Today at lunch I ran over to Gigi's Cupcakes for my first of many cupcake critiques around Atlanta. Gigi's is a chain, so right off the bat I had some preconceived notions. They have a wide variety of cupcakes from Italian Cream Wedding Cake, Peach Cobbler and Cherry Cordial, but I of course was interested in none other than Scarlett's Red Velvet.
The ECD (that's Executive Creative Director for the non-ad folks) at my agency @carlrwarner said to me that Gigi's has the perfect icing-to-cupcake ratio, but I respectfully must disagree. If there is enough icing on one cupcake to wallpaper a 10'x12' bedroom, that is too much. Surely from looking at the pictures it may seem I'm exaggerating, but keep in mind this cupcake suffered quite a bit of shrinkage on the ride home in this Atlanta heat.
In critiquing this cupcake I examined several key factors: appearance, flavor, texture and color.
So let's start with one of my favorite parts: the icing. The cream cheese icing was actually quite good, but perhaps too much of a good thing. The cake itself was less than desirable. The cake had far too much cocoa and actually tasted more like devil's food than anything else. Not only did it not taste like red velvet, but the cocoa also made the cake far too dark (ie violet oxide). The density was good, but perhaps because of the cocoa overload, tasted a little dry and lacked that velvety texture. I thought the vanilla custard filling would make up for it, but not so much. Admittedly I can be a snob when it comes to some of these things, but on a scale of 1 to 10, I give Gigi's a 4. I am sure some of their other cupcakes are fabulous, but their red velvet just doesn't cut it.