In the vegan community, word spreads quickly when a new veg-friendly eatery opens, so I was surprised that it took 4 whole days for me to find out about Cupcraze, a new cupcake shop in Verona. As soon as I got the news, I jumped in my car and headed over, excited to check out the new vegan bakery in my own neighborhood.
Cupcraze is located on Bloomfield Avenue, right across the street from Verona Park, and is in a cute space that includes a little eat-in area, something other bakeries in Northern NJ lack.
Owner, Hiral Udawat, is very friendly and greets her customers with a cheerful smile, which made me want to stay a while and enjoy a few baked treats.
Hiral is a self-taught baker who has been vegan for about a year and half. She began baking because she wanted to show people that baked goods don’t need eggs, butter and milk to be delicious. She’s been hard at work perfecting her recipes, and she’s even taken on the challenge of creating gluten-free goodies, for the ever-growing gluten-sensitive population. To avoid cross-contamination, items containing gluten are prepared on separate equipment than the gluten-free items. People with food allergies will be happy to find that most of the goodies at Cupcraze are soy and nut-free, and those that do contain potential allergens are labeled. Most people that have been partaking in Cupcraze’s cupcakes and cookies aren’t vegan or food allergy sufferers though – they just want a yummy cupcake!
Upon entering Cupcraze, I felt like a kid in a candy store… or at least a kid in a cupcake store. The bakery case is full an array of little cakey goodies topped with mounds of fluffy frosting. Flavors include red velvet, vanilla, chocolate, lemon, cookies and cream, carrot and banana split, making it difficult to choose just one. Cookies are also available in chocolate chip, double chocolate and butter. (And no, the butter cookies are not made with actual butter.) Despite my chocoholic tendencies, I went with a banana split cupcake, which was a moist and delicious little treat topped with creamy frosting, chocolate drizzle and a maraschino cherry. Veggieguy had a lemon cupcake, and after his first bite he nodded and simply said, “ooh yeah”, which means he really liked it. And he isn’t very fond of cake, so that’s saying something.
In addition to cupcakes and cookies, 6”, 8”and 10” layer cakes are available upon request in the same flavors the cupcakes come in.
Cupcraze is located at 534 Bloomfield Avenue in Verona. Store hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.