Having my (cup)cake, eating it too

I’m sure most everyone is aware of the cupcake craze that’s swept the American food industry. Cupcakes are the new cool kids, and boutique cupcake stores can be found in literally any town or city.

Does that make me any less interested in sampling as many delicious cupcakes as I can. Hell no.

I’ve been hearing about the wonder that is Robicelli’s for some time now. A rotation of cupcakes with flavors like Rue McClanahan and Butterbeer? Whose interest (and taste buds) wouldn’t be piqued? So when I happened to read last Friday that Robicelli’s had started stocking at Joe in Grand Central Station–aka the very location where I happened to be getting dinner that evening–I knew it was fate.

You met my youngest sister, Baby Chip, last time. Well, my dinner date this particular evening happened to be my other sister–Middle Chip.

Middle Chip is my partner in baked good crime. If I ever want to try a new recipe, however outlandish or possibly disastrous, she’s my go-to. And if I’m in need of company to sample the various sweet retail establishments New York has to offer? Done and done. And sure enough, when I relayed to her my Robicelli’s discovery, she was 100 percent on board.

After our passably tasty yet slightly disappointing pizza dinner (sigh, meatless Fridays), we ventured into the Graybar Passage in Grand Central Station and through the doors of Joe. And there they were! The infamous Robicelli’s cupcakes in all of their piped-icing finery, waiting for me to give one of them a home (…in my belleh). Now, for those who don’t know how Robicelli’s works, they pick four different cupcake flavors (out of over 100) for each delivery day–Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. (Not all of the bakeries or storefronts they supply to get a shipment each delivery day, so make sure to check the location availability!) And on this particular Friday, the rotation was…

The Bronx Zoo Egyptian Cobra:  Orange cardamom cake, Egyptian rice pudding buttercream, brown butter spiced rice crispies
Chocolate Cheerwine:  Chocolate Cheerwine cake, chocolate buttercream, Cheerwine ganche, Cheerwine simmered dried cherries
The Liddabit:  Chocolate cake, nougat-salted caramel buttercream, peanuts, salted caramel & ganache drizzles
Southern Belle:  Banana bourbon cake, vanilla buttercream, brown butter and bourbon glazed pecans

Iiiiiiiiiiiiii know.

So, which cake masterpiece made the final cut?

The Liddabit, in all its chocolate-y, nougat-y, caramel-y glory.

After Middle Chip and I finally found a table at which to park ourselves (not an easy task during rush hour in Grand Central), I dug in. And let me tell you–the hype was not hype. It was truth, my friends! Truth! Even though it was around 6 pm at this point, the cupcake tasted supremely fresh. The cake was moist, not dry or crumbly, and the buttercream tasted as though it had been piped on just seconds before I plucked it out of the display case (but wasn’t so soft that it didn’t hold its shape). The few nuts on top added a nice crunch, and the ganache and caramel drizzles mirrored the sweet/salty thing the chocolate cake and salted caramel frosting had going on.

Gone. No, I didn’t scrape the cupcake wrapper. I swear.

All in all, exactly the kind of cupcake-eating experience you want to have before you take a two-hour train journey. Then again, I recommend cupcake consumption as preparation for pretty much any life experience, so maybe take what I say with a grain of salt(ed caramel).

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