Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Operation: Cupcake (Or, "Try Not to Blow Up Like a Blimp During this Experiment You Just Made Up")

You pretty much have to be living under a rock if you haven't noticed how massively popular the cupcake movement has become.  Shows dedicated to it, people giving up their professions as lawyers and plastic surgeons to realize their dream of opening their own cupcakery (it's a word).  This trend is bigger than the shoulder pads of a high powered business woman from the 80's.

This show was my jam.

And y'all know I love a cupcake.  I've apparently made a reputation for myself as a rabid enthusiast and recently, I've been asked the question a lot: "What's your favorite cupcake in Raleigh?" 

Awkward silence.

Well the truth is, I don't have one.  There aren't any bakeries around that have blown my socks off the way some of the places out West did.  There were some places in San Diego and LA that were just...STUPID good.  So I'm not trying to be a snob.  Y'all know I love Raleigh.  I want to love their cupcakes, too. 

So I've decided I'm going to find the best cupcake in Raleigh.*

This all kind of happened by accident as we were having dessert this evening after church with the fantastic Paige and Khang, and sweet Jen B.  We found ourselves at Sugarland, a place that has not really impressed me much on prior visits.

I'd tried a few before and they were all pretty *yawn*.  But I felt sure there had to be one that I liked.  Gazing at the cases, I was debating between the Razzcapone (does anyone else love the way Giada de Laurentis says 'marscapone' the way Nick does?) and the Creme Brulee cupcakes. 

Picture from Sugarland's website.  B/c I'm quite sure someone will sue me for using it, I figured I'd give due credit.

As the great debate went on in my head, the chickadoo in front of me ordered one I hadn't noticed, and the girl behind the counter mentioned that it had won "Best Cupcake in the Triangle." 

My ears perked up.

"Who gave you the award?" I asked. 

"Oh, well it was before I got here but that's what they told me."  (Not a good start.)

Taking her at her word, I decided to try it anyway and research later.  It was called the Spumoni.  First rule of a great cupcake: give it a kick ass name.  Spumoni sounds like something an Italian guy just hocked up after gym class.  Not my idea of appetizing.  (Sidenote: I looked it up and the name actually does make sense based on what it is but it still sounds gross.)  But on to the deets: it's a pistachio cake with a strawberry mousse frosting and ganache topper with a few crushed pistachios on top.

I know, it sounds like a weird combination of flavors.  But no sooner than that thought jumped in my head, the girl behind the counter said "I know it sounds weird but it's amazing."  One thing I've always criticized cupcakes in this area for is a lack of interesting flavor combinations.  It was time to put my debit card where my mouth is (b/c who carries cash anymore) and just try it. 

It looked good.  Bright colored liner, fresh looking icing...shiny chocolate ganache.  Check.

Then I picked it up to smell it a la Florian Bellanger.  Smelled good, but it seemed to weigh about 3 lbs.  It was heavy.  After digging my fork in, I realized it was because the cake was as dense as a loaf of day old wheat bread. 

But carry on I did.  The flavor combination was definitely interesting.  I actually liked how the flavors paired with each other.  I liked the icing ok, too (though Paige thought they had chopped up strawberry Pez and mixed it in...) but the cake was way too heavy and dense.

I'm definitely not writing off this place b/c there are plenty of other flavors I have yet to try but this wasn't the one.  It didn't give me the the lovey dovey tingles that a good cupcake should give you.  And I want the tingles.  Like, Cory and Topanga tingles.

The search continues.

*I may have to extend the search to include the Triangle if the pickings get too slim.  Also, I found the alleged article that names Spumoni the best cupcake in the Triangle even though it doesn't say it.  Maybe it was announced after the fact.  HOW CONVENIENT.

1 comment:

  1. I love your dedication and passion in finding the best cupcake in Raleigh. I look forward to the post revealing the cupcakery (just added that word to Firefox's dictionary) that has captured your heart! And I hope to randomly be there when it happens!