Panera Cupcakes

I recently stopped in to national restaurant chain, Panera (I tried the one in Liberty, MO), and tried their new cupcake offerings: Vanilla, Chocolate and Red Velvet. If you've seen them yourself, I know you've wondered if they're any good but may not have wanted to risk it with all their other yummy baked goods, so I risked it for you! First, let me say that they are doing a much better job than Red Robin, another national restaurant chain that recently tried this trend.  Their cupcakes were completely inedible and I must not have been the only one who thought that, because they quickly disappeared.  Overall, Panera's cupcakes were definitely edible.  In fact, except for the vanilla cupcake being a little dry and the icing on a couple of them being just a bit grainy, the flavors were very nice.  I'm usually a vanilla cupcake gal, but the chocolate icing was so fluffy and milky I almost ate the whole thing, which I usually try not to when I'm tasting multiple cupcakes.  If you ask for a cupcake to go, you get an adorable individual box as well.  Next time you're in, I say don't be afraid of another bakery overextending themselves and give one of these cupcakes a try.  They might even bake them on premises, rather than the typical central baking, freezing, transporting and thawing process that destroys so many other similar forays into cupcake distribution...

The red velvet seemed to have a pure chocolate bottom, which I assume was a baking mistake that should have been corrected, but because it tasted good, I didn't mind ;).

You can see the vanilla bean flecks in the vanilla frosting and it also comes through in the taste.