Using Quality Ingredients: Because it matters!

Lavender Honey Cupcake

I don’t know about you, but when I eat something – especially baked goods, I know when it’s just “good” or when it is “great”. Often I can’t quite put my finger on what the single item is that makes it great, but it just gives me the ‘ahhhh’ factor. Usually, that element of greatness is born out of using ingredients of the utmost quality.  Finding the right chocolate or using the sweetest butter can enhance the flavor, making a lasting impression.

Many times, I’ve tasted a cupcake at a cupcakery and have just instinctively known whether or not they are using real those quality ingredients and flavorings. Or I’ve gone to a birthday party that has the most adorable cakes that I’ve ever seen, but the cupcakes themselves taste like cardboard. That’s why I’ve bored my friends and family to tears with my monologues about ingredient research and my ongoing quest for the ultimate ingredients. My goal is to give equal importance to taste and ‘cute’.

This past week has been dedicated to everything chocolate. And while, like I mentioned before, I have bored the folks around me with the details , I’ll spare you the same pain and simply say, I think you’ll be extremely pleased with the new cocoa I’ll be using in my chocolate goods. With a darker color and a richer chocolate flavor, my aim is for you, too to get that ‘ahhh’ experience after one bite. Natural Velvet and Ultimate Chocolate have never tasted better!

So what else goes into a cupcake by A Cupcake Co? Well, let’s see… Not only do I strive for quality, but I also try as much as possible to support local businesses and  get as many of my ingredients from local producers as I am able. Living in the North/East of the San Francisco Bay Area, right next to the Napa Valley, I have a whole wealth of excellence practically at my fingertips. Quality AND local! What more could I ask for?

Just to name a few….

The lavender in my Lavender Honey cupcakes are all Napa Valley grown culinary lavender. The Napa Valley is lucky to have a fabulous climate for lavender, so farms are plentiful up the valley.

In the same cupcake, I get local honey from Marshall’s Farm Honey in American Canyon. If you’re in the area, stop by their farm and taste the wide variety of honeys they have to offer.

Also, the balsamic vinegar in my Balsamic Caramel Strawberry cupcake is from the St Helena Olive Oil Company. (If you haven’t been to this shop, you need to go – it’s so much fun to taste all the olive oils and vinegars!)

Oh, and dairy! We can’t forget about the dairy – a pillar of any good baked confection! I call myself a ‘butter nerd’ sometimes. I take a little tip of butter on my tongue and let the flavors absorb. Sweet unsalted butter – if of high enough quality – can practically be eaten plain. So where do I find it? Lucky for me, Clover Stornetta is just ‘up the street’ in Santa Rosa, and I have been very pleased with their milk products, butter and eggs. I don’t think I’ve had sweeter butter than theirs and I’ve found it really tips the scales for a great cupcake.

So, while people may talk technical details about chocolate percentages, chemical compounds, this that or whatever (and don’t get me wrong, I like to nerd out with the best of them), at the end of the day, it’s all about what it tastes like ON the tongue and IN the product.

All those little details – it really does matter! That’s why I strive to bring together a balance of flavor and beauty into one little cupcake sweetness to provide you with the best product possible.

Never settle for “good” when “great” is right under your nose!