As universal as cupcakes are, I’ve developed a couple of complaints against them.
1. They’re hard to transport: Anyone who’s ever smudged frosting carrying a tray of cupcakes, let alone had to deal with the messy process of trying to wrap them up, understands this frustration.
2. The frosting/cake ratio -- you’re either getting a mouthful of too much cake or too much frosting.
3. They’re kinda hard to eat.
Lucky for me, the wonderful people at the Cake and Cookie Spot
in Squirrel Hill offer a brilliant new type of cupcake -- the Cake Shot.
The bakery, at 2108 Murray Ave. (same block as Mineo’s
), is owned by a mother-daughter team who are incredibly friendly people, and talented bakers. They offer many varieties of cookies, donuts and other sweets.
Now, back to the cake shot: Despite its name, it contains no alcohol. It’s a miniature version of a layer cake, tucked into a plastic shot glass. It's easy to transport and to eat: You get a spoon with your order, so you can enjoy spoonfuls of frosting and filling, or you can diligently excavate one layer of flavor at a time.
I recently attended a party where the honoree was given a tray of six of these and they survived being carted all around Shadyside, looking just as pretty as they did in the store.
The cake sections are all soft and moist, and all of the frostings are sweet and flavorful, without being oily or greasy. They taste “homemade” in the best possible way.
The red velvet cake is rich and deep, with a cream-cheese frosting; the birthday cake is light and vanilla-y, with sweet white frosting and sprinkles. The peanut butter is a rich chocolate cake -- almost brownie-like, with a smooth, delicious peanut butter filling.
My favorite is the s'mores, with a marshmallow frosting, chocolate layer, and cake, topped adorably with mini marshmallows and a chocolate piece.
There’s a wide variety of flavors -- everything from Margarita to Spice Cake to Boston Cream -- and offerings change daily, so if you’re looking for a specific one, call ahead.
Another tip: If you’re getting cake shots for a birthday, let the bakers know they have candles on hand. It’s thoughtful gestures like that that make the Cake and Cookie Spot a great bakery.
The shots are reasonably priced at $2.50 each or $12.50 for a six-pack. If you’re ordering 100 or more, first, invite me to your party, and second, they're $1.85 each.
The women excel at special orders, and will work with you to create a custom creation -- even if that means you want a strawberry cake shot with peanut butter frosting!
And if you fall in love with one of the Cake Shot flavors, they can make you a full-sized cake version.Carrie DiRisio, 22, is an analyst for the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh, and lives in Squirrel Hill. She enjoys running, knitting, volunteering with the Junior League of Pittsburgh, and exploring her new hometown.
Carrie DiRisio photos