Banana Split Cupcakes at Cocoa Van
A devoted Elvis fan visits Graceland regularly, and when he does, he brings the DJs at Sirius XM Elvis Radio cupcakes from Cocoa Van Cupcakes in Cordova. This gesture pleases DJ Jim Sykes big-time, because Sykes and his wife Alison already know (and love) Nicole Reed’s extraordinary gourmet flavors.
Reed, who runs the charming shop at Trinity Place Shopping Center with her husband Brian, is a classical pianist, and she bakes with similar artistry. Here’s how Brian explains her approach: “All of Nicole’s cupcake flavors include the cake. She doesn’t just take a flavor of icing and put it on a chocolate or vanilla cupcake. She layers in the flavors at every level.”
The first time I visited the store, Nicole was elbow deep in buttercream making 200 cupcakes for a special order. So Brian, a trained chef, explained how the cupcake shop grew from the couple’s catering company. Nicole started baking to try to duplicate Brian’s favorite apple cake. She was a natural and soon was selling Bundt cakes to Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken in downtown Memphis.
These days, the couple focuses exclusively on a changing menu of cupcake flavors developed with premium ingredients such as grated zests and fresh fruit. The cupcakes are displayed on lovely pedestal cake plates with glass domes, so you can take all the time you need to admire the swirls of buttercream and scrumptious cupcake descriptions.
Although I’m sure this will change after my next visit, my favorite flavors for now include strawberry, a rich chocolate cake with tiny pieces of fresh fruit hiding inside, and a coconut cake cupcake infused with Madagascar bourbon vanilla, iced with buttercream and topped with flakes of freshly toasted coconut.
7990 Trinity Road, Cordova (901) 308-1536