Photos by Ayeyi Aboagye
While I have a pretty small sweet tooth, I was eager to try out Crushcakes & Café’s main attraction. Its cupcake display case is the first thing you see when you enter, and I was craving a treat that I wouldn’t normally allow myself. In fact, I decided to make it a special occasion and ordered a variety of cupcakes to bring back to my roommates and sample them together. I rated each cupcake on a scale from 1 to 10 in the categories of taste, presentation and consistency, then averaged the numbers for a final score.
First I reviewed the Half Baked cupcake. According to the Crushcakes & Café Facebook page, it is a “vanilla cake filled with homemade cookie dough topped with caramel chocolate chip frosting!” The tantalizing presentation, with the gooey caramel drizzle and the chocolate chip detail, was the main reason it was selected from the display case. Therefore, its presentation deserves a 10. It earned a 9.5 for consistency; the cookie dough center gave it the moist, soft quality that is most desirable in a cupcake. Lastly, its taste deserved a 9. Overall, the rich and decadent caramel, chocolate and cookie dough elements mixed well together to create a balanced, harmonious cupcake. Final score: 95 percent.
Next I tried Chocolate Bliss; the menu’s description promised “rich chocolate cake topped with creamy vanilla bean frosting.” I gave the classic yet uninspired presentation an 8 for its understated simplicity. I would also describe the taste in the same vein; simple flavors of chocolate and vanilla, with nothing unexpected. Taste earned a 7. Lastly, I did not find the same harmony of consistency that I found in Half Baked. The center was perfectly moist, but the outer layer of the cake was dry. For this category, I gave it a 6. Overall, I thought this cupcake was hardly better than what my elementary school classmates would bring to school for their birthdays. If you’re going to a place that specializes in cupcakes and charges $3 each, I’d choose something more adventurous. Final score: 70 percent.
However, sometimes understated is okay; that’s what I liked about the Cool Vanilla Bean cupcake. While it was only vanilla cake with vanilla frosting and a dash of white sprinkles on top, its minimalism was conservatively decadent. I gave its taste a 10 because I loved the warm, comforting smell of vanilla that wafted from the frosting. The unpretentious presentation was a 7, while the consistency earned a perfect 10: not too moist, and certainly not dry and crumbling. Final Score: 90 percent.
Lastly, I sampled the Peace Cake. It stood apart from the others because it had psychedelic, colorful frosting and sprinkles. Though the presentation was unique, I found it unsophisticated and childish and only worth a 5. I gave the taste a 6 because it reminded me of typical, average birthday cake. Finally, I gave the consistency a 7 because although the cake itself was soft, the sprinkles added an unwanted chalky crunchiness. Final score: 60 percent.
Overall, Crushcakes and Café satisfied my already easy-to-please sweet tooth. However, with some less-than-exciting flavors and slightly high prices, I don’t think this crush will last long with this critic.