Last week, the three of us ventured to TD-land in search of a satisfying dessert after lunch. Katalina’s Bakery opened last year, but all three of us had yet to try their treats. The long walk was well worth it, especially since New Haven is seriously lacking in cupcake-eateries. Yes, Claire’s has cupcakes, but after sampling quite a few I decided I’d rather stick to their Lithuanian Coffee Cake.
We tried 7 different cupcakes, from their daily offerings to the cupcake of the day. Overall, the cupcakes were good- I’d give them a 7/10. Katalina’s offers a wide variety of flavors, with daily specials like Snickerdoodle and Nutella Banana. The cake parts brought the most flavor, while the frostings were sometimes on the bland side.
One thing that makes Katalina’s stand out is that the owner caters to people with food allergies without compromising taste. The daily offerings include gluten-free and vegan cupcakes, both of which were delicious (move over, Claire’s.) I promise that their gluten-free cupcakes are amazing as far as gluten-free cupcakes go. (If you’ve ever had gluten-free baked goods, you know how bad they can be. Say gluten-free again. Gluten-free).
First up, the Chocolate cupcake
The buttercream texture was excellent and reminded me of the frosting you’d get on a Magnolia or Sprinkles cupcake. The frosting is piled a bit too high and all in the center of the cupcake, so eating it wasn’t exactly a breeze. Overall, a classic flavor that can’t disappoint.
Next: Classic Red Velvet
This one was by far my favorite. The amount of frosting was perfect, and the red velvet cake was soft and delicious, without being too sweet.
A twist on the classic: Gluten-free Red Velvet
While I’ll always opt for the original gluten-y classic red velvet, the gluten-free option wasn’t half bad. The cake part was sweet and chocolatey, and the frosting had that same buttercream consistency that I loved. The main drawback was that the frosting wasn’t very sweet at all. I’m still not sure why, since the cake part is supposed to have all the flour so I’d expect them to use the same frosting. Either way, there was enough sweetness in the cake to make up for the frosting and I’m sure any gluten-free eater would love it.
Daily special: Snickerdoodle
The snickerdoodle cupcake was awesome. Ignore the fact that it looks a little deformed- the other ones in the display case were normal. The sweet buttercream was delicious and went well with the vanilla flavor. The cinnamon topping distinguished it from a regular vanilla cupcake, and I think there may have been some in the frosting as well because it tasted just like a snickerdoodle cookie. Personally I’m more of a chocolate fan so this wasn’t my favorite flavor, but it was still one of the best cupcakes I tried.
A Wednesday daily special: Nutella Banana
After looking at the daily special menu online, I realized that this is a Wednesday flavor… we went on a Thursday. The cupcake was dry. The frosting was buttery. I couldn’t taste any nutella. This was the blandest of the cupcakes, and I definitely couldn’t have identified it in a blind taste-test. Maybe it was a leftover from Wednesday, or maybe it was just a bad cupcake. Either way, nothing to write home about.
This one was GOOD. I didn’t taste much carrot but the frosting was delicious and somehow vegan, not too sweet like the regular frostings, and the cake was nutmeg-y, dark, and not too dense. There were three other vegan options that we didn’t try that looked just as good.
Last but not least: Chocolate Caramel
I’m usually not a fan of chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, but this is an exception. The caramel drizzle was the perfect touch on this classic cake, and I managed to enjoy it even though I was beyond stuffed from the other 6 I tried.
Overall, this is the best (and only) cupcake place in New Haven. They were good enough for me to brave the 38 degree weather and walk 15 minutes for another red velvet cupcake last night. You call it crazy, I call it commitment.