To celebrate National Chocolate Cupcake Day, as well as National Dessert Month, I decided to have a late lunch and also bring home a bunch of cupcakes from Artisserie Chocolate Café. It is the only gourmet bakery and chocolatier on campus besides Metropolitan Bakery, but it is so much more convenient. Thus, I am not surprised to always find it at least with a few customers.
The Grilled Vegetables Panini sounded delicious, and for only $4.95, I was excited. However, it was quite disappointing. The vegetables were good, especially the whole Portobello mushroom, which was flavorful, juicy, and quite savory. The yellow squash slices were slightly undercooked but the zucchini and red bell peppers were decent. What I was not happy with was that they heated up the ciabatta bun in the microwave first with a slice of provolone cheese on it. Clearly, they did not even have the patience to wait for it to heat up in the panini press. Once the bread was hot, it was assembled with the vegetables and put in the press for about a minute. It came out with not much of a panini press mark and the bread was hot but soggy and wimpy. The outside was supposed to be crispy and the inside soft but dry. Instead, it was almost floppy, which is just unacceptable. Also, there was alfalfa sprouts in the description but none on my plate.
The Red Velvet Cupcake was delicious, though. Despite being kept in the fridge, the cake was soft and moist while the cream cheese frosting was sweet. It was just slightly too greasy for me, though, so more cheese and less butter would have been appreciated. The cake itself was hardly sweet so that could have been sweeter as well.
The Carrot Cupcake was also very moist, with grated carrots, finely chopped walnuts, and raisins scattered throughout. The carrots really made the cake moist and the touch of cinnamon was lovely. The cream cheese frosting was again sweet enough but less butter would have been nice. I really appreciated the walnuts on the icing, which added a lovely crunch.
The Strawberry Cupcake had a very unique frosting. It was mostly an artificial strawberry flavor with sugar and a little butter. I found it interesting and not overly-sweetened; instead, it was light and refreshing. The vanilla cake had great flavor and not too sweet either, but it was a little dry and clearly not freshly baked.
Finally, the Chocolate Cupcake, decorated to celebrate Halloween, was supposed to be the star of the show. After all, it was National Chocolate Cupcake Day. However, it was the most disappointing. The chocolate frosting was not very sweet and slightly greasy. I could have used more frosting rather than so much cake as well. The cake was the most dry out of the four. It was crumbly and hardened on the side. The flavor was mediocre and for $2.50, it was decent but definitely not great.
I think Artisserie Chocolate Café definitely has potential. Their food would be so much better if they were made fresher. I am sure the ingredients are of high quality, but because they are over-priced, not enough customers come to require freshly made cupcakes and sandwiches everyday. Their desserts all look amazing but I would not be happy to spend $5 on a small slice of artfully decorated cake that has been sitting there for three days.