Local bakery offers sweets that ‘take the cake’
By MEGAN PALBICKI
Reality shows like “DC Cupcakes” and “Cupcake Wars” have made cupcakes more than a quick dessert for a child’s birthday party. These petite cakes with dollops of sugary frosting are now the ultimate adult indulgence. In Milwaukee, boutique bakeries specializing in cupcakes are popping up around town.
Miss Cupcake, located at 3801 N. Oakland Ave. in Shorewood, has only been open for a little longer than a year but already feels like a neighborhood staple.
“[The neighborhood] really likes to buy local,” said Megan Gray, Miss Cupcake staff member. “They’ve been really supportive.”
Stopping by on a Sunday afternoon, I thought I would have the shop (and cupcakes) to myself. The hot ham and rolls sandwich board out front made for a busy shop. Packed with delicate pastries, the display case welcomed guests to press their noses to the glass. I chose a few basics and a few specialties: chocolate chocolate, red velvet, beer nut (yes, you read that right!), peach bellini and pumpkin.
Miss Cupcake provides gluten free options as well as vegan, but it is recommended to call in advance for dietary accommodations.
Confections such as cake balls, macaroons and even dog treats are available. Because of the variety Miss Cupcake offers, the boring cupcake is impossible.
1. Hands down, red velvet takes the cake (yes, pun intended). While I am partial to red velvet cake to begin with, there was something very special about Miss Cupcake’s red velvet: the frosting. This was the most delicious cream cheese frosting I have ever had. This frosting put the ‘velvet’ in red velvet; it was like a cheesecake in icing form. The cake was everything red velvet should be: moist, a little dense and perfectly flavored with a hint of cocoa. I am pleased to say this same frosting is found on the seasonal pumpkin cupcake too.
2. My second favorite was the beer nut cupcake, hands down. Made with Milwaukee’s home-brewed Miller Lite, the beer nut cupcake does not taste like beer at all. While the flavor is hard to describe, the cupcake was the most moist of the five, topped with a whipped cream frosting, peanut pieces and one whole salted peanut in the shell.
3. Dusted with cinnamon-sugar (a.k.a. powdered heaven!), the pumpkin cupcake tasted like fall. Similar in texture to the red velvet (only a bit more like a muffin), the pumpkin cupcake tasted like a bite of homemade pumpkin pie. This takes third place, for the frosting alone.
4. Fourth place goes to chocolate chocolate! The frosting was divine, the cake had great flavor, though a little dry. Sprinkled with green and gold jimmies for the upcoming Packer game, this is a cupcake for the undiscerning palette.
5. The peach bellini cup was my least favorite. Made with champagne and fresh peach, I had expected a fresh, sweet, light flavor. Instead, the cake was dense and heavy. The champagne overwhelmed the peach flavor, tasting too much like the alcoholic drink without the perks. Topped with a sweet cream frosting and sugar crystals, it clashed with the flavor of the cake, combining into an awkward flavor palette.