Plus Did The Tongue Map Misguide Me?
We all know that the Cake Boss, or at least Cousin Ant-Knee, delivers his cakes and other baked goods within certain geographic boundaries from Carlo’s
Recently, I was lucky to enough to taste cannoli AND cupcakes from Carlo’s.
D(aughter) was visiting from faraway and brought them to me after she saw a friend in
D arrived home and I practically snatched the box from her. (Sorry, hon!) I studied it carefully.
There was a tiny grease mark starting to show through the box in the upper right corner, portending the good things inside.
Tied around the square cardboard box was an old-timey red and white string that I remember from the
Even better was what was inside - 2 cannoli, 1 yellow cupcake with a pink rose on top and 1 red velvet cupcake.
I went for the rose-topped cupcake first. (I WAS sharing, but I got first dibs.) I had to stop to admire it. It was so beautiful. It was a perfect rose.
I cut away one quarter of it to examine the inside.
The crumbs were moist, but they held together perfectly. It was spongy, without a hint of toughness. I tasted the cake and icing together and then the two separately. The flavor of the cupcake itself? Just like any excellent yellow cake, but with an interesting twist. It wasn’t overly sweet. In fact, if I could say anything about the cake, I would say maybe it needed one iota more of sweetness.
I moved on the icing by itself. It had a really good mouth feel, but there was something very surprising about it. Like the cupcake, it wasn’t overly sweet.
After watching the Cake Boss, wouldn’t you have thought that all those tons of buttercream that they fling everywhere would be really, really sweet?
Also, interestingly enough, the flavor of the cupcake seemed to disappear the minute I swallowed it. There was no lingering on the tongue. What does that mean, I wonder?
I had some standard buttercream in the freezer and I tasted that to compare. MY buttercream seemed to hit my tongue in the back and the taste stuck around longer than the time it took me to swallow, unlike Buddy’s buttercream.
The Cake Boss’s cupcake left no sensory blueprint whatsoever on my tongue. It was here one second and gone the next. Do you think that’s to get people to keep eating more cupcakes? It certainly went down easily enough.
This got me to thinking and I engaged in some fairly exhaustive study of the science of the tongue. (Okay, it was 15 minutes on the internet, but whatever) AND I discovered something quite sensational.
I have to digress just for a second. (I know, when don’t I?) The last time I studied the effect of food or drink on my tongue so closely was at a wine tasting with the Riedel people. Their stock in trade is that each variety of wine requires a different shaped wine glass to bring out its strengths and individual characteristics.
At that tasting, we tasted different wines in the right, and wrong, glasses and I came out totally convinced that, yes, certain wines have to first reach your tongue at the tip…or the sides…or wherever…to really taste their best. I TASTED THAT FOR MYSELF!
I couldn’t remember where the tongue tastes sweet, so I looked it up. I convinced myself that I tasted my buttercream, which was fairly sweet, at the back of the tongue, but Buddy’s buttercream didn’t seem to light up any particular area.
The Tongue Map says that the sweetness taste buds are at the front, so that didn’t help to explain my tasting results at all. But THEN I found out something else, much more earth-moving and interesting. The Tongue Map is a bunch of rubbish and has been completely disproved!!!
How do I know? Because I found it here, here and here. Actually, I don’t really know what to believe, because I could have sworn during the wine tasting that everything Max said was true. And I know for myself that when I taste something really sour, I taste it on the side edges of my tongue.
As to WHY the Cake Boss’s cupcakes left no discernible mark on my taste buds, I have no idea. Anyone?
Alright, let’s move away from talk of tongues on to the Red Velvet Cupcake and, even more importantly, the cannoli.
I don't love Red Velvet Cake (or cupcakes), but, again, the texture of the cake was perfect. It was moist, not overbeaten or overbaked. The cream cheese icing was rich, but had a slight artificial taste to it – perhaps from the vanilla extract.
I’ve saved the best for the last - the cannoli. Let me put it simply - they were the best I’ve ever had, and I’ve had my share of cannoli - from
Why were these cannoli from Carlo’s Bakery so good? I think the shell is the key. It was fresh and crisp and tasted as if it had been recently deep-fried, but there was no trace of oiliness. HOW do they do that? The shell was crunchy and tasted like a browned cookie.
Also, the filling was perfect - creamy, just sweet enough and in the right amount. Not overstuffed so the filling would come squidging out of the end when you took a bite, but enough so that there were no air pockets.
I had the best of both worlds. I got to taste those yummy creations from Carlo’s Bakery AND I didn’t have to stand in line waiting to buy them. Those cannoli, though, would be worth almost any wait.