Gas station convenience stores are a treasure trove of cheap snack options. I look to them to satisfy my late-night cravings for king-size Milky Ways, pints of Blue Bell, and crunchy cheese curls. I do not, however, expect much from them in the way of baked goods, unless you count the packaged snack cakes and donuts from the likes of Little Debbie. (I don't.)
So when I saw that the Valero at the corner of South Shepherd and Richmond was now selling cupcakes, I was intrigued. These weren't the gourmet confections vended by Crave and Sprinkles, just slightly larger cupcakes than those you might find at HEB and a little less processed than your average Hostess treat. Frosting and cake flavors included chocolate fudge on chocolate, cream cheese on vanilla, vanilla on vanilla, and chocolate on vanilla.
I chose a vanilla with yellow frosting and rainbow sprinkles ($2) and ate half later that night with some hot chocolate milk. The cake was more "white" than vanilla in flavor and a little dry, but palatable overall. Much better was the generous head of frosting, which was light, creamy and very (artificially) sweet. Most would probably say too much so; however, real buttercream be damned! Sometimes I'm nostalgic for that cloying HFCS icing that coated most of the birthday cakes of my youth.
Although I probably won't make any special trips to Valero just for those cupcakes, it's nice to know of yet another trashy but delicious treat I can procure at my local gas station. And in a pinch, I just might pawn off a half-dozen for a potluck or picnic.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.