Fans of Willy Wonka or “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” may recall this as name of one of the characters from the story. For those who don’t have a clue, “Veruca” was the spoiled immature brat of a little girl whose rich parents gave her whatever she wants. This extended to the point that her father purchased “Wonka” candy bars by the case loads, and had workers at his factory open each one in search of the “golden ticket” to tour the Wonka factory.
The Bleeding Heart Bakery is doing its part to bring fame to the name “Veruca Salt”. It turns out that this has become one of the more popular cupcake flavors they offer.
Michele Garcia co-owner of Bleeding Heart Bakery has mentioned that when she takes this cupcake off the menu to make room for some other flavors she gets request for it. Since I’ve tried it I have to say to Michele that the “Veruca Salt” cupcake deserves a regular place on the menu.
If you’ve been following this blog you know that I typically cannot pass by a display of cookies without giving it close inspection. In my recent venturing into the Bleeding Heart Bakery (Roscoe Village neighborhood in Chicago location) the first thing that got my attention was the cookies in the display case. The peanut butter cookie was the selection of the day.
Now for those of you not familiar with Bleeding Heart Bakery it’s one of the few organic bakeries in the city of Chicago. If you’re visiting either of their two locations (other location is in Oak Park, IL) you might get the chance to see some actual Food Network Challenge champions. That’s right, Michelle & Vinny Garcia, the owners were winners on an Extreme Wedding Cake Challenge episode that aired recently.
The brioche is an extremely versatile platform for producing some of the most interesting and delicious bake goods. I discovered the St. Tropez cake recently at Fritz Pastry.
This is a brioche that has been sliced into two halves. Sandwiched between the two halves you find vanilla custard and butter cream. If you are at Fritz Pastry you have to try this.
For anyone following this blog they must be thinking that I have cupcake on the brain. As it turns out this morning I went to Fritz Pastry and decided that I wanted something very basic for breakfast.
Scanning the baker’s rack I knew I found my love of the day. The basic butter croissant. Well there’s actually nothing basic about this. Warm it ever so slightly and it melts in your mouth.
OK, I know it was so cruel of me to mention the cheesecake cupcakes available at Molly’s Cupcakes without posting the photo. So here it is. To be more specific Molly’s Cupcakes will have a specially featured flavor for a limited time. On my visit the flavor was blueberry cheesecake.
When I saw it I knew without asking what flavor it was. The blueberries, graham cracker crust crumble, and cheesecake filling was all in plain view. My eyes were seeing a cupcake. My mouth was tasting cheesecake.
Venturing along the Clark Street corridor in Chicago I found a slightly more sophisticated approach to cupcakes at Molly’s Cupcakes. This is a place that goes to great effort to take some other dessert favorites and package them in the form of a cupcake. On my visit they happened to have a cheesecake cupcake with filling, graham cracker crust, and blueberries.
Now I have to give them a significant score for presentation, and taste with their mixed berry cupcake complete with raspberry blueberry filling.
If you don’t find that they have on hand something to fit you fancy you can even order a custom cupcake.
Recently I had the privilege of tasting something that has ties to Latin culture. This was a mini cupcake that was chocolate with a touch of cinnamon. The deep dark color was matched by the rich chocolate flavor.
This as a special treat that I got on a recent visit to the Angel Food Bakery. Also, if you are a hot chocolate fan you have to be sure to try theirs.
Now there are some of you out there that have suffered from what I will call “icing rationing” on your cupcakes. This is a terrible thing for a person who enjoys the rich creamy icing more than the cake. You know who you are. You’re the people that consider the cake merely an icing pedestal.
Sensational Bites is where you should do your cupcake shopping. All of the cupcakes I saw there were architecturally impressive. This was due to how they all seem to be able to support the weight of the generous amount of icing on top. In addition to different shapes and colors you will also have your choice of flavors.
At the Angel Food Bakery they produce a wide assortment of specialty cupcakes. Depending on the day and week you stop by you can find one of the many popular cake flavors reproduced as a cupcake. The Red Velvet cupcake is one that so popular that they seem to have it available more often than not.
The butter cream icing topped off by the little red candies have you tasting red velvet cake before your first bite.
Carrot Cake is another classic flavor you can get in cupcake form. The icing is the feature of this favorite. Recently I watched the carrot cake cupcakes literally walk out with each customer that came in while I was having lunch.
Nostalgia is a strong longing for things from the past. Food nostalgia is when that longing takes our minds back to the times of some simple but unique taste experiences. Many of these are times from our childhood where we ate things with strange names. An example of is the “MoonPie”. This brain child of the Chattanooga Baking Company has been copied by many, but there’s nothing with a taste like the original.
On my travels around town I came across the Angel Food Bakery and Stephanie Samuels. As I get older I’m starting to notice that my memory works in a delayed fashion. Once I met her and we spoke I realized that I recognized Stephanie from her appearance on the Food Network Challenge. I was already hooked by her bake shop and the retro theme using toy ovens as a key part of the decor. As I sat and ate my lunch I was entranced by the display of cupcakes.
Looking at the colorful hand-iced cupcakes reminded me of the feeling I had as a kid when I opened a new box of Crayola Crayons. All of the colors so clean, neat, and perfect made it hard for me to choose which one I wanted to use first. Looking at the cupcakes was a two-edge sword. I didn’t know which one I wanted to photograph and taste first.