This business has now closed. The review is kept here for archival

Pretty cupcakes in a petite shop. But how do they taste? Read on!

Okinawa’s commercial landscape is dotted with neighborhood bakeries and patisseries, offering an array of beautifully decorated pastries for different tastes. So a business focusing only on cupcakes is a novelty, and a risk. Is there enough selection to appease those who like super-sweet, and those who prefer the subtlety of Okinawan donuts?

Just south of the Ginowan bypass on 58, one sweet shop has replaced another—the large bee sign for the Okinawan honey store is now adorned with a monkey holding a pink cupcake.  The name: “Ha Ha Ha” It’s a sweet time with Cupcakes! The kawaii style is repeated in the cupcake shaped entrance, and inside the little shop, from pastel walls and cupcake accessories for purchase (cupcake displays, paper liners, and plush cupcakes), to brightly frosted cupcakes on display and little pink carriers for transport. Two small tables sit off to the side.

Though 10 or so varieties of cupcakes, with mounds of rich buttercream, looked almost too cute to eat, it’s important to note that there are only two kinds of cake: vanilla and chocolate. These cupcakes are not moist and fluffy, nor very sweet or strongly flavored, but instead dense and dry, almost like bread. If that’s not what you want in a cupcake, you’re better off saving the ¥250 to ¥350 per cupcake to make your own recipe.

From the chocolate or vanilla cake base, Ha Ha Ha then jazzes them up with different flavors of colored buttercream and toppings. The strawberry shortcake had a sweet ribbon of berry syrup over the pile of white frosting, and the chunks of shortbread cookie sprinkled on top were moist, not crispy, no doubt from sitting in frosting. The peanut butter flavor, again, is a dense vanilla cake, topped with peanut butter frosting, a drizzle of caramel, and some peanut chunks. The signature Ha Ha Ha cupcake uses the vanilla cake and tops it with pink strawberry flavored frosting, star shaped sprinkles, and a mini Oreo cookie.

The chocolate mocha cupcake was most surprising. A thick layer of espresso powder hits the tastebuds first—bitter, then sour, before the buttercream’s sweetness comes through. Coffee bean shaped chocolates on top mostly just add more sweetness. The dark cake below was dry, slightly dense, and not very sweet, almost like an Oreo cookie.

Because the cupcakes are topped with so much sweet frosting, we imagine Ha Ha Ha created their barely flavored cake more as a contrast, or even as a vehicle for the frosting. Perhaps like sandwich bread, it’s not supposed to steal the show. Also available are hot and iced coffee, and fruit smoothies that are more slushy than creamy; at ¥600, though, the smoothies are quite pricey for what you get.