I’ll admit it: I’m kind of a Groupon junkie. If for any reason you don’t know what Groupon is, all I can say, is that it is amazing. It’s an online coupon service available in cities from Abilene, TX to Lancaster, PA to Roanoke, VA. Heck, they are even available in Hawaii and in parts of Canada. Basically, it works because people buy in bulk. The featured business decides what their minimum amount they want to sell is (they can also put a cap on the deal). Once that many people sign up for it, the deal “tips” and then consumers get wicked discounts on all sorts of goodies. I’ve bought Groupons for restaurants, massages, house cleaning, rock climbing and, of course, chocolate.
In fact, it is thanks to Groupon that I found out about Holy Cow Cupcakes. I’d certainly never heard of them. But, sure enough, they came up as my deal of the day, and when I saw it was a dozen gourmet cupcakes for $12, well, I couldn’t say no. When I bought the groupon, I was on a real cupcake kick. Lately, my enthusiasm has died down a bit (in part to the diet I keep starting and stopping to lose this baby weight that just won’t leave). But, as Groupons have a shelf life and my window to redeem the certificate I’d already paid for was dwindling, I figured I’d better hurry up and cash in.
When my BFF and I set off in search of the store, I figured it’d be easy to find. Although I couldn’t remember ever seeing the store, I knew the general area. However, after our first pass, we were stumped. So, we turned around and headed back. We darn near missed it the second time too, but luckily my darling BFF just happened to the left and boom, there it was: sharing space with the gas station. Well, not technically sharing space as it is its own little store, but the fact it was attached to the station didn’t leave us with high hopes.
When we squeezed in to the little store front, my hopes were again dashed a bit. There were only 7 flavors available, and one was a maple bacon. I had absolutely no desire for that one. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind when my pancake syrup spills over just a tad and hits my bacon on the rare mornings I actually go so far as to cook (or more likely order) such a spread for breakfast, but I’m not on board with this whole bacon for dessert trend. I’ve tried two different bacon/chocolate combos and have not cared for either. Bacon was meant to barely mingle with syrup on my breakfast plate, but it was never meant to be mixed with massive amounts of sugar and served as a dessert.
Since my Groupon was for a dozen, I figured I’d better get what I could. I got two of each flavor available, except for mocha, since there was only one of those available. I’m not a coffee person to begin with, but I thought my husband might like it. The problem was that even though there were 5 other flavors available, they were all very basic and, really not much of a variety.I ended up with two chocolate with chocolate frostings, two vanilla with chocolate frostings, two vanillas with vanilla frostings, two maple, three red velvet and that one mocha.
That night my husband tried the mocha and I tried a chocolate with chocolate frosting. It wasn’t looking good when he couldn’t finish his cupcake. He’s not really a chocolate connoisseur, but he does love coffee. After about half of it though, he said it was way too strong for him. As soon as he uttered the words, I was glad I hadn’t asked for a bite. I’m all for taking one for the team (read blogging world), even when I know there is a good chance I won’t like it, but I’d always rather be saved from a bite I’m going to really dislike. If Mr. Coffee didn’t like it, I knew there was no way I would.
Needless to say, I was even more hesitant to taste mine.
I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised when I bit in to a moist, rich, chocolatey cake. Although it didn’t really look like much, the flavor of the cake was very pure. It was simple and downright chocolatey. The bakers didn’t try to much it up. They made a good cake and let it speak for itself. I tried a small taste of the frosting next. At first I thought it was going to be an overly sugary frosting. You know the type: the grainy frosting that grocery store bakeries are famous for using. That’s what it looked like. I was happy when I bit in to it and instead of nearly crystalizing on my tongue, it melted more like fudge. And that’s how I’d describe it: a slightly coarse fudgey taste. It still had a tiny bit of that sugary grain, but once again, a simple, fudge frosting taste. I was impressed and surprised by how much I liked it.
The next night my husband and I split a red velvet cake. I had planned on eating it all myself, but when I’d failed to bring one downstairs for him as well, I could see my options were either share or go back up and get him one. I was already snuggled under the blanket, so there was no way I was going back up, so I handed over a fork full.
He liked this one much better than the mocha. I was not as impressed. I felt lit had many of the same problems so many red velvets do: too much hype, not enough flavor. There was definitely a cocoa taste to the cake, but it was almost too subtle. The frosting was where I felt a bit let down by this cake. It definitely was a fairly creamy cream cheese frosting, but it was a tad too sweet. It left an odd aftertaste in my mouth that I didn’t care for. I was glad I ended up sharing it because I don’t think I could eat an entire one by myself. My husband loved it, but I was done after half.
The last one I tried wasn’t chocolatey at all. It was the maple cake. It was pretty good, but it was also two days old. It definitely tasted like maple, but not an artificial syrupy taste. The frosting was more like that of the chocolate cake (only obviously maple), which was good. The cake wasn’t as moist, but I don’t think that was the bakery’s fault. I think it was leaving it in my fridge until Monday. I definitely liked it; I just didn’t love it.
Overall, they were decent. Definitely not Gigi’s or The Flying Cupcake, but not bad. Since I have another Groupon for them, I’ll no doubt go back in right before it runs out to snag my other dozen. I’ll even use two or three of them as rewards for my students. I definitely won’t be drooling over them, saving back my diet calories for a much needed treat, but I could split one or two with my husband again.
Value: 7/10 (with the Groupon they were only $1 a piece, but they usually sell for about $2 a piece and they are kind of small).
Appearance: 5/10 (nothing to write home about. Mine look just like them when I make them at home.)