The Ottawa Cupcake Challenge: Part VI – The ByWard Market’s Glitz Cupcakes
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.
Even a disgusting, rainy day cannot deter me from my cupcake hunt. Despite the slush, ice, and variety of cats and dogs falling from the sky this past Saturday, I refused to cower away in my home, and decided it had to be a cupcake-sampling day.
I was so excited a few weeks ago when I heard there was a new cupcake store opening in the ByWard Market. It seems like Thimble Cakes didn’t hold its “newest cupcake venue” throne for very long – Glitz Cupcakes and Company now has the honour of hosting that title. Glitz opened at the beginning of February, bringing the addictive sugary sweetness of cupcakes to one of Ottawa’s most popular tourist neighbourhoods.
Sloshing through the roads of the Market, I found Glitz nestled away next to the Arts Court, inconspicuously marked by a small purple sandwich board outside. Sure enough a quick glance in the window showed shelves of cupcakes on display, calling me in out of the weather. Walking into Glitz, the first thing I noticed was that the shop was a shadow of its clothing store past. On the left wall, a floor to ceiling mirror remains, now listing cupcake flavours written in pearly purple ink.
Track lights stretch across the ceiling, though are fairly unnecessary thanks to the huge shop windows that may make cupcake eaters feel like mannequins on display. Two wrought iron tables sit on the wooden plank floor, and appear to be part of a glitzy patio furniture set. They’re comfy anyways and fit in with the theme of the store. A luxurious leather sofa also sits against one of the windows, inviting people to experience their cupcake comas in plushed comfort.
Since Ottawa has so many different choices for cupcake hunters, I like it when shops try to differentiate themselves from the other cupcakeries. For Glitz, their USP (unique selling point) is that they are the only store in Ottawa to sell cake pops.
For those of you who just gave your computer screen a quizzical look, a cake pop is basically exactly what it sounds like: a mini cake on a lollipop stick. As far as I know, the term and sheer genius of the dessert can be accredited to one of my favourite bloggers, Bakerella. I’m guessing that this culinary goddess also inspired Glitz, since her cake pop cookbook sits on one of the side tables, along with Martha Stewart cupcake books and other inspiring reads.
I wasn’t sure how many different flavours Glitz would have, since they are still fairly new to this whole cupcake thing. I was pleasantly surprised to see that in addition to the traditional vanilla and chocolate, their behind the counter display also boasted flavours like mango, sugar shack (maple), and chocolate espresso. As for me, I got the red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing, the one the cashier recommended.
It seemed as though my cupcake was still wearing its Valentine’s Day wardrobe. Small red sugar sprinkles were scattered on my icing, and little heart sprinkles rested at the summit of Icing Mountain. The cupcake was pretty good. I’m a huge fan of anything with cream cheese icing, so I’m pretty biased as far as that goes. For the average cupcake goer there was probably a bit too much icing, and it easily dominated the modestly sized cupcake underneath. The cake itself was a good consistency, but there were areas where the batter wasn’t mixed, and I got the occasional crunch of sugar or glob of red dye. My cupcake was also a little under baked, which made it almost too moist in some places. Overall, I was still perfectly content with my afternoon choice, and it was a decent indulgent treat on a chilly day.
I brought home half a dozen mini cupcakes for my roommates (they begged me) and a normal sized sugar shack cupcake for myself. When I tried the latter at home, I was disappointed to taste not even a tad of maple flavour. What could have been a Canadian classic wasn’t quite up to par.
My final verdict is that while the cupcakes were average in taste, I’d recommend letting Glitz get a little more established before ordering a large amount of cupcakes for your next birthday party.
The cake pops – however – might be something you want to look into. I think they’re the perfect thing for a kid’s party and, lets face it, who doesn’t love cake on a stick? Cake pops are also cute-as-a-button and are guaranteed to be interesting conversation starters for your guests.
Throughout the hour that I was there, I was surprised to see a steady flow of people come into the store. What I considered to be miserable weather was apparently not enough to stop people from fulfilling their cupcake cravings.
With this observation, I make the following statement: bake cupcakes, and they will come.
And so I wonder, where will Ottawa’s next cupcake store be?
Cupcake personality: *½
Cupcake overall: **
Have an idea of where Hilary should visit next? Please leave a comment below!