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Archive for July, 2011

Cocoa & Fig

While out and about running errands for my conference in downtown Minneapolis, I hoped that I’d run into a cupcake shop or bakery somewhere in the seven miles of skyway that connects the downtown buildings. As my sweet luck would have it, I walked by Cocoa & Fig.

Look at what I found!

They did not have a solid vanilla option, so I opted for the Twister. A chocolate and vanilla swirl cupcake topped with vanilla & chocolate buttercream.

Taste
Cake
The chocolate portion of the twister was a rich, dark chocolate and was ultra-moist. It was almost too moist to the point that the cake felt sticky and heavy. Just the top held the most vanilla cake and inside had more chocolate swirl than vanilla. So, I didn’t get a good reading on the vanilla flavor.

Frosting
Smoother than a baby’s bottom! This buttercream was so silky, so whipped, that I imagined it as air. If you could taste a frosting cloud, I’m positive this is what it would be! I picked the one with the most vanilla swirl. It had a nice vanilla finish that paired well with the intense cocoa flavor of the chocolate buttercream.

Presentation
Classy and elegant. The swirl was done right and it was simply topped with a waffle cone piece for an added crunch.

Sweet Endings
This little boutique was cute as a button. Every item in the store looked high-end and looked ready to be at a photo shoot!

Everything looked adorable!


There wasn’t many options in their retail store. Also, their prices were a bit high for the size of cupcake I bought.

It was a darling store and their creations were adorable. Overall, it wasn’t my favorite cupcake I’ve tried, but it did curb my sweet tooth for the day!

Cocoa & Fig
Gaviidae Common
Skyway Level, Saks Wing
651 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55402
http://www.cocoaandfig.com

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In a recent trip at to Zona Rosa in Kansas City, I was looking to kill some time. I randomly passed a sign advertising a new cupcake shop – Glass of Milk Cake Company. Ecstatically, I followed my way with help of the signs to find this new place.

I was hit by disappointment while I searched their menu and viewed all the beautiful little cupcakes in the display case. Was there not a vanilla-vanilla option? That seemed impossible for me, so I looked again… again… and again. I could get a vanilla cake, but it was topped with other flavors of frosting (chocolate, lemon, coconut). Or, I could get a chocolate cake, topped with vanilla buttercream. After much dilemma, I finally settled on the gluten-free Black Tie Affair. Chocolate cake topped with vanilla buttercream and a slight chocolate drizzle.

Black Tie Affair

Taste
Cake
Gluten-free cakes will always have a different taste than regular cupcakes. It’s hard to explain, but it has a grainy/cornmeal hint to it. Personally, I like the taste. I believe it adds a bit of bland/bitterness that keeps the cake from getting too sweet. It was really difficult for me to gauge the “goodness” of the cake since chocolate is not my forte.

Frosting
Their buttercream was fabulous. Silky and smooth – just the way I like it. The vanilla flavor was pure and simple, and almost “crème-like”.

Presentation
This was an elegant cupcake. Personally, I could have done without the chocolate drizzle, however, it did look as if the cupcake was on its way to a Black Tie Affair.

Sweet Endings
First of all, I still can’t believe they didn’t have a vanilla-vanilla option. To me, that’s a staple on every menu. They make vanilla cakes and the make vanilla buttercream… Why not have that on their daily menu?

See, no vanilla-vanilla option!

Second of all, their prices were ridiculously high. For normal cupcakes, it costs $3.50 plus tax. For the gluten-free cupcakes, the cost was a little over $4.00. Now, the price could be justified by its size. However, the size was regular. The market in Kansas City will not bear a cupcake of that size for that price for a new store.

All in all, I enjoyed their cupcakes. If you’re in the area, it’s worth a visit. Even though I adored their buttercream, I wouldn’t make the drive up there to pay that price for a cupcake, especially since they don’t offer my favorite flavor of cupcake.

Glass of Milk Cake Company
6513 NW Barry Rd,
Kansas City, MO 64154
http://www.glassofmilkcakecompany.com

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Originally started in Kansas City as an event-only cupcake catering company, Cupcake Construction Company expanded their reach and has opened a store in Lawrence, Kan. Located down on Mass Street, the cupcake shop is a “build your own” cupcake. You choose your cake flavor, frosting flavor, and whatever toppings you desire – it’s own Interactive Cupcake Bar.

I created a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream, topped with rainbow sprinkles and Reese’s peanut butter cups.

Taste
Cake
There wasn’t much uniqueness to the flavor of the cake. It was spongy and sticky. It had a weird consistency – like the consistency found in angel food cake. There wasn’t anything that “wowed” me about their cake.

Frosting
The frosting texture was decent and acceptable; however, the flavor was not. I tasted a strong butter flavor, however it wasn’t the same as a real butter flavor, but rather artificial butter flavoring. It reminded me of the Wilton butter flavoring you can add to your homemade frosting (which I used for years before I refined my taste buds and discovered the true joy of real butter).

