Nothing beats the first bite of a cupcake. That is, if it’s a good cupcake. If it’s not, then it’s a big ol’ bite of disappointment. Harsh? Perhaps, but I’m dead serious about my cupcakes. The first bite is like the first impression on a blind date. You’re walking up to meet him at a decent restaurant he picked out
I can’t claim that I’m the Cupcake Master, though I may call myself that sometimes. Typical ego boost. However, I do have a fine appreciation of the art of baking, creating, and tasting cupcakes. And, an art it is. I’ve lived in Chicago for over two years now, and it’s taken me just as long to begin my adventures to various cupcake joints all over the city. Blasphemy, you say? I wholeheartedly agree. So, if you’ll forgive me, please join me on a cupcake journey that will no doubt have its blands and flavorfuls, its drys and moists. We will all be the better from it.
Judging the goodness of a cupcake is firmly based on personal opinion. Therefore, here are my personal criteria that I will often reference throughout my cupcake adventures:
Flavor of cake: Can you taste the flavor advertised? If I’m supposed to taste schnozberries, I want to taste schnozberries. Is the flavor bland or compelling? Am I going to go bananas over your fresh banana flavor (e.g., break out in song – Gwen Stefani’s
Moistness: How moist is the cupcake? Texture and density of cupcakes often vary depending on the flavor (e.g., carrot cake vs. plain vanilla), but they should always be moist. Let’s see how many times I can say moist in this post. I’ll never tire of it. Moist.
Atmosphere: The cupcake is obviously important, but so is the vendor. Are the servers upbeat and can they suggest favorites? Does the store, service, and location make you want to come back for more cupcakes?
Frosting: Does the consistency and flavor of frosting complement the cupcake? Sweetness of the frosting isn’t as important as how it’s paired with the flavoring of the cupcake. Also, what is the proportion of frosting to cake? As we’ve learned from the wise tale about Goldilocks, there’s such a thing as “just right.”
Creativity: Be creative and think of all the ways a cupcake can be creative—originality of flavor, presentation, etc. The possibilities are endless. Well, that is until they get gross (e.g., steak cupcake). Though I like steak and cupcakes separately, I do not want a steak-flavored cupcake.
To me, these are all essential things to consider when evaluating a cupcake. Your criteria may be different, and that’s ok.
Most importantly, when eating a cupcake, look for the highlights and try and enjoy it for what it is (or was meant to be). Forget about the rough day you had at work or the argument you had with your best friend. Disappear in the cake and the frosting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not encouraging you to gorge yourself on food when you get down. Unhealthy coping mechanism. But, anything that puts a smile on your face is something worthwhile. Go ahead, take a bite. Live a little.