Monday, February 23, 2009

Let Them Eat Cupcakes!

I'm obsessed with cupcakes. It all started with having my very first taste of red velvet cake at a wedding last August. That let me to hunt down the cake vendor which turned out to be Vanilla Bake Shop, famous for its cupcakes and cupcake babies. As soon as I found out that Vanilla Bake Shop was located in Santa Monica ('my part of town' as the BF says), I dragged the BF to its quaint store with damask awning. Once inside I 'oohed and aahed' over the rows upon rows of cupcakes - red velvet, vanilla bean, banana chocolate chip, toasted coconut. Yummy! Since my first visit to Vanilla Bake Shop, the BF and I have tried almost all 20 something cupcake flavours - red velvet being my ultimate fave.

When I told my cousin Dottie about Vanilla Bake Shop, she told me that I had to try Sprinkles. Claiming to be the 'original cupcake bakery,' Sprinkles is seen by many as the leader of the cupcake invasion (well, at least on the west coast). Celebrities from Oprah Winfrey to Katie Holmes to the domestic goddess herself, Martha Stewart have endorsed Sprinkles as a favourite. So of course, I dragged the BF to Sprinkles' Beverly Hills location, and waited 15 minutes in line (apparently, there is often a line, especially on weekends) before we took a bite of the famous cupcakes. We tried the red velvet (of course!) and the special Halloween flavour, apple caramel. The red velvet was good but I still prefer the one from Vanilla Bake Shop. The apple caramel was sooooo yummy. I'm sad that it isn't a regular flavour. I'd like to go back and try some other flavours like: ginger lemon, chai latte, pumpkin and brown sugar praline (this year's Easter special). The only one downside to the Sprinkles menu, no mini cupcakes. I love my baby cupcakes!


This past Valentine's Day, my cousin (yes we share a mutual love of cupcakes) bought me cupcakes from Dot's Cupcakes, which just opened a store in Old Town Pasadena. Dot's has the usual suspects, red velvet, vanilla, chocolate and carrot but it also serves some unique flavours such as pina colada, strawberry lemonade and PB & banana. I have to say I was impressed! I tried Dot's red velvet, and vanilla cupcakes, and both were delicious and moist. The icing on the cupcake? They have mini cupcakes!

How cute is the Valentine's Day frosting?

And you can't discuss cupcakes without bringing up NYC's Magnolia Bakery. Magnolia first opened its doors on Bleecker Street in 1996, originally selling bread, cakes and other pastries. Magnolia's foray into cupcakes started with its vanilla cupcakes with thick vanilla buttercream icing, tinted pink. According to Wikipedia, Magnolia owes its cupcake success partially to the many people walking by the bakery late at night who would see the cupcakes being iced by the owners, and begged to have one. And who could forget Carrie and Miranda devouring Magnolia cupcakes on Sex and the City? Magnolia cupcakes are amazing..... especially at 12:00am on a Friday night/Saturday morning after a few drinks. ;)

Fresh from the oven!

I have yet to attend a wedding which served cupcakes instead of a traditional wedding cake; but I already know I would love it! Look at these wedding cupcake towers. Serving double duty as both a wedding cake and decor (or even as favours), wedding cupcakes are sure to tantalize your wedding guests' sweet tooth.

From left to right: Martha Stewart Weddings, Dot's Cupcakes, and Vanilla Bake Shop

Interestingly, I havent' really explored the cupcakes of Toronto (perhaps research to do for a later post). My friend Christine makes amazing ones and it's hard to believe anything else could be better!

She made these for our friend's 30th birthday.

So where is your favourite cupcake place? Your favourite flavour?


Mo said...

If you ever go back to New York, I recommend Billy's:
If you are in the SF Bay Area, I recommend Kara's:

And, I love Sprinkles too! Unfortunately there isn't one in San Diego yet, but I hope for one everyday.


K @ Blog Goggles said...

Omg. All I want is a cupcake right now. I think I stared at the first pic for about a minute, just drooling.

And anything chocolate is great with me :)

Laurie said...

Sweet Thea in vancouver does AMAZING cupcakes for weddings, check out some of the photos on her site I particularly like the second photo on this page

The Professional Bridesmaid said...

@Laurie - Wow! Those look so yummy.I've heard of Sweet Thea but haven't had the chance to try out their goods. Thanks for sharing.

Kathy Dvorski said...

Inspirational! I love cupcakes...

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