Who would have known that one of the defining aspects of contemporary food and drink in Egypt would be cupcakes? Let's be fair, the several specialists that have emerged in Cairo have presented cupcakes as an art, of sorts, and with that has come cultish followings – it's all really quite peculiar.

But whatever the case, there's no denying that it has enriched Cairo's culinary landscape, and it gives Cairo 360 something to talk about. Plus, we can't lie; cupcakes are great.

Located on the ground floor of Downtown Katameya Mall in New Cairo's Fifth Settlement, Dina Cantina is a an graceful shop that makes good use of a rose-pink colour in its décor. It's almost as if you've walked into a big cupcake. While the space itself is quite small, the whole experience and service is comfortable. The on-point staff are attentive and incredibly helpful, but also sensitive to the indecisiveness that dawns on you when you're confronted with so many plush dessert options.

At 17.50LE each, cupcakes at Dina Cantina are a little more expensive than in other similar vendors in Cairo – but only really by couple of pounds. Alternatively, one can splash out on a box of six for 155LE, choosing as you please from almost forty varieties. This is exactly what we did.

The highlight by far was the Chocolate Paragon, which set new standards for what a chocolate cupcake should be. The rich chocolate is never overwhelming because, unlike so many baked chocolate desserts, sweetness is kept at a minimum and comes solely from the chocolate. The white Kit-Kat cupcake, on the other hand, was far too sweet – to the point where we were unable to finish it. Options at Dina Cantina include peanut butter, blueberry and cream, cheesecake, Maltesers, banana toffee, cinnamon toast and M&M; though none stood out more than the aforementioned tour de force that is the Chocolate Paragon, they were all fresh and meticulously made.

Apart from cupcakes, Dina Cantina also offers a custom cake service that can cater for any type of occasion. The cost for this can be anything between 240LE and 400LE, depending on how spectacular you want to go. The cakes on display in the shop demonstrate the bakers' skills; vibrant, full of colour and, most importantly, delicious-looking – as do the various ice cream cakes (110LE), black forest gateau (260LE), cookies (7LE) and miscellaneous candy and toffee that are all on offer.

It's such a cliché, but we do eat with our eyes, making Dina Cantina all the more impressive.


Translated from Cairo 360 Arabic.