Decadent cupcakes and frothy lattes wow at Groundswell


The array of baked good at Groundswell, including the cupcake Hestad sampled. Photo by Anna Hestad ’19.

Anna Hestad

A man who makes my heart swell recommended I check out Groundswell, a local coffee shop located in St. Paul. Walking into the shop, you are immediately greeted by natural light, rustic tables and a well-lit display of confectionary delights. The walls, adorned with the work of local artists, draw you in as you await your turn to get up close and personal with an array of handcrafted desserts. The popularity of this beloved neighborhood establishment is evident in the lack of open tables and the comingling of friends and colleagues gathered around a hearty brew.

When it was my turn to order, I selected the vanilla latte — a house special and popular drink. As I arrived at my table and taking a sip, this smooth, frothy drink immediately calmed me. As if allowing the stress of the day to fall down around me, this latte brought me both warmth and peace of mind. While sipping it, I reflected on the transatlantic immigration law reading I had with a bit more ease. However, I needed a stronger caffeine kick. Overall, this drink would have been perfect had I been there to socialize, but, in terms of pumping me with caffeine and vigor to tackle a weekend’s worth of work, I wanted something stronger.

The array of baked good at Groundswell, including the cupcake Hestad sampled. Photo by Anna Hestad ’19.
After sampling the latte, the next item on the list that required investigation — ­­only in the name of serious journalism of course — was the salted caramel cheesecake cupcake. This delicacy truly took me on a journey. From top to bottom it was beautifully composed. Sweet, moist vanilla cake rose to meet a soft, light cream frosting. The artist who crafted this majestic treat could have stopped there, but, in the name of all that is great, they did not. Resting upon that fluffy cream frosting lay a delicate draping of salted caramel ribbons falling down its sides. Though all of these touches contributed to creating a dessert commanding both admiration and respect, what pushed this dessert over the top was what rested within. Its heart was made of all that is pure, all that is holy: cheesecake. Like a diamond stored within a larger diamond, small and creamy, its dairy heart lay nestled between moist cake walls, hidden like buried treasure below a decadent, frosted top. It is this kind of flavor combination, as well as attention to detail, that sets this treat apart. The intelligence, the motivation and the commitment to true delight that the artist channeled into this creation cannot be overstated — simply put, a masterpiece.

4.5/5 stars, for the welcoming atmosphere, natural light and dedication to confectionary excellence.

Groundswell is located at 1340 Thomas Ave W, St Paul, MN 55104.