Oh man! Sweet tooth heaven here! First macarons and now onto cupcakes, I hope you guys have big sweet teeth like me as well. Well, to be honest, I have a whole mouth of sweet teeth. =)
Original Cupcakes is probably the most well known and dominant cupcake bakery in the Vancouver area. I remember there was another cupcakery, Big City Cupcakes, that opened up in competition with Original Cupcakes, but all their stores have since closed down. Heather and Lori, the creators of Original Cupcakes, have their own "reality tv" show on the Oxygen network depicting the day to day operations of their business. I have never seen the show or actually heard of it prior to going into the Original Cupcakes bakery, but I assume it must be successful as it is still ongoing.
I've been to their store on West Broadway more than a couple of times now and I have to say the cupcake quality and the service has always been pretty consistent. Original Cupcakes capitalizes on cute names, bright pinks, and retro themed images and decor to draw customers in. Service is always simple and snappy, they aren't too overly friendly, but instead efficient at giving you your desired cupcakes. All the service girls are uniformed in brown T-Shirts with the Original Cupcake logo and some cute slogans.
Well, now onto the actual cupcakes. Original Cupcakes took me a series of visits to understand how I felt about them. The first time I went, I definitely fell pray to the hype. I loved these cupcakes on first bite and I thought they quite delicious. I know I have a higher "sweet" tolerance than most people, but when I brought them back to share with my parents they could only eat half of a single cupcake and complained that it was too sweet. I didn't mind. MORE FOR ME. I mean what beautiful and delicious cupcakes!
|Red Velvet Cupcake|
The second and third time that I went I think they hype and the excitement of a "cupcakery" kind of wore off already. Although I still enjoyed the cupcakes, I noticed that the "deliciousness" factor I had originally tasted worn of considerably. Finally the fourth time, my mom and dad had brought a box home for me, I finally realized what I loved about cupcakes wasn't necessarily the cupcake, but the frosting and the presentation.
Between the third and the fourth time I had eaten at Original Cupcakes, there was a significant lag in my desire to go. Previously, I couldn't pinpoint the reason, but I think I've found the reason and it has to do with the cupcake itself. Previously, I've tried Mint Condition, Caramella, Lava Flow, Red Velvet, Diva and Cookies and Cream. The three cupcakes that I'll go into a detailed review about are: the Red Velvet, Lava Flow, and Cookies and Cream.
One word of warning though, if you buy cupcakes from Original Cupcakes, do not refrigerate them. PLEASE. It will ruin the fluffiness of the frosting and then everything will coalesce into one hardened ball of dense cake and coagulated frosting. Room temperature is a much better option for serving these.
|Cookies and Cream|
This little guy is the cookies and cream flavored one, if you couldn't already tell from the Oreo on top. =P Unfortunately, I can't find the description of this on the site, but from memory it's a chocolate cake with a cream cheese filling, topped with swirled chocolate and vanilla icing with half a Oreo cookie. The chocolate cupcake didn't really taste heavily of chocolate, it was more like a dense cake substance with all the sweetness lent to it from the frosting on top. There was supposed to be a cream cheese filling nestled within, but I found within one bite it was gone. Even after visiting Original Cupcakes for the first time, this was one of my least favourite cupcakes.
The Lava Flow cupcake on the website is described as: "Chocolate cake with a cream cheese frosting and raspberry jam and finished with a raspberry dollop." I feel like the use of the word lava is usually indicative of like fudge-like liquid-y goodness. I know this is definitely difficult to achieve, especially within a cupcake, but I was at least expecting a moist dense cake. It was just....cake. The flavor idea is good and delicious, but in this case I'm not sure if Original Cupcakes executes it very well. The chocolate cupcake is the same base as the Cookies and Cream cupcake above and I found that it just didn't really taste like anything. Just cake matter. >< I liked the idea of tart raspberry jam to counteract all the sweet, but I think that there generally wasn't enough of it. Again the raspberry filling injected within the cupcake was, like the cream cheese filling above, gone within one bite.
However, my favorite part of any Original Cupcakes cupcake is the cream cheese frosting. In my opinion, the cream cheese base of the frosting, as opposed to the more traditional frosting, is tangier and less tooth rotting-ly sweet. Again I feel like the icing is responsible for all the flavor within the cupcake, but I really enjoy the flavor and airy quality that the icing inherently has. To provide a contrasting palate my mom had the exact opposite impression and she was just really turned off by the overall sweetness of the cupcake. She found that the cream cheese frosting was too sweet for her tastes.
Honestly, the Red Velvet cupcake would probably be the only cupcake I would go back for. However, I acknowledge that the only reason I like it so much is just purely the cream cheese frosting. The cake again doesn't really taste like much...just....cake matter. However, the Red Velvet cake is moderately less sweet than the Cookies and Cream and Lava flow. This was actually one of my first experiences with Red Velvet cake. I've always wanted to bake, try, consume a Red Velvet cake, but I've never really gotten the chance to for some reason. Either out of sheer laziness or falling back on old dessert favorites when the choice was between Red Velvet Cake and cream brule/cheesecake/chocolate souffle/etc. I know this is probably a very mediocre Red Velvet, but I like it. I'm still holding out for my real Red Velvet Experience though.
In retrospect, I neither can recommend Original Cupcakes, nor can I deny the fact that if coerced I would probably buy a red velvet cupcake. At $3.25 for a single cupcake and at $16.00 for a dozen, I think that's too much to pay for a mediocre cupcake. As of now I'm not really enticed to go. In general, it was a sort of overly "Meh" experience for me, although I do admit I was seduced by the presentation and the cohesiveness of the "Original Cupcake" brand.
Thanks for reading!
Kid Friendly: Yes
Price: $$$ out of $$$$$ (In respect to cupcakes I think)
Repeatability: Individually no, but with friends somewhat passable.
View Larger Map
View Larger Map