"A perfect piece of heaven for those missing cupcake land, to take a break from work (or after) as a treat to themselves … Mountainous icing and flavours await those eager tastebuds... "
A piece of history (and cake): Originally, red velvet was a cake, dating back from the early 1800’s that was adapted over the years, named for its velvety, smooth texture. Urban legend has it, that it was served in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City and was widely distributed by a customer who requested for its recipe. Many believe that its colour was a result of a chemical reaction in the mixture, between the baking soda (alkaline), the cocoa, vinegar (acidic) and buttermilk. Later the cake was made even a brighter red with red food colouring – today you will notice many bakers replacing this with natural ingredients, like beets. The cream cheese icing was introduced mysteriously over the years. In the 1970’s and 80’s many famous cooks scorned the cake, some not even mentioning it in their cookbooks! However, the cake regained popularity and a revival, after the movie Steel Magnolias (1989), which feature a scene with a red velvet armadillo cake, even a New York Bakery inspired from the movie popped up, called The Magnolia Bakery. The bakery perhaps become over-commercialised when Sex And The City’s Parker and Nixon sat in front gossiping and eating their cupcakes … OK straying off the topic …
Excuse the humour 😉
Back to Israel … The cupcake industry is slowly making strides … don’t get me wrong, the bakeries here are phenomenal [stay tuned for bakery reviews in the near future!] and they never disappoint … But to try find cupcakes, particularly red velvet ones, that is quite the challenge … From my time living in London, if it came to High Tea time it would certainly be accommodated with a cupcake from the Hummingbird Café in Notting Hill, the ultimate cupcake bakery …
Presenting Red Velvet Bakery:
The name represents everyone’s most loved and princess cupcake, distinct with its deep red sponge and buttery, creamy cream cheese frosting. Along the busiest main road in Tel Aviv, a New York-style bakery set in a cute humble boutique shop with its bold red front and checkered black and white tiles that somewhat remind me of a diner. Before your reach the main counter, you may find yourself distracted by the front entrance window display stand, various colourful iced cupcakes displayed on cute paper doilies are a hint for what’s to come.
The boutique is more of a grab a cupcake on-the-go type, as demonstrated on a chalkboard above the display, warning keeping cupcakes in the fridge could result in death (or complete breakdown of a cupcake, to be less dramatic 😉 ) Furthermore there are only 2 small tables inside and one outside (for pairs), a welcoming nook with some current newspapers, against a backdrop of various framed photos of New York cityscape (I think, was too distracted by the cupcakes!) …. The menu is displayed on a chalkboard above a shelving unit that holds cupcake recipe books, stacked takeout boxes, ornaments and various jars of coloured sugar of sorts. Accompany your sweet treat with a hot or cold drink also available.
However in this humble abode, you will find an impressive choice of cupcakes, standing proudly rows of tiramisu, Nutella and salty caramel. There are even muffins (or cupcake?) like the carrot, cutely presented with sugary orange pearls over a swirled cream cheese frosting. The tiramisu is topped high in icing with even a boudoir biscuit and dusted in chocolate. And the real deal, appealing to Americans: Cookie Monster cupcakes, Chubby Hubby cupcakes – inspired by Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream flavor of vanilla, fudge and chocolate covered pretzels. A jar of gigantic homemade Oreo-style cookies, chocolate chip cookies and some chocolate brownies are on the display counter. And of course other classics like Skippy’s Peanut butter, Reeses and Cookie Cream cupcakes making appearances.
Each cupcake is generously iced and customized with different flavours, beautifully piped endless swirls, a sprinkle here and there of crystal sugar or molded sugar topping, making each look mouth-watering and even harder to decide on which. The cupcakes are quite large in size, so easily shared – but I prefer to have my own 😉
And of course the cupcake I would naturally try first, the signature one and their namesake – Red Velvet. I guess I had high expectations, expecting to be taken back to my London days in Notting Hill and those moist and decadent cupcakes … At first bite I found mine to be slightly crumbly in texture, it was moist however, the icing was the real cherry on top for me- uplifting the cupcake with its sleek and silky texture irresistibly dissolving in your mouth, leaving sweet notes all across the taste buds.
One thing to be wary of: When travelling with the heavily iced cupcakes, the icing usually tipples over, perhaps an excuse to eat the icing first. This is what happened to me, nevertheless I had a surprise cupcake treat from my dearest friend, the Salty Caramel Cupcake; which surprisingly I preferred more than the red velvet cupcake. The chocolate base was delicious with the salty caramel icing that had extra flickers of chocolate and a toffee/caramel.
Be sure to come early to get your favourite cupcake, I’d advise even before the lunch rush hour! The flavours vary daily, so best to keep updated on their Facebook page which is constantly updated. The cupcakes are great for parties or other events, they can fill that empty spot of homesickness (for the Americans and Brits alike) and generally improve a dull day with their kick of sweetness. This is a perfect piece of heaven for those missing cupcake land, to take a break from work (or after) as a treat to themselves … but you don’t need an excuse to try one, just try not to eat off all the icing first before the actual cupcake 😉 Perhaps it may be the nearest to Magnolia Bakery in NY, at least with its gain in cupcake followers …
I finished my naughty trip with my favourite, a fresh detoxing apple and ginger juice (I love Tel Aviv’s widespread juice bars)