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May 24, 2007 11:04 AM

Know anything about Kickass Cupcakes, Somerville?

I drove by one of the empty storefronts on Highland Ave. just before Davis Sq. on Monday night and saw a hand-lettered sign in the window that said "Kickass Cupcakes". I'm drooling with anticipation - anyone know more?

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  1. There was a thread about it in the Davis Square Live Journal. The hipsters sound excited. I've never understood the allure of the cupcake. I'd much have prefered a good bread outlet in the Square. Maybe an outpost of B&R Breads?

    8 Replies
    1. re: yumyum

      Why discriminate against cupcakes? There's room in this world (esp Davis Square) for both bread and cupcakes!

      1. re: lovechild

        Indeed, but there's currently no break bakery in Davis. Dave's Fresh is the only quality outlet (right?), but their selection is limited to baguettes, pane rustico, and focaccia, and they often run out in the evenings.

        Other than TJ's or Whole Foods, a full service bakery along the lines of either Lyndell's or Hi-Rise would be my number one preferred addition to Davis Square, although I'd prefer the former myself.

        Back on topic, I do hope that the Kicka*s cupcakes are good and that they have more than just cupcakes. I'm not holding my breath on the latter front, though. With the closing of La Contessa, it wouldn't seem an auspicious time to be opening up a patisserie in Davis.

        1. re: DavisSquare

          As far as I know, La Contessa closed because the owners wanted to retire, not because business was bad. Is that not true?

          1. re: lovechild

            There was an article in the Globe about their last day and it sounded like business wasn't so good.

          2. re: DavisSquare

            Pemberton Farms has a slightly larger selection of nice breads. They also run out towards the end of the day, but not quite as much as Dave's.

            1. re: DavisSquare

              isnt it kick*ss cupcakes? ;-) either way, i'm less than excited about the whole idea... some sort of bakery would be nice... so would a fish market anywhere within walking distance of davis (not terribly impressed by the selection at pembertons) We can all dream right...

            2. re: lovechild

              Cupcakes are extremely trendy right now (although we're a few years behind New York on this trend) and I wince at the thought of a wave of cupcake places opening and then failing once the trend blows over. I enjoy a good cupcake now and then, but like other posters I can imagine many other businesses that I would prefer in terms of rounding out the choices in Davis Square.

              The cupcakes trend appears to be part of a larger trend toward "heirloom" baking, which means baking in a retro (50s-ish?) style. Unfortunately, many of the new cupcake purveyors tend to overfrost the cakes and focus on looks over substance.

            3. re: yumyum

              Well, you're in luck -- When Pigs Fly is opening a bakery next door.

            4. Any updates on this? I used to live across the street, and moved a week after this sign showed up! Has it opened yet? If so, how is it? I remember being INSANELY disappointed by the pizza place that opened there, so I hope the cupcakes are good at least!

              6 Replies
              1. re: sheitoon

                They haven't opened yet, according to their website.

                1. re: gini

                  No, but it looks like progress is being made now in the store -- racks and shelves and things are being put in. The rest of the stores in that little strip are still empty, though. Maybe something interesting will go in....

                  1. re: houlette

                    I've heard rumors that the landlord can be quite difficult, although I have no personal knowledge. I do wish the cupcakes well, and I hope they're delicious, but I can't say I'm optimistic about their long-term prospects, especially if their business model relies on in-store purchases and/or consumption. There's just not a lot of foot traffic at that location, especially with all the other stores empty.

                    1. re: DavisSquare

                      incidentally, don't get pizza from Alex pizza next door. really not good.

                      1. re: sheitoon

                        It's already closed- I've heard the landlord is trying to either sell the building, or lease the whole thing. That's why I'm surprised this cupcake place is in there at all.

                    2. re: houlette

                      I was hoping to try it out considering I had to look at the sign every time I walked out of my house. moving to Seattle next week. oh well

                2. The original comment has been removed
                  1. The original comment has been removed
                    1. We just polished off one "super chocolate" and one vanilla cupcake. Super chocolate had a rather dry cake (but crunchy around the edges--a good thing). A bit overly heavy on the cocoa powder, but with tasty, fudgey frosting. The vanilla cake was much moister, but had a slight out-of-the-box taste. The frosting was surprisingly tasty--it had a slight tang, and I think it's cream cheese based. Both cupcakes were fairly small, 3 or 4 bite affairs.

                      All in all, not bad. But for $2.75 each, I expected a lot more. The cupcakes at Lyndell's are, what, 90 cents each or something like that? While the Lyndell's frosting is not quite as tasty, I'd say that their cake is better, and the cupcakes are easily twice as big.

