Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Beantown Cupcakes and Johnny Notcakes

I think my cupcake obsession is complete. I am now entirely incapable of traveling anywhere without seeking out local bakeries for my cupcake fix. Such was the case on last weekend's trip to Boston when I got a double whammy of cupcake glory with stops at Cambridge's Sweet Cupcakes and world famous "T-shirt bakery" Johnny Cupcakes.

Just across the Charles River and down the street from that fancy school where you can't actually park your car in the yard (I checked), Harvard Square's Sweet is an adorable neighborhood shop conveniently located adjacent to the T's red line Harvard Square stop. Even before sampling a single bite, two aspects of Sweet immediately shot them to the top of the list among other cupcake bakeries that I've tried: a significant selection of flavors still left in the case even in the late afternoon and--BEVERAGES! Though it might seem obvious that cupcake customers could want a chaser for their cakes, you'd be surprised how many cupcakeries don't sell drinks at all, or offer a single incongruous choice like soda. In addition to coffee, Sweet offers a variety of cold beverages including milk, water and juice. One Sweet downside common to cupcakeries though is the small seating area. Sweet only has three tables that seemed to be occupied by people more concerned with staring out of the plate glass window rather than eating cupcakes. Ah, well.
Sweet's variety of cupcakes actually made flavor selection that much more difficult, but I'm sure you all can guess that I managed to narrow it down somehow :) In addition to everyday flavors Sweet also offers an unusually large number of seasonal and holiday flavors. People, these flavors are so unique and incredible. Chocolate Orange, Molasses Ginger and Chocolate Cranberry are just a few they have on offer for the fall season and the holiday menu kicks off this Friday, November 27th. With flavors like Gingerbread, Butterscotch, Eggnog and Chocolate Pomegranate it will be hard not to come back for more. I sampled the S'mores, Caramel Apple and, of course, Boston Cream Pie. Though the S'mores cupcake pretty much fell apart while eating (user error, I'm sure) I loved that it had the generous dose of graham cracker often missing from similar cakes. The Caramel Apple came with a spicy apple filling, caramel glaze and it's very own adorable stick just like the real thing. As for the Boston Cream, this is the moistest cupcake I have ever eaten. Ever. The chocolate ganache was a perfect compliment for this must-try Boston standby.

If Cambridge is out of the way on your trip to Boston, you can also stop by Sweet's Back Bay location. And don't shy away from bringing Fido--Sweet even has "Pupcakes" on offer for $1. At either location I'm sure you'll be pleased with the chic flavors and friendly staff at Sweet and I definitely recommend a stop if you're in the neighborhood (or even if you're not, it's totally worth it).
If you secretly (or not so secretly) suspect that you may have a cupcake obsession like me, while you are in Boston also make sure to stop by T-shirt boutique Johnny Cupcakes. For serious shoppers, Johnny's is nestled amongst the converted brownstones of Boston's trendy Newberry Street shopping district- 8 blocks of eclectic stores and restaurants. After copious amounts of window shopping at their online store, I was psyched for my first chance to step foot in one of their actual stores. An apparel company started from scratch (yes, that's a baking joke) by Johnny Earle/aka Johnny Cupcake in 1989, though this shop may look like a bakery, you'll be disappointed if you come in expecting actual cupcakes. Each of the cases is filled with limited edition t-shirts featuring Johnny's signature Cupcake-And-Crossbones design. The perfect combo of cutesy cupcake and edgy design, I picked up this little number for myself.
If you go:
Brattle St at Harvard Square
Boston, MA
Mon-Tues 11am-9pm
Wed-Sat 11am-10pm
Sun 12 noon-8pm

Johnny Cupcakes
279 Newberry St
Boston, MA
Mon-Thurs 11am-7pm
Fri-Sat 11am-8pm
Sun 11am-7pm

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