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Are Strawberry Watermelon Cupcakes a Thing?

We’ve only devoted two entire posts to a single flavor. Both are undisputed cult classics– Red Dream and Witch Doctor. It’s time we took a nice hard look at an underdog.

No one likes to pick favorites when it comes to their creations. They’re all unique and beautiful in their own special way, right? It’s easy to tell whether something is crap or not, but once you’re in the realm of high-quality, it gets pretty subjective. I can only speak from my own personal preferences, so here’s a heads-up that they lean quite heavily towards rich, creamy and full-bodied e-juice flavors. I drink black coffee all day and all night. 

So, rather than asking me “What is the best flavor?”, a better question might be “What are you vaping right now?” or “What bottle do you immediately replace when it’s empty?”. That way I can put sentimentality aside and just give you a straight answer:

Straw-Melon Cupcake



In early May we released Straw-Melon Cupcake as one-third of LEGIT, our ‘fruit meets baked dessert’ brand. I’ve had a bottle of it within arms reach ever since its release, and have had a prototype version of it since the Flavorman first created this work of sheer genius. The Flavorman is a pseudonym for our head mixologist, whose identity shall remain a closely-guarded secret. Picture Massimo Bottura from 'Chef’s Table' without the mood swings and the obsessive focus and attention to detail of a Swiss watchmaker. 



Flavorman was working for months doing nothing but perfecting desserts and cakes all day. Tinkering and whisking— slaving over a hot beaker— and single-handedly going through more electric frothers than Starbucks. He’d tap me on the shoulder about 500 times a day. “Hey, what do you think of this?” 

Since I don’t think he could make a bad flavor if he tried to at this point, we had to come up with a more helpful way of getting feedback and critique. It feels pointless to just say “that’s pretty good” all day. They’re ALL good. But as the saying goes, being good isn’t good enough. So what I looked for was an element of surprise. I was looking for shockingly good. These experiences tend to be hard to describe because they’re so unique you don’t have a frame of reference immediately on hand. But the reactions they cause are immediate and involuntary. Something either knocks you out of your chair or it doesn’t. If I didn’t have to physically express utter confusion and disbelief, I would say something like “that’s good. Now get weird with it”.

What I meant was something like “step way outside the box and give it something truly unique. You can always go back to home base, so you’re free to try something completely bizarre. And if it’s terrible, so what? Maybe you’ll hit something wild.” And he did. The Flavorman got weird and made a strawberry watermelon cupcake that shook me to my core. I didn’t have to think about it. It was SHOCKINGLY GOOD. 

Now here’s the thing, at time of writing, Straw-Melon Cupcake is the SECOND best seller of the LEGIT line and not the show-stealing smash hit I assumed it certainly would be. I thought it might even be the Angel Tears or Red Dream killer. And I’m racking my brain trying to figure out what gives. I am legitimately surprised that people aren’t getting Straw-Melon Cupcake tattoos yet. I have a lot of questions. Maybe you can help me understand.

(Seriously, this would make a great tattoo)

 

Why isn't it the top-seller? Why are you not stockpiling Straw-Melon Cupcake in an underground bunker? Are you strawberry fatigued? Do you not like cupcakes? Do you think the combination sounds strange and just don't want to chance it? Can fruit, candy, and dessert fans find no common ground? Are you either a fruit vaper or dessert vaper and never the twain shall meet? Let’s get a conversation started here.

One theory I had was that it is the most unfamiliar flavor combination.

You know strawberry. You know watermelon. And you know cupcake. But have you ever actually had a strawberry watermelon cupcake? I haven’t. You probably haven’t either. I checked every bakery and specialty cupcake place in Austin, and NONE of them had strawberry watermelon cupcakes. We have cupcake food trucks all over the place here! And I can’t even find a strawberry watermelon cupcake???

Wait… wait a sec...

Are strawberry watermelon cupcakes not a thing?


This changes RIGHT NOW. If I want a strawberry watermelon cupcake, I'm going to have to make one myself!


I couldn’t find a good strawberry watermelon cupcake recipe online. Most of the ones I found didn’t even have any watermelon in them. They just put green icing on top of regular store bought strawberry cupcake mix. One suggested I dump a packet of Watermelon Kool-Aid into the batter. That seems iffy. Too sweet. My strawberry watermelon cupcake has to at least try to be of similar quality to Straw-Melon Cupcake. I thought that meant real watermelon. Lots of it.

(It had to have real strawberries, real watermelon, and real vanilla.)


The first attempt came out kind of sad because I just thought I could puree a bunch of watermelon and dump it into the batter. This threw off the consistency and they collapsed in on themselves instead of rising. 

(these sad little fellas were about 50% fruit so they didn't bake as much as congeal)

Realizing I had zero baking experience, I got in touch with a professional cupcake chef and asked her how I could get a ton of watermelon in there without making the batter too wet. She taught me how to make a watermelon reduction by boiling it down so that the water evaporates leaving a thick stock of concentrated watermelon flavor. 

Sounds good. Let’s try this again. 

VOILA!

(These at least resemble cupcakes.) 

(Apparently, icing melts when you leave it on a hot stove in a metal bowl. It was whipped and fluffy earlier. I Promise.)

