In the past few years, cupcakes have been counted among the hottest foodie trends out there, and really, what’s not to like? They’re cute, easy to eat on-the-go, and evoke a since of nostalgia for the comforts of childhood that many people crave, especially in these times of economic uncertainty. Of course, plenty of food writers have been eager to announce the death of the cupcake as a trendy food item – because let’s face it, the cupcake has gone mainstream, and of course foodie hipsters can’t be seen liking something that everyone else has discovered. But leaving all that aside, let’s get to the real question at the heart of the topic: are people making cupcakes in Little Rock, and if so, are they good?
The answer to both questions is a resounding “yes.” Little Rock has two gourmet cupcake bakeries owned and operated by the same group of folks, Cupcakes on Kavanaugh and the new Cupcakes on the Ridge (located in the Pleasant Ridge Town Center). Jess and I made a point of sampling the goods at both locations and found that they were each quite good. The cupcakes pictured to the right are from the Kavanaugh location, an Almond Cream and a Black Forest cupcake. The cake is dense and chewy, with a rich chocolate flavor, and each cupcake boasts its own unique filling – it was a fun surprise to find cherries baked right into my Black Forest cake. The butter cream icing is thick and incredibly sweet – too sweet for me, to tell the truth, but I’m not the biggest fan of icing in general. Jess says I’m crazy for feeling that way; she loved the icing.
The setup of the Pleasant Ridge location was very similar to the one on Kavanaugh. Jess immediately went for the Turtle cupcake, a gooey mass of chocolate cake, chopped nuts, and butter cream frosting drizzled with caramel and fudge sauce and filled with a nut and chocolate mix – or as she put it later “A sugarbomb,” albeit one she enjoyed quite a bit. I was happy to see an offering in the case that wasn’t coated with frosting, the French Breakfast Roll, a buttery white cake rolled in cinnamon-sugar that quickly became my favorite thing on the menu. The cake was almost creamy, and the light crunch of the cinnamon-sugar reminded me of eating cinnamon toast as a kid. Delicious!
At both locations, the staff were incredibly friendly and helpful – they looked like they were having a good time serving up their tasty little cakes. And judging by the brisk business (especially at the Pleasant Ridge store), it seems that nobody here in Central Arkansas has gotten the memo that cupcakes are over – and honestly, if they taste this good why should they be? I’d rather enjoy something tasty and fun to eat than be disdainful of a food just because it’s too “mainstream.”
Cupcakes on Kavanaugh is located at 5625 Kavanaugh Boulevard. Cupcakes on the Ridge is located at 11525 Cantrell Road in the Pleasant Ridge Shopping Center. Both places boast a wide variety of cake flavors and friendly staffs, so whichever part of town you find yourself in, treat yourself to something yummy!