by Lenora Dannelke
In an age of instant gratification, Amy Wardle has reacquainted the Lehigh Valley—or at least the part of it that appreciates premium baked goods—with the excruciating pleasure of anticipation. For several months a Main Street Hellertown storefront adorned with a giant hot pink cupcake has been taunting passersby with the promise of Warm Sugar: A Cupcakery. Throughout the long wait, I diligently stalked its web site watching for “coming soon!’ to change to “now open!”
Last Friday owner and baker-in-chief Wardle quietly opened the doors for a weeklong “preview mode” test run, expecting a trickle of customers to wander in for a taste. The fact that she experienced sold-out days right from the start indicates that the cupcake craze is still hot stuff. And it also says a lot about Wardle’s baking skills.
Next week, launches the bakery’s official grand opening, with thirteen flagship flavors made fresh every day. Varieties encompass classic flavors, such as White Heat (Madagascar vanilla bean cake), Hot Chocolate (Valrhona chocolate cake) and The Tikicup (coconut cake), plus playful tastes like Sugar Girl (graham cake filled with molten milk chocolate cream and capped with toasted marshmallow frosting) and Sugar Boy (lime-infused graham caked stuffed with real key lime filling, topped with toasted meringue). Multicultural nods include the Brit-inspired Lady Bakewell (raspberry jam-filled vanilla-almond cake with a hint of lemon, toped with almond buttercream frosting) and—my personal favorite—La Copacake, a seductively sensual South American-style treat. The first nibble of this super-moist caramel cake, crowned with a generous swirly-poof of caramel frosting, evoked an audible “mmmmm” response as the intense flavors spread across my palate with a lingering creamy richness. Hitting the “ooey-gooey Argentinian dulce de leche” filling in the center transformed the simple act of eating a cupcake into a decadently hedonistic experience.
Warm Sugar will feature a different WaKupcake each morning, and a changing array of seasonal and holiday specials. Coffee is available and the shop includes a couple of tiny bistro tables. In addition to the regular “SugarMama” size, cupcake are also offered in a mini “SugarBaby” version that’s perfect for sampling your way across the dangerously delicious menu.
Warm Sugar, 1308 Main Street, Hellertown; 610-838-6835. Tuesday-Friday, 10am-6pm; Saturday 10am-2pm. Closed Sunday and Monday.
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