Archive for the ‘Cupcakes’ Category

Adrienne’s Cakes and Pies

May 30, 2015

The U-District Farmers Market is one of my favorite foodie activities in Seattle, and I was excited to see how many new dessert vendors they’ve added. I restricted myself to just one on this last visit, but I’ll be back to try the others. I chose Adrienne’s Cakes and Pies because the fresh rhubarb won’t be around forever, and I can’t say no to strawberry rhubarb pie.

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There was a decent selection of mini-pies and cupcakes, and I chose two of each. (Side note: the best thing about mini-pies is the high crust-to-filling ratio.)  For my cupcakes I picked the samoa and chocolate:

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The samoa cupcake didn’t do it for me (a little bland) but the chocolate cupcake was excellent (especially the cake part) and the pie was on point. But the winner was actually the mixed berry pie:

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I loved the crust of both pies, but the mixed berry had the right amount of sweetness and an incredibly bright taste.  Adrienne’s doesn’t have a storefront, but makes appearances at several farmers markets (including West Seattle and Columbia City). Check the website for details and then check them out!

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Yellow Leaf Cupcake

April 5, 2015

I’ve been eating Trophy Cupcake and Cupcake Royale for years, yet strangely I’d never made it to Yellow Leaf Cupcake Co in Belltown. In addition to cupcakes, this cute “micro-bakery” makes gourmet macarons and cookies in addition to pulling an excellent espresso. I loved the flavors of the macarons, the most exciting (to me) being the Samoa flavor – if you’re familiar with the Girl Scout cookie you’ll know what I mean.

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I got the last one! It was light as air, and while it obviously didn’t have the crunch and texture of a Samoa it did have the flavor! Next, I selected a couple cookies, which are giant-size and also come as cookie sandwiches with buttercream as the filling.

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The sugar cookie on the right, while pretty, didn’t impress me as much as the peanut butter cookie, which was rich without being overly sweet, and intensely peanutty (a good thing, in my book). One of the best peanut butter cookies I’ve had in this lifetime, although I admit I scraped off some of the frosting because it was so rich. Lastly, and most telling, the cupcakes.

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On the left is the peanut butter banana cupcake (which was somewhat disappointing in that it tasted like a vanilla cupcake with some peanuts in it) and on the right, the pancakes and bacon cupcake… yes please!!! Once again, I scraped off most of the frosting – I am NOT a buttercream person, but if you are you’ll love it. The cake portion itself was the best I’ve had – no kidding. It really did taste like pancakes, and there were chunks of crispy bacon in it!!! Love this. A definite must-try for Seattleites and visitors alike.

Violet Sweet Shop

May 9, 2013

My weekend “chores” included checking out the new Violet Sweet Shop over by Laurelhearst, newly opened on 45th. The bakery is all-vegan (which is why I counted it as a chore rather than a pleasure) and I tried hard not to be prejudiced, especially since it was so darn cute inside:

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The people working there were also super friendly, so I really wanted to like them. The problem was despite the cuteness, and the friendliness, the desserts were still vegan.  And it’s hard to make a very good cupcake, shortbread, or mousse without eggs, butter, or cream.  But they tried. Everthing did LOOK good, and I ended up getting a couple items including a peanut butter mousse dessert cup and a lemon cupcake (I couldn’t bear the thought of a shortbread cookie made without butter, so I had to pass on that one):

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Predicably, I was disappointed with both. The texture of the peanut butter cup was watery and didn’t hold together. The lemon cupcake tasted more like a muffin than a cake and the “frosting” was, again, watery. Maybe if you’re a vegan your tastebuds adjust, but frankly, I need my butter and eggs.

 

Mediterranean Mix

September 16, 2012

The restaurant space at 23rd and Union is seemingly cursed after the violence at the Cheesesteak place and the closure of the bakery that took it’s place. Now, I’m hoping that Mediterranean Mix (with another location in Pioneer Square) will find success because everything seemed really good – the food and the desserts. I ordered the falafel, and while waiting for them to make it I noticed there was a whole section of the counter displaying desserts – both of the traditional Greek variety (I’ve heard good things about their baklava) and traditional American. I passed up some really yummy-looking cupcakes in favor of the chocolate layer cake – it just had the look of a perfect chocolate cake.

