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Aside from clothes and shoe shopping, everyone who knows me well knows I have a fascination (okay, a complete addiction) to cupcakes. These scrumptious delights have come a long way from the standard vanilla or chocolate with colorful sprinkles at our childhood birthday parties (although those are still good once in a while too). There is now a spectacular variety of flavors, vibrant colors, unique fillings, pretty toppings, fun shapes and sizes for every taste and budget. I mean seriously, how could you honestly pass up a cannoli filled cupcake overflowing with chocolate chips and luscious cannoli cream? Or maybe, you’re a decadent “Peanut Butter Sundae” kind of gal…and I’m certainly not talking about the ice cream flavor!
Some things are essential in life, and one of them (in my humble opinion) is a guide to everything you need to know about cupcakes, including where to buy them and the absolute perfect baking suggestions. Here is every girl’s lowdown to the very best.
Where to buy them…
My favorite cupcake shops happen to be scattered about, but you are sure to be pleased with any of my recommendations if you can find one near you.
The Sugar Bakery & Sweet Shop
From heavenly “filled” cupcakes, to lush seasonal and traditional picks, Sugar Bakery has it all. These gourmet cupcakes are made to impress and sinfully delight your taste buds. Warning: your cupcake decision will definitely be a tough one, as there are many decadent, lavish creations that will catch your eyes on the bakery shelves. Choose with passion and care when satisfying your sugary fancy at Sugar Bakery.
The Sugar Bakery is located at 424 Main Street, East Haven, CT 06512.
My heart will forever stay true to where I savored my very first gourmet cupcake as a young girl on a Central Park bench – Magnolia Bakery. Magnolia first set up shop in the heart of the Big Apple’s trendy West Village, situated on a cozy and quaint street corner. You may also recognize this bakery’s name from its celebrity debut on Sex and the City!
Today, the thriving bakery houses many locations across the world. Even though it has expanded to a variety of locations, it has certainly never lost touch with its homey, vintage feel when you finally walk inside the front doors (as the line of eager customers is typically out the door). You will always feel as though you are in Mom’s bright and sunny kitchen on a springtime afternoon – lace curtains and tablecloths, beautiful cupcake pedestals, the delicious aroma of a pie baking and all!
Check out Magnolia’s New York City locations, and make sure to try the plethora of baked goods they’re busy preparing in the kitchen (including Black Bottom Pecan pie, mini Key Lime cheesecake, Ice Box Peanut Butter Pie, and so much more), gourmet cakes, scrumptious cupcakes, and even the shop’s famous creamy banana pudding (which is all the rave in NYC). They even have a stand open in Grand Central Station, so you can get a cupcake or tub of pudding to savor for the ride home.
Baked by Melissa
These miniature sweet treats are not your average cupcakes. Baked by Melissa certainly follows the savvy concept “less is more,” as you can pop these bite-size, delicious delicacies in your mouth one at a time, indulging in each unique flavor, from “Pink Velvet” to “Double Cookie” to “Chocolate Chip Pancake.” The tie-dye cupcake symbol for this bakery is chic and fits like a glove in fashionable NYC. This idea of miniature cupcakes is absolute genius. Baked by Melissa’s cupcakes are baked at the perfect size so that if you want to try multiple flavors, you most certainly can and not have to feel too guilty about it. But I must warn you; you will find yourself craving more and more. Melissa also offers customers the unique and fun option to dip the cupcakes of your choice in a chocolate coating. The cupcakes are smartly packaged in an adorable tiny cupcake box, serving as the perfect party favor!
Baked by Melissa has many locations throughout the city, from Gramercy to the Upper West Side.
From the adorable and chic pink booths, vintage white stools and fabulous wallpaper, Sweet Cupcakes is a popular venue in Beantown to relax, have a warm hot chocolate and cupcake. The cupcakes live up to the bakery’s name: given they are sweet, but also, most certainly naughty. The buttercream frosting is so divine and rich, that Sweet Bakery serves individual “Frosting Shots” in addition to the cupcakes that are lining the shelves. How fun is that?
Sweet also bakes gluten free cupcakes, in addition to vegan cupcakes (which are served on Mondays in the bakery and can also be special ordered).
Some traditional favorite flavors:
· Boston Cream Pie: In honor of Beantown, this cupcake is a buttery chiffon cake, with a creamy homemade pastry filling, and topped off with a luscious chocolate ganache and a “frosting cherry,” of course.
· Buttermilk Pancake: Fluffy buttermilk cake topped off with an amazing maple-infused frosting…Sweet even urges all to help themselves to “extra maple syrup” in the store!
· Half-Baked Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcake: Sweet describes this gem as “Madagascar vanilla bean Sweet cake with half-baked, homemade chocolate chip cookie dough inside. This one is topped with a dollop of buttercream and finished with mini chocolate chips.”
· Mocha Mint Chip: Sweet’s “dense” cappuccino-batter cake, with a topping of rejuvenating mint buttercream frosting and mini-chocolate chips.
· Pink Lemonade: A fresh summertime favorite, this classic pink lemonade cupcake has a flare of cherry juice in addition to its perky pink straw!
· Lemon Blueberry: This is another scrumptious pick for summertime, incorporating Sweet’s lemon juice infused cake. The cupcake is topped off with blueberry puree and vanilla bean buttercream.
Visit Sweet Cupcake’s website for the full cupcake menus in addition to its multiple Boston locations.
A few more heavenly, popular cupcake venues to scope out, from Boston to New York City to across the Atlantic Ocean…
62 Carmine Street
New York, NY 10014
1652 2nd Ave.
New York, NY 10028
New York, NY 10027
3301 M St NW, Washington, DC 20007
83 Newbury Street Boston, MA 02116
Visit Georgetown Cupcake’s website for more locations.
Yes, Italia makes cupcakes just like Mama does…she will make you feel completely and utterly right at home!
Via della Chiesa, 34-red, 50125 Firenze, Italy
+39 055 219214
Sestiere San Marco 676
30124 Venezia, Italy
From fun cupcake pedestals and stands, to unique paper cupcake liners, your creative eye will have so much fun decorating your very own cupcakes and playing baker for the afternoon. Have fun with it, and maybe even invite the girls over for some white wine and a DIY cupcake baking/decorating party. There are a lot of fun recipes out there in addition to styling tips!
My personal favorite cupcake recipes are written by the owners of the Magnolia Bakery: Jennifer Appel and Allysa Torey. I find that their recipes are fancy, delicious, and ever so impressive…but not crazy difficult to bake. Whenever I use my favorite Magnolia Bakery cookbook (far right), I always get so many complements…it is simply put: the best!
Every cupcake crafter should have a set. You will not be disappointed!
“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.” – Ernestine Ulmer