Cupcake Quest series on Fork it over, Boston!
I stumbled on unexpected cupcakes yesterday! My mom took the commuter rail into Back Bay to meet up with my dad and go to the Sox game. Since I work nearby and was finishing up as her train was coming in, we met up and walked to Kenmore together. With some time to kill, we stopped by the cafe at the BU Barnes & Noble. There, in the pastry case, was a single red velvet cupcake (my weakness) and some vanilla bean cupcakes. At first I thought they were from Starbucks since the cafe sells Starbucks drinks, so I was prepared to ignore them. I've already quested to Starbucks, resulting in disappointment. On closer inspection, though, I saw that they were actually from The Cheesecake Factory. Wait, they bake stuff other than cheesecakes? I was intrigued. I'm generally not too enthusiastic about huge chains, but The Cheesecake Factory did manage to save an otherwise bad evening recently. Plus, chain or not, their cheesecakes are pretty reliably tasty, so maybe their other baked goods are also decent.
I snagged the last red velvet and a vanilla bean and carefully placed the package in my big bag, cradling it worriedly on the even-more-crowded-than-usual T ride home. At one point the package flipped over, but the cupcakes somehow survived almost completely intact. I let them thaw for a couple hours (I assume the pastry case at the cafe was refrigerated.)
Here's the red velvet, garnished with chocolate shavings:
And here's the vanilla bean, garnished with mini white chocolate chips:
Both had great cake-to-frosting ratios. The cake had the slightest bit of the refrigerated dense texture but retained the moisture pretty well. The red velvet had more flavor than almost any other red velvets I've tried so far. (Danish Pastry House might have been a little bit better, and it gets bonus points for not being an obnoxiously large chain.) Joel and I were both very impressed by the frosting, which was somewhere in between the airy/sugary type and the buttery/creamy type.
The Verdict: I'm not sure why you'd go to The Cheesecake Factory without the intention of getting cheesecake, but if you're in the mood for something different, these are worth it. Actually, I don't even know if these are available at The Cheesecake Factory. But if you find yourself in a B&N cafe that has these, go for it. Both were great, but I'd recommend the red velvet because it's one of the better ones I've had so far.