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Sugar Island – How Sweet It Is!

1 Mar

Yippee skippee!!  Seriously folks, crossing borders and adding FLORIDA to Cupcake Crusade’s coverage really calls for a “yippee skippee”, right?! 

Here’s what went down.  My mom and I road tripped it down to southwest Florida to visit family and had a really  great time.  It was awesome seeing relatives I hadn’t seen in a while and the weather was oh so nice.  On one of the days there, we ventured over the Charlotte Harbor to stroll about Punta Gorda.  I was a young lass when I last visited Punta Gorda (Spanish for “Fat Point”) and didn’t remember it too well.  My mom, however, was interested in seeing what changed since Hurricane Charley extensively damaged the coastal community in 2004.  Apparently, a lot!   After the devestating storm, they quickly got to work restoring and rebuilding their city, while retaining the downtown’s historic character.  And I think they did a great job – I found Punta Gorda quaint and vibrant at the same time, appreciated its walkability and the fact that they have a cupcakery!

And that fine cupcakery is none other than Sugar Island Cupcakes.  It’s a super cute, blue and white cottage (it isn’t a historic  building, but it is located in a National Register Historic District) on Sullivan Street.  We ventured in, and were greeted by 1) a kind and lively couple and 2) by the cupcake case filled with jumbo cupcakes.  We learned that the couple originally started their business doing custom cakes.  Then, after many requests for cupcakes, they started selling the individual-sized treats at Punta Gorda’s farmers market.  Those did so well, they were able to open up the Sugar Island cottage in 2010.  

At first, I was a little taken aback by the partially-filled cupcake case.  It wasn’t packed to the gills with pastel buttercreams or flashy toppings.  It was simply filled with a modest amount of individually-packaged (jumbo!) cupcakes in familiar flavors like coconut, red velvet, chocolate chip, and boston cream.   Given the large size of the cake portion, I was also a little concerned about the cake/frosting ratio.  A little voice inside my head (the inner frosting freak) was lamenting “there’s not enough frosting!!”.  But don’t let all this fool you!  Once we got the cupcakes home, I noticed that each one was impeccably frosted and thoughtfully adorned with a pinch of crystal sugar sprinkles.  Then, we cut the cupcakes in half and TA-DA!  The surprise filling.  My inner frosting freak let out a huge sigh of relief.  The Scarlett’s Red Velvet was filled with cheesecake mousse, the Boston Creamers was filled with Bavarian cream, and the Coconut Overdose was filled with coconut mousse.  Now, I only tasted the red velvet and the coconut cupcakes and let me just say they were Ahh-mazing!  The cake was fresh and flavorful, the frosting was sweet and fluffy, and the fillings pulled everything together so nicely to ensure a well-balance bite!   My family all seemed to really enjoy their bites as well, and my cute cousins Josh and Aubrey cleaned their plates (sign of success, right?). 

Our daily offerings at Sugar Island Cupcakes

Going back to the cupcake case…I have noticed at a few other cupcakeries, where the case is chock full of showy cupcakes that end up tasting mediocre.  Either because the flavors were underwhelming and/or the cake part was dry (possibly after sitting in the fridge for a few days.)  And I’m starting to learn that that is way more of drag than seeing a half-full cupcake case.   I know that Sugar Island cupcakes can sell fast, and when they sell out – they sell out.  That means no leftovers filling up the case the next day.  And that way you know and can taste that what you get is fresh!!! And boy,  is it mmm…mmm…good!!   

Keep your eye out for their less familiar “guest flavors”, like 24 Karot, Lemon Baby, Strawberry not so Shortcake, PB&J, Black and Whites, and Mocha Grande!

Let’s break it down now, shall we?

Sugar Island Cupcakes / 322 Sullivan Street Punta Gorda, FL / www.sugarislandcupcakes.com 

1. Price:  $3  each / half dozen: $17 / baker’s dozen: $33.  Given that these cupcakes are jumbo and filled, I’d say you get your money’s worth.

2. Room temperature:  Yes!

3.  Size:  Let’s hear it for jumbo!

4. Vegan or gluten-free options:  No such luck.

5. To-go packaging:  Those cleverly crafted, individually sized plastic clamshell (that really hold the cupcake in place) with logo sticker on top.

6. Milk for sale?:   Yup!  You can also sip on coffee, bottled water, or a can of soda.

7.  Other treats for non-cupcake enthusiasts you may have in tow:  No.  But you’d be in luck if your non-cupcake enthusiast is in the market for a cake.  These guys also make custom designed wedding cakes (www.bakedoccasions.com).

8.  Ambiance:  Being in a charming cottage with a wrap-around porch and singular iconic palm tree out front, I was won over before I even stepped inside.   The interior, with its pale green walls and dark furniture, felt refreshing and is probably even more so on a hot day.  Lots of wedding cake things scattered about.  It kinda made me want to order a 4-tiered, multi-colored, fondant cake just because.  (Hmmm… that’s clever visual merchandising they’re doing.)  A couple tables and chairs are on location, so no need to eat and run.

 9. Service:  So nice!  We were warmly welcomed and well taken care off.

Soooo…I loved the Scarlett’s Red Velvet, but I looooooooved the Coconut Overdose that without a doubt it will take a spot on the Top 10 list!  The coconut mousse filling was heavenly!  That blended with the white chocolate icing and just the right amount of coconut and vanilla  – it was a thing of beauty! Sugar Island Cupcakes is one island I wouldn’t mind being stranded on!

Just wanted to send a thank you shout out to my Port Charlotte family for your sweet hospitality and contribution to this review!  Thanks mom for treating me to the cupcakes!  Y’all are such great company! 

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