What: A captivating concoction of MANY cupcakes
Anyone with a degree in cupcakes knows that much of the popularity of these sweet treats has stemmed from the appearance of the Magnolia Bakery in a Saturday Night Live Digital Short called Lazy Sunday, as well as its appearance in the popular show Sex And the City. Magnolia Bakery is located in New York so unfortunately for us nom nom nommers that’s literally out of our range. But in our range? A gem of a cupcakery in Bellevue (just across the water) called New York Cupcakes.
Now let me just precede our discussion of this heavenly sweet establishment by saying that I had personally never been treated more graciously in any of the cupcakeries I have visited since we started Oh My Nom. It was truly magically—better than Christmas for any cupcake lover. I talked extensively with the owner and she was more than willing to disclose information on her inspiration for the cupcakery and her choices for New York Cupcakes locations.
Sitting adjacent to stores in a small outdoor retail facility in Bellevue, New York Cupcakes boasts a glamorous and bold appearance with a black, white, and pink color scheme. Inside you’ll find the most comfortable and dainty of demeanors—almost as if you’re walking into grandma’s kitchen cerca the 1950s. Black and white tiled floors, cupcake trinkets, tools and literature from floor to ceiling, enchanting crystal chandeliers embellishing white tin ceilings, and an old fashion display case filled with decadent old-fashioned delights are some of the things you can find behind the door of New York Cupcakes. Even items down to the rhinestone-decorated-‘ring for service’-bell and the pink-feathered rotary telephone embody a fluffy and lush, sweet and innocent appeal.
Now for the cupcakes: I set out to try some of the flavors I had researched online—ones that would exhibit unique and specialized flavor. Prepare your sweet tooths: Things are about to get ridiculously delectable.
Strawberry Surprise—a wonderful innovation exclusive to New York Cupcakes. They call it a “breakfast cupcake” and it is one of several breakfast flavors served only from 10am to 12pm every day. Trust me, it’s worth the small window of opportunity. A cupcake whose overflowing-top is sliced off, so that delicious vanilla buttercream frosting and mouth-watering strawberry jam can rest sandwiched in between two layers of angelic vanilla cake—That, my friends, is the Strawberry Surprise. Lest we forget the precious punched hole at the top of the cupcake, filled with rainbow sprinkles (*melt*), as well as the light dusting of powdered sugar over the top. The experience of consuming this cupcake was nearly indescribable. The vanilla cake was baked to a luscious moist perfection and the frosting/jam combination inside was neither too sweet nor too buttery. It was pure jubilation. This cupcake deserves 4.5 NOMS out of 5: What an epic breakfast it would make!
I normally never order basic flavors like chocolate or vanilla, but at New York Cupcakes you hardly have a choice. Midway through my cupcake feast the owner approached us at the table and asked how our cupcake experience was going. Her name is Lisa and New York Cupcakes is her proud business venture. She so kindly gave me a background on her goals in developing a cupcake business, informing me that she wanted to do something special and different from what current cupcakery establishments were representing—whacky flavors and trendy ideas. She wanted her cupcakery to be something comfortable and all-American, basic and homely but scrumptious and consistent. Lisa explained that she “wanted it to feel like Grandma’s kitchen” and that the cupcakes would be good ol’ fashioned flavors that we all know and love, instead of crazy combos like bacon-chocolate or sweet-potato.
New York Black & White is a perfect example of classic flavor with a distinctive, to-die-for taste. It’s an incredible fusion of chocolate and white cake flavors that is New York Cupcakes signature flavor. The cake, just like the Strawberry Surprise above, was irresistibly perfect in its texture and its bold but not overwhelming flavor. I loved the playful division of both black and white—the flavors worked so well together that I can’t imagine ever consuming chocolate cake again without an addition of white cake as well. The frosting was unlike ANY chocolate frosting I have EVER tasted. I kid you not, cupcake lovers….New York Cupcakes chocolate frosting is the BEST. Not too heavy, not too rich, not too dark/bittersweet/sweet…just the ultimate whipped, airy, silky delight with a balanced light chocolate-buttery flavor. You can see from the picture just how fluffed the frosting is by the air bubbles spiraling to the top. It’s truly a challenge for me to attempt to describe this frosting…Only tastebuds will reveal its supreme delivery of what a chocolate buttercream should taste like. The frosting is so divine that Seattle Metropolitan Magazine awarded New York Cupcakes with the title of “Best Chocolate Cupcake” in Seattle, which showcases the same frosting as the New York Black & White. So PLEASE do yourself the favor of journeying to Bellevue to devour this stunning success. To top is all off? White and milk chocolate straws adorning the top of the cupcake—a perfect closer to represent the magical flavors of the New York Black & White.
