A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…. there were cupcakes…
For the last few Halloweens, I’ve returned to my alma mater, the University of Michigan, to celebrate the creeptastic holiday with my fellow softball alums. It’s become a tradition. After dressing up as Captain Hook one year and Peter Pan the next, my husband was slightly worried about my choice of characters, namely, that one was a man and the other a little boy. Fair enough, Ian. The next year, he insisted I go with something a little more girly. Supergirl to the rescue! I remember saving a lot of lives that night. I also remember trying to fly, unsuccessfully.
This last Halloween, a few of us dressed up as characters from Clue. Heather was Professor Plum with the lead pipe, Kristin was Miss Scarlet with the candlestick, and I was Mrs. White (the maid) with the rope. I remember strangling a lot of people that night. Along with “killing” people with our oh-so-dangerous weapons (mine was an actual rope from Lowe’s that Ian tied into a noose), we threw some “terrifying” cupcakes into the Halloween festivities.
Because my cupcake adventures began after I left good ol’ Ann Arbor, I was not aware of any local cupcakeries during my time at Michigan, assuming there were any open at the time. Now, cupcake joints are sprouting up all over the place like weeds, ones I do not want to spray with Weed-B-Gon®. I just had a funny image of myself spraying the side of a cupcake building with weed killer and shouting “Die!” I’ll only do that to the places I really don’t like. Then, I’ll probably be arrested. I don’t want conjugal visits, I want cupcakes.
The rising popularity of cupcake bakeries gave way to the show Cupcake Wars. If you’re an avid viewer, you’ll know that Cake Nouveau from Ann Arbor was featured on here. Since Cake Nouveau is a celebrity cupcake place, Kristin and I figured it had to be worth checking out. The bold pink, green, and purple storefront roped us in. The décor consisted of a cute hodgepodge of furniture, including a tiny pink plastic chair for the kiddies, and Kristin. In true Halloween spirit, the place was decked out with fake spider webs and skeletons.
Their daily cupcake selection consisted of four flavors—Red Velvet, Vanilla, Chocolate, and Pumpkin. In addition, they had a selection of Halloween-themed (e.g., eyeballs) candies and cookies. Kristin and I opted for all four cupcake flavors to share over our morning coffee.
The Red Velvet was decorated with gummy fangs and a drizzle of blood (gel). I never drink…wine (pronounced “vine”). The cake was decent but the cream cheese frosting was subpar. Since I’ve had Molly’s Red Velvet, I’m very judgmental of any red velvet. Therefore, I shall not linger here.
The Chocolate was topped with a plastic spider and black sprinkles, and the Vanilla was adorned with a couple pieces of candy corn. Both were cute but quasi dry. My least favorite part was the frosting. It was oily and practically flavorless, similar to the frosting on the Pink Princess from Bittersweet. Kristin and I ended up scraping off the frosting and eating the cake.
Most notable was the Pumpkin cupcake. It proudly displayed a candy corn pumpkin that was immediately plucked from its position. The icing did resemble that of the Chocolate and Vanilla cupcakes, but the cake was noticeably moister and more flavorful. I would equate a bite of their pumpkin cake to a bite of pumpkin pie, in cake form. When excited, Kristin talks so fast that she accidentally combines words. In this case, the Pumpkin cupcake was termed “Pumpcake!”
Overall, Cake Nouveau provided a playful atmosphere, cute garnishes, and some good memories, but I could use a little more FLAVA FLAV. Stay tuned for the next review, Cupcake Wars: The Cupcake Strikes Back (Cupcake Station, Ann Arbor).