Warning: Prepare for a contact high upon entering Smallcakes Cupcakery in Atlanta. The distinct fragrance of sugar invades the senses and instantly tells the brain that something delicious is in store.
Located in a strip mall shopping center in the trendy Buckhead section of Atlanta, Smallcakes’ décor is all pink and brown with just one freestanding table and chairs and several stools along a long counter for those who can’t wait to dig into their treats.
The initial smell of sugar is followed by the enticing sight of the display case, resembling a child’s fantasy about sugar and spice and so much more. In it are delicately arranged mini-mountains of rainbow-colored cupcakes: rose-colored strawberry, honey-colored caramel, sunny lemon, and plenty topped with fruit, nuts, sprinkles, and spices.
Forget about diets and healthy eating and don’t even think about asking for low-sugar or sugar-free options. There are none!
What you will find any day of the week are 13 base cupcake flavors and two to six specialty flavors that are rotated in and out of the lineup.
The cupcakes come in unique flavors such as Pink Chocolate, Humm-Bird, Coconut, S’mores, Blueberry Pancake, Peanut Butter Cup, and a Stuffed French Toast (vanilla cake stuffed with cream cheese and topped with a cinnamon maple buttercream frosting). A poster on the wall informs customers what’s available each day. Each cupcake shares a few distinct traits: ideal cake moistness, frosting smoothness, and perfect cake-to-frosting ratio.
Particular crowd-pleasers include the Caramel Crunch cupcake. Think chocolate cupcake with several mini pretzels and sea salt on top, with silky smooth caramel frosting. The combination of crunchy pretzels and salt adds texture and plays nicely against the sweet cake and frosting. The Red Velvet cupcake, a Southern favorite with cream cheese frosting and bits of walnuts on top, and the Boston Cream Pie's vanilla cake with flecks of vanilla beans and cream filling are deliciously out of this world. Another one to remember is the plain chocolate cupcake. With its rich fudge frosting and white filling that resembled an upscale Hostess cupcake, it will leave you lip smacking with a smile.
In the Peach State, one would expect the Georgia Peach Cobbler (a seasonal special) to reign supreme, which it does if you don't mind a more subtle peach flavor making its way through vanilla cake with bits of peaches. But what really shines about this cupcake is the heavenly cinnamon buttercream frosting.
Not surprisingly, the booming boutique business sells 100 to 300 cupcakes daily, according to a Smallcakes representative. Seasonal specialties, such as Key Lime Pie, are expected to roll out soon. The shop also offers three kinds of cookies (red velvet, chocolate chip, and Whoopsie Pie) for $1.75 each. Water, soft drinks, and some merchandise such as T-shirts and cups are also available.
Gale Horton Gay is a longtime lifestyle writer and lifestyle editor at The Dekalb Champion.