Deborah met me at Coyi Cafe to talk and share cupcakes. She brought two different types of cupcakes: an assortment of flavored and frosted minis and four wedding-style buttercream-filled and fondant-topped cupcakes.
The wedding-style cupcakes were Madagascar vanilla bean butter cake with buttercream filling and white chocolate fondant toppers. Did I mention they were gold-dusted?
Here's what I think makes City Sweets & Confectioners cupcakes so unusual: The cakes are so light and soft and elegant they just melt in your mouth. They are ethereally light. Delicate-tasting but oddly sturdy.
Deborah sifts and sifts and resifts her dry ingredients. They are so finely sifted the cakes are smooth and featherweight. Also, she uses a mix of high- and low-gluten flours in her recipes, which gives a different texture and shape to the final product.
The filling was a modified French buttercream (which Deborah calls her Russian buttercream), boiled, with less of a sugary taste than beaten buttercream. It was rich and very creamy and soo smooth (again, Deborah sifts all dry ingredients repeatedly). City Sweets & Confections offers some amazing selections in the fillings department, including vanilla bean marscapone custard, passionfruit mousse, hazelnut truffle ganache, and lemon chiffon curd. Yum.
The topper is fondant, which I am not usually a fan of. It was firm and claylike (and held its shape, color and gold dust well) and had a white-chocolate flavor that wasn't overly sweet or cloying -- or chemical, as some fondants can be. The gold dust does coat the fingers a bit and most likely I was wearing some but my company was too polite to mention it.
Eaten separately they all taste great but combined they become a sublime cupcake experience. No flavor was too strong or too much (nor too sweet), just-right components combined to form a superior product.
On to the minis! (I am a fan of the finger-food-size minis.)
These minis came in a bunch of flavors: pistachio, green tea, butterscotch, and violet. It was hard to tell by sight which was which.
(Possibly pistachio? Could also be green tea.)
I think this one was butterscotch, which was very vanilla-y.
It also could have been the violet. I wasn't looking forward to the violet, honestly. I kept thinking it'd be like these violet mints that my great-grandmother used that I hated. I did eat the violet and I have to tell you, I was pleasantly surprised. It didn't taste overly violet-y, it more abut the light, faint scent/taste experience. A fragrant violet after-scent and -taste. I'm impressed by this, as my taste buds are not easily swayed. I'm thinking that all of City Sweets & Confections spice-flavored cakes are probably the same way. More suggestive/evocative than hit-you-over the head bold. Subtle.
The minis were topped with the boiled French/Russian buttercream, just the right amount (probably about a tablespoon's worth, perhaps a smidge more). Perfect cupcake: frosting ratio. City Sweets offers an assortment of buttercream frostings, such as key lime, orange butterscotch, Valrhona dark chocolate, and mocha in addition to the fondants, in white chocolate and semisweet.
I love having a selection of cupcake cake flavors (especially handy at a party) and City Sweets & Confections has plenty of flavors to choose from, including chocolate sesame, wild strawberry, cardamom, cheesecake, and jasmine. Deborah confided that her best sellers are coconut, pistachio, Valrhona chocolate, and red velvet, but that she'll make a custom flavor upon request! She also can create vegan and gluten-free cupcakes.
Where can you taste City Sweets & Confections cupcakes? Try NYC's Petal Belle Cafe (where Deborah will also be teaching a cupcake-making class on April 10th!). If you'd like to order from her, please note there's a 48-hour advance notice for the cupcakes.
On a personal note, I found Deborah to be witty and sweet, charming and intelligent. If I had a big day planned (oh, say a wedding or a birthday party) I would totally feel confident that she'd handle everything she said she'd handle. Deborah is a cool NYC chick and it was a pleasure to spend a couple of hours eating cupcakes and chatting with her.
You can see the whole set of images here, all photos by Stacie Joy.