american cupcake: red, white, and…cookies n’ cream?

You know, I’ve been thinking a lot about my life philosophy lately, or a personal motto to live all of my days by. Call it a fifth-life crisis, if you will, but I’ve recently realized that I actually have no idea what I want to do with my life. Luckily, I’m not too worried, since this sudden realization sounds like a pretty common college-kid phenomenon in America…or at least one of those phases you go through when you’re still figuring yourself out.

Nevertheless, I thought it would be nice to at least have some type of positive motto guiding me as I journey on into the great unknown; and thus, to assuage some of my young adulthood fears, I decided the other day to turn to the one Ultimate Source of Knowledge and Wisdom, where all of the great histories, stories, quotes, and philosophies of mankind are archived and readily available: the Internet.

And in fact, I found a couple of life mottos and quotes that I really liked in only a matter of seconds (0.31 seconds to be exact). For example:

“Vision without action is a daydream, and action without vision is a nightmare. Your heart is free, have the courage to follow it.”


“Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.”


“There are two ways to be rich – make more or desire less.”

(I particularly like the third one, although I’m not quite sure who said it.)

However, I then went to Treasure Island’s flea market a few weekends ago and ran into a sign that Said. It. All. I had just found it: My Life Philosophy. In Pink:

Bingo. My life summed up in six words. (Okay, okay, so I know it’s not as deep or profound as the other three life motto’s, but I figured that it would serve as a great supplement to my real one).

And so there you have it – why, two Saturday afternoons ago, I found myself standing outside of American Cupcake (located on Union St.) even though I originally had planned to stop for nothing but the really, really, really amazing sales at the trendy boutiques lining the street. In fact, I even clearly remember that I was supposed to be on an all-cleansing “fruit diet” that day. But whatever. I was craving a cupcake, and you simply don’t go against your own life philosophy. That would be the biggest breach of integrity ever. And I don’t breach integrity.

Cupcakeries are wonderful sources of calm, tranquility, serenity, and refinement. They will probably replace etiquette classes relatively soon.

So what did I do? I went in, of course!

Pretty banner!

And wow! There were glowing purple lights inside! Not too bad, American Cupcake! (By the way, the cupcakery actually calls itself the “world’s first carnival lounge”…whatever that means).

And lights!

And, of course, I had to check out the menu:

The menu! Yay for the menu! Unfortunately, not all of the cupcake flavors are offered everyday, but I must say that many of them sound intriguing. Bubblegum, anyone? Animal Cracker? Pop Rocks and Pixie Stix? Very carnival-like, indeed!

To my delight, American Cupcake didn’t just sell cupcakes, but also had a wide selection of finger-licking comfort foods to appease the hungry – including a variety of PB&J sandwiches (nom!), pancakes and waffles, omelettes, chicken n’ waffles, burgers, fries, nachos, tacos, jalapeno-mango corn fritters (mmm), and – in case you suddenly felt guilty – salads. I was especially impressed with the eccentric eatery’s PB&J sandwich menu, which seemed quite appealing despite the somewhat outrageous prices.

But wait! That’s not all – for there was still the (dun dun dun):

Red Velvet Fried Chicken”

 Let me say that again.

That was the RED VELVET FRIED CHICKEN for you (in case you didn’t read it the first time).

I’m not joking.

What is this “Red Velvet Fried Chicken,” you ask? American Cupcake describes it as “three pieces of savory chicken soaked in red velvet cake batter, then deep fried in American Cupcake’s original red velvet breading and served with cream cheese mashed potatoes & cocoa-infused slaw.”

Yes, you read that right: Deep fried in red velvet breading.

Now, that’s what I call a regular artery-clogging, heart-stopping, deathly-but-oh-so-good last meal (and I say last for a reason). Serve this tummy-bursting dish with a platter of I-Hop’s infamous cheesecake pancakes and KFC’s double down sandwich, and you’ve got yourself a death wish. But hey, at least it’s delicious…right?

Well, maybe not so much when you’re dying from junk food-related heart diseases.

