Cupcakes at Valero

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.

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Joanna O'Leary