Feb 032009

Sunday afternoon, we decided to try a semi-new cupcake specialty shop called CoCo’s. Now, keeping in mind that I reside in Pittsburgh (which, for those of you who are unaware, is not exactly a mecca for cupcake couture), I did not hold my hopes so high and loose that they’d soar away through the atmosphere, taking with them a little part of my heart and childlike wonder. Rather, I kept them ground level, tied to a fire hydrant. Because again, this is Pittsburgh. We have tried our illustrious city’s  other OMG-Look-We-Bake-Gourmet-Cups-Of-Cake called Dozen two or three times, and while their selection of frosting is creative and worth the inflation, the cake part is always dry and reminiscent of a school cafeteria dessert tray at 3pm. The last time Henry brought some home, one went missing; I later found it moonlighting as a saliva sucker at a dentist’s office. But their cupcakes are well-portioned. Dry, but bigger than your dominatrix’s fist!

“Maybe CoCo’s will be better,” I hoped, urging Henry not to give up after he made the twenty-eighth wrong turn (Professional Driver, who now?

). When Henry frowned beneath his bristing ‘stache, I added, “The website says that they use FINE INGREDIENTS.” But really, I knew deep down that this here CoCo would have had to swim across to the Amazon and pluck vanilla beans from the one and only Jack’s stalk and then have Jesus Christ bleed out in her sack of cocoa for it to mean much to Henry.

After road raging upon a poor old man from Wisconsin (you’d be a bad driver too if you had a cheese curd trampoline sealing your anus), Henry found a parking spot. I stayed in the car with Chooch, who chanted, “Cupcake. Cupcake. Cupcake. Pee asshole cupcake? Mommy asshole cupcake? What song is this?” over and over. Several minutes later, Henry was plopping a non-descript paper bag in my lap and growled, “There’s $10 worth of cupcakes.”

I peered inside the bag and at first saw nothing. Then, after some efficient maneuvering of tissue paper, I saw them. Four tiny pucks of ganache. I pulled one out. It felt dense and I was angry that the ganache ran over the paper cup. Mama doesn’t like messes. Immediately, my fingers were attacked by melting chocolate and I began sweating.

Chooch and I took a bite simultaneously. Now, Chooch’s barely three-years-old palate is about as refined as that of an ass-licking dog; he eats food off the floor.  So when he breathed, “Oh, it’s so good!” and, in tandem, I said, “Um, ew,” Henry took my word over Chooch’s. And then Chooch promptly started choking because these sons of bitches were drier than a nun’s snatch. You know how sometimes you’re eating corn bread, maybe it’s a day old, maybe you got it out of the dumpster behind that Mexican restaurant, because look, the economy is affecting us all, OK??? And now say you’re eating this cornbread like it’s fucking Manna from heaven and you just survived the motherfucking Apocalypse. You are eating the FUCK out of this shitty, rock-hard, stale as shit corn bread and then, uh-oh, you’re choking like the first time you drank up that trannie’s bitter sex jam.

Then now you know what it’s like to eat a CoCo’s cupcake. And believe me, you would be begging for a Dixie cup of that sex jam to wash it down.

NOW! To be fair, because I always like  to be fair, perhaps they were getting ready to close and Henry bought the last four cupcakes that would generally be used as pigeon chow, hobo deterrent, mother-in-law killing devices. Maybe they were too caught up in their collective “Holy Shit, Superbowl!!” fingerbanging session that they left the cupcakes in the oven too long.

I do not know. But I can tell you that there was no difference in my very scientific moisture-reading in the vanilla as opposed to the chocolate.

The ganache? It was decent. The little fondant shape thingie that was plopped atop each crown like a Crayola-happy turd? Probably that was meant to be a sweet touch.

It made me think of Play-Doh.

Here is Henry’s review:

“What the hell? It’s like, sucking all the saliva out of my mouth. Oh fuck, is Chooch choking? Oh shit, I’M choking! This chocolate one tastes like the other ones — yucky.” [I just included that because I don’t thnk Henry has ever said “yucky” before.] “Wait, I know what these taste like. Stale Tasty Cakes! These are nothing more than overpriced, out of date Tasty Cakes.” But without all the fluffy white, processed guts. You know, the best part.

And from there, he was on a warpath, a warpath lined with delicate cups of cake and dollops of fluffy frosting made by angel kisses and vintage porn. “I’m sorry, but I can’t believe this place is succeeding. You know what? I’m going to bake my own cupcakes and I’ll only charge $2.00 for them. $2.50 for these dry-ass cupcakes…” and he mumbled like that the whole way home, in that strange recipe-speak that I never did quite understand but I imagine it’s how Alton Brown and Bobby Flay talk during poker games.

I want him to call his cupcake shack Hank’s Dirty ManCakes. We’ll make it look like a miniature truck stop, and each cupcake will have bushy moustaches and be named after ’70s porn stars. And then on Sundays he will serve soup as well, so I can finally have my fucking souperie.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue my search for the best cupcake in the universe. If I was iCarly, I would give a shout out on my webcast and all my little teenage viewers would fucking trip over themselves to send me boxes of their local favorites. And then perhaps someone would even send me a smorgasbord of those famous Sprinkles cupcakes, at which point I will understand how Katie Holmes finds the will to stay married to Tom Cruise.  But I am not a Nickelodeon teen sensation, so I must seek other means. Such as, bundling Janna in a parka and sending her off through the tundra to bring me samples herself. I will even give her a little water bottle.

Oh boy, what should I review next.

