Let them eat cupcakes

by Beacon Staff • November 10, 2011

Correspondent/strong

When the thought of something sugary makes your mouth water, the only solution is to indulge your throbbing sweet tooth. What could be better than pleasing your palate then with a petite cake? Here are five couture cupcake boutiques around Boston worth sampling.

strongSouth End Buttery /strong

[caption id=attachment_3813957 align=aligncenter width=267 caption=South End Buttery, located at 314 Shawmut Avenue, Boston. Large cupcakes cost $3.00, mini cupcakes cost $2.00 each. Lauren Foley/ Beacon Staff]a href=http://berkeleybeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/DSC_0469.jpgimg class=size-full wp-image-3813957 title=DSC_0469 src=http://berkeleybeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/DSC_0469.jpg alt= width=267 height=400 //a[/caption]

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The South End is a seldom-visited area for Emerson students — less than a 10 minute walk from campus — and the South End Buttery is a neighborhood hot-spot. Located on a quiet street corner, the café is home to loyal customers, good tunes, and a high-class vibe.

There is an old, classy feel to the place.  The music is fitting to the atmosphere: smooth and jazzy. The tables and food displays are reminiscent of a French patisserie.

Samantha Preis, a visitor from New York, admitted to having just been at the shop the day before and couldn’t help coming for another visit.

“This is where I come. This place is my favorite. This place is the place,” Pries said. She said her favorite cupcake, the Harriet — a carrot cake base with cream cheese frosting — was sold out, so she settled for red velvet.

Cupcakes are made fresh each morning, according to Molly Dupere, who works behind the counter. Sometimes, if you are a lucky dinner patron, the Buttery gives leftover cupcakes for free as dessert.

Buttery’s typical crop of customers consists of hip mothers, artsy types, and other South End residents.

“Whenever I feel like taking a walk on my own, getting a warm thing to drink, reading, grabbing a delicious sweet little bite that’s when I usually come,” said Marlowe Griffin Lyddon, a junior marketing communication major.

South End Buttery is located at 314 Shawmut Ave., Boston. Large cupcakes cost $3.00, mini cupcakes cost $2.00 each.

strongKickass Cupcakes/strong

[caption id=attachment_3813960 align=aligncenter width=400 caption=Kickass Cupcakes, 378 Highland Avenue, Somerville. Regular cupcakes coast $3.00, XL cupcakes cost $4.00 each. Steve Miller/ Beacon Staff]a href=http://berkeleybeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/IMG_5354.jpgimg class=size-full wp-image-3813960 title=IMG_5354 src=http://berkeleybeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/IMG_5354.jpg alt= width=400 height=267 //a[/caption]

This food truck travels around Boston, makes deliveries to local homes, and maintains a stand-alone store in Davis Square in Somerville.

At the store, not only can you see and smell the cupcakes being baked, but you can also buy a cupcake for your pet.

Kickass Cupcakes isn’t afraid to break the mold. This establishment offers mini-cakes baked with rum, vodka, and even sake. A beer-lover should consider ordering a Sammy, which is made with local Samuel Adams Cream Stout beer.

Their cupcakes are not just about the presentation; they are also about the taste.

Kickass reaches a wide audience of cupcake eaters. A salted caramel cinnamon vegan cupcake has created a loyal fan-base from the vegan community. Many come to Kickass specifically for that reason.

Clair Schulz, an Emerson publishing graduate student, works at Kickass Cupcakes’ Davis Square shop. Schulz said Kickass focuses on using locally-sourced, natural ingredients.

If you can’t catch the truck, the trip out to Somerville is worth it. Customers can view the cupcakes being baked because the shop’s space consists mostly of the kitchen, allowing for the activacation of senses like sight and smell.

Kickass Cupcakes is located at 378 Highland Ave., Somerville. Regular cupcakes cost $3.00, XL cupcakes cost $4.00 each.

strongSweet Cupcakes/strong

[caption id=attachment_3813963 align=aligncenter width=400 caption=Sweet Cupcakes, 225 Newbury Street, 49 Massachusetts Avenue, 11 School Street, Boston and 0 Brattle Street, Cambridge. Cupcakes cost $3.25 each, frosting shots cost $0.50 each. Courtney Tharp/ Beacon Staff]a href=http://berkeleybeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/DSC_0387.jpgimg class=size-full wp-image-3813963 title=DSC_0387 src=http://berkeleybeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/DSC_0387.jpg alt= width=400 height=267 //a[/caption]

Johnny Cupcakes sounds like the perfect place to take care of your desire for some confectionery delight. However, as soon as you walk in you’re surrounded by graphic T-shirts with not a cake in sight. Before you throw a butter cream fit, continue another block and satisfy your cravings at the beacon of sugary hope that is Sweet.

“I like how clean they present them. They are really nice and decorated really minimalistic so I just focus on how they taste,” Shauntelle Stephens, a junior communication studies major said.

The menu offers 20 different flavors per day, including the seasonal apple pie with preserve fillings.

Sweet is also known for small cups of chocolate or vanilla frosting shots.

“People come here and go, ‘you have just frosting” Rachel Brook, a cupcakeista at Sweet said.  “It’s a really novel idea.”

Visitors stop by not only for a shot of frosting or a mini-cake but to experience the full ambiance of the shop. There is nothing too sweet about the store.

“It is as if Audrey Hepburn had a cupcake shop,” Brook said.

Sweet Cupcakes is located at 225 Newbury St., 49 Massachusetts Ave., 11 School St., Boston and 0 Brattle St., Cambridge. Cupcakes cost $3.25 each, frosting shots cost $0.50 each.

strongIsabelle’s Curly Cakes/strong

[caption id=attachment_3813968 align=aligncenter width=400 caption=Isabelle#39;s Curly Cakes, located at 81 Charles Street, Boston. Everyday flavored cupcakes cost $3.95, specialty flavors cost $4.50 each. Courtney Tharp/ Beacon Staff]a href=http://berkeleybeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/DSC_0322.jpgimg class=size-full wp-image-3813968 title=DSC_0322 src=http://berkeleybeacon.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/DSC_0322.jpg alt= width=400 height=267 //a[/caption]

Isabelle English, daughter of chef Todd English, is in the process of making a name for herself after opening a cupcake shop in Beacon Hill, a convenient stop right across the Common for Emerson students.

The smell of sugar, butter, and sweet-smelling goodness wafts out of the bakery onto Charles Street, and is trapped in the takeout-box sized shop with minimal seating, a feature that doesn’t keep customers from following their noses inside.

Isabelle’s uses a special type of frosting which Megan Stolze, a Boston University graduate student who works at the shop, said is not as sweet.

“It is an Italian meringue butter cream. A lot of people are surprised by how light it is; it is almost melt-in-your-mouth butter rather then a sugary frosting,” Stolze said.

Isabelle’s opened in December 2010 and employs three pastry chefs who create fresh cupcakes daily. A local favorite is the Boston cream cupcake, a petite take on Boston cream pie.

“I have tried every cupcake there. It is just a really cozy tiny place, which makes it cool to hang in,” said Adrianna Alfidi, a freshman marketing communication major said.

Isabelle’s Curly Cakes is located at 81 Charles St., Boston. Everyday flavored cupcakes cost $3.95, specialty flavors cost $4.50 each.

emGurvitch can be reached at alexandra_gurvitch@emerson.edu./em

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