9635 Santa Monica Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Like wedge-heeled espadrilles for summer, cupcakes are all the rage right now. I’ve always loved cupcakes, but really, there’s quite a pokemon-like frenzy over the little things. Local bakeries and cafes are selling cupcakes like, well hotcakes, and recently, a bakery entirely devoted to the things has opened up in Beverly Hills, Sprinkles Cupcakes. They bake quite a few, but different flavors are available on different days. I had “Try Sprinkles” on my to-do list, and by a stroke of someone else’s birthday luck, I got to try them without any effort on my part.
There were four different flavors, but while everyone else was polite enough to nibble on one, or *gasp* daintily share with someone else, I double fisted and snatched up two! What? There were plenty of cupcakes, and I know everyone else wanted to take two; I was the only one who wasn’t embarrassed enough to hold back. *sheesh*
The chocolate cupcake had a white frosting with chocolate sprinkles. It’s called black & white, and reminded me the most of the cupcakes I had when elementary school classmates’ moms brought in cupcakes for their birthdays. *sigh* I never got any of those, as I think I was too afraid that if I asked my mom to bring something for my friends to celebrate my birthday, she’d bring gim-bahp (aka Japanese futo maki) or dduk (similar to Japanese mochi) and I’d die of embarrassment right there in my completely non-Asian San Antonio elementary school.
I shook off my momentary lapse into childhood trauma and peeled off the wrapper to reveal a dark crumb that promised rich and chocolaty. I paced myself and took a delicate bite of the sprinkly frosting. What a sickeningly saccharin-like mistake. Certainly it was made with sugar, but it didn’t seem that the sugar had been blended in, leaving it almost sandy. Perhaps I had made the mistake of eating the frosting alone, because I’m sure I could feel my teeth decaying right out of my jaw. Another bite with the cake, and it was better balanced, but unfortunately, the frosting still overwhelmed the cake. I didn’t get a real taste of chocolate at all. As dark as the cake was, it was a little weak. But at least it wasn't dry.
Why everyone gets their tastebuds tangled over red velvet cake is beyond me. It’s cake, with a few tablespoons of cocoa powder, and red food coloring. I love chocolate because it taste like chocolate. I like vanilla because it tastes like vanilla. You like red velvet because it tastes like...red? I actually do like red velvet cake, but not because it’s red. If it didn’t have the food coloring, it’s be cake and still taste awesome. *shrugs* It must be the cream cheese frosting. :)
Sprinkles’ red velvet cupcakes have pretty pastel candy flowers. Garnish. I plucked it off and dropped it on the napkin. The cream cheese icing on the red velvet was better than vanilla frosting on the black & white. A little less sandy, and though sweet, not nauseatingly so. The cake was red, but not as dark red as I’ve seen in other cakes. At least Sprinkles doesn’t feel the need to drown their cake with food coloring. A second bite, this time with cake and frosting, and though I didn’t taste “red,” I don’t think I needed to. The red velvet cupcake was good. Not tastebud-tangling good, but good enough.
Thankfully, my sister let me taste her strawberry cupcake so I didn’t have to embarrass myself by taking a third cupcake from the box. After two cupcakes, I had wised up and tasted the cake and frosting together, so as to save my tastebuds from a potentially flavor-fatal overdose of sugar. The strawberry cupcake was a light, dull pink, made from fresh strawberries, and covered with a strawberry frosting. I didn’t get the strawberry in the cake, but perhaps the previous two cupcakes had been to taste-numbing. I did, however, get the strawberry in the frosting. Not too bad.
Sprinkles cupcakes are just okay. The three I had tasted didn’t impress my belt to another notch, especially knowing that each cupcake costs $3.25. I definitely appreciate that they don’t feel the need to supersize them, like the miserable oversizing of muffins in the last ten years, and the little candy decorations are cute, though I have to admit that normally, I usually like natural adornments. I don’t love the way Sprinkles’ frosting is smoothed over – frosting that’s been swirled into little curly peaks reminds me of second grade, and isn’t that what it’s really all about anyway? Okay okay, so $3.25 is pretty cheap for a quick trip down Whisper Valley (the street where I lived).
And I still want to try their coconut to see how my Disco Coco Babycakes stack up against a professional's. :)