Monday, March 13, 2006

Cupcakes with Coffee, Cupcakes with Tea: A Perfect Weekend

On Friday night I went to go visit SuperSkater in her new apartment. I passed by the Downtown Atlantic and on the recomendation of Alphabets, I went in to purchase some cupcakes. (Who am I kidding? Even if Alphabets hadn't raved about the chocolate cupcake, there is no way I would have been able to walk past those giant cupcakes in the window without stopping). The Downtown Atlantic is a lovely restaurant on hip Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, but lucky for me they also sell their bakery items to go. I bought two large cupcakes for $3 a piece: a chocolate cake with strawberry buttercream icing and a yellow cake with coconut icing.

The cupcakes are big enough to split, although I had no problem eating two halves. The frosting is really the noteworthy aspect of these cupcakes. The strawberry buttercream was light and fluffy practially floated on top of the cupcake like a pink halo. The strawberry flavoring was not overpowering, but was definately felt. The cupcake was topped with a chocolate drizzled strawberry. This cupcake is available with chocolate or yellow cake.

The coconut frosting, I believe, was actually just a white frosting rolled in coconut. I did not detect any coconut flavor to the icing. Again, it was similarly light and not at all "too sweet". The cake itself was fair, nothing to get overly excited about. Alphabets reports that the chocolate on chocolate cupcake is also great and is so rich it almost cannot be eaten in one sitting (I like that challenge).

On Saturday, in between a beautiful afternoon hanging out in Prospect Park and dinner at Kiku where sushi was consumed by everyone ausser Cupcake, we passed the Blue Apron on Union Street in Park Slope. LaHipster pointed out some cupcakes in the window. "I have to go inside," I said. "Do you mind if I go inside?" Fortunately everyone was very understanding and I didn't even need to play the "journalism" card. I inquired after the flavors of the cupcakes in the window, which the cashier told me came from Baked in Red Hook. I purchased two petite cupcakes for $2 each, a Pistachio and a Grand Marnier.

These cupcakes survived the rest of the day uneaten thanks in part to a visit later that night to The Chocolate Room. So I put the cupcakes in my fridge and ate them Sunday morning for breakfast (coffee + anything = breakfast). I did not let the pistachio cupcake sit out long enough, so the frosting was quite chilled. This was a white cake with pistachios inside topped with buttercream icing and more pistachios. The pistachio flavor was not very strong, which lead me to wonder if the nuts had been roasted before they were incorporated into the cake batter. If you are avoiding pistachio cake because you fear the flavor will be too strong this is an example of a subtle taste that was a little too mild for me.

Similarly, the Grand Marnier had only the slightest trace of orange flavor in the icing. This one I let reach room temperature then I swirled the frosting around the top of the cupcake with my finger. There was a little organge flavored chocolate on top of the pale orange icing. These cupcakes are very cute and would make a satisfying snack. A half dozen assortment would be an adorable gift, but these are not totally outrageous cupcakes that one would fantasize about. Of note: the Red Hook bakery has "Cupcake Mondays" where you can get a cupcake for a buck. Of course, then you actually have to get to Red Hook.

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