I threw on some clothes, hopped on my bike, and booked it over to Ratner. At first I didn't see anyone in the truck, but through the magic of Twitter, I was able to locate driver Tony, who was incredibly cheerful despite the cold.
I had just started following this bakery on the recommendation of the Gaztro-Wagon folks. Their truck is fairly new, but the bakery has been around for a while. They do good work, too. From their website:
Over 50% of our profits go directly to Chicago House and the bakery doubles as a comprehensive jobs program. At any given time, more than a dozen disabled adults are getting real-world training and experience in our kitchen – as bakers, delivery assistants, packaging specialists and customer service representatives.Chicago House provides housing and aid to HIV-affected families and individuals, including people struggling with poverty, homelessness, substance abuse, and mental illness.
Well, their motives are certainly pristine and laudable. How do their cupcakes hold up?
I opted for the red velvet, their signature cupcake.
My first thought was "That is... squat." My second thought was "That means I can fit it in my mouth!!"
And fit it in my mouth I did. Mmmmm.
The crumb was dense and moist, exactly the way I like it. It was an incredibly rich cake, with a solid cocoa flavor that wasn't overly sweet. The tangy cream cheese frosting was probably my favorite part - I was tempted to lick it off the cupcake, but the cake and frosting combined were just too good. The frosting was super light and airy, and didn't overwhelm the cake. I think the ratio of cake to frosting was absolutely perfect, and the texture and flavor balance between the two was very well done.
In summation: Beautiful flavor and texture balance, loved the frosting. A.
P.S.: I also bought a German chocolate brownie, but that one is MINE ALL MINE and you'll just have to buy your own to see how delicious they are. Fortunately: