Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Bea's Bakery - London, England

One of my dear friends, Lindsay, went on an adventure and moved to London. She's a foodie, like me, though she's more well-rounded in her food endeavours. Here's her review of Bea's bakery's Red Velvet cupcakes:

Bea's bakery has some of the best cupcakes in London. I was quit surprised during one of my visits that they had red velvet cupcakes. I've visited the place before and didn't see any but apparently they are the most popular and they sell out quickly.

I wasn't sure if they would do red velvet justice. I'm a southern girl and I grew eating red velvet cake often. Let's just say it holds a special place in my heart.

Of course Bea's hasn't disappointed me so far. I went ahead and bought one. It was probably the best decision I could have made.

Bea's Bakery's Red Velvet Cupcake
The cupcake visually looking very appealing with its deep red, chocolate hue and its swirl of cream cheese frosting on top. The cake it self was so moist and that's after it trekking it all over London in the sun and to a pub for a evening of ciders.

I guess Bea's will always be my go to place in London.

It looks like I'll have to check out Bea's whenever I'm in London next. For more food adventures from Lindsay, check out her blog, Imaginary Chef!

Price: £2.70 (about $4.00)
Cake: moist, airy, perfect chocolate flavor
Icing: smooth, creamy, no cream cheese flavor
Decorations: standard cupcake swirl
Overall Rating: 8.5/ 10
Website: Bea's of Bloomsbury

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Brief History of Cupcakes

I've realized that even though I went through the history of red velvet, as brief as it as, I never really went through the history of cupcakes. Now of course we all know why cupcakes are awesome...they are pretty much everything good in the world put into a small cup. You can literally hold it all in one hand. Why wouldn't anyone like cupcakes?

I did a bit of searching and while I know Wikipedia isn't always the most reliable of sources, I found the most concise and easy to find information there:

"The first mention of the cupcake can be traced as far back as 1796, when a recipe notation of "a cake to be baked in small cups" was written in American Cookery by Amelia Simmons. The earliest documentation of the term cupcake was in "Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes, and Sweetmeats" in 1828 in Eliza Leslie's Receipts cookbook.

In the early 19th century, there were two different uses for the name cup cake or cupcake. In previous centuries, before muffin tins were widely available, the cakes were often baked in individual pottery cups, ramekins, or molds and took their name from the cups they were baked in. This is the use of the name that has remained, and the name of "cupcake" is now given to any small cake that is about the size of a teacup. While English fairy cakes vary in size more than American cupcakes, they are traditionally smaller and are rarely topped with elaborate icing.

The other kind of "cup cake" referred to a cake whose ingredients were measured by volume, using a standard-sized cup, instead of being weighed. Recipes whose ingredients were measured using a standard-sized cup could also be baked in cups; however, they were more commonly baked in tins as layers or loaves. In later years, when the use of volume measurements was firmly established in home kitchens, these recipes became known as 1234 cakes or quarter cakes, so called because they are made up of four ingredients: one cup of butter, two cups of sugar, three cups of flour, and four eggs. They are plain yellow cakes, somewhat less rich and less expensive than pound cake, due to using about half as much butter and eggs compared to pound cake. The names of these two major classes of cakes were intended to signal the method to the baker; "cup cake" uses a volume measurement, and "pound cake" uses a weight measurement." [You can find the entire entry here]

Here's an even better version of the story of cupcakes, by Jessie the CakeSpy:

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Cupcake Cache LLC - Tampa, Florida

I went on another cupcake adventure to see if I could find some hidden gems in Tampa. I happened to be passing Busch Garden and I found Cupcake Cache LLC! I checked their inventory and realized they specialized in gourmet cupcakes. They don't have the traditional red velvet with cream cheese frosting, but they did have a banana split cupcake which was banana frosting on a red velvet cake. I thought this would be a good initial taste of the red velvet cupcake available at Cupcake Cache LLC.

Red Velvet & Oreo Blast Cupcakes

I also got the Oreo blast cupcake. I thought this would be a good treat for myself once I finish investigating the red velvet cupcake. Spoiler alert, IT WAS DELICIOUS!

Red Velvet Cupcake
The red velvet cupcake was very moist and light. The cake texture was perfect and the flavor was nearly perfect. I would have liked more chocolate flavor and I felt the banana flavor from the frosting in cream inside the cupcake transcended into the cupcake.

Oreo Blast Cupcake
Overall I was impressed with the combination of banana split and red velvet cupcake but I would have liked to have more of a traditional pairing. I did find out from the cupcake baker that they had various other cupcake flavors that paired red velvet cupcake with other frosting flavors.

I will definitely have to check out the other red velvet flavorings they have in the future.

Price $3.50/each
Cake: moist, airy, light chocolate flavor
Icing: smooth, creamy, banana split
Decorations: simple
Overall Rating: 8/10
Website: Cupcake Cache LLC