Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cupcake War

I was in Beverly Hills yesterday, so I couldn't resist dropping by the two local cupcake nerve centers, Sprinkles and Crumbs. A mere couple of blocks away from each other, these two tiny boutiques vie for the title of the most sought-after cupcake bakeries in the city - and judging by the line snaking out its door, Sprinkles has been doing something right.
In addition to Sprinkles's beautiful key lime cupcake, I decided to get the most chocolate-y cupcake at both places for a comparative study - namely the Dark Chocolate cupcake at Sprinkles and the Brownie Cupcake at Crumbs. Truth be told, I was disappointed by both: the texture was spongy, the taste was sugar more than chocolate, which I like rather bitter, and the frostings were so very sweet that I found them nauseating... Sigh.

(Pssst - for a real chocolate treat, go for RöckenWagner's chocolate muffin, with its dense texture and just the right balance of bitterness and sweetness - kind of like me...)

33 comments:

J Elaine said...

I like that bold self admission of 'balance of bitterness and sweetness'! I am your biggest fan.

Simply Mel said...

I completely agree with the over-the-top sugar taste of the new cupcake craze! The icings are so sweet that my head spins after the first bite...what happened to a buttercream icing without all the sugar?

In fact, I was at a cupcake place the other day and they offered 'shots of icing' - What?!

Blue Muse said...

Iam so with you on the dark chocolate love. I like it a little more bitter than sweet - so those sugary mountains of frosting don't appeal to me. At all.
Enjoy Sunday!
xo isa

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Yeah, I go straight to the stuff, dark chocolate for me too. We get Dagoba Dark.....skip the bakery.

eatlivetravelwrite said...

"The right balance of bitterness and sweetness... like me" = Love it!

Mary-Laure said...

J ELAINE - oh you're the best, and the sweetest friend too.

SIMPLY MEL - I'm glad I'm not alone in finding this cupcake craze just too sugary.
Shots of icing? That's crazy!

D. MOLL - I read about Dagoba years ago in The New Yorker. It sounds delicious.
I love Schaffen Berger, which I find at Whole Foods.

donna baker said...

I always go for center cut piece of cake without much frosting. I notice most love the frosting the best. Those muffins look incredible.

lynne h said...

what a beautiful blog you have, mary-laure! everything, everything is so gorgeous! these cupcakes... good heavens... they're works of art (even if they have too much sugar)

lynne

fellow vegetarian and longtime collette devotee : )

Mary-Laure said...

LYNNE - thanks for your adorable comment... I'm always happy to come across fellow Colette lovers!

andrea tachezy said...

Hmmmm, good week start with your cupcakes pictures!

Taocito said...

Kindly ship us some nice little cupcakes.
And Oh Oracle, what's the difference between a cupcake and a muffin???

Beth said...

I'd have to go with the chocolate. It's all about the antioxidant properties, isn't it? ;)

Rebecca said...

Oooh, I like the idea of trying cupcakes from different places... just as s scientific experiment, you know! :) These look tasty, but I've heard that same complaint about gourmet cupcakes being too sweet from local shops.

A World in a PAN said...

I agree 100%!

Couture Carrie said...

Delicious post, darling!

xoxox,
CC

Mary-Laure said...

TAOCITO - at Sprinkles, they actually had mini cupcakes for dogs!!!!!!

BETH - absolutely! Eat more chocolate, it's good for you, is my motto...

REBECCA - of course I did it for the love of science.

josephine said...

interesting taste test. i like to think of the participants in the cupcake war up here in the bay area as sibby's (my favorite), kara's (my second favorite), and sprinkles (third place, but still solid).

Hadley Gets Crafty said...

I totally Googled cupcakes in the Chicago area. I was *this* close to hopping in the car right then and there.

Those look SO good. My mouth is still watering.

briannelee said...

Aw that is too bad they weren't that good... they look amazing in that last pic.

Mary-Laure said...

JOSEPHINE - that's 3 more reasons to go to San Francisco...

HADLEY - ah, how I know those cravings, when you're THAT close to going off into the night for your cake/chocolate/ice cream fix!
You MUST tell us about the Chicago cupcake scene.

Jaimee said...

They look so delectable though and oh so pretty! ...a migraine in my book for sure!

Sam said...

They are works of art!! Nearly too good to eat perhaps! No wonder they are doing well! I much prefer dark chocolate too - it's a reall pick me up - especially for breakfast.

If Jane said...

oh i must admit, maybe i had a cupcake twice in my life...i really don't understand the appeal...

Mary-Laure said...

JAIME - I tend to get migraines too but fortunately they are not chocolate-induced. If chocolate gave me migraines, it would be the end of me!

SAM - chocolate for breakfast? I try to steer clear of the stuff until the afternoon.

IF JANE - don't you like cake?

Joyce said...

I like how you decide to have your own taste on both and went chocolate all the way. Cupcakes at times can be tough make and keep moist. I struggle with this even at home.
I'm one of those crazy gals that loves frosting, but not when there is more sugar than anything else in the frosting.
Thanks for the sweet post. xoxo

Gabbi said...

Yum! I heard on the news once that there was some kind of lawsuit going on between those two because of the little dot decoration you photographed... one of the two claims that it's their trade mark or something? :)

Blushing hostess said...

i am starving, i really wish I had not seen this :)

Taocito said...

Ooooooh doggy cupcake! What flavors are available? Has benjy done a similar comparison on taste and texture he would like to share with us?
Your sister says she would very much like some cupcakes...

Kat said...

MY! Love cupcakes, too! Those look super yummy.

Thanks for visiting Mango Girl!

Mary-Laure said...

GABBI - thanks for the info, it sounds very interesting. I find intellectual property issues such as trademarks really fascinating.
Cupcakes and intellectual property - sounds like a lawsuit made in heaven!

TAOCITO - I will ask next time what flavors they have. I seem to recall you have a weakness for chicken, no?
Tell your Boss that unfortunately, cupcakes don't ship too well internationally. But she can still enjoy Dutch gingerbread and... a "drop"!

muralimanohar said...

Here in Hawaii, over on the North Shore in Haleiwa, there are two shave ice stands, with huge lines, tons of fame, a reputation to uphold. Around the corner, down the end of the road, there is another place that kicks ass over those "famous" ones. I go there every time I'm over on that side. :p

And for real...icing is not supposed to burn your throat from the sugar on the way down!

Andrea said...

Oh yum! Thanks for stopping by my blog. How did you hear about me?

Gold Coast Hotels said...

I love the chocolate cupcakes. Looks so yummy. Try baking but I always ended up a failure. Can't wait to taste that cupcake!