Restaurant Review: Restaurant Review
Olivia O'Neal uses only the freshest ingredients for her delicious cupcakes
Reviewed by Kate Thornberry, Fri., Nov. 7, 2008
Sugar Mama's Bakeshop1905-A S. First, 448-3727
Tuesday-Saturday, noon-8pm; Sunday, noon-4pm; closed Mondays
The giant red-and-turquoise neon cupcake above Sugar Mama's Bakeshop uplifts the whole intersection at South First and Mary, giving the area a happy and hopeful air. Sugar Mama's crisp black-and-white, newly painted interior is bustling and hopeful, too, and a fitting backdrop for the colorful display of cupcakes and dessert bars.
Olivia O'Neal has been planning, preparing, and perfecting her recipes for Sugar Mama's for the last five years, and it has been time well spent. Sugar Mama's cupcakes are incredibly moist and light, and the flavors are sumptuous. "We use nothing but the highest-quality ingredients," says O'Neal. "Pastured eggs, sweet cream butter, Valrhona chocolate, and Nielsen-Massey extracts. No mixes, no hydrogenated shortening, no preservatives."
After perfecting more than 10 varieties of cake and 11 kinds of frosting, O'Neal came up with combinations and concepts for a galaxy of cupcakes, and the result is a truly gorgeous opulence. In addition to the Marilyn Monroe (vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream) and the James Brown (chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and chocolate sprinkles), there's the Hummingbird (spice cake filled with pineapple, bananas, and Texas pecans, topped with cream cheese frosting), the Hemingway (vanilla cake filled with fresh key lime curd and topped with key lime cream cheese frosting and crushed graham crackers), the Banana Puddin' (banana cake filled with banana pastry cream, topped with fresh whipped cream and a miniature vanilla wafer), the Southern Belle (red velvet cake topped with cream cheese frosting), and a dozen other varieties. Flavors change according to a weekly schedule, and new seasonal flavors are rotated with the changing of the seasons. (Cupcake towers can be ordered for special occasions, as can 6- and 9-inch cakes in any of the cupcake flavors. All cupcakes: $2.50 each.)