…well, okay, maybe it isn’t good for your diet but as I like to say, “It is good for the soul!”
A Betweenkie is a slice of cupcake heaven that is sure to quash your Twinkie carving for ever more. What? You don’t have Twinkie cravings? Well, you are going to love this just the same.
The Betweenkie is a creation spawned out of the ovens of Bijoux Cupcakery. (Actually, it is Bijoux Cupcakes but just as “hot doggery” sounds more poetic than “hot dog shop/stand” “cupcakery” does the same for “cupcakes.”) According to the legend, the chef was attempting to make a Twinkie style Zert. She tried all methods of forcing the cream filling into the tube of cake but alas, none of them worked. The cream nozzles at Hostess must be packing a pretty high pressured punch. She was readying the discarded cakes for a trip to her daughter’s school when at the last minute she figured she would dress them up a bit and they were a big hit.
Don’t get me wrong…I love Twinkies; even though I know they are total crap. (Kind of like how I can’t resist ordering fried SPAM whenever it is offered on a menu; a guilty pleasure of sorts.) Basically, the Betweenkie is a vanilla cupcake, tubed, then split down the middle, spread open and filled with cream and topped with sprinkles. It’s like a healthier, open faced Twinkie. (Yup, I used the word “healthier”; don’t tell my cardiologist.) These aren’t Twinkies, by any means, but in many ways they are much better. Twinkies are incredibly over processed and promising the shelf-life of a bouillon cube. Even if Betweenkies promised to last through the next Y2K, I don’t think I could keep myself from eating them for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I had them in my cupboard.
I first tasted a Bijoux’s cupcake within days of their opening. Although I found the frosting to be incredible, it was hiding the fact that their cake wasn’t all that flavorful. A great cupcake, as with a great bacon cheese burger (BCB), needs to start with a good foundation. You can fool people with fancy sauce, cheese, and buns but if the burger patty isn’t stellar you will never achieve BCB greatness. Same holds true for cupcakes. Luckily, I gave Bijoux another chance. I tried a raspberry red velvet cupcake and was blown away. It was Surf Party U.S.A.!!! Theirs is your standard red velvet configuration, but with a dollop of raspberry filling wrapped in a cupcake. You get raspberry filling in every bite, especially if you devour your cakes whole, like I am prone to do if there is any risk of having to share.
A few days later, I wandered in and was about to get another raspberry red velvet when I asked if they had any vanilla cakes, since I was seeing none. That is when they called my attention to their Betweenkies. They were so unassuming that I had looked right past the Betweenkies, while hunting for a cupcake. Honestly, it was the sound of “Twinkie” that made me take notice but it was the thought of Bijoux’s great tasting cakes and cream filling that made me want to try this new discovery . Unfortunately, I had already gotten in my car and driven away before I ate my Betweenkie, or I would have purchased Bijoux’s entire stock. I was destined for trouble with the girlfriend (GF) for not bringing one home, but at the same time I recognized that I was facing two problems. With the way I rant and rave about food, there was no way I could keep this a secret from her and if I had bought one for her, there is no guarantee it would have made it home either.
Ever since that fateful day, when my palate and the Betweenkie first met, I have been longing for more. Actually, it is a rather one-sided relationship but I can pretend, and am willing to live in denial. Whenever I am close, I stop in to Bijoux and inquire about courting another Betweenkie or two (…I guess I am a bit of a Betweenkie polygamist.) I have met with little luck until today, when I was told they that a batch of Betweenkies would be ready at 3pm. Since friends and family had endured my rants about how great the Betweenkie was, I posted the exciting news to Facebook. I included a stern warning that if there were only two left, they had better leave them for me. When I returned, I could see that the unassuming tray was down to three, count them, THREE Betweenkies. Two women and their young companion were placing a party order but suspected that they wouldn’t be leaving with any less than three cupcakes in tow. It violates the order of the universe to leave a cupcakery with clean hands. There were three of them…and only three Betweenkies available! What if they knew what I knew and all chose Betweenkies??? The anxiety started to build…then frustration set in because I hadn’t come earlier…and finally I reached a stage of panic that I might not get a Betweenkie after waiting for weeks and weeks. Luckily, as with my first Betweenkie experience, everyone overlooked them, moving on to the cornucopia of cupcake choices, coloured like the spring wildflowers of Forestville’s Steelhead Beach Regional Park.
The triad in front of me was taking their time, as I often do when the gravity of getting only one pick from many good choices initiates a sort of tunnel vision. They hesitated so I went in for the kill. A second counter person stepped forward and offered to help me and I directly ordered two Betweenkies.
“Would you like to choose your favorite?” he asked.
“They are all my favorites,” I replied.
What a cruel question. That is like asking a parent to choose which child is their favorite. (It’s the one that brings you Betweenkies, right?)
My response got the attention of the little girl and her two wardens, who immediately recognized that I was hell bent on a Zert they hadn’t yet noticed. Kids are pretty smart and even though I was passing up on more attractive choices she too decided she needed to have whatever I was hysterically hankering for. Just as I finished my double Betweenkie purchase, I was struck by the reality that even two Betweenkies did not guarantee the GF a tasting.
They had a tantalizing tequila sunrise cupcake sitting up front so I ordered that too, in the hopes that it would keep me from a seamless destruction of both Betweenkies. It was a good call (but almost didn’t work), and with my palate properly satisfied (and the looming threats of what might happen if I returned empty handed), the second Betweenkie made is safely home, only to taunt me until it the GF returned from work. It should be noted that before seeing the name in print, the GF thought I was saying “Buttweenkies”, because I am going to end up eating so many that my arse is going to get big.)
Just to clarify, the flavor is not overpowering like a Twinkie, nor does it leave a film on your teeth that even the strongest toothpaste can’t seem to break through…it is much more delicate and far superior. The ingredients are fresh, the flavors are well balanced and it doesn’t leave you feeling like there is a rock in your belly. Will Bijoux’s Betweenkies turn me off of Hostess’s Twinkie? Probably not…I like crummy food as well as good food, but it will seriously curb my Twinkie cravings.
Prices are somewhere in the $2-$3 range, which I have heard mention is “kind of high for something I can make at home.” Obviously, those words weren’t uttered by a cupcake fan because there is no way to put a price on diverse choices you experience in a cupcakery. There are a select group of foods that simply aren’t worth preparing at home unless you are willing to settle on less than perfection. Why go through all the trouble of buying the ingredients, baking the ingredients, frosting the cooked ingredients and then washing all the dishes of the unused/spilled/burnt ingredients when for a couple of bucks you can have someone else do it all? And that homemade cupcake ain’t no Betweenkie!