Street Food: Cupcake Crew
Next up in mobile cupcake purveyors in this great city of ours: Cupcake Crew. Of all the cupcakers I have met so far, Frankie, owner of the Cupcake Crew truck, seems the least likely man for the job. A friendly, talkative man with the accent and demeanor of Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny, Frankie was not the frontman I had come to expect in the cupcake world.
That's not to say that I was at all disappointed by his offerings. Frankie began his cupcake enterprise after a private chef gig on the Upper East Side fell though, and he certainly seems to know what he's doing. He spent a year or so getting the truck together, and he's been officially open for business since Halloween of 2010. Despite recent harsh weather, but Frankie remains optimistic about his winter prospects. Cupcake Crew circulates the city, parking in six different locations, six days a week.
The red velvet cupcake is one of the more basic offerings on the menu. The cake portion was velvety to the extreme, spongy yet delicate, and steered clear of those vague chemical flavorings that sometimes factor into red velvet cake. The cream cheese frosting was almost as good texturally, though I wished for a little less powdered sugar to cut down on the sweetness.
The turtle cupcake had a similarly velvety texture, but while the red velvet managed to avoid any chemical tastes, this chocolate cake base tasted like anything but chocolate. I also wasn't blown away by the frosting, which was too sweet and dense, though the chocolate, caramel, and nuts on top were, predictably, quite good. Luckily, this was an outlier in an otherwise excellent sampling.
To the point, the raspberry cheesecake cupcake was a surprising treat. One bit of advice: don't come to this item with expectations about whether or not it will be a cheesecake in a cupcake wrapper, or a cupcake with cheesecake flavorings. It's basically smack in the middle, a combination that will confuse and delight your taste buds. The graham cracker crust (yes, there's a crust on this cupcake) is rendered moist but not soggy by its contact with the raspberry preserves, which dominate the flavor.
Finally, the My Cousin Vinny cupcake sat halfway between a cupcake and cannoli, just as the cheesecake cupcake was halfway between a cheesecake and a cupcake. With cannoli filling as the icing, cannoli dough sprinkled on top, and a dense, incredibly moist, no-frills cake to anchor it all, this cupcake was as delicious as it was unusual.
Well-conceived and for the most part well-executed, the Cupcake Crew's offerings are definitely worth a try.
Check their twitter (@cupcakecrewnyc) for locations.