As recent winner of the Food Network show “Cupcake Wars” one would expect amazing things from Princeton’s own “House of Cupcakes,” but, quite frankly, the offerings are somewhat disappointing.
On each episode of Cupcake Wars four specialty bakers face off in three different kinds of challenges to become the winner of cash and exposure in a magazine, or at a big event happening at the time. On a February episode of the show the owner of Princeton’s House of Cupcakes breezed through the challenges, winning with his immense creativity in the last challenge where the two teams left had to make hundreds of cupcakes and come up with a display concept.
Coming from all around the country, the bakers involved in the competition are considered to be prestigious. The judges are difficult and so are the challenges in which competitors are expected to come up with flavors and cupcake concepts and make them in short amounts of time.
When I arrived at the House of Cupcakes I expected the shop to be more elaborate. It was pretty regular and modestly decorated. The atmosphere was charming and the service was good. However, when it came to the actual cupcakes, the food network told a different story than what I experienced.
The website states the 23 different flavors that the shop has available for purchase. However, when I was selecting which one I wanted to try there were only 11 different types for me to choose from. Now I know making 23 different kinds of cupcakes in stock is time consuming but it’s misleading to say that they’re all always available instead of just seasonally or some of the time.
The prices are reasonable. They charge $11.25 for a half dozen, $22.50 for a dozen cupcakes and they‘re sold individually for $2.25 each. However, I expected more for my money.
I chose the “candy cup” flavor to try first. It’s a vanilla cupcake with your choice or either vanilla or chocolate frosting topped with chocolate candies. The treat was good but not fantastic. It was definitely better than something made from a box or a super market, but it didn’t quite live up to what I thought a winner would taste like. I’m glad I only got one instead of the half dozen that I planned on getting.
“I went there and got the peanut butter cup [cupcake]” says Liz Bruno a second year Communications major at Mercer. “It tasted just like a regular chocolate cupcake with peanut butter cups on top, and they weren’t broken up into small enough pieces. They were big and bulky sitting on top of the cupcake. It just wasn’t that good. I thought it’d be a lot better,” she added.
Even the decorating looked far better on TV. I’m glad we have a local cupcake bakery, but disappointed that they don’t necessarily live up to their Cupcake Wars champion honors.