Hey, dieters? You might wanna skip this week’s column. No, really. You’ll thank me.
It’s a slow time in geekdom for me, geeky ones. You see, I’m eyes-deep in a number of projects — including a short story collection that I’ve got to hand in to a publisher soon — so I haven’t had a lot of time to finish any books or view any more ten thousand year old anime series. Or to go see the new X-Men or Star Trek movies—the latter of which hasn’t technically come out yet as of the writing of this column, but I won’t have time to see it when it does, so I’m not exactly cheating.
When you write a bi-monthly column about geeky things, this situation can be problematic.
So this issue I decided to write about cupcakes. Hey, who said you can only geek out about space ships and dragons? Not, like, half of my geeky friends who are into making things like blueberry vinaigrette dressing from scratch. Or for that matter, any D&D or WoW group who can’t do a campaign or raid without some homemade muffins.
Thing is, I didn’t like cupcakes very much until I went to So Cupcake for the very first time. To me, they’d always been little more than dry cake-y vehicles for frosting that came in two styles: bland or overly-sugary. The fact that most bakeries never tried to disguise this fact only added to my annoyance. So when a friend told me to pay a visit, I was skeptical.
And then, I tried three of their mini cupcakes: So High the Moon Lemon, Hanky Panky Red Velvet and Studmuffin Blueberry.
O. M. G.
To say I food-geeked out would be an understatement. These were seriously the best cupcakes I have ever tried — and yes, I’ve gone to the Magnolia Bakery in New York City (of Sex and the City fame). The frosting was subtle and not too sugary, the cake rich and moist, and the combination stunning — especially on the blueberry cupcake, which more closely resembled a lightly frosted blueberry muffin. Typical grocery store cupcakes these weren’t, or typical bakery cupcakes, either.
I don’t know if So Cupcake’s owners Kevin and Natalie Jensen would identify as geeks, but there’s something downright geeky about their delicious desserts, from the memorable and G-rated cheeky names to the obvious attention they devote to each and every cupcake. The icing isn’t slapdashed on, nor is it coiled on top of the cupcake with precision only machines can manage. Rather, it’s neatly and artistically placed and decorated.
And oh, the decorations! Visiting the bakery on a regular day, you might find what I call a cupcake cake on display. Basically, these are cakes in the shape of gigantic cupcakes with a number of whimsical (and often made-to-order) decorations, such as one recent creation that included pink flowers crafted from sugar. They’ve also made cupcake cakes for weddings (decorated with yellow frosting roses), baby showers and, of course, birthdays that are just as glorious. And the specialty cupcakes! The photo gallery on So Cupcake’s Web site—which you should all totally visit, by the way—includes cupcakes designed to look like ladybugs, snowmen, Thanksgiving turkeys, even cherubic faces. The only real regret I’d have about eating one of these designer confections would be marring the artistry.
Along with stellar taste and design and a store interior that’s so fabulous I’m surprised a bunch of gay men didn’t design it, what really thrills me about So Cupcake is the bakery’s back story. The Jensens’ daughter, Celina, has cerebral palsy. Like several children living with serious medical conditions and illnesses, she had one of her wishes granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. And what was that wish? To visit the New York City studio of Chef Emeril Lagasse’s cooking show. Some kids have heroes who are athletes, celebrities or super star musicians or performers. And that’s fine. Heck, I idolized the New Kids on the Block when I was about Celina’s age (you never, ever read that, by the way). But I think it’s beyond geeky-cool that Celina’s hero is a chef, and her passion is cooking and watching people cook on the Food Network.
Now that’s a girl after my own heart.
As the Jensens tell it, Celina’s passion for cooking and her enthusiasm for the tasty cupcakes she ate while in the Big Apple were the reasons the family started So Cupcake in 2008. For me, that’s the icing on this particularly delicious confection of a bakery. So food geeks, when you’re done with my column this issue, drive, walk, bike or bus yourselves on down to 3939 S. Highland Dr. and try one of the best cupcakes you’ll ever taste.
And since I know that a bunch of you dieting geeks did not heed the warning at the beginning of this column, rest assured: the store offers mini-cupcakes so you can have your sugar rush without endangering your waistline. Hint: Even though they’re all “so delicious,” I recommend anything chocolate.
Visit So Cupcake online at socupcake.com.