This cupcake deserves, dare I say, 5 NOMS out of 5—That’s right! The FIRST perfect Oh My Nom rating we have every given! It will not disappoint…and if it does? The cupcake is on us! Lucky for you this treasure is offered every day of the week! 🙂
…Tomorrow we will continue our story of our New York Cupcakes adventure, fully inclusive of even more reviews for flavors like Eggnog and Central Park Cookies & Cream (and that isn’t even half of what we have left!)…
What: Candy Cane
Tis the season for more seasonal flavors! As if Halloween and Thanksgiving weren’t exciting enough, cupcakeries around the U.S. have enthusiastically unveiled collections of scrumptious holiday flavors like Candy Cane, pictured above. You can only imagine our glee at the discovery of December delights like these.
I cannot lie: the mission to acquire a holiday cupcake from Cupcake Royale didn’t go as smoothly as planned. My goal was to taste their Eggnog flavor but unfortunately for me, they had sold out by the time I arrived at the shop on a Saturday at around 7:30pm. Candy Cane would have to do…
The frosting was festive and satisfying—all you cupcake fanatics know how much we adore a green mint, of all flavors. This particular green mint was a frosty buttercream, perfectly balanced in all manners: texture, amount, distribution, butteri-ness, sugariness, and minty refreshment. A dash of crystal red and snow white sprinkles along with a classic starlight mint were the perfect accessories to decorate this holiday treat.
At Cupcake Royale you can devour one of these Candy Cane cakes with your preference of either vanilla or chocolate cake. I prefer a dark, silky cocoa flavor to accompany anything minty (Junior Mints, Peppermint Mochas, Cool Mint Oreos, etc.) It just seems to ground and stabilize what would otherwise be an overwhelmingly bright and cool flavor. Chocolate and mint, to me, are the epitome of holiday flavor. Moving on, I was privileged enough to be graced by the presence of one single remaining Candy Cane with Chocolate Cake.
Hoping for the best and expecting visions of sugar plum fairies and jolly snowmen to fill my head, I was slightly disappointed with the results. The cake was crumbly and devoid of truly caramelized sweet, roasted, and seductive flavor that chocolate bolsters. This chocolate cake was regrettably was dull, flat, dry, floury, and incomplete. It was a shock to me; Cupcake Royale has always treated me well with their cake cooking abilities. Perhaps chocolate is not their forte.
Candy Cane will be available at all Cupcake Royale locations until the end of December! Otherwise, this flavor is available under the name of Peppermint Party all year round. The only difference, is that this Christmas treat is adorned with a cheerful mint at the top. 🙂
This cupcake deserves 3.5 NOMS out of 5. It’s drawbacks: the cake flavor, or lack there of. With that said, however, I’m absolutely willing to give it another chance….You never know—cold weather can do crazy things to a baking experience and its products.
What: Vanilla + Chocolate
Another scrumptious creation from Yellow Leaf Cupcake! This cupcake comes with a twist incorporating both vanilla and chocolate into one cute package. The vanilla cake is topped with a creamy, rich chocolate ganache that has hardened around the top of the cake. The ganache was a great touch, not too rich and caked on but just the added depth that one would need to fully acquire the “chocolate vibe” in this cupcake’s chocolate-vanilla equation.
