Friday, July 3


Okay. Enough of justice, equal rights, unruly children, politicians, violence, and other fluff. Time to talk about what's really important.

That's right. Cupcakes.

We're gonna talk about this because a person can only sit on something so long. They say it's not good to keep it all in. And this has needed to be said for a good long while now.

And besides, This is Important Stuff. No matter which way you look at it.

So I've got a few things to say here on this topic. Yo, listen up.

First, the abbreviated version, for those who like lists rather than blathering, which is clearly not me:

Number One. There is a difference between Good and Weird. (when it comes to cupcakes, I mean, not when it comes to me....when it comes to me, there is, in fact, no difference).

Number Two: They should stick to ice cream in Boston. 'Nuff said. (or if they're not going to stick to ice cream, they should refrain from comparing themselves to Magnolia Bakery. I mean, really.)

Number Three: People have no sense and don't know when to leave a good enough thing alone.

Number Four: Chocolate frosting that looks like that fake dog poop that they sell at joke shops is not, I repeat, NOT, appetizing. I don't care if it's delicious frosting, made from the finest chocolate from a combination of the rarest cocoa beans in the world, European butter, and milk that came from that pampered free-grazing and ethically treated cow down the road. Geez, spread it around a little. Make it look good. And just for the, throwing some sprinkles on the poop shaped frosting does NOT help. I mean, come on people, what is that?

(and what's the deal with all the frosting plopped in the middle with all that bare cupcake showing? That's just Wrong.)

I'm starting to feel better already.

You see, yesterday, a group of reviewers (or so it seems) published their findings on the best places to get cupcakes in Boston. I don't generally hang out at such places (the website, I mean), but they liked me there yesterday, so I was returning the favor. I saw the article, and I mean, ooh, cupcakes! Sadly, it was all downhill from there.

There were a number of problems. The first is that they don't know what they're talking about (and I do, get the difference?). The second is that they have apparently never been to New York and here they are all talking Carrie Bradshaw and cupcakes and Magnolia Bakery and cupcake fads like there is any basis for comparison. And the third is that they didn't call me up and ask me to make a batch of cupcakes (can't claim credit, I use Magnolia's recipes) which left me with the pitiful sole option of "Other" when it came time to vote.

This is serious shit. Pay attention.

Let's take these issues one at a time. I want to make this perfectly clear.

The Weird-Good Continuum. Margarita cupcakes with tequila, triple sec icing, and salt. Chocolate beer ganache and cream stout frosting? Sure, fine. I'm not gonna argue. If you like that stuff, more power to you. As for me, that's not a cupcake. It's a quasi-drink in a paper liner. It's a way of showing off to your friends that you eat cool weird stuff. Really different things.

Ice Cream: There is, indeed, kickass ice cream in Boston. All year round. Delicious, creamy, effin' fantastic ice cream. Herrells. Toscaninis. Emack and Bolios. Christinas. Richardsons. And more.
Can't we just stick to ice cream, and let them have the cupcakes?

The deadly combination of arrogance and competition. Here's a hot tip: the fad is not cupcakes, the fad is GREAT cupcakes. Get the difference? Don't believe me? Go find out for yourself. Go to New York City, and stop in your random bakery and ask them if they regularly sell out of cupcakes and while you're there, ask them if they have benefitted from the "cupcake fad" started by Sex and the City. They'll look at you like you're out of your mind. Then take a little ride down to the village, and hang out by Magnolia Bakery (or wait in line for cupcakes if you've got an hour or so) or go to Midtown to Buttercup Bakeshop (same original owner/chef, newer venture) and ask the same questions. I repeat: This is not about cupcakes. It's about great cupcakes.

And the dog poop thing? Well, I think I've said enough.

It could just be taste, you're saying--different people like different things. Yeah, yeah, everyone has their own tastebuds, their own food preferences, and I shouldn't impose mine and act like I know everything. Yeah, I know that. Yeah, I've heard it before. But then why do we have food critics, if it doesn't make any difference what someone says, we all just like what we like? And before you say it, no, I'm not a food critic. I am, however, a cupcake critic. So there. And yes, I know how it goes, I've been party to the Airing of the Issues:

"I prefer the ones from [insert random bakery name]. These ones are good, but they're too sweet [or rich]". Um....they're cupcakes! They're not bran muffins. They're supposed to be sweet.

"The ones at [insert bakery] are all natural [or organic]". Listen, honey. I understand the appeal of that. I eat organic too. But get real. If it's cupcakes you're after, you've already kind of taken a little detour from the health kick, don't you think? Kickass Cupcakes, one of the places reviewed in the article, touts their policy of "no hydrogenated oils, no trans fats" on their website. They make cupcakes without butter (which has natural trans fats, which are not as bad for you, but still)? It reminds me of that sign at the fair--same deal.

Please to remember, these are the people who chased Krispy Kreme out of the entire Greater Boston area because they--get this, this is really what they said--like the coffee at Dunkin' Donuts. Okay, and this makes sense how? (for the record, I agree that DD has way better coffee than KK, but so what? What's that got to do with donuts?)

And then there's that other complicating detail: are you emulating Carrie Bradshaw or not? Just fyi....I'm not. I never even knew they went to Magnolia Bakery on that show, and of course, it wouldn't matter if I did know, because I can't imagine emulating the women on Sex and the City. It's just that I'm just a veteran of the 9 p.m. cupcake line. I'm the woman who took a $20 cab ride--every night for a week--from midtown down to the west village in order to bring back one slice of chocolate buttermilk cake for my then on-the-verge-of-delivering-a-baby partner because well, she wanted it, and because well, there was no substitution.

Get it? No substitution.

And let us say: Amen.


Coffeegurl said...

I vote for the Party Favors cupcake all the way. Sorry, there's just no comparison, they are better than Magnolias (which I've had several times). We can debate religion, God, parenting, media, etc., but I'm not willing to entertain an argument on this one. Oh and for the record, Kick-Ass cupcakes (despite the great title) suck. Those are my emphatic statements of the day. :-)

Robin said...

For real? I've had those, and I thought they were good, but I didn't think they were nearly as good as Magnolia.

Just shows to go you, eh?

And thank for your emphatic-ness. I appreciate it.

Robin said...

The other thing that's really interesting is the "great name" of Kickass Cupcakes, and the way in which it totally has had its intended effect--people completely buy it.

There's something I don't get, either. If I opened a coffee house and called it "Spectacular Coffee", people would automatically believe that we had better coffee than anywhere else? Geez.

Audrey said...

Magnolia all the way!!! I've never had a better cupcake. And they now also have a place on the upper west side (69th or 70th and Columbus). Same lines, different crowd.

Robin said...

That would have been a cheaper cab ride!

I have now been challenged to keep tasting as cupcake venues arise in the Boston area, which I begrudingly do for the sake of preserving integrity. I do it, unselfishly, for all of you. :)

Yesterday, tried one from Bread and Chocolate in Newtonville. Meh.

Sara said...

Came across your blog via Just had to ask- have you tried Lyndell's cupcakes? I have no idea about the quality of their "weird" flavored cupcakes, (as I cannot bring myself to move past the vanilla w/ chocolate frosting) but wow, the vanilla/chocolate is the best cupcake I have found in Boston.

They started out of Somerville and just opened a shop on Hanover St. in the N. End. Check it out and let us readers know what you think!

Robin said...

Yeah, I've heard others say that about Lyndells. I've had their cake and it was okay. I'm putting it on my list for a full report.

So glad you found my blog and I hope you stick around (and keep commenting)!!