One of the great things about the gluten-free trend — other than the obvious benefits for those who suffer from celiac disease — is that we're getting really good at mimicking wheat flour's properties. More often than not, you might never know you're eating something sans gluten.
That trick of taste is well-played by the newest food purveyor at South Perry's eclectic, health-conscious café, the Shop. In mid-September the business added a cupcake case to its offerings of sandwiches, coffee, ice cream and beer, branding the baked goods as South Perry Cupcakes.
Adding homemade cupcakes to the food offerings was a longtime dream of the Shop's co-owner Yvonne Archer. The cupcake venture's sole baker is Cally Duncan, who's been reveling in the experimentation process, creating new cake recipes and frosting flavors. Duncan formerly worked at the Shop for about a year before leaving to pursue another job, but recently returned when she caught wind of the opportunity to oversee South Perry Cupcakes.
Duncan, who says she's always loved baking, honed her creative baking and decorating skills while participating in Cakes for Kids, a local volunteer project to bake birthday cakes for low-income or sick children.
Though it's only been a few weeks since South Perry Cupcakes' goodies began appearing in a deli case at the counter, Duncan says the treats have been well received, and most days' inventory sells out — especially on Thursdays, when the Shop hosts the South Perry Farmers Market in its parking lot.
Aside from individual cupcake sales ($2.95 each), South Perry Cupcakes also accepts custom and bulk orders ($2.50 each when ordering a dozen or more).
Flavors rotate daily, and are announced on South Perry Cupcakes' separate Facebook page. The cutesy names are all by Duncan — she's named a lemon-vanilla combo "Summer Lovin'"; a chocolate-cherry version is dubbed the "Bing Crosby."
While all of the treats are gluten-free, made from a special blend of three alternative flours that Duncan declines to divulge, several of the flavors also feature vegan ingredients, including the frosting.
On a warm fall day, savoring a cupcake on the Shop's sunny patio is a treat. The dense, moist batter is ideal for eating chilled right out of the deli case, but Duncan also gushes that the vegan chocolate cupcakes are perfect when warmed up in the microwave for 15 seconds. The frosting stays slightly chilled and firm, while the cake inside is warm and gooey. ♦
South Perry Cupcakes • 924 S. Perry • Open Mon-Wed, 6 am-9 pm; Thur-Fri 6 am-10 pm; Sat 7 am-10 pm, Sun 7 am-9 pm • southperrycupcakes.com • 534-1647