Lola's Cupcakery Opens on Las Olas

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As far as desserts go, what's better than a cupcake? Think about it: these morsels of goodness are self-contained, portable, portion-controlled, and, when done right, can taste pretty swell. And now, they're showing up on Las Olas. Lola's Cupcakery is a new venture from Toronto restaurateur, Donald Kaplan, and his wife Laura (she's the "Lola"). The pair wanted to bring high-end cupcakes to an area that really has none, and their new storefront at 1523 E. Las Olas Blvd. will do just that. The store opens this weekend, and, as of now, will be take-out only. (The Kaplans have already applied for a change of use permit to allow in-store cupcaking.) Lola's will also deliver for orders of two dozen or more to just about anywhere in Broward, to the tune of $82 (a single cupcake runs $3.25).

We took them up on that offer this week, and ordered a pre-release sampler box of two-dozen filled with Lola's upscale take on classic cupcake flavors. They call this batch their classics collection: There was peanut butter and jelly, rocky road, French chocolate, strawberry, red velvet, and a host of others, in addition to a couple quirky selections like mojito and margarita. Lola's bakes all these cupcakes daily, and -- the best part -- doesn't even use a base batter. No, each cupcake's batter and icing is custom tailored and crafted in small-batch mixers from high-quality ingredients only. Result: the French chocolate cupcake actually tastes different from the other chocolate varieties, the base on the mojito is distincly different from the other yellow cake ones, and so on.

Be sure to check out the photos on Lola's site: The cupcakes are

exquisitely beautiful creatures, and our photos do them no justice.

So the $82 question: Were Lola's mini-cakes any good? Well, there were definitely some hits and misses in that big box. To touch on a few, the French chocolate was extraordinarily rich, with an ultra-thick icing derived from "very expensive" chocolate. The chocolate raspberry cupcake was also on the top of our list, with a gooey, jelly-like raspberry interior. A couple people commented that these were the best cupcakes they'd ever had, though I can tell you I wouldn't go that far. For me, some of them were a bit too dense and not quite as moist as I like them. What I did love, however, was the margarita. It was definitely not the most popular choice, but the salt-topped tequila and lime icing really struck me as brilliant. I can't say the same for the mojito, which left a sort of minty gum aftertaste in my mouth. Other big hits at our cupcake party included the cookies and cream, Canadian maple syrup, carrot cake, and key lime.

The Kaplans plan on adding a number of "collections" to their repertoire in the near future. Aside from a cupcake du jour , they will also add a catalog of savory cupcakes (Donald likes the idea of a pizza cupcake). And, for the high rollers, Lola's has a Tiffany's & Co. cupcake, a $1500 confection topped with a 24-carat gold pendant in the shape of -- what else -- a cupcake. In the mean time, give them a visit starting tomorrow and try them yourself.

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