Susie Church | Food Fight
SWEET Cupcakes and Kickass Cupcakes
Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013 02:10
This week, I ventured off into the wonderful world of cupcakes. If you’re anything like me, you may have spent just a little too much time watching “Cupcake Wars” in high school and get all too excited by new, interesting cupcake recipes. I was eager to try two cupcake vendors in our area that pride themselves on their innovative flavors: SWEET Cupcakes and Kickass Cupcakes.
Kickass Cupcakes is no stranger to many Jumbos. Located on Highland Avenue just on the edge of Davis Square, Kickass is a small, casual establishment with little more than a kitchen, a few cupcake racks and a cashier counter. However, their thoughtful flavors and creative name make up for their lack of décor. From The Mojito (a vanilla cupcake soaked in rum with lime frosting and fresh mint) to the limited edition Caramel Apple (a cider cupcake baked with apples and topped with vanilla buttercream and caramel), their recipes bring the classic and the unusual together to create a wide variety of treats.
I decided on the Peanut Butter Cup cake (also a limited edition) and the Banana Cream (a daily special) and ran with cupcakes in hand to catch the Joey. Eating the banana first, I noticed that though it was very moist, it did not actually taste much like banana. It wasn’t until the middle of the cupcake, where a dollop of banana custard lay hidden, that I got the full impact of the flavor. Topped with heavy cream, this cupcake was an amalgamation of a very light cake base with two very heavy ingredients. While I was satisfied overall, I felt like the banana flavor was a little lost between the heavy cream and cake.
Next, I tried the Peanut Butter Cup ... cake and was disappointed with its dryness. The chocolate frosting was delightfully rich and fresh — however, the cupcake as a whole fell flat. The peanut butter-stuffed inside was grainy and dry, lacking the gooey moistness that fresh peanut butter should have, which consequently left the entire cupcake seeming a bit stale.
Heading out to Harvard Square over Parents’ Weekend was more of a nightmare than it ever should be, with the Joey crowds and traffic between Tufts and Davis. However, I eventually made it over to SWEET and was greeted by a clean, white, simplistic interior. “The Great Gatsby” was playing on a flat-screen TV in the background and a brown and pink color scheme lined the back wall. The cupcakes were expertly organized at the counter by types of cake and ingredients.
The flavors at SWEET were rebellious, as well — French Toast and Maple Cranberry were only two of some unconventional cupcake ideas. I chose two vastly different flavors: Pumpkin Pie and Caramel Brownie. The Pumpkin Pie was wonderful — the cake was perfectly light and fluffy with that little bite of spice and a fresh, creamy frosting on top. The Caramel Brownie was very dense and a little dry at times, with a less creamy frosting — its intense flavor would be great for someone who enjoys a really rich, chocolate experience. The quality of these cupcakes was much higher than those at Kickass and their flavors were more memorable.
While the ideas of both establishments are creative and fun, SWEET ultimately takes those interesting ideas and executes them more masterfully. Kickass Cupcakes is surely a solid option for anyone who’s short on time and looking for a quick dessert, but SWEET is worth visiting if you’re willing to spend a little extra time for the kind of quality that I believe cupcakes deserve.