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Originally published on September 16, 2011.
By Elise Fabbro
In an age where a great majority of Americans are obese, people now stand in long lines for a $5.00-thousand-calorie-cupcake. Cupcake bakeries (hence known as cupcakeries) have sprung up all over Los Angeles, attracting people by the droves. Cupcakes have certainly become a way of life in Los Angeles. I admit, I am one of these obsessed people. Make fun of me all you want, but I really enjoy cupcakes.
Don’t hate, choosing a cupcake is not exactly a walk in the park. Cupcake bakeries are pretty much the new Starbucks. Just like walking into Starbucks to purchase that Venti Caramel Frappuccino that has more calories than your daily nutritional value, upon entering a cupcake bakery, I have committed a significant portion of my daily consumption to this endeavor – I. Am. Prepared.
But then how to pick the cupcake?? Cupcakes no longer come in vanilla and chocolate. That would make my life too easy. Now I battle with whether I want a s’more in cupcake form or some art form in cupcake version (seriously, check out Magnolia bakery).
Regardless, cupcakes are a great adventure. This blog will tour the greatest cupcake places in Los Angeles, rating and recommending as I go.
But first, I suppose I must give you some background on where my expertise comes from, my biases and preferences.
I come from a box-cake family (really a box-ready anything family). To me, boxed cakes and subsequent cupcakes are the delights of my childhood. Boxed yellow cake with Betty Crocker chocolate frosting takes the cake (pun intended) every time. Funfetti, in my mind, is a disgrace to the word cake (sorry, world. I know I am an anomaly. Yes I was made fun of as a child), and I don’t like chocolate overloads (my sister, however did get that gene and the more intense the chocolate is for her, the better). I dislike redundancy in flavor – is a fail in cake making. I tell you this because everyone has a different cupcake taste. Use my biases that influence my ratings to help you decide what cupcake place is best for you.
My criterions are:
- Atmosphere of the cupcake bakery/cupcakery.
Let’s be honest, where you have the opportunity to eat the cupcake is greatly important.
- Moistness of the cake in the cupcake.
It’s all about butter and eggs. You must go all out on a cupcake. Go big or go home.
Too sweet? Too salty? Too much? Not enough?
This may seem totally stupid, but have you ever had a cupcake in a weird wrapper? Like not a typical cupcake wrapper? I have. It ruined the cupcake.
- Feeling after eating the cupcake
You need to feel good after eating a cupcake! That’s the whole point. If you walk away ready to die, the cupcake has certainly not done it’s job.
Scale 1-5; 1 being best, 5 being worst.
Cupcake Review #1: Boxed yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting.
As you all know, these are certainly my favorite cupcakes. And it’s pretty much all premade for you (yay American ingenuity for curing our increasing laziness and lack of time). It was my birthday this past week, and someone made cupcakes for me (little did they know they would be subject to intense scrutiny and published for all to see0 These cupcakes were definitely up to par – see how they stack up.
Atmosphere – 1
The best part about having cupcakes made for you and brought to you is 1) you don’t have to deal with the LA traffic to get your cupcake, 2) you usually get more than one and 3) you didn’t have to put any work into getting your cupcake. Eating cupcakes throughout the week in my room has certainly been great; epitome of a fat, lazy, American (but a happy one).
Moistness of the cupcake – 2
Alright, so I’m kinda spoiled. My grandmother says her secret has always been to put an extra egg in the batter (why Duncan Hines and Betty Crocker haven’t figured this out is beyond me – clearly they need to put some effort into R&D aka call me). While this cake did not have the extra egg, it was quite delicious. Not too fluffy, not too dense, definitely a nice cake to be frosted in cupcake form. However, as I’m sure some country singer has already twanged, “it ain’t like grandma fixed it”.
Frosting – 1
This frosting is your basic Betty Crocker chocolate cupcake frosting. Betty certainly knows how to make addicting frosting. Her basic chocolate frosting is okay when tasting it originally, but it soon after becomes an obsession. People eat the stuff right out of the can (I am neither admitting nor denying this action).
Packaging – 2
The cupcakes said “Happy Birthday” – totally an awesome win because they’re already personalized for me! Who doesn’t want personalized cupcakes?! Downside, they were wrapped in waxed paper (understandable since plastic wrap tends to attack cupcakes and steal your frosting AND has BPA (yay cancer)), BUT this meant I spilled some cupcakes onto my comforter. Fail. Thus my frustration makes me mark this down to a 2.
Feeling After Cupcake Consumption – 1
Not too full and feeling like I needed another one. Exactly how a cupcake should make you feel.
Don’t have a lot of time to go get a cupcake? Buy a boxed cake, get some eggs, water/vegetable oil (and maybe some butter is needed too?) – depends on the box. Whip up some cupcakes in around 30 minutes. That’s about how long it will take you to get to Sprinkles for ONE cupcake and you get like 20 cupcakes out of this batch. Definitely worth it.
Overall Rating: 1.4