Hilary Duff (blog/Twitter) is a quirky 21-year-old who loves multimedia journalism, cycling, food blogging, and churning massive amounts of baked goods out of her cramped student kitchen. She is currently writing an LTOttawa series on her hunt for Ottawa’s perfect cupcake.
You know how sometimes food looks too good to eat?
This saying almost applied to the experience I had sampling cupcakes the other week (I say “almost” only because I would never not eat a cupcake…). Put it this way: if there were a “best dressed” list for baked goods, these cupcakes would have been at the top of the chart.
The cupcake designer extraordinaire was Jenny Burgesse from Geek Sweets, another small, privately operated home bakery. I first began talking with Jenny over Twitter after we both baked for Capital Cupcake Camp last September. It was also around this time that Geek Sweets first began selling to the public. At Capital Cupcake Camp, Jenny’s “Death by Chocolate” cupcakes won the best decorated award. Looking back at my iPhone pictures from last fall, I noticed that I still had the photos of Jenny’s chocolate cupcake saved to my album.
Little did I know that I would have the chance for a second tasting…
Meeting Jenny gave me the chance to combine my love of cupcakes with one of my other favourite hobbies: riding my bike with one hand while carrying baked products. This may sound like a strange and overly specific hobby, but I’m actually quite good at it.
With the thought of cupcakes fueling my ride home, I don’t think I’ve ever biked faster. As a safeguard to a potentially cupcake-harming bike ride, I took pictures of the cupcakes at the park bench where I met Jenny, an action that garnered several suspicious sidelong glances from the folks sitting in a local pub.
In regards to a unique selling point, dessert lovers need not stray far to discover what makes Geek Sweets special. Let’s start with the name. Just as “Geek Sweets” alludes to, Jenny considers herself to be a bit of a geek. She caters to those who want something a little different, be it superhero cupcakes to Call of Duty cupcakes. Jenny’s creativity doesn’t stop with cupcakes, however, and she also sells an assortment of intricately decorated cookies and cakes. The cupcakes she brought for my tasting were a little less geeky than her normal fare, but no less dramatically decorated.
It seems to me like Jenny’s decorating abilities can be attributed to her background as a freelance graphic designer. As a side note, she’s currently working on some new graphics for Ottawa’s favourite food blog, foodiePrints, which I am very excited to see!
Out of the four different cupcakes Jenny brought, they all had a unique personality. I felt as though my cupcakes had played dress up, each picking out the perfect outfit for our tasting. They even had four different kinds of cupcake liners – the perfect finishing touch for an already beyond-adorable cake. Of course with such elaborate outer garments, the cupcake innards had to be just as impressive.
On that note, check out these mind-numbing cupcake flavours:
Chocolate Cherry Bomb: devil’s food chocolate cupcake filled with cherry pie filling with cherry buttercream and topped with a maraschino cherry.
Secret of Monkey Island: spiced rum banana cupcake with caramel cream cheese, topped with toffee bits and a chocolate dipped banana chip.
Strawberry Shortcake: vanilla shortcake filled with strawberry whipped cream, topped with a white chocolate vanilla buttercream.
Raspberry Tart: lemon cake filled with raspberry citrus coulis and topped with raspberry and lemon frosting.
So were Jenny’s cupcakes as delicious as they were visually stunning?
Simply put: yes.
Out of the four cupcakes, my favourite was the strawberry shortcake. The flavours were light, flowery and fruitful, and it was the perfect cupcake for an early spring day. I had also been craving a chocolate covered strawberry, and the one topping this cupcake was perfectly dipped. As for two of my other roommates, they preferred the banana cupcake, a special creation Jenny had made for the weekend. The icing in that one was decadent, although more butterscotch than caramel. The raspberry tart cupcake provided a jam-filled explosion, and tasted exactly like the cake my mom used to make for my dad’s birthday. I wasn’t a huge fan of the chocolate and cherry cupcake, but this was likely due to personal flavour preferences. My roommate Ariel, on the other hand, loved this one, and proudly considers herself to be a cherry and chocolate-aholic.
For me, the really great part about Geek Sweets’ cupcakes was the filling. I think fillings are the perfect way to add another dimension to a cupcake and create a delicious surprise for the eater. They can be a little messy though. Halfway through my barbaric handfuls of cupcake, I guiltily remembered that Jenny suggested I eat them with a fork. Oops! Words of wisdom for next time.
There are only two words that can describe these cupcakes, and those words are “fantastically fun.” If you plan on having any sort of theme party, want to please your video game loving child, or have the urge to experience art in the form of baked goods, give Jenny a call. I promise she won’t disappoint.
Cupcake personality: *****
Cupcake overall: ****
Okay Hilary. We’re officially jealous. And hungry.