On top of the ganache was chocolate frosting that again had a very buttery taste and texture. Refer back to our previous reviews for an more in-depth sadness revolving around our distaste for Yellow Leaf’s buttercream frosting. Are we the only ones here? If you’ve tasted Yellow Leaf Cupcakes before please leave a comment and let us know about YOUR experience, because frankly with just the two of us our blog is biased.
I liked the combo idea for vanilla and chocolate but there was nothing that stood out about this creation. I was almost convincing myself not to say it but hey, we are writing reviews here! This cupcake tasted like the one’s you can buy at any local grocery store. EEK, I said it. I took the adventure to Yellow Leaf with the intention of visiting a CUPCAKERY. Or, a bakery thats SPECIALIZES in excellent cupcake goodness! This one just didn’t take the cake.
The lack of inventiveness and the dreaded butter as frosting has landed this cupcake 1.5 NOMS out of 5. The chocolate ganache was a good start and I will admit to being a fan of the little chocolate beads on top however when I think of vanilla I find myself craving much more… possibly incorporating vanilla bean would be a nice touch?
What: Peppermint Patty, German Chocolate, and Sweet Potato
For Thanksgiving this year my boyfriend and I trekked up to Bellingham, Washington to celebrate with my mom and grandma. I’d been looking forward to this visit not only to see my loved ones and indulge in the ultimate dose of comfort food, but also to try the cupcakery popular among Bellingham residents. It’s called Katie’s Cupcakes and is located in the heart of Fairhaven, a quaint, precious little town/neighborhood within Bellingham’s borders.
Katie’s Cupcakes offers mini-cupcakes, which gave me the perfect opportunity to sample three of their specialty flavors freshly baked every Friday: Peppermint Patty, German Chocolate, and Sweet Potato. With a purple polka-dot plate filled with cupcakes, I briskly headed for a seat in the corner of their shop by the window and next to a tiny little fireplace. The cupcake consuming experience in this petite storefront was quote cozy and very charming.
First up, the Peppermint Patty mini. Chocolate cake, frosted with a peppermint butter cream, and adorably embellished with a sliver of a peppermint patty. I had high hopes for this little guy, as peppermint and chocolate seem to be one of my favorite combinations this food world has to offer. The cake was a satisfying combination of dense, dark chocolate goodness. Definitely delicious but definitely something that very well could’ve come from a box. The frosting, unfortunately for me, was way too sweet—the peppermint flavor was a faint glimmer compared to the overpowering sugar rush of sweetness. I can’t say I was happy with this little cupcake…In short, had I purchased a regular size version of the this cupcake, I wouldn’t have been able to finish it. The Peppermint Patty garnish was adorable, nonetheless. As I’ve written before, I’m very hard to please with buttercream frostings—They are more often much too buttery or much too sweet, lacking any of the intended flavor. Sadly, Katie’s Cupcakes’ Peppermint Patty was nothing extraordinary and its frosting fell victim to the common buttercream bloopers. This cupcake deserves 2.5 NOMS out of 5.
Next, I tried the German Chocolate mini. For those of you who are unaware of what German Chocolate should consist of, it is a chocolate cake that is topped with a Coconut Pecan frosting. It’s a molasses-y, nutty, and hearty delight that everyone should try. I couldn’t imagine a German Chocolate cupcake looking cuter and more appropriate than this one. But would the flavor match it’s delightful guise? The cake was…satisfactory. It was very dry and thus crumbled when forked…something I don’t think a cake should do. Rather, the cake should cushion your fork, offer some resistance due to its rich, fluffy construction. Aside from the cakes dryness, it had a light chocolate flavor that appropriately complimented the extraordinary Coconut Pecan frosting. I love German Chocolate cake because of the textures brought out by the fruity and nutty frosting. The chewy coconut shavings and the buttery crunch of pecans were delectable on this mini cupcake—it’s syrupy, juicy consistency completely made up for the dryness of the cake. This cupcake deserves 3.5 NOMS out of 5.