But sorry – that’s not the point. The point is that I wasn’t there for American Cupcake’s head-turning menu items (although I am sorely tempted to go back), but rather for the bistro’s namesake: the cupcakes.

Ladies and gentlemen, step right up! It’s what you’ve all been waiting for – the amaazzzinnnggg cupcakes!

And boy, were there dozens of cupcakes on display! There was little S’Mores in the corner, who, as the newest and youngest  member of the group, was still a little shy and hiding under a mound of slightly bronzed, fluffy marshmallow whip. Then, there was snazzy Choc Mint, who was obviously too cool for the circus ring – he was hanging in the front there with his trusted brother and long-time comrade, Choc PB (short for “Chocolate Peanut Butter,” his real name). And of course, we musn’t forget sweet Butterscotch and Vanilla –  American Cupcake’s designated sweethearts – dressed demurely in faded pastel colors and dusted with multicolored sprinkles.

Then, reigning above all, stood Red Velvet – the natural Queen Bee and most popular cupcake of the group. Personally, I must say that she’s my favorite – even though she can sometimes go overboard with the hairdo.

After much deciding, however, I decided to go with the underdog: Cookies N’ Cream, who, along with a ton of hair mousse, stylishly sported a black fedora made from an Oreo cookie. Pretty snazzy, if I do say so myself.

Yay! Cookies n’ Creme for the win!

Ready for your close-up?

Now, it was time for the ultimate test: taking a bite out of the little munchkin. Gomph!

Whoops, sorry for eating half of you.

Huh. Interesting.

The frosting was whipped, and therefore, very light – a big contrast to Sprinkle’s vanilla buttercream frosting, which tended to be a lot richer and heavier (which I like). It was also quite spongy and airy and felt kind of weird at first, since it kept sticking to the roof of my mouth instead of actually dissolving like it was supposed to. After a while, though, I grew accustomed to my little cupcake’s jazzy ‘do and didn’t mind too much – I suppose it served as a nice contrast to the denser cake underneath.

Nevertheless, I’m not gonna lie: the frosting was lacking quite a lot in flavor, and I often felt like I was consuming shaving cream instead of cupcake icing. Hmmm, not the best frosting ever – I think Sprinkle’s definitely beats American Cupcake on this one element.

Then, there was the cupcake itself. Hmm – moist, but also a bit dry. Batter-wise, it tasted about average, I would say; perhaps if I had gotten it when it was fresher, it would have been a little bit more luscious and mellow, rather than being a bit more on the crumbly side. The good news, though, was that it did in fact, taste like cookies n’ cream, like it was supposed to, and it certainly had more flavor than the frosting. However, I think the dryness did the most to make it a relatively “ordinary” cupcake, as opposed to an “extraordinary” one (like Sprinkle’s!).

Meh. Not that great either.


The Final Verdict:

Overall, I can’t say that I was super impressed by my $3 cupcake; it tasted more like an average cupcake you would buy in the grocery store than a supposedly gourmet pastry from a trendy patisserie. Nevertheless, I definitely was impressed at the cupcakery‘s ability to turn a simple cupcake shop into a funky, festive lounge that would be perfect for a weekend brunch with friends or a late afternoon treat.

Plus, the adorkable eatery definitely had some of the most whimsical, inventive treats that I have ever seen – including the “Mac ‘n Cheese Pops” (deep fried mac ‘n cheese on lollipop sticks, with buffalo-ranch, lava salt, and rosemary cotton candy) and “Triple Chocolate” peanut butter sandwiches with hot fudge, chocolate cake, and choc chips. Without a doubt, these eccentric concoctions definitely gives it an advantage over the more traditional bakeries and bistro’s lining the street (if you prefer this sort of casual, upbeat environment).

As to all of those delicious PB&J’s, cupcakes, and milkshakes just begging to be consumed  – um, can I say yes, please? Yummy cupcake or not, this party – or excuse me, carnival – is just getting started..and my tastebuds definitely want in. Plus, who knows? My life philosophy may just change to, “Keep calm and eat some Red Velvet Fried Chicken” after trying a bite of this appetizing dish instead.


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