Cupcake Quest: Finalists set as tasting winds down
Posted: 05/21/2012 at 1:15 am
By: Marshall V. King
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$PHOTOCREDIT_ON$Dutch Maid Bakery, 508 W. Lincoln Ave., Goshen, makes beautiful cupcakes and is a finalist in Cupcake Quest. $PHOTOCREDIT_OFF$
Truth Photo By Marshall V. King
Mini Delights Bake Shoppe, 217 S. Main St., Elkhart, offers a wide range of cupcakes and is a finalist for the best cupcake in Elkhart County. (Truth Photo By Marshall V. King)
Dutch Maid BakeryŪs cupcakes can be decorated in a variety of ways. (Truth Photo By Marshall V. King)
We eat a lot of cupcakes in Elkhart County.
I’ve asked most of the bakers how many cupcakes they sell in a week.
The answers have ranged from a few dozen upward.
But when I asked Ashley Krieg at Mini Delights Bake Shoppe, I was astounded by the answer.
They average 250 dozen a week.
That’s 3,000 cupcakes a week.
Dutch Maid Bakery in Goshen, which is also being rated this week, sells 10 to 70 dozen. Sweet-Em’s Cake Shoppe makes about 12 dozen a week and Sweet Babycakes Desserts sells 12 to 15 dozen.
Those are the last four bakers being rated in the search for the best cupcake in Elkhart County.
As I’ve said before, I didn’t realize there were so many bakers here. I didn’t realize there were so many making batter, fillings and buttercream.
Mini Delights may be the best-known cupcake supplier in the county. It opened in December 2009 in downtown Elkhart. Kelly Bowdoin and her daughter Ashley Krieg opened a storefront to sell cupcakes and do catering.
They continue to be amazed how busy they are and how much business is growing.
One of the reasons is simple: They make good cupcakes.
They add new flavors to a stable of regulars. Their mini cupcakes are more popular than the larger ones. Most of their cupcakes aren’t filled, but the cake and icings are nicely done.
The biggest seller is strawberry, which has fresh strawberries in both the yellow cake and buttercream frosting. My wife, Bethany, accurately pointed out its one of the best cupcakes we’ve eating in this search.
The chocolate cupcakes weren’t spectacular. The lemon raspberry was good. It showed Bowdoin’s care and her use of good ingredients.
I also liked the maple bacon cupcake, but clearly it’s not for everyone.
The cupcakes are $12 a dozen for minis and $21 a dozen for full size. Strawberry or special decorations cost more.
I once had a dry cupcake from Mini Delights, but the ones off the shelf last week weren’t. They were great cupcakes and worthy of being a finalist. (Five out of five)
Dutch Maid Bakery is the county’s oldest bakery. Marilee Nixon said she recently got information that shows the bakery may have opened in the 19302, even earlier than she thought.
She’s been the owner since 1999 and the bakery now at Goshen’s Linway Plaza makes a big range of baked goods.
The cupcakes were gorgeous. One had rosebud on top and another had a pansies. Made with icing by someone’s skillful hand.
Dutch Maid charges $4 to make a type of cupcake and then 80 cents to $3.19 each, depending on the ingredients and decoration. Large cupcakes are available in the case for $2.99 each, Nixon said.
The buttercream, made from scratch, was among the best we’ve had. The white cake was moist and had a delicate crumb. Bethany wasn’t a fan of the chocolate, but it was better than some we’ve had.
The cream cheese icing and the combinations we tried weren’t too sweet. They were pretty. They weren’t the most inventive we’ve tried.
But they’re among the best. Dutch Maid is a finalist in Cupcake Quest. (five out of five)
A year ago, Emily Stump and her mother, Cathy, opened a bakery in the Old Bag Factory. Sweet-Em’s Cake Shoppe operated for a time as part of Trolley Cafe.
I hadn’t heard of the bakery until this contest. Emily had worked for another Goshen bakery and a grocery store bakery for a while before opening this place. Their cupcakes are popular.
Chocolate peanut butter sells well. Key lime, pumpkin spice and red velvet do too. They’re just $1 each, a little more with fancier decoration.
The cupcakes are good, but need a bit of refining. The chocolate salted caramel cupcake mixes flavors and textures in a great way, but a caramel drizzle didn’t have quite the right texture. The pumpkin spice uses a heavy pumpkin filling.
The cakes, which aren’t all from scratch, don’t have quite the finesse of some other local bakers, but the cupcakes are pretty. At least until I dropped the boxes in my driveway. But they tasted pretty good and are likely to keep getting better. (four out of five)
Angie Goerlach is a home baker who spends her days crunching numbers for Bayer HealthCare and her nights and weekends baking.
She operates Sweet Babycakes Desserts out of her home southeast of Elkhart. She makes a huge range of stuff, including a homemade oatmeal cream pie that I adored.
She’s a former executive chef in Fort Wayne who moved here four years ago. She’s busy baking and makes very pretty cupcakes.
They’re intricate with a bunch of nice touches. Her pink lemonade swirl cupcake was lemon cake with a candy straw and piece of lemon candy on top. The chocolate Nutella cupcake had a whipped cream mousse and a nutella buttercream. The chocolate chip cookie dough cupcake was a nice creation that hit the right notes for those wanting those flavors.
She said they’re cupcakes best eaten with a fork. They can be a bit messy. A strawberry cream cheese cupcake completely lost its icing by the time it got home.
They’re creative and pretty and the cake is nicely prepared. But the icings were actually too sweet and had salty notes that threw off the balance of the cupcakes.
Goerlach is very good, just not quite good enough to be a finalist in this search. (four out of five)
There are four finalists: SugaRush and Mini Delights in Elkhart and Dutch Maid and Happy Dance in Goshen.
This is a busy week for bakers, as graduations and weddings approach. I don’t know if the final round of tasting can happen this week.
But we’ll taste two favorites from each bakery in the coming week or two and pick a winner. We’ll give readers a chance to vote too. Keep reading The Elkhart Truth or eTruth.com for how to participate.
I’m hungry. Let’s eat.
Mini Delights Bake Shoppe
217 S. Main St., Elkhart
5 stars (finalist)
Dutch Maid Bakery
508 W. Lincoln Ave., Goshen
5 stars (finalist)
Sweet-Em’s Cake Shoppe
1100 Chicago Ave., Goshen, in The Old Bag Factory
Sweet Babycakes Desserts