Cupcakes make people happy. It was true before they were The Trendy Thing and, amazingly, it's still true now. Don't believe me? Then you need to meet Allison and Matt Robicelli. These folks are not your typical pink-aproned, dimple-cheeked cupcake bakers — they are Brooklynites from before that was also The Trendy Thing and they will tell you straight-up why you need cupcakes in your life on a regular basis (see previous statement re: "make people happy"). Cupcakes, they has them. Come and get it.
• Who wrote it: Allison & Matt Robicelli
• Who published it: Viking Studio
• Number of recipes: About 50
• Recipes for right now: Car Bomb (Chocolate Guinness Stout Cake with Jameson Whiskey Ganache and Baileys Butter Cream), Elvis (Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Buttercream and Roasted Candied Bacon), Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel, Pecan French Toast, The Laurenzano (Fig Cake with Goat Cheese Butter Cream, Fig Balsamic Gastrique, and Crispy Prosciutto), Brooklyn Blackout Cake, Bea Arthur (Black Coffee Chocolate Cake with Cheesecake Buttercream and Espresso Ganache
• Major Takeaways:
This is a fun, flirty take on cupcakes. The combinations of cake, frosting, and toppings play on familiar flavors (root beer floats and cinnamon buns) and riff on on cultural memes (The Bea Arthur and the Butterbrew). The photos of creamy cupcakes make me want to lick the pages, for sure, but what honestly makes this cupcake cookbook stand out to me is the writing. Allison and Matt Robicelli come across as completely authentic, real, and earnest — the kind of people I could see myself sharing beers with on a Saturday night. I laughed out loud several times while reading their head notes and found myself often nodding along to their advice.
Now, these are really not the "bake at the last minute because you forgot you volunteered to bring cupcakes" kind of cupcakes. These are more in the "labor of love" category. As in, you'd better love the person you're making them for because these cupcakes are a commitment. I don't think there's a recipe in this book that has less than three components, each of which needs to be individually prepped, tended, and assembled (though frequent helpful hints from the "Half-Assed Corner" help trim some time if you're feeling overwhelmed).
Don't let this deter you from checking out the book; I only say it so that you know what you're signing up for. A friend of mine started baking from this cookbook as soon as it came out and she says that the buttercreams are to die for. Given their declaration that, "...to be buttercream, your main component needs to be butter," I have little doubt in her judgement.
One other thing you should know is that all the ingredients for these cupcakes are real — "real" in the sense that there are no air-brushed edible pain rainbows or crunchy sugar baubles to be found. These cupcakes may be over the top (in the most wonderful way), but they are 100% the real deal in terms of ingredients.
• Who would enjoy this book? People who love cupcakes, people who think they hate cupcakes, people who like to laugh out loud while they bake, people who appreciate straight-talk without the "twee," Brooklynites.
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Robicelli's: A Love Story, With Cupcakes by Allison & Matt Robicelli
• Visit the author's website: Robicelli's
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Image credits: Emma Christensen)