by Emily Connor, Dining and Nightlife Editor
I like to consider myself to be somewhat of a dessert connoisseur. From cannoli to cream puffs, ice cream to sorbet, I can easily say I have tried, and will try, every type of dessert available. This being said, traditional desserts must truly be exceptional before I take notice. Thankfully, Madison Sweets has proven to be a dessert stop that my palette won’t soon forget.
Easily lured in by the stand of brightly frosted cupcakes in the shop window, I was immediately impressed by the tiny State Street shop’s street presence. The smell of freshly cooked kettle popcorn and two large glass dessert counters will cause you to take a second glance as you walk past on the street. A large wall of gourmet popcorn lines the shelves to your right as you bend over to read all of the cupcake descriptions. Cupcake flavors ranging from traditional chocolate and red velvet to avocado and coconut provide a myriad of options to select from. Unfortunately, my sweet tooth took over as I ordered eight different varieties.
If there is one thing Madison Sweets’ cupcakes have over any other cupcakes I’ve tried, it is the flavor. The delicate balance between the cake and icing was exceptional in every cupcake I tried. The traditional Red Velvet cupcake had an excellent cocoa and buttermilk flavor, with the perfect amount of cream cheese icing. I especially appreciated that the cream cheese icing was not overly sweet. Another favorite flavor was the Coconut Cream pie. With a delicate coconut flavor and sweet cream filling, this cupcake went above and beyond my expectations. However, neither of these flavors could compare to my absolute favorite, the D’oh cupcake. The ultimate chocolate lovers delight, this chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream was filled with a cookie dough center. Chocolate frosting is still probably smeared on my top lip from devouring it so quickly.
Other unconventional cupcake flavors I sampled certainly left an impression on my dessert dining memories. The Elvis cupcake, a banana cake with peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache was delicious with its unexpected flavor. In general, I loved that all of the cupcakes had an appropriate proportion of cake to frosting and that no flavor was too sweet. Desserts should always be sweet, but no one wants to feel like they’ve got a two-inch confectioner’s sugar coating on their teeth after they’ve eaten their cupcake. Thankfully, Madison Sweets understands that cupcake flavors should be balanced and delicate.
The texture of all of the cakes was great, not too dense or spongy. Some of the cakes could have been slightly moister, but overall, they had an excellent texture. The cupcakes tasted best at a cool room temperature, so the frosting was smooth. Thus, cupcakes left in the refrigerator should be left on the counter for at least 15 minutes prior to eating.
As far as the service, it was wonderful. The staff was extremely helpful and friendly. They answered my many questions about the cupcake flavors with a smile and incredible patience.
The price of the cupcakes may be one of the only issues for most guests. Personally, I found the $1.90 per cupcake fee to be very reasonable for the quality of the product. However, it is understandable that some may believe this simply is too high to pay for a small cupcake. And although I have always firmly believed that price can never be a true reflection of quality, it certainly is for Madison Sweets.
My experience with Madison Sweets was nothing short of excellent. And from time to time, when my sweet tooth beckons and I cave to my chocolate cravings, I will be sure to frequent Madison Sweets for a classic confection and now personal favorite treat.