Oh Cupcake, my Cupcake…
Spring was in full bloom, rain and all, when we stopped in Bloomington, IN for cupcakes from Scholars Inn Bakehouse. Our secondary agenda (Ian might argue that it was our primary agenda) was to drive through and take a look at Indiana University’s campus, which is very pretty, I do declare. Whenever we have the chance to see a college campus, we take advantage of it. Carpe diem.
Scholars Inn Bakehouse is located on a cute little college street in the midst of other restaurants and stores—a college hotspot, I’m sure. The deli/bakery has outdoor seating with an awning to shield students, and their valuable laptops, from the elements. The bold lettering on their storefront and the decorative touches to their second story windows reminded me of a high end saloon. Guns at the ready, cowboy! Cupcakes or not, a small chalkboard sign advertising their “Hangover Burger” intrigued me. Any place that offers a hangover cure is a friend to many.
The inside reminded me of a hip, upscale diner. The front section boasted wood floors, some tables, and wrap around seating (kind of retro) where people can eat and watch people pass by on the sidewalk. People-watching is one of my favorite hobbies. The rest of the place was pretty typical except for the large iron laden clock which was suspended in the center of the place. Wouldn’t want to forget the time, would we? It hung above a stretch of aluminum counter with eight or so wrought iron bar chairs at the ready.
Let’s cut to the chase. They had three cupcake flavors available—the Chocolate, Red Velvet, and Lemon cupcakes. We ordered all three. The Chocolate was… well, chocolate, topped with a few random sprinkles. The cake was quite dry and the frosting reminded me of an average chocolate mousse. The Red Velvet was flavorless—it didn’t taste like chocolate, vanilla, or anything in between. It was only on the last bite that I realized the frosting was cream cheese. It was topped with a rainbow-esque pattern of crystal sprinkles. It was the only rainbow I saw on this rainy day.
The Lemon cupcake slightly redeemed them. It was the most moist of the three, but still not all that moist. The subtle lemon flavor of the cake and the lemon buttercream frosting complemented each other relatively well. However, the frosting tasted like it was spooned out of a jar. Jar frosting is good but usually bakeries take it up a notch. Inserted into the bottom of the cupcake was a surprise burst of lemon gel. I’ve seen cupcakes with fillings toward the top of the cupcake, but never at the bottom. I would have thought the gel would burn during the baking process. I didn’t see evidence of them inserting it after it was done baking. Magic, I guess.
Overall, the cupcakes didn’t taste fresh. They almost tasted like cupcakes from a grocery store bakery that had been sitting out for a while, or refrigerated for too long. Granted, they are a deli/bakery and do not specialize in baking cupcakes, hence the three available flavors. Even so, we dropped by in the late morning and expected freshly baked cupcakes. I can’t attest to the quality of their food or other baked goods, but I hear they have killer breads. Based on the cupcakes alone, I, as well as Ian and his family, were disappointed. If I’m ever in Bloomington again, I’ll give that “Hangover Burger” a shot. Pun intended.