Thursday, August 9, 2007
I was first (and second, and third) introduced to the glory of Delessio cupcakes at parties thrown by Danya. Her friend from Delessio would always show up with full-size versions of the mini-cupcakes sold in the resto. And then Kathryn and I would hover near the plate, deliberating far longer than was appropriate about which cupcakes to try, striking deals with other guests to share so that we could increase the overall number of tastes, and so on.
I dream about these cupcakes. Delessio has been making them since before stores devoted entirely to cupcakes started opening, and I think they do them better than most. The cake tends to be moist and the flavor combinations are interesting and delicious. And those, to me, are the keys to a good cupcake. Simple in theory, apparently nearly impossible in practice.
Yesterday Eva, who is passing through on her way back from Sufi camp, and I stopped in for a mid-afternoon treat. We got three cupcakes: a lemon with coconut (the cupcake above with the wrapping off; I got ahead of myself and only just in time remembered to take a photo), a chocolate raspberry, and a denser brownie cupcake with fresh mint butter cream frosting (the one with the sprinkles).
Applying the rules of wine tasting, we decided to have the lemon cupcake first. The cake had a nice density and spring, and had a lemon custard vein that moistened the surrounding cake. Neither the frosting nor the coconut were too sweet, and the lemon flavor was pronounced without being either cloying or sour.
We then had the chocolate mint cupcake. Now, I love (love) fresh mint ice cream, but I wasn't as crazy about fresh mint frosting. Maybe it's a difference of texture (the ice cream is smoother and more roundly creamy but not quite as dense) or temperature, but what tastes bright and refreshing in ice cream came across as a bit too earthy here. I still liked it, just not as much as I expected to. And the cupcake was indeed more like a brownie, and a good brownie at that.
We finished off with the raspberry cupcake. It was traditional, though the unsweetened cocoa powder dusting on top was a nice unexpected touch. The cake was moist, and again we got a stripe of raspberry through the middle, and the frosting was sweet but not sugar-coma-inducing.
All this talking about cupcakes makes me think that the best way to review the various cupcake options is to have a taste-off. All fresh, all at the same time. I think I know some people who might be willing to participate.