Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Lyndell's (Cupcakes), North End location, Boston

In my family, when there is an occasion (anything from birthdays, anniversaries, and promotions to the simple "its Friday", "I've had a bad day", "I've had a good day") it is celebrated with cake.  Based on this, it really comes as no surprise when, out of the blue, I get a craving for cake.  

It hits every so often.  I'll be sitting quietly, minding my own business, and all I can think about is a piece of nice soft, moist cake topped with sugary icing.  My mouth starts to water at the very idea, and soon I'm consumed by the desire to indulge my desire.  Luckily I know that my mother is often up for satiating the need as well, so when I realised that I couldn't resist any longer, I called my mom and we decided to check out Lyndell's for some cupcakes.

Lyndell's, now with three locations servicing the Boston area, opened in 1857, and thereby has a long standing history of supplying the city with sweet treats.  When they opened, long over a century ago, they began with a commitment to freshness.  They made their wares daily, and have kept that tradition going, adhering to the "old" way of doing things, keeping their recipe for success going strong.  I have heard about Lyndell's for years, and when they opened their North End location a few years back, I made a mental note to visit and finally check them out.

Saturday, after a long wait, was the day to head to Lyndell's.  We ventured over to the North End and selected a few cupcakes to share- a vanilla with strawberry icing, a vanilla with vanilla icing, and a chocolate with a peanut butter icing.  Visually I was excited.  These were not the enormous cupcakes that you see a lot places doing now.  These were average sized cupcakes, with a heap of hand applied icing, the strawberry frosting even had flecks of real strawberry in it!  I felt as though all of these were positive signs.  

Sadly, my visual excitement was soon to be dashed.  The taste test did not hold up its end of the bargain.  I began with the vanilla with vanilla icing- nice and simple.  The cake was dry and rather flavorless, though the icing was sugary and sweet, the type of icing I was hoping for.  The strawberry icing, oddly enough, though showed evidence of strawberries in the mix, contained very little, if any, actual strawberry flavor.  I tasted very little variation from the all vanilla frosting.  The cake was just as dry and lifeless.  The chocolate cake did deliver a bit better, a moister cake with good dense chocolate taste.  It had been topped with a chocolate ganache, and then peanut butter icing had been piped on top of that.  The peanut butter flavor could have been stronger in my book.  I just didn't feel as though it was enough of a contrast between sweet and that nutty goodness I was seeking.  

Suffice it to say, we split three cupcakes, I had less then my half of each and the remainders hit the garbage.

So these go down in the disappointment column, a long standing tradition for sure, but perhaps one that could use some updating?  Stronger flavors and a less dry cake would do wonders for Lyndell's.  


Daisy said...

I couldn't have said it better myself. Sadly, Lyndell's cupcakes also disappointed me to the same extent. I thought I had a bad batch or something! they look so good. why are they so stale tasting?!

The Small Boston Kitchen said...

Bummer. Nothing ruins a good day quite like a bad cupcake. Hope you got yourself a beer to make up for it ;)

kitchenmisfit said...

Unfortunately there are too many cupcake joints in Boston and not many stack up! You should try Cherry Bomb Bakery in Brighton, they actually make wonderful cupcakes!

Jen said...

I have to agree. I did a Cupcake Crawl a couple years ago and Lyndell's came in fourth out of five. We all thought they were dry too...

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

I wonder if this is the same Lyndell's as the coffee shop in Cambridge. They took over a neighborhood staple somewhat recently. Too bad these cupcakes were disappointing!

Sarah @ Semi-Sweet said...

This is so interesting - Lyndell's is one of my favorite old school bakeries - I grew up near the original in Ball Sq. in Somerville and still go there all the time for b-day cakes, etc. for my daughter. Did any of you guys try cupcakes from that location? My theory is that the original location is better . . . but I could be wrong. And yes, it's the same Lyndell's in Cambridge on Prospect St. - took over a Carberry's location and they offer Carberry's-esque baked goods.

I just don't love cupcakes, period. Have you tried Lyndell's black & white cookies? (really a small round cake w/half chocolate, half vanilla icing) Now THOSE are worth the splurge!

Melissa said...

I hate sad cupcakes! Lyndell's does have a good turtle cheesecake if you ever go back and want something different. I like their half moons too - the frosting is very sweet and I think has a better cake to frosting ratio. Next time you're in the North End craving a cupcake, go to Lulu's!

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