In Food/ Travel

The Best Cupcake Shop You’ve Never Heard Of

I’m kind of a cupcake expert/fanatic/crazy person. I mean, I’m probably the only person who would go to Yellowstone National Park (where people from all over the world come to hike, fish, and explore nature ) and look for a cupcake shop. Well, folks, it turns out some of the best cupcakes in America are hiding out in the back of a small, family-owned bookstore in the little town of West Yellowstone, Mont. It’s called  The Book Peddler, and it was recently bought by a Utah family who completely renovated its interior and started baking up a storm in the store’s coffee shop.

It is with only a teensy-weensy bit of shame that I admit to you I’ve come here three days in a row to buy a cupcake and devour it on my own. I’ve started a cupcake love affair with this place, and I can’t get enough.

My first tryst was with the Mandarin. This gem of a cupcake has the moistest, densest cake I’ve ever experienced. The cake has shreds of orange peel baked into it, and the frosting is cream-cheese based and has pieces of pineapple.

Picture of Mandarin cupake

The next day, I rendezvoused with the Key Lime. The cake, though not as moist and dense as the Mandarin, is still pretty darn good. The frosting is also cream cheese-based, with just a hint of lime tartness. It’s even topped with a slice of a real Key Lime.

Picture of Key Lime cupcake

And now I’m having one final fling with the S’mores cupcake, which I’m stopping every few sentences to grab a bite of as I sit here at my laptop, before I leave West Yellowstone. The frosting has marshmallow whipped into it, resulting in a slightly sticky (but not too sticky), foamy frosting with none of the grittiness characteristic of overly sugary frostings, and with just a hint of sweetness. The cake is denser and harder than a normal cupcake would be, but this is to simulate the graham cracker. The best part is once you get into the middle of it: there’s a chocolate ganache-like substance that very closely resembles the gooeyness of melted chocolate.

S'mores cupcake

All right, now wipe that drool from your mouth. You’re getting it all over your keyboard.

Georgetown Cupcake, from the TLC show “D.C. Cupcakes,” has some unexpected competition (and yes, I’ve been there and tried their cupcakes too). The Book Peddler’s cupcakes are double the size of your average cupcake. These and their other baked goods are made from scratch and with love by the family who owns the store.

Okay, okay, enough about the cupcakes. I guess I should tell you a little bit more about what The Book Peddler mainly does—sell books. As far as I could tell, the book selection is pretty vast for a small store (but it’s probably pretty obvious by now that I didn’t spend much time here perusing novels). They have mainstream books as well as specialty sections devoted to the West and to local authors.

The Book Peddler in West Yellowstone, Mont.

More backstory on the Book Peddler: the Utah family bought it in September, and they say it’s doing much better than they expected. If the service is kind of slow, please be patient with them; it’s truly a family-run operation, so it’s not unusual to find one person running the cash register at the front of the store as well as whipping up lattes in the back.

But trust me, the cupcakes are worth the wait!

 

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