Taste tester #5: Donna D.
Qualifications: Growing up in the food business, Donna refined her palate at an early age. Her father had a cheesesteak and pizza shop in Philadelphia and her two sisters have a luncheonette they run together in New Jersey. She can spot a bogus cheesesteak pretender a mile away and can tell you the major differences between Tastykakes and Drakes Cakes (two local Philly favorites). So judging cupcakes was a breeze.
Cupcake Challenger #5: Sprinkles Cupcakes in Beverly Hills. Many credit Sprinkles with starting the cupcake frenzy in L.A. With very neat frosting, fun flavors and a cute storefront, popularity came easy. And although the Sprinkles cupcakes received high scores for presentation we took to nicknaming them the Nazi cupcakes for their well-manicured frosting (as well as the store’s anti-photography policy). Donna says of the store: “The employees were nice, helpful but wouldn’t let me take pictures. The display case was small but nice.” Of her overall experience: “Quick and pleasant. You can pre-order but have to buy one dozen minimum.” Regarding parking: “It was easy to park, but it has meters.” Something to note is that there are usually long lines of people at this store but Donna had gone before noon on a Sunday so was able to avoid a wait. Cupcakes: $3.25 each.
Taste tester comments:
Red Velvet Cupcake: A colorful fondant button topped the very neat, stiff white frosting and one tester called them “corporate cupcakes — too manicured, nice bull’s eye though.” We were more impressed with the frosting presentation than its taste (“falls short of its looks”) which many thought was too sweet; “good, but a bit too sweet with a corn syrupy feel.” Most loved the moist red velvet cake itself: “Best cake of the red velvets. Tastes red. Cherry?” “Excellent, full bodied cake.”
Chocolate Cupcake: Sprinkles’ dark chocolate cupcake, although beautifully decorated “like a 1920s purse” with its beaded chocolate sprinkles on the frosting, was a bit of a letdown. Again, the cupcake scored high for presentation and looked so delicious when in fact it was “not very dark chocolatey” and “dry, not very flavorful.” We differed in opinion with regards to the frosting’s taste, though: “Frosting from 7-11”; “Excellent, texture imported by choco shavings, lovely to the tongue”; and “too bland for dark chocolate.”
Wild Card — Chocolate Coconut Cupcake: Unfortunately, Sunday wasn’t the chai latte cupcake day at Sprinkles, so Donna had to settle on this, the most exotic of the Sunday flavors. Although the cake itself was dry, its flavor was a rich chocolate. However, only one tester said it had a “flat, uneventful chocolate flavor.” The frosting was covered with coconut shreds which looked like rice paper, and still managed to appear perfect and manicured. Almost like a little present. One tester insisted that the Sprinkles frosting imparted a weird aftertaste and slick on her tongue. Others liked the “islandy” taste of the rich frosting and coconut.
_ 9635 Santa Monica Boulevard
Beverly Hills, California 90210
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