I have never been “accused” of being “vanilla” in my life, for either style or personality. But, even if I were, I would not be offended. How can you take “vanilla” as a cut-down? It’s beautiful, fragrant, tropical, floral, and so sweet (unless you try the extract…don’t do that…or let a friend try it, it’ll make a good prank!). Its speckled beauty perfumes frostings, adding both flavor and a delicious richness. Vanilla is very appealing to me.

So, when I saw these Trader Joe’s Vanilla Bean Mini Cupcakes on the shelf, amongst the Lemon Zinger Cake, Flourless Chocolate Cake, and GF Chocolate Cupcakes (sorry, Husband, I had to do research), I was immediately drawn to them. You could see the specks of vanilla in the creamy frosting. I chose these over chocolate (that sounds like a confession and it might as well be).

They came home with me. I felt like a proud, new Mama.  I was very excited. I put them in the fridge at home because it was a very hot day outside and I didn’t want any melty frosting. There is a time and a place for melty frosting. This was not it.

I digress. Frosting-talk easily makes me digress.

Don’t judge.

Anyways, I have to say I was very disappointed in these. Both the cake and frosting were hard, as if the cupcakes had been sitting on the shelf for way too long (and not in that Ho-Ho, Ding-Dong, Zingers, Twinkies sort of a way, because I can handle that shelf-life). I even kept them out on my counter and defrosted completely to try round 2. They were still too hard. The cake itself was crunchy in some places and looked a little too over baked. The frosting never got soft. I could tell that there was a good vanilla flavor in both the cake and frosting, but the hardened texture of both overshadowed any deliciousness.

Sorry TJ’s. These were not so good. But don’t worry, when it comes to cakes, cookies, and the like, I have a tenacious spirit. I’ll give your baked goods a second (third, fourth, fifth…) chance. I really want to like them.

Review Result: These were meh, but perhaps I got a “bad batch”? Stay tuned for future baked goods reviews.

In the meantime, if you want to make your own vanilla cake, see this blog post. In it is a recipe I used for an almond-y vanilla cake. So good. Try it.


Hope you’re day is as sweet as these cupcakes, but not as crunchy. Because that wouldn’t be good. Unless the crunchy parts were bit that were supposed to be there, like hazelnuts or toffee. Because then that would be like an extra bonus.

Yummy crunchy bits also easily make me digress.


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