Yesterday (Tuesday, February 9) my husband and I went for a drive into Portland. Not a big deal in itself, because Portland is only about five minutes away. But, what was a big deal - at least for this cupcake enthusiast - was where my husband took me. We went to Cupcake Jones!
Located in the Pearl District of Portland, Cupcake Jones is a cute (albeit tiny) little shop. They feature six cupcake flavors every day, three daily flavors (that is, cupcakes that they sell every day), and three special flavors. Each of the six flavors comes in two different sizes: "jumbo" and "mini." The jumbo cupcakes appear to be standard size cupcakes to me, but they are jumbo on taste - and what really differentiates the two sizes, other than the size, is the fact that the jumbo cupcakes are filled with a luscious creamy filling.
Now, for the hard part. Deciding! Which flavor do I choose? I decided to go with a dozen of the mini cupcakes, 2 of each flavor, for $16.50. This way, I could try one of each of the flavors without feeling too guilty.
The cupcake is moist and flavorful, and the frosting is creamy, and well... YUM. It's FROSTING! (And for those who love frosting, they also offer "frosting shots" which is a little cup of just the frosting.)
Here's the rundown on the three daily flavors:
The Pearl - a vanilla explosion! White cake topped with vanilla bean buttercream. One of the best buttercreams I've ever tasted from a bakery. Each cupcake is topped with a sprinkling of clear, sparkling sugar sprinkles and a tiny white chocolate pearl.
Downtown Cupcake Brown - The chocolate cupcake is rich and sinful, just the way a chocolate cupcake should be. The jumbo cupcakes are filled with a chocolate ganache which looked incredible... and it took a great deal of strength to resist! The frosting is very smooth, chocolate-y and topped with a sprinkling of shaved dark chocolate.
Velvet Painting - Classic red velvet cake topped with an INCREDIBLE cream cheese frosting and a candied rose petal. The rose petal added such a delightful touch of elegance to this cupcake, and this (along with the Pearl) would be my two choices to serve at a tea party. So petite and pretty!
On Tuesdays, the three specially featured flavors are: coconut lemon (my favorite of the batch), caramel latte, and black forest. Here's my thoughts on these three delights:
Black Forest - deliciously moist devils food cake with a little shot of cherry sauce which adds extra moisture to the cake (and that little shot is even added to the mini cupcakes, so be sure to grab an extra napkin if you choose this flavor). Instead of frosting, they are topped with whipped cream, grated dark chocolate and a cherry. A truly outstanding interpretation of the classic black forest cake.
Caramel Latte - I actually "cheated" and got a large caramel latte cupcake (in addition to my minis), which is why I'm posting this review of Cupcake Jones today instead of yesterday... I indulged in my jumbo caramel latte cupcake yesterday instead of the mini cupcakes, and saved them for today. I just had to try the caramel pastry cream filling. And it was worth it! Incredible! The cupcake is a coffee flavored cake (I know, I know... coffee?!?!?!?), but it is quite yummy even though I suspect it would be even better if perhaps it were a chai tea flavored cupcake! (haha!) The frosting is a caramel buttercream frosting (delicious - may I say right now, this is the best. frosting. ever.), and topped with a drizzle of homemade caramel sauce and chopped coffee beans. Even though I am not a coffee fanatic (duh!) ... I must say that the chopped coffee bean topping added a very delightful texture to the cupcake, and I actually quite enjoyed it.
Coconut Lemon - My favorite cupcake of the six from Tuesday's lineup. Lemon cake (the jumbo cupcakes are filled with lemon curd coconut pastry cream - which sounds unbelievably good!) and topped with a swirl of lemon buttercream, toasted coconut shreds and a "lemon chip" which looked a lot to me like a little tiny sliver of candied lemon. What makes this particular cupcake my favorite? The lemon! It has a bright, light taste, and in my opinion, would bring a ray of sunshine into even the grayest of Pacific Northwest days. The coconut adds the right amount of interest and sweetness to the cupcake. It's just perfect!
I've tried a couple of specialty cupcake bakeries in the Portland area now, and I must say that Cupcake Jones is (by far!) the best. The cupcakes are flavorful, moist, and the frosting is delicious - and doesn't taste overwhelmingly sweet the way some bakery frosting can - it tastes like homemade buttercream! YUM!