Saturday, March 31, 2012

Crema Cafe: A tea and cake kind of day in Boston

Seeking inspiration on this blustery spring day, and having watched far too many episodes of Miss Marple, I thought, "It's a tea and cake kind of day." Or rather, I decided to try as many shops as I could in Harvard Square that sell something like tea and cakes. I picked  Crema Cafe first, and to be honest, didn't expect it to be much more impressive than a Starbucks. Happily, I was wrong.

I walked into a decor that smacked of industrial chic, with  the loft-like seating area above bulging with customers who presumably came for the impressive array of goodies for sale.

I wasn't swayed by the danish, the carrot cakes, the scones...well, yes, I was swayed...but not detained! I had a mission in mind, after all. I'd heard that Crema had good cupcakes. When the counter person told me that all of Crema's goodies were made in-house, I began to gleam and bounce. This was no Starbuck's knock-off. Can you find cupcakes like this there?

A sucker for sprinkles, I went with the "Birthday cupcake" and a glass of Morroccan mint tea, hustling my way past table hawks to grab a spot at the long communal table at the front of the shop. And what I bit into was, well, bliss. But a surprising kind of bliss.

I've grown accustomed to designer cupcakes that have a light, spongy cake and fearful wads of heavy buttercreme for heavy cupcakes, if you will. So, oh, little fairies danced on my tongue as I bit into a substantial, lovely yellow cake flecked with confetti, and then a light-as-air buttercream that seemed the confectionary equivalent of butterfly wings. It really was just that freaking good. A little sip of minty iced tea, a wee slurp of ethereal buttercream, a giant chomp or two of sturdy cake. Looking out at people strolling toward Brattle Street, envoloped in a pleasant warmth that smelled like coffee and onion bagels, I thought I might just have to come back and try everything on the menu, sandwhiches and lattes included. But no matter what else I eat there, I will be making room for a cupcake. Really, I think I may have found the cucpake to beat in Harvard Square.

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