Who would’ve known there’s so much love for cupcakes in Miami? On Saturday, 10 fortunate Chowhound readers/posters got together at one generous cupcake lover’s home to taste cupcakes from nine local “cupcakers” — as our host aptly called them. Now let me tell you these tasters were serious and they sure knew their cupcakes. I was more attracted to the event based on the concept: One host. Ten strangers. Many cupcakes. Food bringing people together, engaging in healthy discussion. Our host basically brought a Chowhound post to life.
Tasters and cupcakers had a chance to mingle for about 45 minutes, at which point the cupcakers were required to leave so the tasters could speak candidly about their treats. Each cupcaker provided a chocolate, vanilla and signature cupcake and participants different “vintages” of milk to pair — you needed something to wash all that sugar down. What followed were two hours of overindulgence finished with a sugar coma.
So what makes a good cupcake? After hearing much back and forth among the tasters, I think I can safely say we were all looking for good flavor, a moist cake, a nice presentation and a frosting with flavor that complements, but doesn’t overpower the cake. All of the participating cupcakers (see full list at the end of this post) were new to me and all had their positives, but only some of their cupcakes captured my palate.
Here are my three favorites:
- “Oye Como Va” by 2 Girls and a Cupcake – A vanilla cupcake with guava filling and cream cheese frosting topped with a wafer. The cream cheese frosting was a refreshing change from the many super sweet sugary frostings. Plus who doesn’t like cheese and guava? The guava filling gave the cake additional moisture and was a nice little surprise in the middle of the cake. The wafer didn’t really add much to the mix. Bonus points for their cute cupcake names. The above pictured Chick Flick is also theirs.
- “Vanilla Elegance” by Cupcakes Noveau – A Madagascar vanilla bean cupcake with vanilla Swiss meringue frosting. I loved the creamy texture of the frosting and its intense vanilla flavor; you could even see vanilla bean speckles in it. The cake was moist and also had a wonderful flavor. Bonus points to the Cupcakes Noveau girls for the beautiful fondant flowers that top each of their cupcakes (see first picture). Tasters were impressed with the girls’ professionalism during mingling time.
- Buttercream’s Vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting – No fancy name, nor fancy presentation, but a lovable cupcake nonetheless. Simply presented with a tiny pink sugar heart on top, what made me love this cupcake was its texture, which some described as spongy and others as custardy. Now that may be good or bad. To me it was good; there was something deeply satisfying about the cake’s texture and flavor.
- Stella’s Cupcakes were beautifully presented and I loved the chocolate frosting on their vanilla cupcake. However, the consensus was that there was too much frosting on the cupcake, which really overpowered the cake.
- Dots also had a cute presentation for their vanilla cupcake. Someone said it looked like a sundae (see picture above). It was playful and the frosting was creamy and richly chocolate.
After that morning, I’ll be staying away from cupcakes for some time, but for you cupcake lovers, here’s a list of the participating bakers:
Buttercream Cupcakes & Coffee
1411 Sunset Drive, Coral Gables
305.978.1058 or 305.336.4629
7344 SW 48th St., Miami
Stella’s Sweet Shoppe
Sugar Girl Bakeshop
8425 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 102
Two Girls and a Cupcake
305.582.6962 or 786.285.8587