Apparently the cupcake trend won't go away. This summer, the Back Bay's Sweet expanded into Harvard Square, and Todd English is about to open a cupcake bakery on Beacon Hill sometime soon. Quietly entering the cupcake market, on the other hand, is Cake in Lexington center.
Cake opened a few weeks ago on the first floor of a Victorian on Mass Ave, and their focus is meant to be on actual cakes, "made from scratch... using only the purest, finest, freshest ingredients available." But they seem to be doing a brisk business with their cupcakes. At $2 a pop, the cupcakes are a reasonable treat - a good size at a good price with delicious flavors.
For the sake of "research" (ah, the lengths I'll go to...), I picked up one of each cupcake when I was on my way to my brother's house for a full day of Beatles' Rock Band (we ended up playing for 8 hours, because the game is THAT awesome). We cut the cupcakes up into little bites so everyone could get a taste, but I still think I OD'd on sugar a little bit.
My favorites were the Midnight Delight (dense fudge cake filled with sweet chocolate pastry cream topped with Ghiradelli cocoa icing), the Berries & Gold (rich gold cake filled with fresh raspberry preserves and a whipped Chambord buttercream), and the Minuteman (moist gold cake layered with strawberries, fresh from Wilson's Farm, light whipped cream and topped with vanilla buttercream). The Midnight Delight was a powerhouse of chocolate - sweet, with just enough bitterness to highlight the cocoa flavor. The cake really was dense and super chocolatey. The Chambord buttercream on the Berries & Gold may have been my favorite aspect of any of the cupcakes. And the Minuteman was just a beautifully composed strawberry shortcake - yum!
I was not so fond of the Karat Topped (pineapple cream cheese icing set on a moist, full-bodied carrot cake), which I thought had way, way too many nuts (but really, I prefer my carrot cake with no nuts at all), and the Red Carpet (smooth, deep red velvet cake laid out with a decadent cream cheese icing), because I always find red velvet cakes to taste fake, no matter where I get it.
In the picture above, clockwise from the top, are the Karat Topped, Red Carpet, The Minuteman, Mocha Express (bittersweet chocolate cake iced in a cappuccino buttercream and garnished with a mocha espresso bean), Berries & Gold, Midnight Delight, Black Tie Affair (sweet vanilla bean cake filled with pastry cream and dressed in ganache), and in the center, chocolate with vanilla buttercream.
The full-sized cakes at Cake seem a little pricy (I think the sign said that they start at $20 for a 4-inch round), but the cupcakes are a fantastic deal at $2. Cake is located at 1628 Mass Ave in Lexington and is open Tuesday-Thursday, 10am-6pm, Friday 10am-8pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday noon-5pm, and closed Monday.