Alice Eats: Superb Cupcakes
5 Taft Corners Shopping Center, Williston, 871-5941
Have you ever been outsmarted by a cupcake? It could happen.
Though ice cream, macarons, doughnuts and now even cronuts have come and gone in bigger cities, cupcakes have had the staying power of a cockroach in and around the Queen City. It could be declared Vermont's official dessert.
And there's a reason: Cupcakes are good. Especially cupcakes like the Root Beer Float from Superb Cupcakes in Williston.
It was that delectable dessert that got the better of me. Somehow, baker-owners Joseph Emmons and Hannah Lenehan crammed every bit of flavor from the sugary drink into a baked form.
Forget the chocolate cupcake and its pleasantly spongy bounce. It simply blends with the buttercream on top, intensely flavored with root beer, then glazed with even more of the stuff. Inside, fluffy vanilla cream approximates a bobbing scoop of ice cream. Save the drastic temperature difference, you will be fooled.
For $13.50, I brought home a six-pack to try what was only a small sample of the more than 35 types of cupcakes the couple prepares on a regular basis, but was a healthy swath of the dozen or so available that day.
There were no clunkers in the bunch, though some flavors were more inspired than others. The salted caramel was a slight disappointment — only the filling seemed to be salted, while the top, finished with a Rolo, was simply sweet.
The S'mores cupcake worked better, though it couldn't reproduce the gooey pleasures of melting marshmallow and chocolate. What it did with gusto, though, was create big marshmallow flavor. Both inside and on top of the chocolate cupcake, marshmallow cream made itself known. I just wish that the top, showered with crumbled Graham crackers, had been bruléed for a kiss of campfire flame.
Though the simple coconut flavor was less groundbreaking than my other favorites, it was one of the best-executed cupcakes I've had in the area. Nary a hint of crystallization marred the rich coconut buttercream. The vanilla cake was nearly as light as angel food.
With no gimmicks, this was still a damn good cupcake. And it didn't make me feel stupid. Not that I'd turn down another chance to be outwitted by the Root Beer Float.
Alice Eats is a weekly blog feature devoted to reviewing restaurants where diners can get a meal for two for less than $35. Got a restaurant you'd love to see featured? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.