Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Cupcake review: Expensive but delicious and beautiful strawberry and chocolate cupcakes at Chocolate Bar, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai

I'm catching up on my Dubai cupcake posts. One of the places I visited was Alison Nelson's Chocolate Bar, a New York-based restaurant focused on, yes, chocolate. I haven't been in New York in many years so I can't say exactly how it compares, but I plan to pay them a visit to find out. I went to the Mall of the Emirates location, and like most of the mall cupcake bakeries I found in Dubai, this was a sit down, eat your cupcake with silverware type of place. I bought 2 cupcakes for 25 dirhams each ($6.80 each), which is pricey no matter where you are, but I went with it.

Everything was very carefully designed to match their color scheme and aesthetic, and even the sugar packets were color coordinated and branded. The cupcakes arrived without wrappers, ready to eat, but again, these were big and a little imposing; I would have felt weird picking one up and biting into it. Instead, I sliced each in half to photograph their insides. I started with the strawberry, whose frosting and cake color would've made me think it was raspberry. This was one of the best strawberry cupcakes I've ever had. It tasted like strawberry, the fruit, not the fake strawberry flavor you sometimes find in various kinds of desserts. There were bits of strawberry baked into the cake, which was moist, warm and utterly delicious. It was tender and perfect on its own, and the frosting was smooth and light tasting, and again, the strawberry flavor of the frosting was unlike any I've ever had. Even the sugar-coated strawberry was elegant. This was both a unique cupcake and a pretty much perfect one, that, along with the setting, I didn't mind paying that price for.

The chocolate cupcake was also good, but not quite as rapturous as the strawberry one. I thought from the thicker, darker chocolate part at the bottom of the cake there might be a treat there, like candy or a fudge-like part or something, but the cake, while decent, wasn't anywhere near as chocolatey tasting as the strawberry was strawberry-tasting. The frosting was wonderful, the kind that looks like it might be too much but is actually a lighter consistency without skimping on any of the chocolate flavor. I wonder what that frosting on the strawberry cake would be like? I should also note that I didn't come close to finishing either of these (although I rarely eat an entire cupcake, because I want to save room to try more), but they would be great to share. The caramel cupcake also intrigued me, but two cupcakes at Chocolate Bar were more than enough.