| Sweets |

The OMG Cookies & Cream Cupcake at Rice Epicurean Market

Move over, Crave. I adore your cupcakes for their salty-sweet buttery icing and inventive flavors, but you have some competition in a chain grocery store.

Rice Epicurean Market's OMG ("Oh My God") series of cupcakes ($2.99 each) are sizeable, moist, and topped with the densest, creamiest frosting I've tasted in a long time. The Vanilla Cream cupcake is delightful, but special commendation goes to the Cookies & Cream (aka "OREO") cupcake.

Plenty of baked goods claim to be cookies-and-cream-flavored, but few pull it off successfully because it requires a large amount of cookies (and so a lot of time and money) to reproduce the distinct chocolate-sandwich-cookie flavor. Oreos, for example, have a wonderful taste, but it's not particularly strong in the face of heavy cheese and other ingredients.

The base of the OMG Cookies & Cream cupcake is a moist, dark chocolate cake that teeters under the weight of a large head of cream cheese frosting infused with cookies and dotted with chocolate curls. The whole thing is garnished with half a chocolate sandwich cookie, which provides a lovely contrasting crunch to the soft icing.

I dug into the cupcake expecting the satisfying, albeit predictable, taste of supermarket baked goods but was greeted instead with pure, unadulterated chocolate, cream and sugar, flavors that usually are only present in wares from independent bakeries. And since I'm a self-identified "icing kid" (that person who steals the frosting from co-workers who claim 'it's just TOO MUCH,'), I very much appreciated the generous amount of icing...even if eating all of it made me a bit ill.

You can bet I'll be returning to try the German Chocolate and Crushed Red Velvet flavors.

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