Day of the Week: Sunday, 2/10
Cost: $21 for a half-dozen
Pros: Good flavors, nice presentation, very nice packaging, open seven days a week.
Cons: No discount if you buy a half-dozen, some flavors were not as named/described.
Verdict: Pretty good.
The Foodies are fans of Sweet Tweets Cakery in Carrollwood. Their cakes are nuanced, creative, and beautiful, and the owners are really nice. But we love cupcakes seven days a week, and Sweet Tweets is open by appointment only on Sundays and Mondays. We were excited when we saw a Gigi’s was going in where Rita’s Italian Ice had previously been. We had heard Gigi’s was very popular in south Tampa and saw it mentioned in a tbt story about the bay area’s new cupcake shops (Sweet Tweets was not featured, which is shameful). Then a friend at work told me she and her husband had tried Gigi’s and didn’t like it. She said the cake tasted frozen. (She also said the girls working there were dumb as posts.) I was willing to write Gigi’s off then because this friend is my baking buddy and knows her stuff but Hubby said, “We should at least try it for ourselves,” so Sunday evening we stopped in for a half-dozen. Just to give a well-rounded review, of course. (I just realized I should’ve taken a picture but…I didn’t.)
The shop is cute inside. As I expected, it’s very pink. Because it was the end of the day, there wasn’t a huge selection but we didn’t have trouble finding flavors that interested us. I will say, the girl working did not seem to be the sharpest tool in the shed and wasn’t very personable. I noticed that the price of a half-dozen is the price of an individual cupcake times six. (If you buy a dozen, you get $.50 off each cupcake.) I think giving a small discount on a half-dozen would be nice.
I was just looking at Gigi’s site to get more details about the cupcakes we bought but I don’t see a lot of them listed on their “fall/winter” menu. Maybe they’ve started to roll out spring/summer flavors and haven’t updated the site yet? Anyway, I’ll do the best I can based on memory.
The cupcakes we got are as follows:
Strawberry milkshake – Strawberry cupcake with strawberry frosting, garnished with a malted milk ball in the middle, crushed malted milk balls around the edges, and a tiny little straw (so cute!). Good strawberry flavor, loved the malted milk ball.
Pink lemonade – The cake seems like it had a light citrus flavor, and the frosting was cream cheese. It certainly was a beautiful presentation: a big mound of pink frosting topped with a light dusting of yellow sugar. Unfortunately, the cream cheese frosting completely overwhelmed the cake flavor. Buy a box of pink lemonade cupcake mix at Fresh Market and follow the icing recipe on the box. Those are better.
Champagne – White cake with white frosting. Didn’t taste like champagne. Hubby thought it had a faintly almond flavor. Very pretty but unremarkable. Sweet Tweets’ pink champagne cupcake would be the winner in a champagne cupcake challenge if I was judging.
Chocolate hazelnut – From the site: “Chocolate cake with hazelnuts baked in, filled with Nutella®, chocolate hazelnut buttercream frosting, and rimmed in hazelnuts.” The one we had was yellow cake instead of chocolate. I really loved this one.
Peanut butter – White cake with peanut butter frosting. Seems like it had a drizzle of marshmallow fluff. Garnished with chopped peanuts. Loved this one, really delicious.
Cheesecake – Mini cheesecake in a cupcake paper. I think it had a fruit topping. I didn’t try it because I’m not a cheesecake fan, so I can’t comment.
One thing I’d like to note is that Gigi’s is not a Tampa original. I realize now that it clearly says RIGHT THERE in the tbt article that it’s not but I somehow missed that. It was started in Nashville in 2008 by Gigi and now there are locations in 22 states. If I had remembered that going in, I think I would’ve had lower expectations. Gigi’s franchises so I guess that’s why the chocolate hazelnut cupcake we had didn’t exactly match the description on the site. This also made me think back to my friend’s assessment that the cakes tasted frozen, which seems quite possible based on this new information.
Bottom line, these are good cupcakes for a national chain and if I had a cupcake craving on a Sunday or Monday I would go back. I certainly would prefer them to Publix (fine in a pinch but very boring). If Sweet Tweets is open, I’ll go there instead.