The last cupcake was the Sweet Potato…and it’s surely safe to say I saved the best for last! The cake was PERFECTLY fluffy and moist, with a lovely (and not too rich) flavor of the sucrose earthly root vegetable that is the Sweet Potato. Ths Sweet Potato tastes must like a cornbread with a graceful tinge of sugar—warm, flaxen, and cheering. The frosting on this little gem was to-die-for…the ideal pairing for a Sweet Potato cake: a light, whipped cream cheese frosting! Om nom nom! Slightly sugary, and slightly tart, the frosting was the supreme companion to my little orange sweet potato cake and showcased flawless texture—not too runny and certainly not too thick. A delicate dashing of orange sprinkles glistened on the top, making this cupcake’s appearance as heart-warming as its taste. Such a success of a cupcake, in fact, that I was left craving a full-size Sweet Potato cupcake for the ride home! This cupcake deserves 4.5 NOMS out of 5.
It was hard for me to imagine the possibility of a cupcake flavored after an aromatherapy plant like lavender, which is most noted for its smell not taste. But despite my perplexed prejudice, I was eager to try this little purple beauty out.
The first bite was shocking—no tastes of lavender, just bright notes of sugar and white. The frosting spread simply on top was an adorable (and all too necessary) lavender hue, graced with a modest dash of white and purple sprinkles. Its consistency was thick but not heavy, whipped but not weak, and the amount of frosting was the ultimate match for me. I’m not much of a frosting lover (in terms of quantity.) I much prefer a medium amount that doesn’t leave me begging for salt to compensate for sweetness. This cupcake had just that amount. The taste itself was dainty. It was sweet and had a nice granular aftertaste. Nothing too special, and nothing short of tasty. Again, it had no lavender flavor according to my taste buds, which made me wonder if it was named after its color.
The remaining bites were filled with wonder and moderate satisfaction. The cake was brilliant—the supreme blend of moist, fluffy, substantial, and succulent without being too sweet or flavorless. All white, with a tinge of vanilla, the cake hugged my taste buds and assured them that yes, a perfect white cake does exist, behind the door of Cupcake Royale.
I give this cupcake 3.5 NOMS out of 5. It’s drawbacks: The misnomer of a flavor, and the lack of dynamic flavor in the frosting—purple frosting atop a slightly-vanilla, well-structured sponge is tasty but nothing special.
What: Sweet Potato + Maple Brown Sugar
Yum yum. I thouroughly enjoyed this rather light, petite cupcake but also the environment in which I found it. Yellow Leaf is a cute little cafe offering full service coffee drinks as well as cupcakes with flavors changing throughout the day. Although they offer their regular flavors, Yellow Leaf also makes small batches randomly of other speciality cupcake flavors so you never exactly know what you’re going to get until you get there! The cupcakery also has a bookshelf full of fun board games which I found very endearing.
The sweet potato flavoring wasn’t too apparent but tasted more like a spiced cornbread, which was pleasant. The frosting however was different then what Im used to. It honestly tasted like straight butter (and had the consistency of butter as well). I must say though, paired with the sweet potato cake, the butter frosting was the perfect accompaniment.
If your a fan of cupcakes but don’t like the overpowering sugary taste then I would definitely recommend Yellow Leaf. They’re menu also contains unique flavors like tomato soup, pumpkin spice creme brulee, or pistachio. I find myself gravitating more to flavors that aren’t sugar based but rather cake based with a spice component. However, altogether the cupcake itself was a little bland and if someone were to eat the cupcake and have to guess the flavor there would be no indications of sweet potato or maple for that matter.
This cake deserves 3 NOMS out of 5 for lack of flavoring and the thick, butter-like frosting. Although I did enjoy the cake at the time I wouldn’t seek out this flavor combination again.
What: Chocolate Hazelnut
If I were told I could only eat 5 things for the rest of my life, they would be as follows: 1) Sushi, 2) Tortilla Soup (avocados included), 3) Nectarines, 4) Dim Sum, and 5) Nutella. So it’s no wonder that when Trophy Cupcakes announced a seasonal flavor of Chocolate Hazelnut (which is made with Nutella) would hit their bakery shelves, I nearly jumped in jubilation.