Presentation
There was nothing spectacular about the final presentation of the cupcake. However, with the nature of the “build your own”, each cupcake will vary greatly in presentation. You don’t get to top the cupcake, so it will all depend on how the staff there decorate it.

Sweet Endings
I love the concept of Cupcake Construction Company. Especially being located in a big college town, it is a great idea for a date night or just two friends looking for something fun to do. It’s such a cute idea to allow customers to construct their own cupcake to fit their own taste buds. And, it’s a great idea for parties or events.

In addition to building your own, they sell a variety of pre-constructed cupcakes, including a flavor of the day. I will say that they all looked delicious and were beautiful little cupcakes, but I didn’t put them to the test. I might have to try them again to see if this experience was an one-time, isolated event.

I suggest you go check them out to experience the art of “building your own cupcake”. I believe it’s a great addition to downtown Lawrence, and I hope they build a fan base and stay open in Lawrence!

Cupcake Construction Company
727 Massachusetts St
Lawrence, KS 66044
http://www.cupcakeconstructioncompany.com/

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It’s 5 o’clock somewhere… And that applies to cupcakes as well folks! KC Pin-Up Pastries, where cupcakes take on a new meaning, have some of Kansas City’s most unique cupcakes. And I got to try an array of their summer line-up of flavors!

Hypnotize
“Hpnotiq, coconut and pineapple flavored cake. Filled with a tart Hpnotiq and pineapple gelee. Then topped with vanilla butter cream and your choice of design”

Instead of grabbing a cold drink, grab this cupcake on a summer night. This cake was bursting with hytonic. I was almost afraid to eat the whole thing because of how strong the alcohol flavor was… I could have needed a designated driver to take me home!

Pinkalicious
“Pink lemonade cake topped with UV Pink Lemonade Vodka. Garnished with a lemon drop”

Need a cool drink on a hot summer’s day? Their pink lemonade cupcake will clench your thirst. It was as if I stuck a straw in a fresh glass of lemonade. Be careful though – sipping just the frosting will be a bit sour. Make sure to mix them together for the best combination!

Pina Colada
“Pineapple and tropical punch flavored cake. Topped with coconut butter cream and rolled in toasted coconut.”

This cupcake screamed SUMMERTIME! The wonderful coconut flavor plus the super-creamy buttercream was delightful! However, I’m not a fan of the big coconut pieces… they’re just not my thing. But, the rest of the cupcake with all that coconut flavor? Sign me up!

Strawberry Fields Forever
“Sweetened wedding cake stuffed with chunks of sweetened strawberries. Topped with vanilla butter cream and sliced strawberries”

Buttercream = yummy! Cake ≠ yummy. The cake was hard and not very flavorful. I’m not sure if it had to do with the way the fresh strawberries were baked, or if it had to do with my handling of the cupcakes. But, regardless, this was my least favorite cupcake.

Blitzkrieg Bop
“Lemon cake topped with lemon butter cream and in the center it’s filled with cherry citrus glaze.”

You never know what you’re first reaction will be when you try a cupcake. I always sit in anticipation until my taste buds kick in. With this cupcake, I experience one of the “ahhhh” moments (these moments happen when I instantly fall in love with a cupcake and can’t help but say “ahhhh” or “mmmm” or “OMG”). They weren’t lying when they say that this cupcake is “an attack on your taste buds”. It was in very good way possible!

Sandra Dee
“Wedding white cake with a hint of almond flavoring. Topped with a delicious almond butter cream.”
I also experience an “ahhhh” moment with this cupcake. They weren’t kidding when they labeled it wedding cake… I swear I heard wedding bells after I ate this! It was full of almond flavor, cooked to a perfect consistency, and topped with a smooth, creamy, not-too-sweet buttercream. I want to have a wedding just so I can eat this again!


Sweet Endings

I truly enjoyed sampling all of these cupcakes. The buttercream was especially my favorite! It held texture while remaining smooth and delicious.

I do have to say that some of the infused cakes developed a different consistency that didn’t bring the best out of the cupcake. The flavors were great and I do think that was partly my fault. Summers in Kansas can be hot, and traveling with cupcakes isn’t conducive to maintaining freshness.

Everyone needs a splash of character and flavor to their cupcake. Sometimes eating a plain ol’ vanilla-vanilla can be boring (can’t believe I am admitting this…. VV is my go-to cupcake!).

I had so much fun with my cocktail hour with my cupcakes from KC Pin-Up cupcakes. They sure know how to cook up a mean cupcake. Out of all the cupcakes I tried, these two are my favorite – Sandra Dee and Blitzkrieg Bop! In addition to the summer flavors baked up for me, they have an extensive list of funky flavors (check out their menu of “Stars” and “Supporting Roles”) that is sure to spice up any cupcake experience.

http://www.kcpinuppastries.com
816.265.1241
kcpinuppastries@gmail.com

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