Giving in to cupcake culture
I have nothing against cake — or its pocket-size counterpart, the cupcake — but I've always been more of a pie girl. For some reason, cupcakes conjure up memories of grade school, where there were five tedious birthdays in your class a month. This always meant stacks of store-bought supermarket cupcakes before lunch, swathed in synthetic frosting and topped with chalky sprinkles, which of course all got licked off immediately, leaving the spit-slimed cake base for the trash.
When I heard the cupcake-centric Crumbs Bake Shop was finally open in the Financial District, I surprised myself by volunteering to go. Was my subconscious trying to tell me something? Time to give the poor, trendy cupcake another chance.
Opened in Manhattan in 2003, Crumbs has undoubtedly been a major player in the movement that took the dessert world by storm. Its arrival in Boston only further cements our own burgeoning cupcake culture, although it poses the question: how many cupcakes is enough?
When I step into the tiny Federal Street store, it was clear that the people have spoken. There's a line snaking back and forth, with customers clamoring to peek at the brightly hued selections behind the glass, which made the whole thing feel eerily similar to my very first frantic trip (freshman year of college, of course) to Mike's Pastry.Color me shocked, but the "Peanut Butter Cup" ($3.95) sang with the taste of real peanut butter, whipped into a smooth buttercream frosting. The "Mudslide" ($3.95), yielded the ultimate mocha experience — deep chocolate, with just enough of a coffee burst to give it some complexity. I'm a longtime sucker for carrot cake, and "Carrot" ($3.95) had no trouble meeting my expectations. It was effortlessly creamy, and a good balance of nuttiness and cream-cheese-tinged sweetness.
Each cupcake was about the size of a loose fist, so if you're looking for an experience less likely to send you into a sugary coma, the "Best Seller Collection-Taste Pack" ($19.99) offers more modest sizing and 12 different flavors.
Have I renounced pie for cake? Probably not. But damn, I finally get what all you cupcake enthusiasts have been talking about all this time. I surrender!
CRUMBS BAKE SHOP, located at 176 Federal St, Boston, is open Monday– Friday, 7 am–7 pm. Call 617.345.9200 or visit crumbs.com.
: On The Cheap
, dining, cheap eats, cupcakes, More