                      As an aside, the owner was not exactly effusive in welcoming me into the shop--I felt a bit awkward ordering, and suggest that she perhaps work on her customer service skills. It's their first day in business, so I have to give them a bit of lenience there, but maybe I shouldn't. First impressions are everything...

                      In short, I won't be rushing back to Kick*ss.

                      1. re: davis_sq_pro

                        Thanks for the Lyndell's pointer. We tried their chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting yesterday and it was excellent. I actually thought the chocolate frosting was nicely thick and chocolatey -- and for 90 cents, how can you possibly go wrong?

                        1. re: davis_sq_pro

                          I had an almost identical experience to davis_sq_pro's. Dry cupcakes, except for the vanilla. The people behind the desk were very abrupt / rude (Me: Do you have any kind of volume discount? Them: How many do you want? Me: Around 60 or so. Them: (Very curt) No. They're $33 a dozen.). Expensive small cupcakes (and no volume discount for 5 dozen cupcakes ordered in advance? who are they kidding? what kind of idiot businesspeople are they?). On the other had, they do have interesting flavors....

                          The Spotted Apron (across from MGH, where I work) has a similar feel (gourmet bakery with cupcakes, but also a wide array of other items) was better tasting and had much nicer staff (they noticed I had index cards in my pocket, wondered aloud if I was an employee at MGH, then offered me an MGH discount when I said yes). Spotted Apron also has the best black-and-white cookie I've ever had (mostly because I usually only really enjoy the vanilla part, but theirs has excellent chocolate). As per other posters, I'm going to go try Lyndell's now for a local cupcake place.

                          1. re: juanbatlle

                            I did the comparison and it would be best to combine the frosting from KAC with the cake from Lyndell's


                            Let us know what you think.

                      2. Just had my first KC experience. At best, this this place is going to need some time to settle in, but I really don't see it going anywhere.

                        Vanilla/vanilla: flavors of cake and frosting were excellent, cake had dryish texture, frosting was a tad thin.

                        Chocolate/chocolate: frosting was perfect, thick, and rich, cake was meh.

                        The cupcakes weren't especially aesthetically pleasing, just kind of homemade looking. They were also notably small, which is usually fine by me, but at $2.75/ass-kicking, I found this fact annoying. I too noticed a certain aloofness from the owner, who was admittedly likely super-stressed with the grand opening.

                        I feel like especially with such an aggressively irreverent name ["Notice me, notice me!"], their product needs to be over-the-top good, but based on this one experience, KC didn't come close to clearing the chow bar. I have no knee-jerk opposition to trendiness, but a trendy vibe coupled with a mediocre product is absolutely a pet peeve.

                        My personal favorite cupcake maker around town is definitely still the Modern. Great cake, decadent frosting, no pretense.

                        The verdict: jury's ultimately still out, but it's not looking good. I'll give 'em another try in a few months.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: finlero

                          I haven't understood this cupcake phenomenon and as someone else said, it's probably on the way out, but I think Sweet Christopher's in JP next to Ten Tables has good ones. I've only had the vanilla w/ buttercream frosting and it was a good size for about $1.85. Frosting was delicious.

                          1. re: Joanie

                            For me, the allure of the cupcake is that I love cake, but most bakeries don't sell just a slice, and you can't really eat it with your hands if you're on the go. Also, since they're small, you can try lots of different kinds instead of being married to one flavor, as with a cake.

                            I've tried Lyndell's, Lulu's and Quebrada, and the only ones I'd write home about are the chocolate cake/vanilla frosting ones at Quebrada, and I don't usually even like that combo. The cake was very dark, dense and moist, and while the frosting had the usual frosting consistency, it tasted a lot like whipped cream. A top notch cupcake. Plus, they have mini cupcakes (for 99 cents I think), so you can try a bunch.

                            1. re: pollystyrene

                              Not to stray further off topic, but I have to agree on Quebrada's chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting. I am not that big on cake/cupcakes, but man, that cupcake was good - very moist without being greasy. I found the frosting to have a real buttery flavor, in a good way.

                              1. re: fbf242

                                Maybe I'm dense, but I'm scratching my head over the concept of having a buttery flavor in a BAD way!

                                1. re: BostonCookieMonster

                                  Actually, although I am a true butter lover, I think it is possible for frosting to have butter flavor "in a bad way". To me, this occurs when the frosting tastes like just butter and nothing else, as in some of the high-end buttercream-frosted cakes I've had. Personally, I don't want to eat a stick of plain butter.