Ask any modern girl what she likes and she might answer with one of the four C’s: champagne, cashmere, carats or cupcakes.
With cupcakes being the easiest and cheapest to acquire, though certainly laden with the guilt of calories, cupcakes in Cairo are the easiest indulgence for a girl (or guy) who wants a little something to make their day — pardon the pun— sweeter.
Nola Cupcake’s opened to much excitement last week. The store’s opening brought its premises on Brazil Street in Zamalek to an absolute standstill and an art gallery opening next door could only grab the attention of a few passersby. The small store could barely contain its multitude of guests as they childishly licked icing off cupcakes and ate their way through several mini-cupcakes that were passed around to guests.
The store’s concept is straightforward: cupcakes and scented candles for sale. A few high tables stand in the store for customers who wish to eat on premises, and a blackboard with the flavors and prices hang above. Coffee and milk too are available. The two young women behind the venture — Laila Sedky and Noor El Marestani — stand behind the counter to serve along with their staff.
Cupcakes come in two sizes: regular and mini, their flavors being vanilla, chocolate, carrot, red velvet, coconut, blueberry, peanut butter, tiramisu, lemon meringue, apple and banana; whereas the candles comes in scents of green tea, vanilla, cinnamon, butter cream frosting, or blueberry. Myself, and a guy friend (Kumba), sampled a few over gossip and a coffee. Our consensus:
The blueberry cupcake has plenty of room for improvement. The frosting was a bit too sugary for my liking and while the blueberries balanced out the sugar, the proper ratio was still not achieved. The cupcake itself was good but could use a little bit less butter. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you like sugary, buttery yet somewhat bland cakes.
Chocolate frosting chocolate cupcake
As soon as I tried the chocolate cupcake I understood why the blueberry one was mediocre, they simply spent too much time perfecting the chocolate one.
The frosting was a perfect balance between creamy and chocolaty, not even the slightest hint of an extra amount of any frosting ingredient, while the cake — pure chocolate goodness — manages to capture the home made taste with ease. It is bursting with tiny bits of chocolate that are barely visible but add greatly to the experience. Every bite was simply delicious.
This cupcake had the best frosting on a cupcake I’ve sampled anywhere. The richness of peanut butter was perfectly tempered by a good dose of chocolate yet the texture was smooth. The cupcake itself was made of a chocolate-peanut butter dough base with bursts of chocolate bits inside. I would have preferred it just a notch spongier.
Those words bring me to my knees, more so than a pair of red-soled Louboutin shoes. I ate a mini version: a perfect size for popping into one’s mouth. If they’re smaller, the calories don’t count, I say. The cheese cream frosting was thankfully mild and the faintest hint of chocolate from the spongy soft cupcake was delectable. All good things in life come in shades of red.
For those who enjoy a tangy aftertaste to their desserts, a lemon meringue mini would be perfect to pair with an Early Grey tea. The meringue topping was airy while the taste of lemon in the cupcake was intense. Perhaps best consumed in their mini versions.
Cupcakes are priced at LE 8.5 -12, minis are priced at 40 for 9 minis per order.
4 Brazil Street, Zamalek, Cairo.
Telephone: 01-1112-7738, 02-736-6494.
Open: 9 am-10 pm.
Chocolate cupcakes at Nola.
Storeowner Laila Sedky helps guest and customer Ashraf Hamdy make a choice during the store’s opening night.
Photos courtesy of Cairozoom.