These are a uniquely Michigan product -- created by the Just Baked bakery in Livonia (30 minutes or so from Ann Arbor, with a store here in town) using a legendary soda made in Detroit. They come in three flavors: Orange, Grape, and Redpop (strawberry).
I'd heard about them for several weeks -- they're being sold not only at the Just Baked shops, but also at locally-owned grocery store chains Hiller's and Busch's. So, of course, near-omnivore that I am with a hearty sweet tooth, I had to give them a try!
Tom and I went into the bakery the other day, and asked if we could buy a couple of them; no, sorry, they're packaged by the half-dozen for mass retail sales so they can't be sold individually. Well, we didn't need 6 cupcakes no matter how festive they were. So we were thrilled to have the sales clerk offer to give us a sample, and to even ask which flavors we'd like to taste. Hmmm ... ye olde decision-making brain fizzle! Tom chose Orange and I chose Redpop, and we set to tasting and sharing.
Each of the cupcakes had a distinct flavor of the soda they are made with; and our charming hostess told us that no food colorings are used in creating the depth of color in the treats -- the soda alone provides the hue. They were moist, they were flavorful, they were very sweet, and the frosting was silky smooth ... sigh ... :)
These cupcakes would be perfect for a kids' party, in particular. They would also be a perfect way to support multiple Michigan businesses at once, if one were serving state-themed goodies for the Michigan-Ohio State game at noon on Saturday -- show some love to the Great Lakes State against its superarchrival, yeah!!! (Maize 'n' Blue food is perfectly alright, but buying these cupcakes would be an investment in our economy ... and no, that's not just my way of rationalizing a sugar fix!)
Of course, after being treated so hospitably we didn't have the heart to leave the shop without buying anything ... what a couple of mentsches ([MENT-shez] = good people) we are, huh???
So we decided to try one Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcake -- chocolate cake filled with peanut butter frosting, topped with more peanut butter frosting that is then coated in chocolate -- and a Samoa cupcake with chocolate-drizzled coconut and caramel over a yellow cupcake, in honor of the famous Girl Scout cookie of the same name. Yeah, what a way to spend a Saturday afternoon, huh???
The Samoa cupcake was a bit dry, though the coconut-caramel-chocolate topping was sweet and sticky and wonderful to savor even when it separated from the crumbly cake. The Chocolate Peanut Butter one was rich and smooth and absolutely luscious ... definitely one I would eat more (lots more!) of.
In closing, let me just brag about my state and its delicious goodies and great businesses one more time ... humor me, please. Detroit gets so much bad press that I want to really tout this particular tidbit of news, 'cause it's just a happy little item. Serious Eats, an enormous NYC-based site devoted to all things food (recipes, articles, chatting, photos, etc.) recently did a taste test of regionally produced root beers. Well, you only get one guess as to which was the winner ... come on, you know the answer ... FAYGO, yay!!! Truly, we are a proud bunch here ... :)