Sweet Cupcakes Review
A week or two ago, I had mentioned I wanted to review the place along with someone who had a “fetish” for cupcakes. That review happened last week:
Cupcake showdown: Sweet vs. Carlo’s
Hoboken411 reader “DietCokeGal” and myself visited Sweet last Friday afternoon.
In order to have some kind of baseline comparison, I also picked up a couple of these famous cupcakes from Carlo’s Bake Shop as well.
For starters, Sweet primarily focuses on what owner Angela says they do best: cupcakes. In addition to various-sized cupcakes, they also sell brownies, cookies, cheesecake, full-sized cakes and delicious coffee & espresso. Speaking of their coffee, it may have been one of the best cups I’ve had in Hoboken in a while. They sell Kitten Coffee, which in my opinion was very smooth, not bitter, and quite robust. I was wired for hours later.
Read the rest of the review and side-by-side comparison after the jump!
(Hoboken Cupcake Showdown, continued…)
Since Carlo’s is more of a full-service bakery, with cakes, cookies, pastries and other concoctions, I tried picking what I felt were standard cupcakes. One yellow-cake with butter cream frosting, and another “red velvet” version.
We had a few more cupcake options at Sweet. We picked a yellow-cake w/ butter cream, a few ganache minis, and their version of the red velvet.
Up first: Carlo’s
One thing that doesn’t make me a cupcake-lover in general, must be my not-so-positive memories of dry, crumby dissatisfying cupcakes that usually needed a gallon of cold milk to chase down.
Since Carlo’s cupcakes have received high marks from others in town, I was praying that wouldn’t be the case.
After my first bite, I was pleasantly surprised. The cupcake wasn’t dry. It had a more cake-like texture that could be considered “moist” to many. Frosting wasn’t bad either, but could taste the food-die somewhat. After a few bites, and discussing it with DietCokeGal, we both came to agreement that something stood out about Carlo’s cake formula: It reminded us of Duncan Hines. Not that we had bad memories of Duncan Hines, as I’d suspect most of us had some “home-made” boxed cake at home when we grew up. In other words, while the cupcake was good, it wasn’t a special flavor that could be deemed “unique.”
Carlo’s cupcakes are like I remembered as a kid. Rather large, and with decorative items on the frosting to please any ADHD child. Cost ranged from $2.50 to $2.95 per cupcake.
We tried Sweet’s version of the yellow cake/butter cream cupcake right after. A bit smaller than the Carlo’s version (but also a bit cheaper at $2.25 each).
I was a bit worried upon first glance that it would be that dreaded dry cupcake that I feared. I was wrong.
Like a fine wine, it took a bit of time to analyze the cupcake. After the first bite, my initial impression was “different.” Not that same kind of cake moistness that Carlo’s had, but excellent nonetheless. Had a fluffier texture that I couldn’t draw equal comparison to. Reminded me a bit of either sponge cake (without the sponginess) or Angel food cake (without the dryness). It practically melted in your mouth after a few chews. That, in conjunction with the fabulous butter cream frosting made Sweet’s cupcake the preferred choice of the two. Definitely fresher, with a more homemade taste.
Here’s where the differences between Sweet and Carlo’s began to show.
As we dove into Carlo’s version of the red velvet cupcake, which was visually much different than the standard yellow cake cupcake, the first thing we both thought was “it tastes exactly the same as the other cupcake.” Same flavored cake, as well as the frosting. It just looked different. While not terrible, we were disappointed that it tasted identical.
The Sweet version of the red velvet was phenomenal. A more moist cake portion, along with a delectable cream-cheese based frosting made the red velvet our favorite tasting of the day. Bravo!
We sampled two mini ganache cupcakes for extra measure. Owner Angela has two ways you can buy these. A more chilled, refrigerated version (which she said gave it more “denseness”), and a standard room-temperature version.
Tried the room-temperature one first, and again had to take a couple mini bites to figure out how I felt. Was certainly not was I was expecting. Definitely required a bit of liquid and jaw assistance, but it’s one of the few cupcakes I can say “finished better than it started.” What made the ganache cupcakes special, was the flavor. You could surely taste the genuine cocoa, wasn’t overly sweet and had, say, a more “refined” taste than I was expecting. I appreciated it more after is sat on my palette for a bit. Not a cupcake you’d wolf down.
Our experience at Sweet was a positive one that will bring us back for repeated visits (especially the coffee!)
I appreciated Angela’s business acumen. She wanted to do one thing, and do it well. I related to her passion for what she believed in, and how she was steadfast in maintaining it.
The staff was friendly and accommodating. I was especially intrigued by one of the staffers, Mike, who in addition to being in the cool band American Watercolor Movement, was also an ex-Jersey Journal reporter. I laughed hysterically when he described his former place of employment as “the most toxic place anyone could ever work.”
Great cupcakes, vibe and coffee. Can’t beat it!
Taking place of the doomed Rue Du Jardin, is Sweet!
Official opening date is TBD, but it looks like it might not be far off!
Description – Products to satisfy your sweet tooth!
Address – 343 Garden St., Hoboken, NJ 07030
Website – TBD
Telephone – TBD