Crazy for cupcakes

With or without the fall rain, I knew I was in for a Saturday delight. It was just past noon and I was on my way to Letterbox, an Uptown stationery and home décor shop, for Cupcake Saturday and I had planned accordingly — I tactfully harvested what felt like a week’s worth of hunger for the brainchild of local celebrity baker, Sheela Namakkal: Miel y Leche cupcakes.

I arrived just as a group of smiling guests were exiting and gleefully peeling the wrapper from the little bakery bite. Now my senses were aroused and my appetite had married my sweet tooth, both begging for sugary confections. Not only could I smell the reason why people were leaving with radiating smiles but I could tell some of the people were regulars, asking, "What do you have for us today?"

Tucked into the front corner of the store, Namakkal was simultaneously reciting the five different flavors and boxing the art-for-food, round-topped cakes. The chef-gone-baker was busy serving mouth-watering buyers pumpkin, butterscotch, and Namakkal’s favorite — Mexican hot chocolate. Made with cornmeal, the sweet and spicy dessert is meant to imitate the unrefined texture of real Mexican hot chocolate. For only $3 a pop, you’re guaranteed a homemade indulgence.

Finally, it was my turn to taste. Staring up at me from their cake stands were thickly whipped frostings in butter cream and chocolate ganache, chow mien noodle toppings coated in butterscotch, and for the Halloween holiday, sugary marshmallows. I had a hard time deciding which cupcake would tickle my buds, but I chose a pumpkin one, nicknamed Jack-O-Lantern, crowned with a candy corn pumpkin for good measure.

Be aware, if you’re stopping in any other day of the week, you won’t find cupcakes. Namakkal and Letterbox owners Kimberly Yurkiewicz and Zach Barocas partner up only for a few hours of cupcake chaos on Saturdays. She starts baking Friday afternoons until just before dawn Saturday morning before unveiling her little darlings for business at noon. Get there early for the first pick of the sweet delicacies.

2741 Hennepin Ave. S.
Saturdays, noon–6 p.m., or until the cupcakes run out