After my last recipe showdown with cake batter fudges, you'd think I'd have learned my lesson about putting cake mix in desserts where no cake mix should go. But I didn't, and I'm not even sorry.
This time my interest was piqued by pins of "cupshakes" which were supposed to be as simple as blending a cupcake into a milkshake for a delicious cake flavored treat. I was skeptical of what texture the cupshake would have, but commenters and pinners seemed enthusiastic. So after a little research I narrowed it down to two main recipes, baked a batch of cupcakes, and geared up for another cake-flavored recipe showdown.
The cupshake recipes all fell into one of two categories:
1. Spoonable: Cupcakes blended in a milkshake maker with soft serve vanilla ice cream. The result looked more like a frosty or blizzard and is meant to be eaten with a spoon. I found a number of cupcake bakeries offering these which could be made with any of their frosted cupcakes
2. Drinkable: Cupcakes blended in a blender with ice cream and milk for a more traditional milkshake meant to be slurped through a straw. Some recipes called for frosted cupcakes, others used plain
The cupshakes were rated on:
Appearance: It is delicious and festive looking? Would I serve it at a birthday party? Does it do the adorable name 'cupshake' justice? 5 points
Flavor: Is it a balance of milkshake and cupcake? Can you taste the frosting? 10 points
Texture: Creamy and delicious? Thick and frosty? 10 points
Repeatability: Would I make it again? When and for who? Are they better blended together, or should you enjoy the cake and ice cream separately? 5 points.
The cupcakes were vanilla with a strawberry buttercream frosting. I went with strawberry instead of vanilla icing to determine if it added anything to the cupshake flavor-wise. Milkshakes are already calorie bombs decadent before the addition of cake, so unless the icing really adds something it's probably better to leave a mixture of butter and sugar out of your drink (or at least eat it separately and enjoy it...)
First up was the spoonable cupshake. It already had an air of legitimacy from gracing the menus of cupcake bakeries, so I was feeling pretty confident that I would be enjoying a creamy, delicious treat.
The blender was loaded with the cupcake first, then a generous portion of vanilla ice cream. Ideally, this would work better with a milkshake maker, but pulsing the blender on a lower speed worked to a similar effect: blending the cupcake and ice cream without melting it into a drink.
As far as recipes go, this one is as easy as they come. As long as you have cupcakes on hand it's just buzz, buzz, buzz..cupshake!
Appearance: Neither here nor there. It was a bit meltier than it would have been if I had used a milkshake maker, but that was my own doing so I can't hold that against it. Basically a big creamy bowl of ice cream, which is nice, but doesn't really match up with the name 'cupshake'. 3.5/5
Flavor: Definitely cake flavored. Birthday cake with a hint of strawberry, so the icing was adding a little something to the mix. Flavor-wise it was delivering what it promised. 9/10
Texture: The thing about blending a cupcake into your ice cream is that you don't end up with chunks of cake scattered throughout (like cookie dough ice cream) nor does it blend smooth like a regular ice cream. The cake is still there, sort of blended/dissolved into the ice cream which makes it kind of bumpy and textured. It wasn't an offensive texture, but not as good as regular ice cream. 3/10
Repeatability: Personally, I find the ice cream mutes the cake flavor and the cake messes up the ice cream texture. Together on a plate, magic. Blended in a blender.. meh. However, one person mentioned throwing a cupcake themed birthday party for her kids with milkshake machine where they could add a cupcake to their milkshake. If I had attended that party as a kid I would have thought that was the best. idea. ever. and wouldn't have given a hoot about the change in ice cream texture.
So.. yes. If I were a child at a birthday party, then I would make this again. 1/5
Total Score: 16.5/30
Round two: The drinkable milkshake. I made two versions of this, one with an iced cupcake thrown into the blender with some milk and ice cream, and one with an un-iced cupcake.
Texture: Addressing the texture first, because no. Just no. There is SO MUCH no inside of this glass..inside of my mouth. It's like sucking a piece of wet soggy bread through a straw. Tons of soggy crumbs and horribleness with no discernible difference between the iced and un-iced versions. I'm someone who enjoys a bit of texture in my smoothies (ground oats, chia seeds, flax) and loves boba in my bubble tea, but this is the opposite of what is good. 0/10 points
Appearance: Definitely matched the name 'cupshake'. A pretty, thick, foamy looking shake.. which makes it worse because it gets you all excited, draws you in, then completely horrifies you. 5/5
Flavor: Does it even matter? It tasted like a wet cupcake. 1/10 point (for being cake-flavored)
Repeatability: No. 0/5
I never thought that I'd view the cake batter fudge as a success, but compared to this showdown it sort of was. I was able to give the second batch of it away to people who liked it (admitted that they probably wouldn't make it themselves, but ate it anyways). Meanwhile, the cupshakes delighted exactly nobody and the second version has made my boyfriend distrustful of any blended drink that I make in case I've hidden something horrible and soggy inside.
So, have I learned my lesson about birthday cake flavored desserts? Or am I more determined than ever to find one I love? ......*suspense*
Spoiler: I have one more planned. Third time's the charm?