Ever since I have moved to Syracuse this past summer I have been on the lookout for a cupcake store.

Chocolate Lava Explosion cupcake from Cupcakes & Smiles, $2

These little cakes first appeared in an American cookbook in 1826, according to Scientific American. While we may never know the name of the first “cupcake” cook, according to them, they write that the “cup” didn’t refer to the cake’s shape, but referring to a downsized English pound cake.

Cupcakes have been all the rage, with stores introduced in the city (NYC!) such as Magnolia Bakery (the Sex and the City ladies went here on the show) and Crumbs Bake Shop. Both of these two places pack the punch of a great cupcake: the cake is not too dry and not overly moist, the frosting is not überly sweet where you want to stop eating, and you get your money’s worth.

I love exploring neighborhoods. I’m fascinated by driving to different places and seeing what there is to offer. One day I decided to drive further out on Route 5 than usual. I discovered a Super Wal-Mart, a Cheeburger Cheeburger, an Edible Arrangements and a store called “Cupcakes and Smiles.”

“Cupcakes and Smiles!” When I googled “cupcakes” in Syracuse this place came up. This was a place that I needed to go try.

Which brings me to two days ago.

After I picked up some groceries, I took my friend Avantika down the road to get a cupcake (or two!) from “Cupcakes & Smiles” in Camillus, N.Y. She had mentioned in the grocery store to me how she wanted something sweet, and I immediately thought of this place, just down the road.

We pulled into the plaza and walked into the cute little store front.

I was surprised. There was a huge glass case that greeted us when we walked inside. However, it didn’t look like many cupcakes were inside it. Thinking about going to places such as Magnolia and Crumbs, their cases are stuffed with cupcakes. While it was a Saturday afternoon, I was curious as to why they didn’t have tons more cupcakes in the case. But the amount they had was certainly alright for our short visit.

The cupcakes there are $2 per cupcake, which I have seen at places like Magnolia and Buttercup.

From their website, they say the following about their store: “Cupcakes & Smiles is a from scratch bakery that provides gourmet cupcakes, cookies, cakes and wedding cakes. All of our baked goods are preservative free! We bake fresh every morning! We also bake for speciality dietary needs such as gluten, dairy and vegan!”

Taking a look at the board of the different flavors they had, I saw two cupcakes that really struck my eye: “Cookies & Cream” and “Chocolate Lava Explosion.” I ordered both, and paid $4.

When I got home, I opened my small white box and tried the “Cookies & Cream” first. I split it with Avantika. The only other similar cupcake I have had that I could compare this one to is the “Cookies and Cream” cupcake at Crumbs, which is a large chocolate cupcake topped with their vanilla cream cheese frosting with crushed chocolate sandwich cookies mixed in and a whole “sandwich cookie” on top. I loved the one at Crumbs. Unfortunately, the “Cookies & Cream” at “Cupcakes & Smiles” didn’t have the same effect on me. The cupcake was more dry than I expected, however I’ll give it credit for having a nice crunch on top with the vanilla frosting. I unfortunately do not recommend trying this cupcake.

Now the one that completely blew my mind (in a good way!) was the “Chocolate Lava Explosion.” First of all, I have never seen a “lava” cupcake before. I have seen chocolate lava cakes before, but this was different from the rest. When you put your fork through this cupcake you will find the chocolate, gooey lava in the middle dripping out. This was DELICIOUS: the lava was light, airy and filled with sweet chocolate. The cake was nice: not too dry, not too overly moist and not super sweet either. The frosting was very nice too: not overly sugary. I DEFINITELY recommend this one if you check this place out.

If you want to check this cupcake bakery out: they are open Monday thru Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Cupcakes & Smiles
5380 W. Genesee St.
Camillus, N.Y. 13031