3.26.2006

Saint Cupcake - A Completely Biased Review

Yesterday I ventured out to Saint Cupcake, Portland's first exclusive cupcake bakery (something Tones & Bepo should have done first!). Upon entering I was very very impressed, in fact, I was jealous. If I were to open a cupcake bakery it would have looked just like Saint Cupcake. Their color scheme (pink & brown), the polka dot molding, the frilly font and cute story of Saint Cupcake, and the aqua colored formica tables. Saint Cupcakes looks the part. They serve good coffee (stumptown) and very wisely offer bite-sized "dots" in addition to full sized cupcakes. Each day Saint Cupcakes offers up a different selection of flavors. I decided to try the three that sounded most interesting: Big Top (said to taste like a chocolate chip cookie & cupcake combined), Hot Fudge and Toasted Coconut Cream. I ate the Big Top first and was disappointed. The cake is just a simple vanilla cupcake, nowhere near as good as Magnolia's, with chocolate chips and a somewhat sour cream cheese frosting. Pretty, but not so tasty. Next I ate the Hot Fudge, which I was most excited about. I loved the frosting, it was perfectly hot fudge like - I have got to figure out how to make one of my own. But the cake was the same boring vanilla cake. I feel a cupcake called Hot Fudge should be all fudgey. It was pointed out to me that maybe it is supposed to be like a hot fudge Sunday, vanilla with hot fudge sauce, but if that is true the cake needs to taste more like vanilla ice cream and less like a boxed white cake. The last, and what had most potential, was the Toasted Coconut Cream cupcake. Great idea! As a matter of fact I'm going to start working up a recipe, because I love this idea. The cake is supposed to be vanilla toffee, but didn't taste any different than the boring vanilla of the others. The creamy frosting was good, but not coconuty enough, just sweet and creamy with some toasted coconut shreds on top. Overall I was very let down by Saint Cupcake. I was told by friends who'd visited before me that mine are better, but I thought they were just being good friends. Based on only the three flavors I tasted, I would have to agree that my cupcakes do indeed taste better. And I have no doubt that there are many, many, many cupcake bakers out there that are WAY better than me, I'm just having fun with baking. But it seems to me that an exclusively cupcake bakery should offer outstanding cupcakes. I should have been jealous of not just the look and feel of the place, but of their genius cupcakes as well. But I was underwhelmed and sad. Of course, that won't stop me from returning to Saint Cupcake and testing all of the flavors. Once I have done that I feel I can give a real review.

4 comments:

K8teebug said...

But is any cupcake as good as Magnolia's? Thanks for the review! i'm going to visit when I go to Portland in June.

Posy said...

No. When it comes to a vanilla cupcake or a vanilla butter cream there is absolutely NO reason to make any recipe other than Magnolia's! And you know, as much as I like to mess with recipes and make them my own, I don't dare touch the Magnolia Vanilla! The carrot cake I'll tinker with, but not the vanilla.

robyn said...

I completely second your review. While the shop is unbelievably cute their vanilla and/or yellow cake combos (toffee and big top) have a greasy crumb and a bland flavor. Their chocolate cupcake was tasty but nothing to write home about.

I was rather disappointed given that Seattle and San Fran have such great cupcake shop options. I guess I'll have to stick with homemade.

cupcake_taster said...

I have a friend who will be opening a very delicious cupcake bakery in the Spring in the Pearl District of Portland. Just you wait! I am an "official" taste tester and trust me, these are to die for!