Sweet Treats in Honolulu
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The Results: A Taste Test
Six cupcakes enter, all get devoured. The cupcake trend continues, no matter how many cupcake-fatigued food writers proclaim its death. While there are a baker’s dozen of cupcakeries without storefronts, we narrowed the field to brick-and-mortar bakeries.
For consistency, we ordered—as closely as possible—the same thing at each place: chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting, though Let Them Eat Cupcakes does not yet make a chocolate frosting. For fun, we also threw everyone’s childhood favorite, Hostess Cupcakes, into the tasting arena. In a blind taste test, seven staffers gave up to five points on three aspects of each cupcake: the cake, the frosting and overall quality, making the total possible score 105. Here’s how they fared.
Total score: 87 // Price: $2.75
A gorgeous cupcake, with a moist, rich cake and fudgy frosting. It tasted slightly soapy, however, from too much leavening. 820 W. Hind Drive, 373-9750, and 841 Bishop St., 585-9750, cakecouture.com.
Total score: 83 // Price: $3.50
This cupcake, from a shop unknown on the cupcake circuit, was huge, twice the weight of some cupcakes. “Nice balance, good flavor, moist and delicious,” one taster said. 745 Keeaumoku St., 941-8285.
Total score: 71 // Price: $2.50
“Cake not very rich, but good frosting consistency.” Restaurant Row, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 4-B, and 900 Fort Street Mall, 536-CAKE, hokulanibakeshop.com.
Let Them Eat Cupcakes
Total score: 65 // Price: $2.50
The frosting was light like whipped cream, but tasters found the cake dry and rubbery. “Is this from a health food store?” one taster asked. 35 S. Beretania St., 531-2253, letthemeatcupcakes808.com.
Total score: 64 // Price: $2.25
The slight almond flavor to the cake was intriguing, but the cake and frosting weren’t chocolate-y enough, and the top was dry and crusty. 2820 S. King St., 946-4333, cakeworkshi.com.