These words greeted me as I parked in front of the cupcake shop for my latest reconnaissance. It was Bubba Sweets in Huntington Beach, California.
The words were scribed on a chalkboard sign outside of their door. It made me smile… Little did I know of the challenge that waited within.
Inside the shop, there was no display case of cupcakes. Instead, there was a counter with an assortment of flavors arranged on cake plates.
As 2013 winners of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, I was looking for the flavors featured on the show. This took some initiative. Neither their website or shop had descriptions. Thus, I needed guidance from a Bubba Sweets associate.
She kindly showed me the four cupcakes and described the ingredients. I was doing fine until we reached the savory flavor and she mentioned, teriyaki buttercream.
“What the??” I said rhetorically.
In my head, I completed the sentence (insert expletive) and added, “That’s ridiculous!”
I made my first selection and began scanning the counter for other options. However, that teriyaki buttercream cupcake was baiting me.
Surely, I, a professed Frosting Fanatic, was not afraid of a cupcake?
My eyes returned to the teriyaki buttercream cupcake.
The inner turmoil must have been obvious. Even the associate caught my glances.
Then I thought of you, my friends. What would you say if I walked away?
So I took one for the team, added it to my purchase, and left Bubba Sweets determined.
However, once I was home, I stalled.
I started with their Hawaiian PMS. The Cupcake Wars episode was a Hawaiian theme. Thus, this was a Hawaiian version of their best selling flavor.
It’s a chocolate cake with coconut, macadamia nuts, and sea salt caramel filling, frosted with caramel buttercream, edged in coconut and macadamia nuts, and topped with chewy caramel.
Whew, did you get all that?
This cupcake was as sweet as it sounds. The cake had a light cocoa flavor. The sea salt caramel filling was more like a dollop. Nonetheless, it was rich, nutty, and buttery.
The frosting was generous. Though I barely tested its caramel flavor. I saved the caramel chew on top for last, leaving a hint of buttercream. Delightful.
Next, I faced my cupcake fears and braved the Lava Pig. In keeping with Cupcake Wars Hawaiian theme, it’s a brown sugar cake with pineapple filling, a teriyaki based buttercream and caramelized bacon on top.
With my fork in hand, I took a nibble of the frosting first.
I tasted bacon more than anything.
I was ready for a real bite. This time, it included frosting and cake.
Still no teriyaki, but I was pleased with the cake’s flavor.
As I continued eating, I enjoyed the cupcake more. The cake was moist, the pineapple filling was creamy, and of course bacon makes everything better.
My only disappointment was the frosting. I was prepared for a unique twist, yet I could not sense the teriyaki’s influence. I’m not quite sure what flavor the frosting was, as the bacon was dominant and complemented the cake well.
I give Bubba Sweets 3.5 out of 5 stars. At $3 each, their cupcakes are a good value and with their loyalty card, you’re rewarded when you come back for more.
As for me, I’m glad I extended my cupcake comfort zone. It was another sweet experience.