Taste test: The best cupcake in Boston

1 Jul

It’s a cupcake throwdown! Over the past two years, I’ve had the opportunitylarge_coconut-cupcake to try just about every dainty mini-cake on the market. And, given Boston’s tendency toward a) slightly belated food trends and b) comfort classics, that’s a lot of buttercream.

I’m going to give you my top three, and let me just say outright that they don’t include Sweet, Lyndell’s, or Party Favors (though the latter was a close fourth).

As much as I adore the jewelbox loveliness of Sweet’s cakes, shop decor, and even branding, I have had too many flavor-lite treats that left me scratching my head (though, to be fare, the red velvet with cream cheese frosting is fab). Lyndell’s makes a perfectly nice, old-fashioned cupcake, but I can’t distinguish much difference between it and a…okay just say it…grocery store product. As for Party Favors, the cakes are gorgeous, over-the-top, and even quite tasty, but taste like a big-batch commercial product, not a nice homemade muffin.

So let’s move on to the winners:

Third place: Kickass Cupcakes

Why: Love that you can taste the high-quality butter and chocolate; like the crazy flavors like margarita, malted milkshake, and lemon-ginger; and mostly like the guilt-free snacking size, but I prefer a cake with a heftier crumb and a nice dome on top. And $2.75 is a little steep for a petite treat.

Second place: Sensational Cupcakes

Why: The dark horse candidate from Saugus! These cakes are super-fun, generously sized, nicely domed, and super-tasty, in flavors like peanut-butter-chocolate, rocky road, double-chocolate, key lime, and even cannoli (love the idea, but it’s not my favorite). Even better, they cost $2.25 each, but if you purchase 5 or more, the price drops to $2.

First place: Petsi Pies

Why: Owner Renee McLeod may be a pie fiend, but her whoopie pie and coconut cupcakes take the category. They’re big, fresh, buttery, and tender, and even though Petsi’s other flavor options are limited (adding red velvet, carrot, and chocolate and vanilla in the mix), I’ve never felt a lack.

Interestingly, some Yelpers have complained about dry cakes, but my repeat visits have never earned anything but raves. The $2.25 price tag is a plus.

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