And by golly, I was right. This was one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever eaten, and such a surprise coming from a hole-in-the-wall place.  I was told the owner’s wife makes it along with the other desserts. Dense, moist layers with a rich ganache frosting make this one of my favorite Seattle slice of cake, right up there with Simply Desserts and Kingfish Cafe. But I also wanted to sample a more Mediterranean dessert, so I picked out an almond dessert:

It’s not a baguette!  I believe it was made with almond flour (and a lot of butter), and my friend really liked it. I was kind of indifferent, especially as I was attacking the chocolate cake with such gusto. I hope this place sticks around because I will be back for more cake.

 

Salty’s

June 4, 2012

I usually avoid blogging about restaurant desserts because I like to focus on places where dessert is what they do.  However, when a restaurant devotes a whole room of their all-you-can-eat buffet to the sweet stuff, I have to be flexible.

Yes, we’re talking about Salty’s on Alki, and if you haven’t done their brunch, put that on your Seattle bucket list. It’s expensive, but worth it if you and your loved ones can eat as much as me and mine.  I limited myself to a single plate (this was after my single plate of breakfast foods, and then my single plate of shellfish – try resisting all-you-can-eat Dungeness Crab), pictured below:

Clockwise from the top left, that’s Red Velvet Cupcake, Carrot Cake Cupcake, Sticky Bun, Oreo Cake, and Cheesecake. My favorites were the cheesecake (for cream cheesy tang) and the red velvet cake (again, for the cream cheesy tang in the frosting).  My sister allowed herself an extra trip to the chocolate fountain:

She tried various fruits (frozen banana, anyone), but the chocolate took a while to harden and everything ended up getting stuck to the plate! Probably for the best, considering this was only our first meal of the day.

 

Cake Envy

February 13, 2012

Cake Envy in Green Lake sells some of the loveliest-looking desserts in Seattle of the cake/cupcake variety, and their location right on Green Lake makes the proposition of spending a sunny afternoon noshing on cake that much more attractive. I visited this relatively new establishment on a sunny, warm day in February(!) to see how it stacked up to Trophy, Cupcake Royale, and I Love NY Cupcakes.

Cake Envy doesn’t stop at desserts; they also serve tea sandwiches, coffee/tea, and beer/wine in a light, modern atmosphere perfect for studying, reading, or just pigging out. They offer free wifi and outdoor seating (or just take your cupcake a few steps to the lake). I opted to stay inside and sample the coffee, after ordering four cupcakes to go.

I thought the best thing about their cupcakes were the unique flavors. I chose (from left to right) Creme Brulee, Espresso, Cookies and Cream, and Green Tea. I was a little disappointed that everything was buttercream (is Royale the only place that does ganache?), and that the icing was so airy. I know some people would die for a light buttercream frosting, but I prefer dense and flavor-packed. The Green Tea cupcake was definitely interesting, although a little bitter. I did like the cake itself, but I remain a Cupcake Royale fan first and foremost.

 

Sugar Bakery

January 16, 2012

The Sugar Bakery is one of those places I’ve driven by dozens of times but never had the chance to go to, mainly because of it’s hours (Monday-Friday 7-6, Saturday 9-1) and location (First Hill). Great if you’re working in the area, not so much if you’re not.  But when my yoga class this week was cancelled, I decided to restore and replenish my body through scones and cupcakes. Upon arriving at Sugar, I was immediately excited by their “bread of the day” board:

The sandwiches are made with their own foccacia, and I would have happily gobbled one down (they looked delicious), but I decided to be extra decadent and order a raspberry scone and red velvet cupcake (my breakfast and lunch, respectively).

I found the scone to be a little too close to a biscuit (not that there’s anything wrong with biscuits), and would rather have tried the cinnamon brioche (a good reason to find time to return!).  The cupcake, however, was superb.  Hidden inside of it’s red velvety goodness was a little ball of chocolate truffle, which gave this little beauty some serious oomph. I also appreciated the frosting, which was cream cheese rather than buttercream, and not overly sweet. Speaking of overly sweet, if you’re planning on spending any amount of time here, you’d better like pink…

The decor didn’t bother me (I have a pink laptop, pink ipod, and used to have pink hair), but guys might find it intimidating. Just sayin’…

PS. They also have a nice variety of gluten-free, for those so inclined.

 

New York Cupcakes

October 29, 2011

A couple Saturdays ago I decided to take a trip to Madison Valley to see what I could round up for lunch. Imagine my delight when I realized it happened to be the grand opening of the new location of New York Cupcakes.  Originally located just in Bellevue, NY Cupcakes is inspired by the cupcakes made famous by Sex and the City’s trip to Magnolia Bakery in Manhattan.

