It was love at first bite when I tasted Trophy’s Triple Chocolate cupcake a couple years ago, and from then on I became a Trophy fan for life. As such, I’ve never been adventurous enough to step out of my comfort zone and order other flavors (aside from my second fav, Red Velvet). Nor have I really ventured outside of Trophy to get gourmet cupcakes for that matter (save for maybe two exceptions as far as I can recall). When I like something, I stick to it.
This past weekend I had the chance to explore some of West Seattle and ended up at Cupcake Royale, another popular cupcakery/cafe, to do some reading. Initially, I felt like a guilty, cupcake hypocrite for being there (it would appear I was betraying my Trophy allegiance!), but then my adventurous side kicked in and told me that I should expand my cupcake horizons. In fact, I’d actually tasted some of the Cupcake Royale lineup before (vanilla with choco frosting and even the famous once-a-year Deathcake Royale), courtesy of my co-workers, and had favorable impressions of them; however, Trophy was still the clear winner in my mind…
Well there I was, faced with a decision: which flavor to choose? I had to pick something that could provide more wow factor than the plain vanilla or chocolate cupcakes I’d sampled before. Two flavors caught my eye: Red Velvet and Salted Caramel. Red Velvet was a comfort choice, a safe choice; I’d fallen for the flavor a couple years ago and enjoy it in any cake form, so I knew I’d probably like this one. Then I turned to the Salted Caramel. Now I’m not a big fan of caramel; in fact it’s only on rare occasions that I’ll eat it (specifically, in a Twix bar, swirled in ribbons into Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream, or as in *drool* Dahlia Lounge’s creme caramel), but at that moment my inner gumption kicked in. “I’ll have the Salted Caramel.”
I walked back to my table, pink plate in hand. Did I make the right choice? Hmm, well it certainly looked delicious. Cutting the cupcake into shareable portions, I took my first bite. Moist. Very moist. Deliciously moist. Moister than Trophy? Ohh yum.
Then the caramel frosting kicked in – not completely what I was expecting, but I liked it. It wasn’t like the caramel I’m used to – that overly sweet, stuck-to-your-teeth, chewy stuff – but rather more refined, sophisticated…buttery. Mmmm. Caramel? Not a fan. Caramel frosting? Yes, please. Lastly, my taste buds got a hint of the chocolate curls and fleur de sel (salt); what a pleasant surprise and a wonderful contrast to the sweet buttercream caramel! But my tongue could not get over that delicious, moist, chocolate cake…
Wow. I could eat this again. I WOULD eat this again.
Now two days later, I’m still thinking about that Salted Caramel. I can’t say for certain that I’d choose it over Trophy’s Triple Chocolate, but it is definitely up there in my elite cupcake league. Also, my cupcake favoritism isn’t so one-sided anymore; I admit that Cupcake Royale has won over a little bit of my heart. And though I don’t have a direct comparison on Trophy vs. Cupcake Royale (perhaps I’ll have to make this a battle of the Red Velvet), I realize after thinking about things more, that I prefer Trophy frosting to Cupcake Royale’s (despite how delicious that caramel buttercream was) and Cupcake Royale’s cake (omg, moist!) to Trophy’s – marry the two and I think you’d have THE perfect cupcake….Trophy Royale anyone?
ETA: After perusing the Cupcake Royale website, I found out that the Salted Caramel was created in honor of President Obama’s love for Fran’s salted caramels – hmm, a cupcake worthy of the president must indeed be special : )