Article published by Berks County Living Magazine. May 2012
BY MARCIA WEIDNER-SUTPHEN
West Reading is the only confectionary destination in town where you can indulge your sweet tooth at four (and counting) different gourmet cupcake shops, all within walking distance from one another.With hundreds of tempting flavors to choose from, my journey started on a bright sunny day at Hauté Chocolate
Café, West Reading, where owners John and Heather Zuwiala have perfected their best-selling Salty Caramel Pretzel cupcake. This finger-licking, dense chocolate cake with chocolate-covered pretzel and a thick gooey center is capped with sticky caramel and a gargantuan mound of dark chocolate buttercream frosting.
Over at Ady Cakes, owner Ady Abreu put the finishing touch, violet-colored butterflies made of fondant, on a birthday cake. Her pride and joy, called the Pink Champagne cupcake, is both sweet and tangy. This extremely moist cake, crowned with raspberry buttercream frosting, explodes with flavor and melts in your mouth.
Across the street at Kupkake Kouture, owner Heidi Kuntzleman-Nicholas has nailed the vanilla cupcake. Her Plain Jane Kupkake (don’t let the name fool you) is weighed down in pure vanilla buttercream frosting. The cupcake – hand decorated with a wafer cookie, a piece of white chocolate and a pinch of sprinkles—is so deliciously moist and fun that you can’t help but smile after each bite. This heavy gem is anything but plain.
My buttercream frosting addiction, far from being over, led me to three other local cupcake shops, including Delish, Sweet Addictions, and lastly Sublime (in Wyomissing) for a fun afternoon filled with sweet indulgence.
1 | ADY CAKES
Ady’s definition of the perfect cupcake is a slow-baked cake that is moist, light and fluffy. “You should be able to taste every component of the flavor,” she adds, “and the icing should be creamy, and not too sweet.” She shies away from pre-made commercial garnishes. “It kind of steals from the freshness of the product,” she says. For instance, her Orange Creamsicle cupcake is topped with a fresh candied orange peel taken from the same orange used in the cake batter and buttercream icing. A single cupcake costs $2.50.
631 Penn Ave., West Reading || 610.898.4064 || adycakes.com
2 | SUBLIME
Perhaps the guiltiest of them all is Laurie A. Rochotte, a self-proclaimed cake addict who has found the perfect outlet for her cake problem. “I bake all of my cupcakes in the shop the way I like to eat cake,” she admits. Laurie’s fondness for cake began years ago in her grandmother’s kitchen. “We made everything by hand; we cracked each egg and we always used real butter,” she says. She employs the same principles in her business today. “Nothing is processed,” she shares. “I use the best chocolate I can buy and the vanilla is special-ordered.” Sublime’s latest bestseller is a chocolate cupcake filled with marshmallow cream that is finished off with light cocoa buttercream frosting, mini marshmallows and a small chocolate straw ($2.50 each).
Village Square, 72 Commerce Drive, Wyomissing 610.898.4183 || sublimecupcakes.com
3 | SWEET ADDICTIONS
Cake artist Diana Lynn Green, 38, launched her business two years ago after working in the food and baking industry for many years. To Diana, baking cupcakes is a very serious business. “They are my little cake babies and they need to be treated with tender loving care!” she says unabashedly. She bakes her cakes the way she likes to eat them. “They should be easy to bite into and have lots of icing,” she shares. With 36 flavors and close to 17 varieties available daily (including 16 different icing flavors) customers can request their favorite cake and icing by ordering ahead. Her bestseller is a chocolate cupcake with lots of sweet creamy peanut butter icing for only $1.50. All liquor flavors are $2.
701 Court St., West Reading || 610.406.8347 || asweetaddiction.com
4 | HAUTÉ CHOCOLATE CAFÉ
John, a seasoned pastry chef, believes that the batter is the most important part of the baking process. “If you can’t nail the moisture content of the cake, it doesn’t matter how much frosting, ganache or buttercream you place on top,” he says. Select from 12 flavors available daily, or call ahead of time to special order cupcakes or cakes from a list of 40 different flavors, including Thai Coconut, Tropic Carrot or German Chocolate. A standard-sized cupcake costs $2.25 and a jumbo-sized cupcake goes for $3.25.
711 Penn Ave., West Reading || 610.373.4455 || hautecafe.net
5 | DELISH
Christine I. (Moszcienski) Pena, 34, recently moved her business from Temple to West Reading to accommodate her newly expanded product line, including hot Cuban sandwiches, coffees and tropical-flavored milkshakes. Her signature cupcake, the Delish Chocolate Brandy, is based on a decade-old chocolate cake recipe. Freshly baked each morning, the cakes are cooled and then dressed with Christine’s original white truffle buttercream frosting (laced with brandy). Her bestselling cupcake, called Cookies and Cream, costs $2 per cupcake. “This one tastes just like ice cream!” she promises.
426 Penn Ave., West Reading || 610.921.9922 || delishcupcakespa.com
6 | KUPKAKE KOUTURE
When shop owner Heidi Kuntzleman-Nicholas bakes, she uses her grandmother’s secret buttercream frosting, but she also offers a whipped icing (a low-fat version of the other) on her angel food cupcakes. Special requests are always welcome here. “We are all about bringing happiness to our customers; that’s what cupcakes are all about!” Heidi says. Her shop uses Madagascar vanilla, Jacques Torres chocolates and high-quality butter. Heidi’s cupcakes, priced at $2.50 each, are baked in jumbo cups, so they are a little larger than your average cupcake. “They’re slightly messy,” she says with a smile.
602 Penn Ave., West Reading || 610.334.7668 || idreamofkupkakes.com