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Cupcake Quest Champion: The Chocolate Tarte

Aug 19 1:50 pm

by Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Rachel's Fav? the chocolate tarte!

I’ve been on an extensive, waistline-expanding “cupcake quest” over on my food blog, searching for the best cupcakes in and around Boston. Imagine my delight when I found a winner right around the corner from my boyfriend’s Somerville apartment (and also close to my new apartment, as of September 1st)! The Chocolate Tarte, founded in 2004 but with a newly opened Highland Avenue storefront, has the Greatest Cupcakes in the World.


Owner Linda Hein works closely with Dave’s Fresh Pasta and East Coast Grill to cater weddings and other events. Can someone please marry me immediately so I can experience the awesomeness of three of my absolute favorite food places feeding me all at once? Some girls dream out every detail of the dress, the decorations, and the flowers. I just want BBQ, pasta, and cupcakes. Is that so much to ask?

This cake is a gift!

I first discovered these miniature bites of heaven while picking up some fresh ravioli from Dave’s. They got a bit squished on the way home, a travesty that I blamed on my boyfriend for not carrying the bag carefully.

One bite and all was forgotten. We knew immediately that our Quest had reached its first real zenith, the long awaited reward of so many calories consumed. There may be others down the line - who knows? - but at that moment, these were the Best Cupcakes We Had Ever Tasted.

The namesake...a Chocolate Tarte!

Frosting: perfect. A buttercream unlike any we had ever tasted. (After much testing, Linda settled on a method that actually combines two European methods.) Creamy but light, like a dollop of the best whipped cream you could ever imagine, the frosting sits in a perfectly manageable little puff atop the cake.

Cake: moist! Flavorful! Until this point, all other miniature cupcakes that we had tasted on the Quest were very dry. These were magical.

Several days later, we stopped by to check out the actual store, since the first batch of cupcakes had come from Dave’s. We discussed cupcakes and a whole lot more with Linda, who is very friendly in addition to being an amazing baker. She told us that after 20 years in the corporate world, she took a baking class and realized she could bake cakes (“but not pies.”) The Chocolate Tarte was born.

As science nerds, we were impressed with Linda’s technical baking knowledge, taking things like humidity into account when choosing a proper frosting-making method. We left with more cupcakes plus a couple of slices of the namesake chocolate tarte, which Linda garnished with a sprig of fresh mint from the herb garden out back. The tarte was incredibly smooth, rich, and fudgy.

It’s not just the cupcakes that make The Chocolate Tarte worth a visit (or ten): everything else was spectacular, too. I got a perfect brownie on another visit. Linda’s talent is evident in every flourish of frosting or bite of chocolate. She knows that every second counts when baking a treat to perfection, and she understands the changing environmental factors that can cause obstacles to deliciousness. Stop by and grab a bunch of mini cupcakes – just $1 each – from one of Somerville Local First’s brand new members, The Chocolate Tarte!

Cupcakes, Cakes...and browines too!

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