Small Bite: Isabelle's Curly Cakes

By Amy Traverso | Boston Magazine |

THE ARRIVAL of Curly Cakes was announced long before it actually happened. Years before, in fact. It took so long that we wondered if the cupcake craze would long be over by the time it opened. Still, we couldn’t help but be intrigued; it’s the first eatery that Todd English has opened in Boston in years, and its namesake is English’s curly-haired teenage daughter, Isabelle, a partner in the business. Were we seeing the beginning of the next great English chef?

Perhaps. The cupcakes are quite good: substantial, moist, and richly flavored. They come in fun varieties like triple chocolate, Oreo, and chocolate peanut butter cup. And in true English fashion, they tend to have a lot going on at once — say, amaretti crumble and a white chocolate drizzle over a pumpkin cupcake filled with spiced pumpkin and finished with nutmeg–cream cheese frosting. The proportion of icing to cake is just right, too.

The frosting itself, however, is a matter of debate. It’s buttercream, but has the texture of a richer whipped cream. Some love it. But those of us who happen to prefer an icing with a little crunch from undissolved sugar (rather than a mousselike cloud) do not. One thing’s for certain, though: The red velvet, topped instead with cream cheese frosting, is a winner.  

81 Charles St., Boston, 617-720-2260,

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