Left to right: Strawberry Cream, Chocolate Peanut and Smores minis. Cupcakes Squared.
3772 Voltaire Street, San Diego
A little shop serving little (and mini) cakes.
Who knows why cupcakes were ever round in the first place? I mean, I know why they're round now — because cupcake tins and those little corrugated paper cups in the grocery stores come that way. But once upon a time there must have been reason for the convention. It'll probably take a better Googler than me to solve that mystery.
Cupcakes Squared in Point Loma decided to break the mold, so to speak. Like the name suggests, they don't adhere to tradition, opting instead to dole out miniature cakes in squares, not circles. I suppose that makes them the iconoclasts of San Diego's dessert universe.
I found myself in the area and decided to give them a shot. They offer two sizes of cake — regular and mini. The minis go for two bucks each, so I opted to get three of those and spread around the flavors.
Deciding wasn't easy. You start putting together words like Chocolate Walnut, Pistachio Pomegranate, and Peanut Butter Berry and you're gonna wind up gaining ten pounds before you're done. I settled on Strawberry Cream, Chocolate Peanut, and Smores.
It turns out, you can order vegan and/or gluten-free cakes from this place, which in truth probably makes the bakery more revolutionary than simply serving squares. But I came here for the real deal, butter and flour and whatever else they choose to drop in the batter.
The Chocolate Peanut was nice. I don't encounter a lot of peanut butter cake, and enjoyed the novelty of that familiar flavor without anything sticking to the roof of my mouth. The true cleverness of the square construction revealed itself to me, as the paper (for lack of another word) cups do not connect at the corners, allowing each side to peel away, making it instantly easier to keep intact than traditional cupcakes. Perhaps early cupcake pioneers merely lacked engineering prowess?
The Smores cake also turned out to be a departure — a graham cracker cake with chocolate chips. How can you go wrong, right? A little marshmallow and chocolate buttercream on top completed the concept, and while it certainly tasted sweet and desserty, and I would have gladly eaten a dozen of them, it couldn't possibly live up to its s'morish potential without a little char… they're probably at they're best fresh out of the oven when the chocolate chips still have some melt to them.
My favorite turned out to be the Strawberry Cream, which used fresh strawberries in both the vanilla cake and buttercream icing. I guess this one's only seasonably available, so keep your eye out, especially because they occasionally offer a chocolate version.
I'm sure by now the national cupcake craze is on the wane, replaced by donuts, or cronuts, or bacon candy, or maybe waffles. If you missed it, don't concern yourself. Cupcakes don't stop tasting good just because they stop being faddish. Anyway, this place makes 'em for squares.