Justin Fox Burks
When baker Jorge Acosta sets a platter of margarita cupcakes on the bakery’s glass-top counter, I am almost breathless with anticipation. Butter cream icing fragrant with lime swirls into domes, and sugar crystals wink at me like raindrops in the sun. A candied lime slice nestles in the icing on one side, and on the other, a tiny pipette filled with tequila to squeeze on my tongue.
Could a cupcake be any cuter? Well, actually, yes, because every cake served at Sweet Cake Shop marries the whimsy and expertise of Acosta and José Martinez, who worked together at La Ilusion Bakery on American Way before opening their own shop downtown in early May. There’s the spicy chocolate cupcake topped with a chili de árbol and a miniature Mexican flag, and the watermelon cupcake with icing that ruffles capriciously like a rumba dancer’s skirt. Both are signature flavors.
Located upstairs from Maciel’s — a don’t-miss restaurant for tacos and tortas — the bakery is a culinary blend of Mexican and American tastes and techniques. “We are from a Texas border town,” Martinez says about Piedras Negras, where he and Acosta learned to bake. “So we saw Mexico and America get mixed together.”
Scrumptious layer cakes illustrate the bakers’ cultural influences. Red velvet tastes like a Southern classic from a holiday table, but chocoflan — chocolate cake topped with a deep layer of flan — is a traditional Mexican dessert often served at birthday parties. Like the bakers’ desserts, Sweet Cake Shop exudes good cheer, thanks to its personable owners, its colorful ambience, and its reasonable prices — $2.50 per cupcake/ $3.50 per slice. Coffee and fresh-squeezed juices join the menu line-up.
45 S. Main (upstairs from Maciel’s Tacos & Tortas)
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Bakers Jorge Acosta, left, and Jose Martinez show off their colorful cupcakes at the new Sweet Cake Shop.
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Located on South Main Street on the second floor of Maciel’s Tacos & Tortas.
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Red velvet cake.
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Margarita cupcakes with a squeeze of tequila.