointment.  All of the flavors looked delicious, so I would absolutely go back to Bee Sweet, but I will go with a simpler variety.
As always I made a stop at the famous Cafe Du Monde.  They have the best beignets I have ever tasted. While these are not exactly cupcakes they are 100% worth it.  If you go to New Orleans please make sure to try the beignets and cafe au lait.  Warning - incredibly messy.  You WILL get powdered sugar everywhere!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cupcakes on the move

I'm Back!  Sorry for the lack of posts throughout the month of May.  I have been all over the country and did not have a lot of extra time for reviews.  Lucky for you I was able to try a lot of new places so expect a surplus of posts in the coming weeks.

In Chicago we are lucky enough to have cupcake trucks.  These are actual delivery trucks/vans full of cupcakes, and they drive all throughout the city posting up at different locations throughout the day.  Think ice cream truck meets cucpakery.  Genius, right?  Today was my lucky day because Flirty Cupcakes (www.flirtycupcakes.com) parked their van right outside my office during lunch!  Technically it was a couple blocks away, but it was a beautiful, rainy, 37 degree day - perfect for a cupcake adventure.  

"Big Blue"
So, I grabbed my 2 amigos and journeyed to “Big Blue” as they like to call themselves on twitter.  When we arrived there was already a small line, which gave us plenty of time to decide on flavors.  I was impressed with the options they provided being that it was a small sized van.  Pretty sure this was the same van my dad used to drive back in the 70’s, but instead of being bright silver and blaring the music of Led Zepplin, it was painted baby blue and had the sweet aroma of fresh baked goods. 

I was originally going to go with the PB&C (peanut butter and chocolate), but as I got closer and saw the display that cake looked way too rich for lunch so I decided on the “A Raspberry Stole My Heart”.  Katie chose Paradise Island.  David is on a diet so he just tagged along for the fresh air.

A Raspberry Stole My Heart (chocolate cupcake with a raspberry cream filling, and topped with a raspberry/chocolate chip cream cheese frosting.  1) The Cake – Perfect chocolate flavor and good consistency.  I honestly wasn’t a fan of the raspberry cream filling.  I think it would have been better to go with a straight chocolate cake.  It caused the cake to break apart (big pet peeve) and it didn’t really add to the cupcake as a whole.  2) Icing – indifferent.  So I loved the chocolate chips in the icing.  I liked the texture contrast it provided, but the icing itself could have used a little more raspberry flavor.  I’m also thinking a rasp butter cream would have been better than cream cheese. 3) Presentation – Happy with it.  I love the simple swirl icing.  Unfortunately, the picture quality isn’t the best, but the icing was more pink than it appears in the picture.  I’d also like to thank flirty cupcakes for purchasing containers that keep my cupcake intact while I walk back to the office.  So frustrating when the icing gets stuck on the side of the box!  Somehow Katie managed to ruin her icing, but she is just special sometimes. 4)Creativity – Pretty creative.  I love the raspberry/chocolate combination.  I suppose they get creativity points for adding the raspberry cream in the middle (even though I wasn’t a fan of it).  I haven’t seen this flavor anywhere else though so I’ll consider it creative.  5)Overall Happiness – Pretty happy.  I love that they brought the cupcake to me.  While I thought it could have been a little more flavorful I thought the overall cupcake was tasty.  If I pass big blue again I will definitely stop.

Paradise Island – Pineapple Rum Cupcake w/ a Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting – Now Coconut makes me want to vom so this review came second hand from the beautiful Ms. Katie Brooks.  Her comments were as follows, "yum", "delicious", "i want more".  Now, I realize that does not fall in line with my ranking system, but if you like pineapple and coconut it seems like a winner!