Monday, May 30, 2011

Tulips Cupcakery- Mini Cupcakes revisited

The first time I had Tulips Cupcakery's mini cupcakes, I wasn't won over by them entirely. I love mini anything, so that alone made me like them, but the cupcakes themselves were not as mind blowing as I had hoped for. This time around, a little over a week ago at this point, they finally succeeded in making me a fan.

At Kamasouptra (in the Portland Public Market) there were at least three flavors available that day: chocolate with raspberry frosting, vanilla with vanilla frosting and lemon with raspberry frosting.

All three cupcakes were moist and very tasty little treats. In my notes I said that they were "tiny pillows of delicious" and they definitely were.

The lemon cupcake with raspberry frosting had a nice light lemon flavor in the cake and it had an overall tartness to it. The frosting was light and creamy.

The vanilla cupcake was light and fluffy. The frosting was a little more solid than the raspberry frosting and was a delicious vanilla butter cream.

My favorite out of all three of the mini cupcakes was the chocolate with raspberry frosting. The cupcake was moist and had a nice chocolate flavor to it. The frosting was again the light raspberry frosting that was on the lemon cupcake, but the combination of the moist chocolate cupcake and the light frosting made the experience reminiscent of eating a truffle from a fine chocolatier.

I could have eaten so many of these tiny cupcakes and I'm glad that I had saved the chocolate one for last. The amount of frosting on top of each one of them was the perfect amount to complement the cupcake. One of my pet peeves with cupcakes is having an obnoxious amount of frosting. It is often enough to simply put enough on that will complement, while not overwhelming. However, there are also times when I do want a lot of frosting, so perhaps it just depends on the day and the cupcake. Tulip Cupcakery's cupcakes do not need a lot of frosting and I'm glad that they simply put enough to highlight the flavors.

Tulips Cupcakery's cupcakes are available at Kamasouptra in the Portland Public Market and other locations around Portland. Check out their website for more information.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Aurora Provisions- Memorial Day

I have to admit, I am a gigantic fan of the complicated cupcake. However, there are days when you just want a simple and really effing good cupcake. Thankfully Aurora Provisions was able to provide that simple, yet fantastic tasting cupcake for the Memorial Day weekend. I love when food is decorated for holidays, so the patriot sugar sprinkles and flag were the perfect finishing touches to the basic chocolate and vanilla butter cream frosting cupcake.

This is a really embarrassing fact that I have to share, but I had never been into Aurora Provisions before the other day when I was on my cupcake mission. I had a general idea as to what they have there, since I have a few friends who currently work there or who have worked there, but I had unfortunately not made the trip in to see for myself. I have a cupcake tipster who informed me that they had cupcakes there that day, since they don't always have cupcakes available and they often sell out quite fast when they do.

I am so glad that my tipster let me know they had cupcakes there that day, since it really was the best basic cupcake I have had in a while. The butter cream frosting was really light and not too sweet. The flavor for the frosting was spot on to complement the chocolate cupcake. The sugar sprinkles gave it a fantastic crunch and obvious visual appeal. The cake aspect itself was very moist and had a rich chocolate flavor to it. I could have eaten either the cupcake portion or the frosting by themselves, but together they were even more delicious and neither flavor overwhelmed the other. It says a lot about a cupcake if separately you could eat the frosting AND the cake. Some cupcakes I think it would be better without the frosting or the frosting is much better than the cupcake. That is a phenomenon that occurs more often than I would like.

My friend Meghan came with me and also enjoyed her own chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting. The first picture doesn't really give justice to how large these cupcakes actually are, but this one does. Meghan's facial expression is communicating: "How do I even start eating this massive cupcake!"

Thankfully, neither one of us minds getting frosting on our faces and we are both the kind of good friend who will let the other know when we have missed a spot with our napkin, as Meghan let me know...

Aurora Provisions has much more than delicious baked goods and I look forward to my next visit in to try something else. They are located in the West End, at 64 Pine Street. Check out their website for more information:

Monday, May 9, 2011

Scratch Bakery

This picture I feel really falls under the food porn category. Last week a friend of my posted on her Facebook page a picture of a banana cream cupcake that she had bought at Scratch, mentioning how amazing it was. Since I was in desperate need of a study break, I thought it would be nice to take the trip over to South Portland and see for myself how amazing this cupcake was.

I had heard previously about how good the cupcakes are at Scratch, specifically from fellow Portland food blogger Kate. I have had some of their other delicious desserts in the past, due to the fact that there were no cupcakes available on the days that I had made it in. All of their desserts are a safe bet if you are in need of a delicious treat.

My brain is a little fried from studying, so I am going to get straight to the point. This cupcake was definitely amazing and in contention for the best cupcake in the Portland area. The frosting wasn't so much frosting as it was a whipped cream cloud placed on top of the cupcake. It tasted exactly like homemade whipped cream that my mom makes every year at Christmas. In the middle of the cupcake there was pudding, which made the cake portion even more moist than it already was and added another delicious dimension to the cupcake. There were also little pieces of banana within the pudding and on top of the frosting.

I wish that I had bought more than one and justified my purchase of two by saying I would eat the second cupcake the next day, but then I would have totally eaten two in a row instead. That is how delicious this cupcake is; it results in a total breakdown of self control. It had the perfect amount of sweetness to it, not an overwhelming sweetness like some cupcakes have (ahem...Hannaford...Starbucks...)

Since my prior best cupcake in Portland is currently unavailable, due to a hiatus on cupcakery from Cupcake Cha Cha (however I think she still does special orders), it would be safe to say that Scratch's banana cream cupcake is currently the best cupcake in Portland. I love a moist cupcake, frosting that is not too sweet and quirky additions to the cupcake that distinguish it from the ordinary. Scratch Bakery is able to deliver all three with this cupcake.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dairy Corner

The Dairy Corner has quickly replaced my prior favorite ice cream shop, Beals. It is in Scarborough on the way to Pine Point beach. Pine Point is my favorite beach in the Portland area. I love the sand, I love the waves and I love that I can peer down the beach to see Old Orchard Beach, but not have to go all the way down there to deal with the craziness. Also, there are usually not that many people at Pine Point in comparison to Old Orchard. One additional benefit for Pine Point is that the Dairy Corner is conveniently located on the way to the beach, which makes it the beach that I have to go to when I have the need for some sand and sun.

The Dairy Corner has, hands down, the best soft serve I have ever had. Some ice cream shops have soft serve that is just too watery or has weird little chunks in it, but the Dairy Corner's is perfection. It has just the right amount of creaminess to it. They have a weekly special soft serve flavor, which is what I normally have. Some of my favorite flavors last summer were banana and strawberry. This week the flavor was butter pecan, which I wasn't quite sure that I would like. I've never been a fan of that flavor, so I decided that I would go with the classic vanilla/chocolate twist with rainbow sprinkles. I always have to have the sprinkles and honestly you can never go wrong with vanilla soft serve. I asked the woman who sold me my ice cream what next week's flavor will be and it will be Peanut Butter. I'm definitely making a trip down to Scarborough to try that one and take another walk at Pine Point.