Just Giblets

The long-delayed first cupcake-rating post

19th October 2008
by Michael

The long-delayed first cupcake-rating post

Well, after a big opener over a month ago, I’m finally getting around to posting my first cupcake ratings.  I haven’t been able to get out and try as many cupcakes as I’d hoped (although I just finished a delicious Entenmann’s Hallowe’en cupcake) but I’ve got three rated, and that’s enough to kick things off.  I’m going to list them in the order I rated them.

The Blue Frog Bakery – Rating:  47

I have enjoyed delicious pastries at the Blue Frog in the past, and honestly, I didn’t even know they made cupcakes.  I often park next to the bakery when I have to run into the post office, so one morning, after doing just that, I happened to notice that they had some adorable cupcakes in their rack.  Knowing I was going to be rating the Commonwealth’s cupcakes, I decided to start with a local bakery.  The cupcakes were vanilla cake, with white frosting, drizzled with chocolate and with a chocolate shard stuck into the frosting.  The big disappointment in this particular cupcake was the cake.  It was fairly dry with little flavor at all.  It was as if they were counting on the frosting alone to carry the cupcake, which for me just doesn’t work at all.  The frosting had an interesting flavor, and it was nicely proportional to the cake, but it wasn’t very sweet.  All-in-all a disappointing kick-off experience.  I will continue to enjoy the Blue Frog’s other pastries, and may even try another cupcake at some point, especially if they make different kinds, but the standard vanilla was definitely  lacking.

Kickass Cupcakes – Rating:  57

Much has been said about Kickass Cupcakes in Davis Square, Somerville, and I was eagerly looking forward to trying them out.  I was also armed with the comments that accompanied my first cupcake post however, that reported that Kickass’ cupcakes were unreliable… sometimes good, sometimes not so good.  I bought an assortment of Kickass Cupcakes, but I didn’t get to the “special” cupcake until it was stale, so I’m not going to count it.  The cupcake I rated was vanillla cake with white frosting sprinkled with pink candy crystals.  I have to say, I was pretty disappointed with the standard Kickass Cupcake.  The cake was marginally better than the Blue Frog cupcake, as was the flavor and proportion of the frosting, however, the Blue Frog cupcake’s frosting was much sweeter (in a positive way).  However, there was nothing original about the flavor of the standard cupcake, but I did give it some points for the pink, candy sprinkles, which were fun.  There are a host of cupcake flavors listed on the website, so I do plan on trying out some of the other varieties.

Party Favors CupcakesParty Favors – Rating:  94

I didn’t want to start with the Party Favors cupcake, because I know how much I love them.  Well, I’m happy to say that when faced with my rating system, the Party Favor cupcake still scored strongly.  I rated a simple vanilla cupacake with white frosting and a small flower.  This is definitely going to be the cupcake to beat, and it is deeeelicious.  I ate the chocolate cupcake with white frosting as well, and was amazed how delicious that one was as well.  I believe what makes the Party Favors cupcake such a winner is the incredible moistness and delicious flavor of the cake, things that many cupcake makers tend to ignore.  Additionally, the sweetness of the frosting is just perfect… that sweet, sugary frosting that I just love.  The cupcake with the small flower lends the ease of eating a very high rating, although the more elaborate cupacakes, while potentially earning points for beauty, would be another matter in this category.  Party Favors score a perfect rating in the overall attractiveness category; all their cupcakes are just beautiful.  Finally, the Party Favors cupcake scores top points in the discretionary for the surprising cream filling within.  Again, this is the cupcake to beat in Massachusetts.

posted in Cupcakes | at 8:16 pm | 0 Comments
6th September 2008
by Michael

Cupcake Follow-Up!

I have begun the journey to find the best cupcake in the Commonwealth!  Today I had my first cupcake in the competition, from Blue Frog Bakery in Jamaica Plain.  I’m not going to report on it until I’ve got a handful though, in case I have to make any adjustments in the scoring…

Which leads me to the reason for this post.  I’ve developed the criteria with which I will determine the best of the best in the cupcake world.  This is a very personal criteria, and is geared toward my cupcake pleasures specifically.  I have given each criteria a certain number of points it can earn.  The top score being 100.  Time will tell if any cupcakes can earn that high score.  Anyway, here is my criteria.

  • Moistness of cake (15)
  • Flavor of cake (15)
  • Flavor of frosting (15)
  • Proportion of frosting to cake (15)
  • Sweetness of frosting (10)
  • Overall attractiveness of cupcake (10)
  • Ease of eating (5)
  • Originality of flavor (5)
  • Discretionary points (including special toppings or fillings) (10)

And yes, for me there is quite a difference between the flavor of the frosting and the sweetness of the frosting.  And yes, the moistness of the cake if vitally important.  What do you think?  How would your criteria be different?  And if anyone would like to join me on my sojourn, I would welcome the cupcake-loving company!

posted in Cupcakes, Massachusetts | at 1:40 pm | 2 Comments
31st August 2008
by Michael

A Survey of the Commonwealth’s Cupcakes

A cupcake from Party Favors

A cupcake from Party Favors

So, I’ve made my decision and I’m announcing it here.  I am going to conduct a survey of cupcakes in Massachusetts.  Many people know that I think the cupcake is the perfect desert.  I’ve thought this for quite some time, long before the recent cupcake craze hit the nation.  Long before Carrie made Magnolia’s a cupcake bonanza (although those cupcakes are delicious).  I am quite the fan of the cupcake, and i’ve decided to seek out cupcakes across the Commonwealth and report my findings back on this very blog.  Just Giblets indeed!

This has been at the back of my mind for a while, and Scot has encouraged me to do it as well, but I think it really crystalized for me at BookExpoAmerica in L.A. this past May.  Daniel and Heidi are friends of mine from the Midwest who are in the publshing/bookselling industry.  I get to see them every year at BEA and met up with them for dinner and general running around in L.A. this past May.  What I didn’t get to do, is go with them to Sprinkles Cupcakes in Beverly Hills, which they visited that afternoon mere hours before meeting me, and proceeded to rave about off and on for the rest of the night.  Could they have brought me along?  Sure.  Did they?  I’m guessing you’ve guessed that they did not.  You have guessed correctly.  Am I bitter?  A little, but I still love them and have almost forgiven them.  Had they known about my sheer unadulterated devotion to the cupcake, I’m sure this wouldn’t have happened, hence my public search for the best cupcake in Massachusetts.

Before I begin, I will need to develop a set of criteria, which I will work on soon and post here.  Then I need to find the cupcakes.  Some I already know about, like the divine confections at Brookline’s Party Favors, and the scrumptuous cupcake deserts at Geoffrey’s.  Many I will have to discover along the way.  If you know of anyplace that has a cupcake worth tasting, please let me know.  And for those of you fellow cupcake aficianados, please visit Sprinkle’s Cupcake’s website and vote for their next location to be in Boston!

posted in Cupcakes, Food, Massachusetts | at 9:04 pm | 5 Comments
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