So here I go with yet another cupcake review. It's not my fault, really. If there are so many cupcake shops all around the U.S. that means people love eating them, and it probably means they want to hear about the best and worst places to get the best and worst flavors. No? I most definitely enjoy trying out all these different places, and when I discovered American Cupcake during an afternoon of wandering around Union Street - starving! - I couldn't help but marvel at their display of bright, multicolored treats.
American Cupcake oddly sell desserts along with red velvet fried chicken (I only read about this later and kicked myself for missing out on such a creative dish), burgers, bite-sized snack food, several kinds of PB & J sandwiches and - now this gets really interesting - alcohol. Yes, guests can choose from a menu of "cupcake flights", each pairing three different cupcakes with wines.
You can tell: This is unlike any other cupcake place you have ever been to or heard of. And the interior sends the same message. Even though I arrived around lunch time, it was dark inside the store. Pink, blue and neon green bulbs hang from the ceiling, and the little light they give off creates a nightclub atmosphere. Walls and all furniture are white and look like plastic. I felt like I just entered some kind of disco spaceship! The fact that there was nobody else but two employees and myself made the experience even stranger.
Nevertheless, the situation was not uncomfortable - mostly thanks to the naturally friendly and hospitable girl who helped me pick out a flavor and talked to me as if I were a good friend she hadn't seen in a while. Of course I had to go for one of their really extraordinary cupcake creations, which I knew I was not likely to get anywhere else: Cotton Candy. I could have opted for Bubble Gum or Pink Candy Popcorn as well, but this one was decorated with a tiny stick of cotton candy and the frosting had such a fun, pastel-green color.
Aside from the presentation, the cupcake actually tasted good. I was almost a little surprised because I expected it to be overly sweet with an artificial taste, given its color and all. Instead, it had an authentic cotton candy flavor, not too strong and not to subtle, which I enjoyed so much that I would have gladly eaten a second one. The cake was slightly too dense, but for some reason it worked well with the buttery frosting. So yes, it was a rather heavy cupcake, but a very enjoyable one, and one that I would gladly recommend. Don't eat the mini-cotton candy though... I have no idea how old mine was, but judging by the fact that it was hard and dry it could have been from last year.
If I lived in the SF area I would definitely go back to give their other flavors a try. And who knows, the atmosphere might be so much more fitting in the evenings, when you go for drinks and cupcakes with your best friends or significant other. No matter whether you like their concept or not, American Cupcake create a truly out-of-the-box experience.
Brownie Points: 2 out of 3