I blame this on Nate of the House of Annie blog.
After returning from my Los Angeles vacation, where I made the rounds of bakeries, I thought I was done with nibbling on cupcakes. At least for a little while.
But then Nate had to tell me that one of my favorite South Bay bakeries had started making cupcakes.
Darn him. Darn him.
So, of course, I had to try them. Calories be damned.
Off I went to Sugar Butter Flour’s original location in Sunnyvale (there’s a second one in Campbell now, too). Last year when I was still writing for the San Jose Mercury News’ food section, I had picked Sugar Butter Flour’s pastry chef-partner, Irit Ishai, as one of the top pastry chefs in the South Bay. Consider her resume: Former pastry chef at Sent Sovi in Saratoga under then-Executive Chef David Kinch; former pastry chef of Kinch’s subsequent restaurant, Manresa in Los Gatos; and an apprentice at Fleur de Cocoa in Los Gatos, owned by Pastry Chef Pascal Janvier, whom I also singled out in that same story as a stellar pastry chef.
Sugar Butter Flour’s cupcakes are $3 each. I picked one of each available that day to cart home: a strawberry-filled vanilla cupcake, a marble cupcake topped with chocolate buttercream, a chocolate cupcake with a white squiggle a la Hostess, and a peanut butter-filled chocolate cupcake with peanut butter buttercream.
Close your eyes and take a bite of the vanilla cupcake, and you’ll think you’re enjoying classic wedding cake. The cake was dense, and fairly moist. The jam center, though sweet, had the distinct taste of strawberries. Thankfully, the fluffy buttercream was not sugary at all. In fact, it really tasted of butter, a nice change from most over-the-top frostings.
The marble cupcake was OK, but didn’t do a whole lot for me. The chocolate cupcake had a really moist crumb, and a thin layer of ganache on top. Some might want a thicker spread of ganache. But for those of you who are more into good cake than a giant blob of frosting, this cupcake’s for you.
The peanut butter-chocolate cupcake was downright awesome. The chocolate cake is super-duper moist, almost like devil’s food. The fluffy peanut butter buttercream is so wonderfully creamy smooth that I could happily eat a bowl of the stuff. Hidden in the center is a peanut butter filling, with a thicker texture and a saltier taste. This is one superb cupcake, especially if you love peanut butter.
I can’t believe I just tried four more cupcakes.
I’d say, “Darn you, Nate.” But I think I’ll just say, “thank you” instead.