At Sugar Mamma's, I had a coupon to "buy 5, get 1 free" and since they only had 6 flavors when I stopped in, that made my decision easy. Most of the cupcakes were fairly basic in taste and quality, but I will make note of the outliers. The Chai cupcake had nice flavor both in the cake and icing and the peanut butter frosting on the Butterfinger cupcake was very light and fluffy, but if you look at my final picture below, you will see the real victim here - the "festive" plain Vanilla. This cupcake looked very sad, with smashed icing and bleeding green sprinkles and the cake itself was almost inedibly hard. As a former cupcakery owner myself, I would like to offer some advice: NEVER let something that looks or tastes like this go out to a customer. It makes you look bad and worse, like you're putting yesterday's cupcakes out as today's. I decided to think of that one as my "free" cupcake so I could get past it. Enough said.
At Gigi's, I actually had a much better visit than when I tried the regional chain out after it first came to Kansas City a few years ago. Although I am still dumbfounded by the 1:1 ratio of cake to icing, and the fact that their "jumbos" are actually much smaller than others of the same description in the KC area and nationwide, I have to say I like their presentation and flavors for the most part. The Chocolate cupcake was a bit on the dark/bitter side for my taste and definitely dense all around, but the simple Wedding Cake and Princess twists on traditional vanilla were pleasant enough for me to keep returning to as I tasted the rest. The cupcake tray inside the packaging was customized and ingenious and something I wish I'd had when I owned a cupcakery - I even though about brushing it off and keeping it for my own future baking purposes - don't judge.
I'm torn about how to judge the final cupcake in my Gigi's foursome, the Kentucky Bourbon - you heard me right. I was definitely excited to try it and I did end up having several bites, if just to try to un-confuse my palate. You see, this cupcake had wonderful bold flavors, but the cake itself was hard and crunchy like a cookie - not like it had been sitting out or over-baked into dryness, but almost like it was on purpose. Because the flavors were so well married, I ultimately decided I liked this cupcake but only if I thought of it not as a cupcake, but as kind of an iced cookie in every bite. You may not have agreed.