  30 Responses to “Cupcakes: An Honest Review”

  1. Apparently Sprinkles is coming soon to Washington DC. If they do Ill find you one and bring it to Pittsburgh for you somehow!

    Also this made me lol a lot, which hasnt happened much lately. This whole first trimester of pregnancy thing is a drag and I still have getting fat to look forward to!

    • OR! I can just come live with you guys until I taste each and every available flavor.

      I’m glad this made you laugh. Pregnancy has its ups and downs (wow, I bet NO WOMAN has ever had THAT insight before!). My favorite part was when I would have no parts in anything other than gummie candy for like, two weeks.

      I can’t wait to see you!

      • My current obsession is cereal. Mostly Life and Wheat Chex.

        I cant wait to see you either. Ill let you know next time were popping up in the area and make sure I have some time free for you!

  2. I just had to do my usual occasional pop-in and say OMG I LOVE YOUR WRITING. Seriously. I’m always here reading, I’m just a lazy bastard who doesn’t click over to comment, but I’m here and ye hopping bakery gods this made me laugh, I even read it out loud to Sem.

    You crack my shit UP, Erin!

    • I love you, Deb. :)

      Janna bought me two Fat Daddy’s last year for Christmas and I agree — they are AMAZING! I brought that up to Henry while we were bitching about CoCo’s, and he goes, “I wouldn’t know, you wouldn’t give me any, remember?” HAHA.

  3. P.S. There’s an Etsy shop called Fat Daddy’s or something like that which makes pretty freaking good cupcakes. They come in sort of jelly jars (but cupcake sized) and you nuke ’em and OMG…

    So, that’s a thought.

  4. This weekend after watching our third ep in a row of “Man vs. Food” (whereupon I said, “Okay, ENOUGH”), I wondered how someone gets paid to travel all over the country and eat.

    I would TOTALLY watch the Henry Mancakes show, with occasional guest reviewer Chooch. Everyman and his son.

    I only exclude you because I’m sure the Food Network crowd isn’t ready for all your stomach-turning (but colorful) sex metaphors ; )

    • It would be funny if Henry had a show. “Henry Cooks You Through the Recession” would be a good one, because that man, I swear. He can open up a cupboard, dump a bunch of ingredients into a pot, and suddenly we have dinner. Sure, it might only be a slight grade up from gruel, but sometimes it’s even a little tasty.

      • Tery has that ability too! I’ll sit there and do nothing all day until I’m too weak to move and then complain how hungry I am when she gets home. She can put together a three-course meal from powdered Jell-O and butt rub.

        I also like to joke that her reheated food is tastier than mine. She gets mildly annoyed by this, I think : )

  5. Please PLEASE send an excerpt of this into http://www.mcsweeneys.net/links/newfood/.

  6. Dude, we have a pretty good bakery around here that makes good cupcakes. At my canceled wedding, we were doing cupcakes instead of cake. When you put together the next game night and we come out, I’ll bring a dozen.

    P.S. – I could really taste that bitter sex jam!

    • If you brought me cupcakes, I would have to slap a friendship bracelet on your wrist. Seriously – cupcakes and wine, the best things anyone can bring me!

      I was thinking of having a game night in March/April but since basically any weekend is good for me, I decided I’d check with you guys first before I set a date because I really want you to come! And you guys can totally crash here. I don’t have a spare room, but I have a couch and a large chair/chaise lounger, which usually doubles as a guest bed because it’s so big. And I would make Henry cook breakfast!

      • As far as we’re concerned any weekend in March and early April works. We have stuff the weekends of April 17th and 24th. Aside from those, we can do any weekend with the quickness. We are there though, cupcakes and wine in hand!

  7. cupcakes are so overrated

    I’ll make you some. Some GOOD ones. And when you see how easy it is to make great, moist, light, delicious cupcakes, you will shit because you’ve paid any sort of money for them.

    Then we’ll bomb CoCo’s with feces

  8. I stand by the fact that there are no better cupcakes than homemade. This is a really good one-bowl recipe: http://tinyurl.com/b46d6s

    Yeah, it’s a Martha Stewart one, but it’s absolutely delicious. And I love the fact that there’s a link to a recipe for “white icing.” I don’t think I’ve ever asked for a color of icing on a cake when I was a kid…

  9. Oops, I was wrong, the recipe calls for two bowls. Looks like Chooch could help you sift the dry ingredients together as the first step.

  10. haha, you are so descriptive. And now I want cupcakes. But not those.

  11. So what’s my mission? Finding you good cupcakes in the wilderness? I’m on it. =D

    You and Henry could make a killing with a cupcake bakery/souperie. And there are government grants out there for small businesses! Pittsburgh is dying for good cupcakes, dammit.

    • Yes Janna. You are going to hike through the wilderness and find me a cupcake-bearing mammal.

      Henry makes good frosting! And I’m talking about the non-sexual kind. Those, his sexual frosting produces some good kids.

  12. ““Cupcake. Cupcake. Cupcake. Pee asshole cupcake? Mommy asshole cupcake? What song is this?””

    *cracking up*

    Shame on them for making subpar cupcakes that taste like baby shower gifts!

  13. A shitty cupcake can really ruin a day.

    I love this entry.

    I feel like I’m in a total cultural wasteland, because we barely have fucking BAKERIES (other than those that are part of grocery stores), much less places for just cupcakes.

    I did eat a bunch of freebie, passably good ones at that Little Black Dress Party, though, but I would never buy ’em myself, cause I’m too cheap to pay 3 bucks for one cupcake. I could MAKE a dozen for that (and I have)!

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