Wednesday, December 9, 2009

In Search of the Perfect Cupcake

We  sought out three purportedly delicious cupcake spots and sampled them in order to guide you, our readers, towards a more perfect pastry experience. 

Cupcakes by Carousel  in Ridgewood has a variety of cupcakes beautifully displayed in the fun little shop, and evokes child-like enthusiasm for dessert. The cheerful staff happily answered my queries about flavor and ingredients, chatting welcomingly. The vanilla-on-vanilla cupcake I selected had dense cake coated in a generous layer of thick, sugary frosting. The cupcake prices ranged between $2.25 and $3.75, depending on how elaborate the flavors. On my way out, I grabbed a free colorful magnet and complimentary temporary cupcake tattoo. Cupcakes by Carousel offers a very kid friendly environment and provides a great post matinee snack, since it is located beside the Ridgewood movie theatre.

The Silver Spoon, (385 Kinderkamack Road, Oradell), provides an ideal lunch and an after-lunch cupcake. The place is clean and the service prompt, but the environment does not encourage lingering. If you are looking to grab lunch and a cupcake to savor in private or enjoy on the go, this is your cupcake place. The $2 cupcake has a fluffy base, contrasted by the creamy, buttery frosting. The Silver Spoon does not have a website, but does offer catering and can be reached at (201) 483-8191.

For a slightly more sophisticated experience, try ArtKitchen, located at 61 Halsey Street in Newark. The little restaurant has a funky, vintage vibe, offering food, ordered at the counter, a few aisles of art supplies, and a desk where you can have something framed while you snack or shop. The display presents cupcakes with three types of cake; vanilla, chocolate and red velvet, and vanilla or chocolate frosting. All cupcakes are priced at $1.50. The cake is moist and crumbly, while the moderate dollop of frosting has a thick, almost yogurt-like texture. The place offers a welcome relief from protocols and process for many state employees in the area as relaxed service is provided by likable, artsy young staff. 

While all the cupcakes tasted were indeed delicious, the variations in texture and taste were noticeable, and the different atmospheres affected our overall cupcake sampling experience.  

NJ My Way contributing writer P. Shagin authored this story. 

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