Oh no, I’m in big trouble once again. I found another cupcake place. It’s close to my house. And, well, I really, really like them. This does not bode well for the diet I really need to be on in order to lose that baby weight. The baby is four months old, so it’s probably time to shed more than the 10 non-baby pounds I’ve gotten rid of so far. But man, people keep putting me right in the path of chocolate, and my will power has never been what you might call strong.
I blame this particular event on my BFF. My son was staying with my folks and she thought it would be a good day to visit a cafe we both love, but is way too small to handle my son’s boisterous personality. After a delicious lunch, she just happened to mention there was a new cupcake place in the shopping center right across the street. Despite the delicious cinnamony potato bread we’d just consumed, I knew we just had to drop in. Neither of us planned to eat anything right away, so it would just be a look and maybe one cupcake, right?
I should know myself better. When we got inside Gigi’s Cupcakes, there were a dozen cupcakes on display. The store itself was small, but cute and the cupcake trays were filled to the hilt. Like all fancy shmancy cupcakes these days, they had cutesy names and frosting piled a mile high. Actually, these cakes had frosting piled way higher than any other place I’ve visited: at least two miles high. To me, this was an instant drawback, but being the cake lover I am, I figured I could take one for the blogging team, scrape the extra frosting off and just savor the cake.
I wasn’t too thrilled about several of the flavors being offered that day. I was even more disappointed when I picked up the really pretty full color brochure to see what flavors they rotated during the week. Turns out the very next day had about ten flavors I wanted to try, but at the moment I was a bit stuck. So I picked a few from the case and figured I’d give ’em a whirl. I was kind of happy to see that they did have some with what I considered “normal” heaps of frosting, so I grabbed a turtle (not on the regular menu) and a Southern Comfort. I also snagged a Peanut Butter Cup for my husband. My final one was tough since I wasn’t thrilled about any of the others, but since it’s a chocolate blog, I asked for a Midnight Magic in chocolate.
Turns out I tried a cupcake sooner than I thought I would. I got several pieces of bad news later that day and figured I deserved a cupcake to help me cope (this is why I am bad with diets). The Midnight Magic was the one I grabbed since it was the biggest and most decadent looking. If I was going off the diet reservation, I was going way the hell off. At first I was a little concerned about how to eat it. There was no way I could take an actual bite of it. I know I’ve been told I have a big mouth (usually followed by some hint to shut it), but I would have to have a snake-like ability to unhinge my jaw to actually get a bite of this monster in my mouth. So, I scraped the frosting off and decided to eat it with a fork.
First I tried the cake. I like to eat them separately (even when I don’t have to), so I can get a feel for the actual cake. It was fairly moist, although just a hint chewy. It also wasn’t overly chocolate, despite being touted as a devil’s food. It was a sort of mellow chocolate, but it was perfectly good. Just not great. However, when I bit into the frosting, I understood why the chocolate of the cake was understated. I was expecting the coarse sugary consistency of most decorative buttercreams. What I actually got was a rich, fudge like cream. I was expecting to scrap 99% of the frosting, but I ended up shoveling it in my mouth until I felt almost sick. When I got a bite of cake with the frosting, it was full of chocolatey goodness.
My thoughts about frosting had started to turn a bit.
Because I needed to do something nice as a pick me up for a friend, I went back to Gigi’s the next day. Some people console with flowers or balloons; I do it with chocolate. I brought a sick friend four cupcakes and since I was there, I figured I’d pick up a few more for me to try. Turns out Thursday had a whole bunch of flavors I thought looked pretty damn tasty.
My second cupcake encounter was the Cherry Cordial. Now, as a kid I adored the candy version. As an adult, they make my teeth hurt and I can’t stomach them. This cupcake version intrigued me because it looked like an ice cream sundae. The chocolate ganache covered frosting was too cool sounding to pass up. I am so glad my inner child won out. This was awesome. Instead of a buttercream, this one had a cream cheese frosting, and it was creamy. Not quite as creamy as the ice cream it looked like, but I didn’t care. Once again, the cake seemed to be lacking a bit. It wasn’t overly cherry, but when I mixed it with the taste of the frosting, I was hooked. The ganache dip was subtle and mixed really well. It reminded me of a DQ dipped cone and I vowed I would get another, soon.
Next, I tried the Turtle one. I am a huge fan of most things turtle. This one had appealed to me initially because it had normal sized frosting. When I tried to eat it, I encountered a problem. My hands were immediately sticky from the caramel. The frosting had definite nice, rich caramel flavor and I liked the lacey pattern of the frosting. The cake was very dense and a little dry. Not full of chocolate flavor like I thought it would be, but it was creamy when combined with the frosting. It was a nice homage to the candy, but the candies are still the best way to eat this treat.
Scarlett’s Red Velvet was next on my list. As a rule of thumb, I always try a red velvet everywhere I go. I think it’s a true test of a company’s baking prowess. This one had that two mile high thick cream cheese frosting I’d already fallen in love with. It also had a few surprises. The candy sprinkles on top gave it a fun crunch which I don’t usually associate with red velvet. The cake was moist with a small, and I do mean small hint of cocoa. It also had the second twist, a vanilla cream center, which makes the cake taste really creamy. It was good. I definitely like it, but I’ll have to admit, I keep waiting for any cupcake place to really wow me with a red velvet. My husband, however, said it was the best cake he thought he’d ever eaten (and as the baker of his last 8 birthday cakes or so, I was only a tad bit hurt).
The Coconut Snowball had extra creamy frosting. I loved the coconut mixed not only in the frosting, but also in the cake. It made it moist and creamy like Southern coconut icebox cake. The cake had a rich vanilla taste to it. Since this one had so little frosting (in comparison), it was important for the cake to be good, and it was.
The last one I tried was the Mellow Cream. It looked like a designer Hostess Cupcake. And to be quite honest, that’s what it tasted like. Instead of that almost plastic chocolate “frosting” Hostess makes, this one had a rich ganache (which was much better). Instead of the sometimes dry cake Hostess delivers, this one was moist and had a good cocoa flavor. Instead of the also sort of plasticky cream that someone once joked was one ingredient shy of polyester, this one had a rich, creamy marshmallow center (although it tasted a bit vanillay to me). It was the grown up, mature version, even though it left my hands just as messy as the Hostess ones did when I was a kid. I loved every second of it.
So, overall, I am quite impressed with Gigi’s. I am assuming that because the consistency of everything is so uniform, they are making their cakes and frostings from a mix, but I don’t care. They’ve gotten me to really, really like cake frosting, and that is great. I actually find myself willing to make myself a little ill from all the sugar just because I don’t want to stop eating the frosting. In fact, I found cutting them in half was the only way I could not go into a sugar coma after eating one, but it was well worth it.