Don’t Trust a Cupcake by Its Frosting

Photo courtesy of Frosted Cupcakery - Chocolate w/Caramel Buttercream ToffeeEvery once in a while, I come across a bakery where I’m so overwhelmed with sheer joy that I do my Happy Dance.

Actually, it’s more of a modest rhythmic bounce, as I don’t want to be escorted out of the shop before placing my order.

More often than not, I’m with a friend when it happens. He or she tries to ignore me, while the employee of the establishment gives me a curious look.

I broke into my Happy Dance shortly after entering the Frosted Cupcakery in Long Beach, California. They pride themselves on “handcrafted cupcakes, rich in tradition and sweet in presentation.”

They didn’t know it, but I had expectations that exceeded what I gleaned from their website. Frosted Cupcakery was voted the #1 Cupcake Shop in Los Angeles by LA Weekly.

That’s higher than my personal LA favorite thus far, Sprinkles. I was there to see if the media was right. So with my fork lifted, let the tasting begin.

First, I tried their Chocolate with Caramel Buttercream Toffee. The cake was moist and dense. I’m often disappointed with the texture of chocolate cakes at many bakeries, so I appreciated this quality.

The frosting was generous, with enough toffee around the edges. However, I wouldn’t describe its taste as rich. The caramel flavor could’ve been stronger. Still, I enjoyed every bite.

Next, I tried their Royal White with Chocolate Buttercream. This is a longtime favorite flavor. Since it’s a simple combination, my requirements are minimal –Β the cake must be able to stand alone, as should the frosting.

At first taste, I realized this cupcake failed both.

The cake was moist, but had no real flavor. The frosting was just “okay”. I could comb my mind for something more profound. However, that’s the best word for it. I’ve had better frosting. I’ve made better frosting. The cake and frosting needed each other to make the cupcake enough.

Sigh, this was a conundrum. We went from 4 stars to 3 stars just like that! Had I done a Happy Dance prematurely? More importantly, what was LA Weekly thinking? I needed a tiebreaker.

Luckily, contrary to my standard practice, I had purchased a third cupcake –Β Red Velvet with Cream Cheese.

Now I’m extremely persnickety about red velvet. I’ve been let down by numerous bakers. So much so, I usually stick with my preferred cupcakeries. Nevertheless, because of their media backing, I gave the Frosted Cupcakery a chance.

The consistency of the red velvet cake was similar to their chocolate. Its flavor was light and the cream cheese frosting was good. Overall, the cupcake was not exceptional, but I was satisfied.

After three cupcakes, I give the Frosted Cupcakery 3.5 out of 5 stars. Apparently my taste buds are not on the same page as LA Weekly. Since I can detect the nuances between cupcakeries, I’ll just agree to disagree with them.

I also admit that I was fooled by the lure of buttercream. I expected more based on the presentation. Instead, I learned don’t trust a cupcake by its frosting. I will keep this in mind as I explore new bakeries, maybe pausing a moment before doing my Happy Dance.

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5 thoughts on “Don’t Trust a Cupcake by Its Frosting

  1. I enjoyed the Red Velvet cupcake. Sprinkles is still my favorite…by far! Can’t wait to dig into the ice cream cupcake! πŸ™‚

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    1. Agreed, Tracey. So far, Sprinkles is still my favorite for red velvet as well. However, I’m open to keep trying other bakeries. I’ve heard good things about Frosted Cupcakery’s ice cream cupcakes. Maybe that’s their forte.

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  2. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover, and now I know not to trust a cupcake by it’s frosting (which is what I actually do most of the time.. )! I loved the description of your happy dance πŸ™‚ I feel like that everytime I enter in a bakery/patisserie… I don’t know how yours is but I pictured it like mine, which is more like Monica’s in FRIENDS πŸ˜€ (although like you said contained when your in public/shop πŸ˜‰

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