This special Food Fight pits the three seasonal flavors at Sprinkles Cupcakes–the original cupcakery–against each other for a cupcake battle royale.
Available January 6 to 29
The German in German chocolate refers not to the country, but to Sam German, the southerner who created this indulgent cake that’s packed with nuts, coconut and chocolate. Sprinkles Cupcakes makes their German chocolate cupcake with the dark chocolate cake, topped with a caramel frosting that’s packed with pecans and coconut.
I have to come clean and admit that I’m not the biggest fan of German chocolate cake–the coconut kills it for me–so I went into this Food Fight handicapping German chocolate cupcake. It was going to have to be one hell of a cupcake to sell me on a flavor I’m already skeptical about.
Sure enough, the cupcake didn’t do much for me. I think if you’re a fan of coconut and chocolate, this cupcake is sure to please. But I found it a little–scratch that, a lot–messy and hard to eat without getting sticky fingers. The underlying cake itself was light and fluffy–so points for that, I guess.
Available January 6 to 8, also by occasional Twitter special
The King is one of the most elusive of the seasonal flavors at Sprinkles. It’s available just for one weekend, in celebration of Elvis’s birthday on January 6. It’s a tasty homage to The King–a banana cupcake topped with peanut butter frosting. Instead of the signature dot, this cupcake is topped with a gold star–quite fitting, no?
The King basically takes two of my favorite cupcakes at Sprinkles–the banana cupcake and the peanut butter chip cupcake–and combines them. The sum of their parts is indeed better. The banana cake is so moist and densely packed with banana. The flavor is bold, and doesn’t taste artificial like some banana cupcakes do. The peanut butter frosting could be a little denser–it’s heavier on the butter than the peanut–but it’s a nice touch that’s appropriately sweet and savory.
Available January 6 to February 2
The s’more cupcake is a new addition to the Sprinkles lineup. It’s a special collaboration with Blake Lively, with 100 percent of proceeds going to Oxfam. It starts with a layer of crumbled graham cracker beneath a dark chocolate cake and topped with marshmallow frosting.
This one was a tricky one to judge. The frosting was the best of any frosting I’ve had at Sprinkles. (And that’s high praise considering I’ve eaten a lot of Sprinkles cupcakes–probably more than I care to admit.) It was so light and fluffy, with sweet marshmallow flavor. The chocolate cake and chocolate ganache were as flavorful as ever, though the textures clashed a little underneath the fluffy marshmallow and over the crunchy graham cracker. I think the graham cracker was actually the biggest disappointment–it really didn’t have much flavor, just crunchy texture. But I guess when you’re down to the end, you want something mellow to balance out the sugar rush of chocolate and marshmallow.
But sheesh, this cupcake was so difficult to eat. The frosting was very sticky, and with one bite, I wound up covered in the marshmallow fluff. When I finally ate my second s’more cupcake, my technique had improved–taking it layer by layer proved more successful, though at the sacrifice of getting a bite of all three flavors together.
So which one takes the, um, cake in the battle royale? I think it would have to be The King. The flavors were appropriately sweet, but tempered with the rich peanut butter. Definitely a sweet treat that would make Elvis proud. Uhh huh!
Sprinkles Cupcakes is located in the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto. 650-323-9300. www.sprinkles.com.