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Phantom Gourmet: Cupcake City In Reading

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READING – No matter what age you are, or where you’re from – everybody loves a good cupcake.

At Cupcake City in Reading, the kitchen works around the clock to come up with delicious flavors of mouthwatering, cupcakes. While this tiny treat shop may be small in size, the cupcakes are huge in flavor, because owners Kristin Cataldo and Karin DiNapoli don’t skimp when it comes to quality.

“Because what we sell are gourmet cupcakes and it’s important to us to make sure that we not only use the best ingredients, but that we don’t take the shortcuts, because you’re going to end up tasting that in the flavor in the end,” explained Kristin.

It all started when these yummy mommies met one day at their sons’ school.

“We hit it off and we immediately started swapping recipes,” Karin recalled. “Our main goal was to come up with recipes that were moist and delicious, and I think we nailed it.”

These cupcakes are not only pleasing to the palate, but also a feast for the eyes, because Kristin and Karin are always experimenting with new flavors and with fondant.

“It reminds me of almost playing with Play Doh,” Kristin said. “It’s a sugar paste that you can form into different shapes.”

“We have a blast with fondant,” Karin admitted. “We can shape it into pretty much everything, and we get some very strange requests, but at the end you have a very beautiful, very unique cupcake.”

If you just want something creative from the case, there’s plenty to choose from. The Salted Caramel cupcakes combine sweet and salty flavors, just like the signature Maple Pancake Cupcake, topped with crispy bacon.

“We resisted the bacon rage for a bit,” Kristin said. “And when we made [the Maple Pancake Cupcake] we had customers try it with and without the bacon, and overwhelmingly you had to have the bacon flavor because it’s actually a buttermilk cupcake that we make with maple syrup in the cupcake, so it tastes like pancakes and bacon.”

The signature Maple Pancake Cupcake at Cupcake City in Reading. (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

The signature Maple Pancake Cupcake at Cupcake City in Reading. (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

There are even more amped up twists on classics, like a spin on the Twinkie garnished with sugary sweet stars and filled with marshmallow cream, or an elevated version of the Hostess cupcake everybody loved as a child.

“It’s better than anything you ever remember. It is a moist light chocolate cupcake with a marshmallow cream filling and then a chocolate ganache on top,” Kristin described.

The S’mores will take you back to summer nights by the fire, with dense chocolate cake, graham cracker crust, and marshmallow frosting. The Strawberry Shortcake takes that fresh light dessert and puts it in cupcake form for a year-round treat.

“I think what makes it so delicious is the fresh strawberry compote that we fill the cupcake with,” Karin said. “We use fresh strawberries. We cook it slowly. We sweeten it perfectly and it’s delicious.”

In the fall, the cupcake cases are fully stocked with seasonal flavors as well. There are Caramel Apple cupcakes and even Pumpkin Spice cupcakes that are like Thanksgiving in a bite.

“The pumpkin cupcake really reminds me of those crisp fall days. It’s got that great pumpkin flavor and the different spices that you would also think of a pumpkin pie,” Kristin explained.

Beyond the seasonal stuff, there are plenty of cupcakes you’ll find in the shop year round. The Gingerbread is made with crystallized ginger so it bites back. The Cinnamon Streusel is baked with real cinnamon chips inside. Then there’s the Hot Fudge Sundae, which not only looks good, but tastes great.

“I love that the chocolate chips are baked in the batter, and then there’s a creamy vanilla butter cream on top and of course a cherry tops it off,” said Karin.

While nothing beats eating all of these fabulous treats, serving them to smiling customers feels pretty good too.

“Anybody that is coming to the shop, they’re happy. They’re getting a cupcake,” Karin said. “That’s wonderful!”

You can find Cupcake City at 137 Main Street in Reading, at their new location at 313 Walnut Street in Newton and online at cupcakecityreading.com.

Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.

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