Story: Adam Hunt | Photography: Chris Redd
With over 3400 Facebook likes and more than 645 visits to the page a day, it’s easy to see how Smallcakes Ocala is becoming a hot spot for cupcake lovers all over Marion County. At the first taste and smell of these delicious bakery confections, I had a smile a mile long and couldn’t stop running through the number of possible cupcake flavors to sample.
The owner, Rasha Elmallah, had an equally pleasing smile as she explained her ascent into the heavenly realm of cupcakes. She and her husband brought the franchise of Smallcakes to Ocala in April of this year. But prior to that, Rasha had been an IT project manager for a number of years. So I asked Rasha why the change and she looked me in the eyes and said, “Maybe a Cupcake Will Help?” I was puzzled until she placed a tray in front of me with three carefully crafted and hand selected cupcakes. I peered down at the tray in amazement and armed with a spoon, I began my assault on the sugary fortified mound of icing atop a hill of chocolaty cupcake mixture. My teeth chattered and rolled across the familiar crunchy terrain of cookie. Not just any old ordinary cookie. It was my old childhood friend the Oreo. Rasha’s smile sharpened and exuded confidence saying, “This is our Cookies-n-Cream Cupcake.”
Taken back by the first cupcake, I found my footing in a shot of Espresso made from Illy Brand Coffee. Now refreshed, I took a dive into the second cupcake screaming “BONZAI.” Yet this cupcake beat my taste-buds into submission. It was the gourmet classic “Vanilla Cupcake.” It should have been called “Old Ironsides.” The pastry was covered in a chocolate icing topcoat and peppered with rainbow sprinkles. My spoon seemed to barely dent the rich vanilla cupcake.
The third and final move was made by the Queen of Cupcakes. A title given to her by me the self proclaimed Duke of Dining. It was a new flavor being introduced to the menu, the “Strawberry Margarita.” This cupcake happened to be my favorite. It was light and fluffy with a strawberry blast of flavor. The cupcake was adorned with a whipped-cream-swirled-cowlick and a slice of lime. This gave it the unmistakable look of its beverage namesake. I wiped the corners of my mouth, in the symbolic fashion of a white flag being waived in defeat.
But the three flavors featured here are just a taste of what Smallcakes has to offer. They have a list of signature flavors to try. Like the “Choco-holic” a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream topped with valrhona chocolate sprinkles. Or how about the “Lemon Drop,” a lemon cake filled with tangy lemon topped with lemon buttercream and a dollop of tangy lemon; a face full of sour lip-smacking goodness. Then there’s the “Peanut Butter Cup” a chocolate cake with peanut butter cream cheese frosting topped with crumbled peanut butter cups, enough to bring E. T. calling home.
There’s also “Featured Flavors” that make guest appearances on a weekly rotating menu. Some weekly superstar flavors are the ‘’Nutella-Wella,” a spin on a spreadable classic. Speaking of spreadable classics, they have a “PB&J” cupcake, sporting a crafted balance of the dynamic duo. Who’s got milk? Then there’s the portly pork lover’s “Maple Bacon” cupcake. I know what you’re thinking, bacon and cupcakes? Well this combination is true to form, “Everything tastes better with bacon.” Speaking of bacon, there is a tribute to the King of Graceland. A cupcake called the “Fat Elvis,” a savory mock-up of a sandwich favored by the King in his later years. A smash-up of deep fried bananas, peanut butter and bacon. Mmm! A hunka, hunka burning love.
Rasha was also kind enough to let me in on some upcoming new add-ons to her menu. Like the addition of Brownies and Cookie Sandwiches. Even an all new Cupcake Milkshake menu, where you could get a milkshake blended with your favorite choice of cupcake bits. Smallcakes Ocala also has gluten free cupcakes. Yeah!!!
Smallcakes a Cupcakery of Ocala is far more than just cupcakes. They brighten the lives of so many children and staff at the not-for-profit organization, Kimberly’s Cottage, by donating both time and resources (cupcakes) to ensure they all have a bit of sweetness in their lives. They also donate time to the Skill Day Center of Ocala, Florida.
“Smallcakes became well known and in hot demand in neighborhoods across the nation. Even celebrities have had Smallcakes at their events and weddings. USA TODAY listed Smallcakes as one of the Top Ten Cupcake Places to try in the country.” (Quoted from company website, 2014). Smallcakes believes in its slogan, “Maybe a Cupcake Will Help?” and has been growing their neighborhood cupcakery across the world (2014).
If You Go…
4701 SW College Rd #106, Ocala, FL 34474
Located off SR 200 across from Dillard’s in the plaza with Bonefish Grill.
Mon-Sat 10-8, Sun 12-6