Monday, January 30, 2012

Kickass Cupcakes: Buckle your seat belts, Boston!

The"Lucky" cupcake

Sara Ross and her cheeky crew at Kickass Cupcakes are nothing short of mad scientists when it comes to cupcakes, and their cheerful store in Somerville qualifies as half bakery, half laboratory. In a way, you know what you're going to get every time: fresh, natural ingredients whipped into cute-as-buttons cupcakes.

The Sammy

Peppermint cupcake

But on any given day, be prepared for new flavors, new themes, and just plain odd combinations. These are called the Limited Edition cupcakes, and, like Forest Gump's box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. At the start of the week, there were fig newton cupcakes, a grainy muffin filled with fig jam and topped with a little beret of chocolate. By the end of the week, there were "Couch Potato" cupcakes, lovingly strewn with every conceivable Super Bowl nibble. (Cheetos on chocolate cupcake? Oh, yes!)

This willingness to make outrageously unexpected treats is where Kickass Cupcakes really shines...and occasionally veers into the realm of something non-cupcakey. I realized this as I bit into a "crisp," a twice-baked cupcake that has been dipped in chocolate and pretty sprinkles. "So, it's like a biscotti?" I asked, and the women behind the counter nodded enthusiastically. But as I chomped down on it, I belatedly realized that you must nullify a biscotti with a beverage, otherwise you're looking at a trip to the dentist.  Luckily, they have some tasty drinks at Kickass, including fresh milk from the Dairy Bar. 

But there is one speciality at Kickass that requires no explanation, and it is the one thing which you really MUST try: the deep-fried cupcake sundae. Mind-blowingly good and completely worth waiting for the Friday-Saturday-Sunday trifecta on which it is available. From the outside, it will look like a coffee cup with whipped cream and a cherry on top, but, oh, inside there is a layer of local vanilla ice cream, topped with a vanilla cupcake with cream inside that has been lightly battered and deep-fried right before your eyes. Crisp and hot outside, lovely warm cake inside. And, oh yes, topped with real whipped cream (not the aerated sugar puff from a can, but the real stuff, very nearly as substantial as the ice cream). 

Don't be fooled by appearances. This sundae is a heavy weight! And it rings in at only $5, which means that it is comparable to having a modest amount of ice cream from J.P. Licks down the street. So why not walk a few blocks farther and step into the lab? 

P.S. If you come after 5 p.m. on the last Monday of every month, you'll be just in time for "Happy Hour"! I went this evening and had truly some of the most outrageous, inventive goodies ever, all based on Dogfish Head Ale. Lemon cake with ale gelee center and rasberry jam? Check! Chocolate cupcake with stout frosting? Check! Maple soaked cupcake with ale syrup and juniper candy? Check! Coming back next month to see what's new at the Kickass? You better believe it!

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