PAWTUCKET — There’s a new Bad Kat in town who knows how to stir things up in the kitchen. Bad Kat Kupkakes & Kafe opened last week at 29 Exchange St., in the Elks building downtown.
Proprietress Carol Cove sells her signature line of alcohol-infused cupcakes (along with non-alcohol Kitten Kakes for the kids), plus a selection of breakfast and lunch sandwiches, soups, smoothies, coffees and teas. She is open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Saturday, and also takes large-scale cupcake and catering orders for parties and events.
Cove, who lives in Burrillville, has also transformed a storefront into a warm and inviting cafe, with an artistic vibe. There are comfortable couches and chairs, an electric fireplace and wi-fi access so the busy professional or student can take a break while still managing to multitask.
Cove, an art school graduate with a background in ceramics, is inviting artists to hang their work on the gallery walls, and is in the midst of completing a private room in the rear of the cafe that could be used for small business meetings or conferences. “We want it to be a community gathering place, and a place for local artists to showcase their work,” she said.
Cove said that she loves to bake — a talent that she inherited from her mother and grandmother. She found cupcakes to be particularly fun, and began experimenting with various recipes — many involving alcohol. Encouraged by her friends, she used her home as a “test kitchen”and found out what worked and what didn’t in the way of cake batter and frosting combinations.
“It was a rainy day, and I just baked cupcakes. My friends watched football and ate cupcakes. Some were awful and some were delicious. I found out what people liked and what they didn’t and went from there.”
She noted that the Bad Kat Kupcakes involve a variety of spirits, including vodkas, liqueurs, schnapps, beer, wine, and even champagne.
There is alcohol in some of the frosting as well as the cake, and Cove prides herself on coming up with some unique pairings. Among her favorites are “The Italian Kiss,” featuring DiSaronno flavored cake and Triple Sec frosting, the “No Stout About It,” a dark beer-based cake with specialty Bad Kat frosting, and “The Rhode Islander,” a porter-soaked cake covered with chocolate and toffee.
There is also “The Bubbly,” a champagne-infused cake with a sparkling strawberry top, “Lip Smackin’ Merlot,” billed as “a marriage of merlot and chocolate with a hint of chili,” and one called “The Big Wasy” that Cove swears tastes exactly like the southern dessert Bananas Foster.
Unlike some cupcake makers, Cove’s Bad Kats are not oversized, nor do they feature a mountain of frosting. “Ours are easy on the frosting. In each bite, you should get a perfect pairing of cupcake and frosting,” she noted. She changes both the cupcake selections and the sandwich menu daily to keep things interesting.
Although originally from Massachusetts, Cove had attended the Wheeler School in Providence and is a former manager at the Ten Prime Steak and Sushi restaurant in downtown Providence. Her family had also owned a commercial real estate company for many years, and handled several of the area's old mills, so she was familiar with Pawtucket and Central Falls.
“I really love Providence, but I wanted to be in more of a community-based area,” she said. “Plus, I love this building. I wanted a place with an eclectic, cozy feel.”
Cove also knows how to bake for large crowds, having produced cupcakes by the thousands for road races, and other charity and corporate events. With 24 hours’ notice, she can fill custom orders for either pickup or delivery.
“We're not a typical bakery. We’re a cafe, offering baked goods,” said Cove. “We want people to feel they can come in, sit and enjoy their food and the surroundings.”
Bad Kat Kupcakes is open Tuesday and Wednesday, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Thursday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.