I was never a huge fan of Magnolia’s cupcakes because they are all done with buttercream frosting, as are the ones at NY Cupcakes.  Still, I couldn’t argue with the tower of free cupcakes offered on this special day:

NY Cupcakes offers up to 40 flavors, and there were about 10 to choose from in the pyramid of free samples. I ate the cookies and cream mini-cupcake in a single gulp, and then decided to make a purchase (lunch was quickly forgotten) before grabbing one more free sample on my way out.

I chose the peanut butter and jelly and the black and white cupcakes.  Even though I normally avoid buttercreams, the free samples I had indulged in convinced me that these were worth the calories. The cake was especially good – moist and flavorful, not just a conveyance for the frosting.   I will definitely return for another cookies and cream cupcake (and I want to try the snickerdoodle – after all, I could only consume so much in one sitting).

 

The Flying Apron

August 29, 2011

If there’s gonna be a gluten-free, vegan, organic bakery, Fremont seems a good place to put it. The Flying Apron therefore fits right into the neighborhood, providing Seattle-ites with one of their only decent gluten-free, vegan bakery options. Now, if you’re like me (loving all things butter and flour), a place like The Flying Apron may not be first on your list (as it wasn’t for me). But, since the gluten-free craze seems to be expanding, it helps to know about good options in case you have to feed folks who are vegan or gluten-intolerant, as I did a few weeks ago.

Amazingly, I was able to nab a parking spot right in front of the store (they also have a location in Redmond). The space itself is sunny (at least on this particular summer day), spacious, and welcoming. They show local art on the walls and participate in the Fremont Art Walk. The owners seem dedicated to providing quality baked goods to people with dietary restrictions, and I was astounded at the variety:

The cookies, doughnuts, cakes, etc seemed to go on and on, and each item was labeled with a full list of ingredients. I asked one of the workers to help me choose a few items, and together we came up with three: the peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie, a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting, and a lemon poppyseed muffin.

I thought the cookie was easily the best of the three. Peanut butter is my second-favorite fat (after butter), and I didn’t notice the absence of regular flour. The texture was crunchy and crumbly, and worked for me.  The other two items didn’t please me quite as much. The muffin tasted rubbery and chewy, and the cupcake lacked the proper texture (although the icing was fine). I think it’s just very difficult to make cake and muffin batter without using “real” flour. My friend, who is gluten-intolerant, told me these were some of the best desserts she had ever had since going gluten-free, and I believe her. If you have dietary restrictions, The Flying Apron is a great option for dessert. Otherwise, I suggest sticking to wheat, butter, and eggs.

 

The Sugar Rush Bakery

May 10, 2010

This West Seattle spot wins for longest store name – technically it’s “Coffee to a Tea – Home of the Sugar Rush Bakery” but I’ll just refer to it as Sugar Rush.  Located amidst a cluster of other well-regarded bakeries (Bakery Nouveau and Shoofly Pie are both right down the street), Sugar Rush still manages to stand out in the crowd with fancy, custom-made cakes – or their more user-friendly cupcakes.  Plus, it’s called Called Coffee to a Tea for a reason: they brew a great cup of coffee and offer five different “levels” of tea service, including traditional high tea or a children’s tea hour.


The free wifi, wide windows, and spacious interior make for an inviting spot to work, chat, people-watch, or read. Plus, there’s a play area for kids and a room available for rent for birthdays and such.


What they’re best-known for, however, are their mini-cupcakes – a bite-size piece of heaven. When I saw that their website promised that “our mini-cupcakes can fill your sweet tooth craving quickly,” I knew that’s just what I needed. However, upon looking at the huge variety of flavors, I found I couldn’t choose just one, or three, or even six. That’s why I love their offer of a dozen – packed neatly in an egg carton.

The picture doesn’t do it justice: I was so excited that I was actually hopping up and down while she was loading up the carton. And although the dozen is obviously meant to be shared, I ate almost the whole thing myself. After all, I had to try each of the flavors… and just cuz it was so delicious. Even though most of the frostings were buttercream (not my favorite) I was still mightily impressed. My favorites: the “Classic” (made with ganache frosting), the German Chocolate, the Red Velvet, and, surprisingly, the Orange.  And just in case this blog isn’t enough to make you want to go try some for yourself, there’s one more reason – go to the website and download the free coupon for one mini cupcake!