 

Strawberry watermelon cupcakes ARE a thing. (Sort of...) And I’ve got one right here to prove it!


I have a real-live strawberry watermelon cupcake in one hand, and Straw-Melon Cupcake dripped onto fresh coils and cotton in the other. This cupcake smells wonderful. I’m excited.



(First gen. Goon RDA at 120W. And a freshly filled Falcon at 70W)

I’m sure you’ve seen e-juice flavor reviews on YouTube. Most reviewers understand it’s not exactly fair to rate a flavors quality based simply on whether or not they liked it. Everyone likes different things. So they’ll judge by how closely it matches the flavor description on the label. Does it taste like what it says it tastes like? From there you can compare it to other brands who have made the same flavor or similar versions.

If we were talking about Sweet Lemon Bar we could say “Well, I’ve had a lemon bar. And this tastes exactly like a lemon bar. How does it compare to Dinner Lady Lemon Tart?" 

But we're talking about a flavor for which there might be no real-world equivalent. It's basically a figment of your imagination. And there’s nothing else like it on the market to compare it to. Great.

Let’s dive in and answer the two BIG QUESTIONS. First, are strawberry watermelon cupcakes good? And second, does Straw-Melon Cupcake taste like a strawberry watermelon cupcake?

[Eats cupcake and vapes. Alternating between the two, covering all 9000 taste buds, warming it up, pulling faces like...]

[Meditates for a few moments on everything, attempts to make sense of it all]

So, are they any good?

Well... yeah. They’re good. But I couldn’t get anywhere near as much watermelon flavor in there. Even with the reduction, it tastes like a strawberry vanilla cupcake to me, with the dominant flavor being "cake". The cake is full-on in my face here, and if you told me you spent two hours boiling watermelon into a paste I'd say you get an E for effort, but I don't taste the watermelon. I taste mostly cake. And some vanilla. The cake flavor is so strong and the watermelon is faint if there at all. And I wanted the exact opposite. 

Straw-Melon Cupcake has watermelon as the dominant flavor with cake hiding off in the distance. And maybe you just can’t get ALL THAT watermelon into a cupcake. Not real watermelon anyway. Perhaps a professional could. But maybe not. Maybe I should have used KoolAid but I think that would have made it to sugary. I could've brought the strawberries forward, but Straw-Melon Cupcake is more of a watermelon cupcake than a strawberry cupcake. The strawberry is a strong supporting character, but not the star. (In my opinion. I've seen reviews stating they see things differently)


Does Straw-Melon Cupcake taste like a strawberry watermelon cupcake?

No.

It’s SO MUCH BETTER. Infinitely better. And I'm glad it doesn't. 

That’s not a critique of Straw-Melon Cupcake, as much as of my baking and the laws of physics. Who knew you can’t just bake fruit puree and expect it to rise? Or that you can’t make a cake that doesn’t taste so damn much like…cake? Ughhh. If only. Straw-Melon Cupcake is what a strawberry watermelon cupcake COULD be as an otherworldly ideal. It’s the essence of an experience beyond the limits of this world. The dream doppelgänger of a perfect strawberry watermelon cupcake in an alternate dimension.

So is the flavor description misleading?

No. 

It IS a cupcake. Maybe not MY attempt at a cupcake, but it's not a straight-forward strawberry watermelon fruit flavor or a super sweet strawberry watermelon candy. It has that creamy, full-bodied SOMETHING to it that puts it in the dessert category.

Think cupcake ICING. Does it taste like strawberries, watermelon, and creamy vanilla cupcake icing? ABSOLUTELY. Spot on. That would be an accurate description. But you've only got so much room. I've been prattling on all day trying to describe this flavor. (This blog post is weighing in at just under 2,000 words! That's roughly the length of a full spread magazine cover story trying to convey this groundbreaking and mysterious flavor!)

Fruit and candy fans will love it. No question. Dessert fans looking for a cake fix might be disappointed by the subtlety, but that bit of creaminess rounds it enough to capture the full attention of dessert and custard fiends like me who normally aren't into bright fruits and candy.

Straw-Melon Cupcake is like if a watermelon Jolly Rancher grew up, got a job, and listened to a lot of Radiohead …while hanging out in a bakery. It has the creamy fluffiness of a cupcake, the personality of cupcake, but not the cake mix taste. It's hard to describe because it's so unique. 

Here's an example of that shocked and confused reaction I was talking about earlier. I set this clip to start right at when the reviewer has his first puff not knowing what to expect. 

(Warning:  Colorful Language)

Scroll back to hear him say kind words about us, but I want you to see this initial reaction because it's exactly what I was trying to describe. That's what Straw-Melon Cupcake does to you!


If you haven’t tried it yet, I can’t recommend it enough. Hopefully, by this point, I’ve made it clear how highly I think of it. I want to know what you think. 

How would you describe it? What were you expecting vs. what you got? If you haven’t tried it, why not? What has put you off from it? Are you all just really into lemons all the sudden? Is it ripe fruit or candied fruit? Do you taste more watermelon or strawberry? Did it knock you out of your chair when you first tasted it?