Sunday, July 21, 2013

Charlotte Cupcakes - Polka Dot Bake Shop

Unlike the rest of the cupcake shops I’ve tried this year, Polka Dot Bake Shop was one place I’ve been before.

I first tried one of their mini-cupcakes at the 2012 Taste of Charlotte. After trying that mini red velvet cupcake, I went back for a second. Damn, they were good! When it came time for my birthday celebration, I chose Polka Dot Bake Shop cupcakes over a cake.

I don’t remember what kind of cupcakes I had, but red velvet was one of them.

When I went in this time around, they thankfully had red velvet as one of the options.

Once again, it didn’t disappoint. I got a few other cupcakes this time though: key lime, gluten free banana and chocolate salted caramel.

Key Lime

I tried the key lime cupcake first. It was moist and fluffy, with a definite kick of lime. The frosting was amazing. It was thick and flavorful.

Biting into this cupcake there’s a sour taste at first, but then a sugary sweetness kicks in. Then, the taste turns back to sour when you hit the lime center. There’s about a dime-sized bit of lime filling in the key lime cupcake.

The unique roller coaster ride of flavors was fun to experience. Most cupcakes have one taste to it and that’s it. Even when they combine flavors, most cupcakes don’t switch tastes in the middle of a bite.

This Polka Dot key lime cupcake seemed liked something that could be found in the Wonka factory if it existed. The ever-changing-flavored cupcake!

Seriously, though, this key lime gets a thumbs up…or, in this case, a three and a half cupcake rating.

Red Velvet

I wanted to start with something I hadn’t had before, so I started with the key lime cupcake. That mission was accomplished, so I couldn’t resist the red velvet any longer.

The cupcake was as good as it was the previous times I’d tried it. The cupcake has a bit of chocolate flavor to it, like some of the other red velvet cupcakes I’ve had.

It tasted fine (and was also moist and fluffy), but the cupcake’s only real purpose is to accompany the amazing cream cheese frosting.

It’s probably the best cream cheese frosting I’ve ever had. I don’t know exactly what it is about it, but it tastes amazing. It’s hard to even describe why.

The frosting definitely steals the show with this one. I complained last week when I got a few cupcakes that had the frosting piled on too high. Well, I wouldn’t complain if this Polka Dot red velvet cupcake were covered in cream cheese frosting.

Whatever the bakers at Polka Dot do to make it, they’re doing it right.

Gluten Free Banana

Polka Dot Bake Shop has a few gluten free options. Their flavors change on a daily basis, but they usually have at least one gluten free cupcake you can buy. When I went this time they had a gluten free banana cupcake.

The cupcake didn’t even really taste like a cupcake. It was more like a good slice of banana bread with some delicious frosting on top. To make it even better, the creators of this cupcake added some caramel drizzle to the top of the frosting.

The result was a delicious cupcake – that’s gluten free to boot. It’s hard to beat that. I'm not sure how healthy gluten free is at the end of the day, but if I can eat a tasty treat and feel like I'm being healthy while doing it, I won't complain.

Chocolate Salted Caramel

This cupcake was recently added to Polka Dot’s list of flavors. I, for one, think it’s a keeper.

The best thing about this cupcake may have been the topping. At first I thought it was a crunched up Heath bar, but it didn’t taste quite like that. I had to look it up on their menu to see just what it was.

They weren’t crumbles from a Heath bar or toffee bits. They were salted nut brittle. Polka Dot described the brittle on their Facebook page, warning that it is addicting. They weren’t lying either. It’s highly addictive.

The cupcake itself? Same story as the rest of them: moist, satisfying and very good.

The positives: the fillings, frostings and toppings! The salted nut brittle on the chocolate salted caramel and the cream cheese frosting on the red velvet were equally worthy of note.

The negatives: not many negatives this time around. The Key Lime was a little too sour for my preference. Otherwise it was a successful outing.

The cost: $2.75 each for these four cupcakes. The gluten free was the same price as the rest. With tax it ended up being $11.22.

Polka Dot Bake Shop
1730 E. Woodlawn Road, Charlotte, NC 28209
Phone: 704-523-5001

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