I’m really loving the menu today, guys. It’s got all sorts of sentiment and meaning that’s making me warm and gushy on the inside. Or maybe because it’s 4am, I worked far over 12 hours and I just got in, and I’m starting to hallucinate just a tad. Whatever- I’m sticking with the mushy stuff. Laugh at me ALL YOU WANT, purple panda- just take off my bathrobe and stop drinking all my Vanilla Coke, jerk!!! Why are my socks glowing? BEES!!!!!
First, this month marks the third anniversary of Robicelli’s, and the second anniversary of our cupcakes. In April of ‘09 we were pitching ideas back and forth on ways to get people into our gourmet shop during the recession, and thought about falling back on our pastry training and making cakes. Problem is with cakes, people buy them once, maybe twice a year. So we figured we’d make them into individual portions instead- cupcakes. Then people would come in for those, then start getting addicted to our sandwiches and prepared foods- we thought we’d be making two dozen a week, tops. Our first weekend, I made my famous carrot cake, and Matt made the CPB, and the rest, as you know, is history. We’ve tweaked the recipes a bit over the past two years to make them even more delicious- we’ve gotten a lot better at what we do after 100,000+ cupcakes or so.
Second, the entire philosophy of what we do is pretty much on display in our special Easter cupcake: “Pizza Grana”. The correct Italian spelling of this is “Pastiera di Grano”, but in our butchered Bensonhurst-Italian dialect, it was Pizza Grana, and it was always on the dinner table during Easter. Pizza Grana translates to “Grain Pie”, and is something like an orange-scented ricotta cheesecake filled with cooked wheatberries. It’s not a pastry that’s had as much crossover success like the cannoli, but it’s absolutely one of my most favorite, and the fact that we only eat it once a year makes me love it even more. Odds are, you’ve never heard of pizza grana, but this is why we do what we do. We’re taking one of our beloved traditions and Americanizing it just enough so you’ll be brave enough to try it (besides, it’s a big commitment buying a whole pie). I’m betting you’ll love it as much as I do. Then maybe next Easter, you’ll go down to Villabate or Luigi’s or Veniero’s and buy an authentic Pizza Grana from one of the great Italian bakeries. And by sharing our family’s tradition with you, we help it become a tradition with your family, too, and keep it alive for another generation.
And finally- S’Mores. I think the entire Robicelli’s team deserves a medal for not eating all the spekuloos pudding and saving it for the cupcakes. My favorite part about making this flavor is that it’s the only one that allows me to use a blowtorch. I’m sure there’s probably a much easier way to make toasted marshmallow buttercream than handtorching several pans of marshmallows, but I absolutely refuse to look for one. In fact, I may look for other ways to set our cupcakes on fire. Anyone with ideas, let me know. Also looking for ideas on how to use our cupcakes to travel through time. And how to make a cupcake that’s also a robot, so when the zombies attack, I can be like “Cupcakes! Defend me!” and I’ll have an army of cupcakes doing my bidding! ACK! MORE BEES!
Clockwise from front: Pizza Grana, S’Mores, Carrot, CPB
NEW!!! Pizza Grana: Italian citrus cake, ricotta & wheatberry buttercream, pie crust shards
NEW!!! S’Mores: Chocolate cake, spekuloos pudding, toasted marshmallow buttercream, ganache, graham cracker crumbs
Allison’s Famous Carrot Cake: Carrot cake, cream cheese buttercream, roasted walnuts
The CPB: Chocolate cake, peanut butter buttercream, ganache, roasted peanuts
CAFE AT SAM’S BAKERY- 94th Street off 3rd Ave, Bay Ridge
CRESPELLA CREPE & ESPRESSO BAR- 321 7th Avenue at 9th Street, Park Slope
BLUE APRON FOODS: Union St. off 7th Ave, Park Slope
TAZZA CAFES- Henry off Atlantic and Clark off Henry, Brooklyn Heights
COURT STREET GROCERS: 485 Court Street, Carroll Gardens
RADISH- Bedford Ave off N8th, Williamsburg
EASTERN DISTRICT- Manhattan Ave off Eagle St, Greenpoint
BROOKLYN STANDARD: Nassau Ave & Jewel St, Greenpoint
RED HOOK LOBSTER POUND: 284 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook *Wild Maine Blueberry Cobbler cupcakes only*
THE BROOKLYNEER: 220 W. Houston Street, West Village
CAKESHOP- Ludlow btwn Stanton & Rivington, Lower East Side
NOLITA MART: Mott Street btwn Grand & Broome, NoLIta
JOE: COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY- W. 120th btwn Broadway & Amsterdam Avenue
JOE: GRAND CENTRAL STATION- Graybar Passage
SCHNITZEL AND THINGS: Third Avenue btwn 45th & 46th Streets, Midtown
QUEENS COMFORT: 40-09 30th Ave, Astoria