For those of you who are sadly uninformed about the goodness of Nutella, let me describe it to you best I can. Imagine a chocolate spread with the creamiest of textures that leaves your mouth watering excessively in unbelievable satisfaction. So smooth, palatable, and sensuous, you can almost feel the rose petals showering from above and champagne bubbles tickling your nose. Now with that chocolate spread, wildly infuse it with the ultra silky, and decadently rich flavor of the hazelnut…it’s warm, honeyed arms squeezing your tightly. Oh hazelnut, you are a gift from the gods and a blessing to my tummy.
Yes, Nutella is truly divine as was Trophy’s Chocolate Hazelnut cupcake. Just look at it! The perfectly fluffed hazelnut buttercream frosting evenly encompassing the top of the cake, the magical dusting of candied hazelnuts on its edges…my god, it was a masterpiece.
But as we all know, looks can be deceiving. I leave the rest of the review up to my eager, eager tastebuds. The first bite was….heavenly. The frosting tasted just as ALL buttercream frostings should—like the intended flavor, not like butter! Too many times I’ve had cupcakes with lemon or chocolate or vanilla buttercream frosting only to taste whipped butter. Trophy Cupcakes sure knows how to craft one hell of a buttercream and I cannot think of a more genius buttercream than this Nutella frosting. It was strong, but not overpowering, rich, but not heavy. The added texture of the candied hazelnuts on the side was too nomlicious! I could eat candied hazelnuts dipped in Nutella buttercream ALL day after this experience. They added a true nutty flavor and an edge that most cupcakes lack—the creamy crunch of the hazelnuts. It can really jazz up your cupcake devouring experience.
The chocolate cake was almost too good. Moist and succulent while at the same time airy and dainty—like a true delicacy. The cake, oddly enough, served as the accessory to the frosting; it was a celestial combination of balance and satiation.
This one, UNQUESTIONABLY, deserves 5 NOMS out of 5. A true masterpiece of cupcake design, engineering, and craftsmanship. Bravo, Trophy…I’ll be sad to see this seasonal flavor inevitably disappear. But I’m thankful as ever that I got to taste it while I still could. HURRY and try yours today!! They’re available at all Trophy Cupcakes locations everyday for the rest of November, and on Sundays and Wednesdays for the rest of December 🙂
What: Candied Yam
A golden oven-roasted turkey, adorned with juicy stuffing, whipped mashed potatoes, regal cranberry jewels, and a sumptuous pumpkin pie (or pecan…take your pick)–Thanksgiving dinner is the ultimate home cooked feast full of satisfaction and food coma. But what would Thanksgiving be without the yams? The candied, sugar-glazed yams topped with a toss of toasted pecans and drops of melted marshmallows? Why, it would be dismal…at least in my book.
If you can’t weather the storm of creating candied yams for your turkey time, you’re in luck! Trophy Cupcakes, a Seattle staple with locations in Wallingford, University Village, and Bellevue, has concocted a Candied Yam CUPCAKE! Yet again, the glee of seasonal flavors pervades!
The first bite was…gooey, sticky, and somewhat of a sweet struggle! Atop the cake was a beautifully formed sculpture of toasted marshmallow meringue, a powerful entity all its own. Tasting it felt much like battling a freshly roasted s’more. It was plush and magical, fluffy and mysteriously delectable given its simplicity.
It took a second attempt to get a bite of the candied yam cake. Dark in flavor and color, the cake tasted more cinnamonny if anything. It was difficult to decipher yams or candied brown sugar glaze, but with further meditation and self-convincing I managed to detect the faintest hint of sugared yams. What really boosted my experience was the presence of chopped pecans sprinkled throughout the cake. They added diverse texture and a lovely nutty flavor.
With the third bite I managed to perfectly place a bite of cake and a bite of meringue onto my fork, giving me the ultimate candied yam cupcake extravaganza, complete with echoes of silverware clinks against the holiday china and murmurs of ‘mmm’s and ‘oooh’s in unparalleled bliss at the thanksgiving feast.
This one deserves 3.5 NOMS out of 5. It’s drawbacks: weak candied yam flavor, thus not living up to the potential its wonderful name pursued.