Cupcake Roulette

The Cupcake Place - Lemon Cupcake What do you take into consideration before trying a new cupcake bakery?

Do listen to accounts from people you know? Do you check the reviews on Yelp or peruse your city’s “Best” lists? Or do you just see a cupcakery and wing it?

Regardless of your method, taste is subjective and it’s dependent on each person’s repertoire. Moreover, each baker has his or her own style.

Thus, with each cupcake reconnaissance, I find it’s like playing roulette. No matter what source I may reference, I should consider it FYI – my experience may vary.

For my last recon, I didn’t stray far. I tried The Cupcake Place in Riverside, California. I heard about them through Dine 909, a dining resource in the Inland Empire.

In doing my research beforehand, I was unable to gather enough information from the shop’s website or Facebook page, so I turned to Yelp.

The reviews were mostly positive. However, their business hours weren’t traditional. They favored their cupcake truck and store hours were minimal. Therefore, I planned my visit accordingly.

I chose a Thursday afternoon. I parked at their store location and saw their truck outside. I thought it was just there to call attention to their shop. Nope. That’s where the cupcakes were sold. The shop itself was closed.

How odd? I thought.

The cupcakes were $3.50 each. They were large in size, generously frosted and individually packaged, so it seemed like a reasonable price. I ordered two and left with my purchase.

The Cupcake Place - Chocolate Heath CrunchI began my critique of The Cupcake Place with their Lemon Cupcake. I was advised it was a lemon cake with a lemon pudding filling and lemon buttercream frosting.

The lemon cake wasn’t dry, but it wasn’t moist either. I would call it adequate. What came to mind was a generic, grocery store bakery. There was no lemon pudding filling. There was a dollop of lemon jelly, similar to what you would find in a lemon jelly donut.

The frosting was sweet and tangy. Yet there was something about the consistency. Again, I thought of a grocery store bakery. Overall, I wasn’t that impressed. It was just another cupcake.

Maybe the next one would be better.

I moved on to their Chocolate Heath Crunch Cupcake. It’s a chocolate cake topped with cream cheese frosting, crushed Heath Bars, and then drizzled with chocolate and caramel.

The chocolate cake was adequate – not dry, not moist. I enjoyed this frosting more. However, compared to other cream cheese frosting I’ve had, it wasn’t as rich. I couldn’t help but think of grocery store bakeries again. It had a similar texture, just with the extra goodies on top.

I give The Cupcake Place 3 out of 5 stars. The cupcake market is competitive and I believe there are better choices in the Inland Empire for my dollar.

Thus far, Suite 106 Cupcakery is my IE favorite. However, I have found others (see Bakery Reviews).

Of course, this is just the opinion of one Frosting Fanatic. I will continue to take my chances and play the game of Cupcake Roulette. I enjoy the pursuit and the people I meet along the way.

Plus, nothing tastes sweeter than a win.

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