It was going to happen eventually. The ever ubiquitous, uber-trendy miniature cakes have made it to Santa Barbara. Before we know it, Pinkberry (and its various knockoffs Yogurberry, Red Mango and Fraiche) will be situated on State Street next to Juicy Couture.
But while some may greet the newest cupcake shop with disdain, I’m happy to see its arrival. Crushcakes (located on Anacapa and Arlington) opened up just a couple of weeks ago and has been serving delightfully little cupcakes ever since! Their signature cupcake is the Red Velvet with sour cream frosting, topped with minuscule chocolate hearts.
I’ve been interested in the origin of the red velvet cupcake for quite some time now. I first encountered the peculiarly colored cakes at Toast in Los Angeles and subsequently went hunting around for more. For the uninitiated, red velvet cupcakes are chocolate cupcakes topped with a buttercream frosting. I love the flavor, but always wondered why someone would go through the trouble of dyeing these little cakes red?
According to this NYT article, there are many theories as to why this cake has food coloring, but there isn’t one definite answer. Some theorize that during the 1950s, when some products were rationed, cooks added beets to enhance the color of the cake. Another theory is that the anthocyanin in cocoa turns red when it comes in contact with acids.
Whatever the reason, I love red velvet cupcakes and cupcake lovers should definitely stop by Crushcakes. Their regular cupcakes are priced at $3.25 (yikes!) and their mini cupcakes cost $1.25, but if you get there early, you can purchase day-old cupcakes for half-price, which, after enjoying one today, taste just as sweet, if not sweeter because you know you haven’t overpaid.