It is always fun to visit a new restaurant on opening weekend. This is especially true when the restaurant is offering something entirely new. Sure, cupcakes have been all the rage now for several years, but Creme Cupcake and Dessert offers something really new and interesting: a dessert lounge. Put away any notions of red-hatted ladies quaffing plates of dainty cupcakes and drinking white wine from stemmed wine glasses. Think instead of mixologist Blake Brown (most recently from Americana) lighting up glasses with 151 proof rum and making some of the most original drinks to hit Des Moines. The desserts are also unique: Smoked S’mores, Amaretto Pistachio Molten Lava Cake, Pavlova (baked lavender meringue), Cake Pudding, Fried Cake Balls (!) and it goes on and on. Creme Cupcake will fill an interesting niche. I don’t see the Dessert Lounge as going head to head against every other restaurant. Instead, I think of it as a possible additional destination following dinner or a visit to an entertainment venue.
The evening we visited, things were in full swing. Two bartenders were working behind the bar and the kitchen was keeping up with the crowd that was filling every seat. Owner Christina Moffatt was making rounds, receiving congratulations from friends and saying hello to all of the guests. The dessert menu features suggested pairings of cocktails and desserts. The cocktails are varied and it was clear that a lot of guests were ordering The Blackout ($10). This involves filling a wine glass with what looks like about two shots of 151 proof rum and lighting it up. (see video below) After melting spiced sugar around the rim, tea, amaretto, Grand Marnier, white creme de cacao and cream is added.
The first drink we ordered was the Peaches and Herb ($9). This drink consisted of slices of fresh peach, fresh sage leaves, a splash of simple syrup, brandy, cointreau, dashes of bitters, and fresh lemon juice served in a martini glass. It had a fresh, light flavor with herb overtones and avoided being cloying.
We stayed with the peach theme and also ordered a Vanilla Peach Cobbler ($8). This cocktail was made with fresh peaches, vanilla extract and raw sugar, lemon juice, brandy, cream, crushed ice, and was served with a peach slice garnish in a round lowball glass. This is a low alcohol drink that is refreshing fruity drink without being too fruity or sweet. It is a very nice summer drink.
Paired with the Vanilla Peach Cobbler was the Amaretto Pistachio Molten Lava Cake ($10). This cake was an oversized rich chocolate cup-cake style cake with very warm chocolate flowing out with each forkful. Huge amaratto liquored cherries were served with the cake and the dish was garnished with crunchy pistachios. A small tablespoon of creamy pistachio mousse was also added to the plate.
The Smoked S’more (Just one at $9) was paired with the Peaches and Herb drink and was made with two crunchy homemade graham crackers sandwiching chocolate ganache and a handmade mint marshmallow. The dish was served with a light lemon curd. The marshmallow was firm and minty. The lemon curd adds nice zing to the mild flavors. There was no lemon ice cream included as stated in menu. The graham cracker lacked the cripsy snap of industrial-grade crackers and was chewy and flavorful.
It is easy to keep Creme Cupcake + Dessert on the menu as an after dinner or event destination. Just keep in mind that for now the dessert lounge hours are 5:30pm – 10:00pm Tuesday through Thursday and 5:30 – Midnight Friday & Saturday. That means it is not open Sunday and Monday.
Creme Cupcake + Dessert
543 28th Street
Des Moines IA 50312