When it comes to cakes and cupcakes, which is more important: the frosting or the cake?
Recently, a friend and I were comparing notes on some cupcake bakeries that we had tried. She mentioned how excited she was when she heard that a cupcake bakery was opening in her [previously cupcake-less] area and how she had rushed out to try them over the weekend. Unfortunately, she ended up very disappointed after the trip because the cupcakes just didn’t taste very good. Now, a bad review is a bad review, but because I bake I’m always interested in the details when I hear something like this. I asked what was wrong with them – bad flavor? dry cake? too-sweet frosting? I mentioned that I’ve tried bakeries before where the cake was dry, but everything else was good. Returns to bakeries like this often found the problem solved; new bakeries occasionally have problems either working with their ovens/recipes or selling through all of their inventory fast enough to keep everything super-fresh (of course, older bakeries have no excuse and I’m usually only up for two tries, regardless). Long story short, she didn’t know the answer because the “what went wrong” of baking isn’t normally an issue to her, but she did say that she generally didn’t care if the cake was dry, as long as the frosting was good.
This surprised me. I would much rather have excellent cake with mediocre frosting than the other way around. It’s possible that I feel this way because I do a lot of baking and tend to think that the cake is the more difficult item or the two to produce. You can always scrape the frosting off and eat the cake plain, but it is a complete waste of time, money and calories to try and eat a cake-full of frosting without a decent cake or cupcake underneath it – in my opinion, at least. I would never frost cupcakes made from a new recipe without making sure the cake is great on its own, and I’m likely to eat at least one that never ends up getting frosted.
Which is more important to you, or do you put equal weight on both every single time?