People. I think I cured my constant need for sugar. How, you ask? By sampling cupcakes from 15 of Boston’s cupcakeries and bakeries, in a week. There’s an album on my computer of 138 pictures of cupcakes. That’s weird. I blame City Gusto, an awesome restaurant review site that highlights a local blogger each week to rank the best of one cuisine or food item throughout the greater Boston area. My chance to do so was the best and worst week of my life, so thank you CG. Of course I had to pick cupcakes, the substance of my dreams, in the hope of creating an epic guide to all Boston has to offer. However, taking my stomach and blood sugar levels into consideration, I should’ve gone with best tofu.
Without further ado:
1. Georgetown Cupcake, 83 Newbury St. Back Bay
($2.75/cake) In DC, where I went to school, cupcake wars were a reality. The dainty little window displays hid a mighty competition, students and businesspeople alike constantly arguing over the best. While not so trustworthy for trends other than political, DC can certainly be trusted with those of food: Self-Serve Fro Yo, Food Trucks, you name it. And the victors of its battlefields have arrived in Boston. Now stars of their own TV show, with locations in NYC and LA as well, Georgetown Cupcake started as a tiny shop on a street in DC championed by two sisters who just loved to bake cupcakes. And bake cupcakes they did, to a sugary perfection. The icing is what gets me, every flavor’s tastes unique. And the cake is always equally right up there in quality. I found myself waiting outside the store on Newbury Street last Thursday before it opened and to my pleasant surprise I was not alone! There was a line of people waiting for cupcakes. At 10 am. Maybe this world isn’t doomed.
Taste: 5 Variety: 4.5 Judging by its Cover: 5
($3/cake) Their flavors are the most unique. Many of them are modeled after drinks, so, fittingly, on the last Monday of each month Kickass hosts a ‘Happy Hour’ from 5-8pm with free samples of their mini cocktail inspired cupcakes. I chose, somewhat unknowingly, a beer flavored one. The first bite was scary, but once my pallat adjusted to the foreign combination of beer and chocolate, I couldn’t exist without it. Their Cookie Dough also impressed me, a somewhat usual flavor they made exciting with delectable dough in the middle.
Taste: 4.75 Variety: 5 Judging by its Cover: 4.5
3. Party Favors, 1356 Beacon St. Coolidge Corner
($3.50/cake) This place provides crack to little children in the form of icing and all things sugar. They create scenery atop their made to order cakes that is pure art and made out of perfect, colorful icing. Loads of it. And their cupcakes are just mini versions of those extravagant masterpieces. Maybe it’s because I was once one of these hyper-excited little kids, but this place makes their icing with heart and I love it. Their cake is always moist and top notch. They do have a collection of more typically flavored cupcakes besides their ones that are decorated for kids, but I was hugely disappointed. Stick with the big, colored icing.
Taste: 5 Variety: 3 Judging by its Cover: 4
4. Cakeology, 45 Province St. Downtown
($3.25/cake) Walking into Cakeology is like walking inside a cupcake. The smell overwhelms you, if cupcakes could sweat this is what it would smell like. I’ve been here a few times now and I admit the first time I was disappointed with what I thought would be the most chocolaty flavor. It was butter cream. When I want chocolate I want real, rich chocolate, not light fluffy stuff. I later tried the White Chocolate Strawberry, however, and was blown away. Speaking of cupcake wars, owner Victoria Donnelly was the winner of season 2 of the Food Network’s show. My conclusion is that some flavors here are absolutely epic while others are decently okay.
Taste: 3.75 Variety: 4 Judging by its Cover: 5
5. South End Buttery, 314 Shawmut Ave, South End
($3/cake) I tried the Cappuccino and Lemon Raspberry. The flavors here were unique as well, and rather dainty if that makes sense. The Cappuccino icing was delicious, and true to flavor. The Lemon Raspberry cake was so fresh, it tasted like a homemade muffin. Its frosting, though: sigh, butter cream. Like I said in my last post, while the cupcakes were very good, but the Blackberry Orange Scone was something that would make me go back.
Taste: 3.75 Variety: 3.75 Judging by its Cover: 4.5
6. Sweet, Harvard Square, Back Bay
($3.25/cake) Sweet is too sweet. It nails the boutiquey style that came from DC, but I have yet to find a flavor there that tastes as good as it looks. Sweet is all about butter cream, and butter cream and I are the best of frenemies. Because of their apparent dairy obsession, their cream cheese icing is perfection. But when I want chocolate, or mint, or coffee icing, save the butter.
Taste: 3.5 Variety: 5 Judging by its Cover: 5
7. Crumbs, 176 Federal St, Prudential Center, Downtown
($3.95/cake) Crumbs needs a lesson in modesty. The cupcakes are HUGE. The different flavors and their excessive decorations are very intriguing, but once you’re three bites in, you kind of want to kill yourself. They taste how I woud imagine pouring a packet of Sweet & Low in your mouth.
Honorable Mention: The rest are good. I mean, hi, I would never turn down a cupcake. I just didn’t obsess over my experiences there like the first few. I’m also tired of writing and thinking about cupcakes…
8. Mike’s Pastry, North End - You can trust them not just for cannolis, I only tried one flavor, the Turtle, but it was addictingly good (largest one in group photo).
9. Petsi Pies, Cambridge & Porter Square- The peanut butter (below) was fantastic. Extremely hearty. The Dolche du Leche was a little strange..
10. Flour Downtown & Central Square- Only one type was available, if you visit flour I’d try one of their other pastry creations or cakes.
11. Isabelle’s Curly Cakes, Beacon Hill – The cake was dry. The Red Velvet was not cream cheesy enough and the chocolate was not chocolatey enough.
12. Lulu’s Sweet Shoppe, North End - Others obsess over this place. My experience wasn’t too special, I tried the Toasted Marshmallow and Classic.
13. Thinking Cup, North End & Park St - Primarily a coffee shop, I might stick to the rest of the food it has to offer. (mini in picture below)
14. Rosie’s Bakery, Cambridge – Made to order cakes might be more appealing, but in store there was only one flavor, and it wasn’t anything to write home about.
15. Lyndell’s, Central Square & Somerville – Boring.
Phew, DONE. I’ll never write about desserts again…