Some time ago our newspaper ran an article about “gourmet” cupcakes here in our part of Antelope Valley. (Antelope Valley is a pretty big place, this article only covered Palmdale and Lancaster). The article talked about two stores/bakeries that were selling such cupcakes.
There were pictures.
I get cravings watching the Food Channel – still pictures that I can stare at for as long as I wish are going to get my attention. Which they did. My daughter and I, fair to middling cooks ourselves, talked about the cupcakes. After some discussion, we got to wondering: What qualifies a cupcake as “gourmet”? Well, there was only one way to find out. We decided to conduct a survey/experiment. We would taste several cupcakes from each place. As it happened, we knew of a third place that was also advertising “gourmet cupcakes” in this area, so we added it to the list. We did our survey over the course of three weekends. ( I just lost 50 pounds – ain't no way I'm eating cupcakes from three different bakeries all at once.)
We cut each cupcake into fourths (there are four of us) and each of us ate our bite and made our judgment.
This first thing we learned was that there is no criteria for the appellation “gourmet”.
The first set we tried (four separate flavors) were at best mundane. They were nothing I couldn't have made myself (and cake is most emphatically NOT my specialty). Nothing stood out, except that they were very pricy for something I can make myself.
The second set (again 4 flavors) were – in my opinion – awful. Although my family disagreed, at the end of a week one of the cupcakes was still sitting on the counter because none of us wanted to eat it. So the consensus wasn't all that good. Some caveats: I do not like jelly filled anything. And ALL of these were jelly filled. Which I had no way of knowing since they were not marked as such. But the cake was not outstanding, either, and the decorations could have gotten them on www.cakewrecks.com.
Oh, and I disliked the icing, too.
You will have noticed at this point that I have not named these two shops. I see no point in doing so. Your tastes may vary radically from mine.
By this time, I was getting pretty discouraged. I like good cake. I had even gotten the ingredients to make some cupcakes of my own, just to relieve the horror on my tongue.
Which brings us to Double D Cupcakes.
First, their establishment was VERY encouraging. It rang with professionalism. And the cupcakes – and full up cakes – were lovely to look at. We wound up getting TEN flavors of cupcakes. And the lovely lady we spoke to told us what each flavor was and what they were filled with (the ones that were filled), so no nasty surprises. Only really wonderful surprises. These gals know what they are doing and they can COOK. Every flavor we tried was wonderful. I don't usually like chocolate with raspberry – but theirs was luscious. I think it was the first time I have had chocolate raspberry with the balances right. Also, the texture was good, the icing fabulous. I am a happy cake eater at last. And if I decide to buy a cake any time soon, I know where I will shop for it.
PS Double D just nailed Cupcake Wars on the Food Channel. Apparently I'm not the only one impressed. Check out www.doubledcupcakes.com.