First Look: The Cupcakery

Let's get this out of the way right up front: the cupcake wasn't good.

Billed as "magnificent vanilla cake...topped with vanilla and chocolate buttercreams," The Cupcakery's 'Oh, My Gosh - Ganache!™' cupcake was instead a bland, boring base topped with icing that tasted a whole lot like the inside of a Dunkin' Donuts chocolate cream-filled. But the real disappointment was in the total disconnect between this fancy bakery's image and the reality of eating there.

Founded in Las Vegas in 2006 by an employee of the Golden Nugget, The Cupcakery is now "conquering the cupcake city at a time" (that's what you get for hiring Kim Jong Il as marketing director). The fourth location in this empire-building process opened in the Uptown Plaza shopping center on McKinney Avenue about two weeks ago. Judging from the picture-perfect portraits and mouthwatering descriptions on the website, as well as the new shop's chic décor, one might think one was in for quite the gourmet dessert experience.

One would be wrong.

We visited The Cupcakery on a sunny afternoon, blending in quite well (we must admit) with the pretty people inside. Well-groomed, with color-coordinated outfits, they weren't exactly our usual crowd--but we'd put forth some extra effort that day. After all, the shop sits catty-corner from the Crescent in a strip with a fancy cigar store and a high-end spa, so it keeps some ritzy company. We began by asking for a recommendation from the girl behind the counter. She pointed us to the aforementioned trademarked creation ($3), explaining that it was an up-and-coming flavor. Sold. And that's when things got dicey.

Spying a shiny espresso machine, we asked for a latte to go with our cupcake. Wide-eyed, our server blinked twice while shaking her head slowly from side to side. (If we didn't know better, we'd have thought by her bizarre reaction that we'd accidentally ordered a Jager Bomb.) Backtracking, we tried asking for regular coffee and were, once again, denied. No mention of the obvious elephant--er, coffee maker--in the room. Guess they hired Yuri Andropov as store manager: You can look at decadent western device, but shortages are the Soviet way.

We settled on a bottle of water instead ($1.75). The girl plopped our cupcake on a plain white paper plate and gave us a plain white plastic fork to eat it with. What gives, we wondered, with the fancy leather and chrome furniture if they're just going to serve people on picnic-ware?

Before we were able to answer our own question, however, we were faced with another less-than-stylish situation: bakery roadkill. Scattered throughout the dining area were the remnants of other customers' afternoon snacks. We cleared a spot as best we could, but when we attempted to toss out the mess, we were confronted with an overflowing trash can. So, being the classy kids that we are, we just pushed it aside and watched as it sat there for the remainder of our visit.

The cupcake, as we mentioned earlier, was beautiful, but ultimately forgettable. And speaking of fluff, The Cupcakery seems mighty proud of its collection of pictures of cupcake-loving pop stars. Avril Lavigne, for example, is a big fan. Good for her.

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