The Tale of Four Red Velvets: Sprinkles, Doughboys, Hot Cakes and Susie Cakes
Recently, I've had the circumstance to try four versions of the uber popular red velvet cake. I tend to gravitate towards these cakes and cupcakes, not because I'm a HUGE red velvet fan. But after seeing the mess that SO makes doing his own, I rather get my fix at the expense of someone else's kitchen... LOL!!
* Sprinkles: Like many of you, I've been horribly unimpressed by the cup cake offerings at Sprinkles. They always sound SO much better than they taste. Well, someone gave me a Red Velvet cupcake at work and I was shocked! It was by far the best cupcake from Sprinkles that I've had. The frosting was still too sweet and the flavor slight, but it had great texture. YUM!! But a few days later I was gifted a strawberry Sprinkles Cupcake... BLEH!! I think Red Velvet might be the best one they make...
* Doughboys: Having a later dinner at Doughboys we saw that on their table menus they were touting that Oprah LOVES their Red Velvet Cake. Now, I am NOT one of those screaming Oprah lemmings, I don't even READ books. But I figured it was good enough for O, it was good enough for me. This is not a cupcake, but very cupcake like because you get a mini cake. The frosting was wonderful. It definatly had that cream cheese tang. The cake was good, not overly favorful, and dense, but not dry. SO thought his cake home made cake was better
And with that threat of having to clean up red food coloring splatters from my kitchen walls, I went sought my own Red Velvet Cupcake...
* Hot Cakes: A relatively new bakery on Centinella near the corner of Washington, it's run by a charming french woman and they have a small, but good selection of pastry. Of course, she had cupcakes and I scored a red velvet. A bit smaller than Sprinkles, but with a generous amount of frosting on top. The frosting was cream cheese, almost as good as doughboys in flavor. The cake itself had a read cocoa edge, definatly flavorful. Dense, but not dry, but it didn't have the softness of the sprinkles cake.
Formerly known as Westside Bakery:
Susie Cakes: Then, we had a potluck this weekend and someone brought in a whole selection of cupcakes from Susie Cakes. I spotted a red velvet and opted to share it with my SO. These cupcakes were the smallest ones yet. Not mini, more like kid sized. The frosting was scant, not too sweet, but not too flavorful either. But the cake was EXCELLENT. Moist, flavorful. It almost melted in your mounth. The color was the best RED I've seen... it definatly made the cake stand out.
11780 San Vicente Blvd
So while no one was perfect, the winner I think was Susie Cakes although i think it's going to be a long while before I go on an expedition like this again!
I agree - red velvet it the best cupcake offering at Sprinkles (and I've tried most of their flavors!) Doughboys is still good to me, but I also like the red velvet cake at Toast. Not the cupcake (they tend to be dry.) But their slices of red velvet cake are really good, especially if they're slicing into a fresh one.
i am a *huge* red velvet fan, as my ever increasing bottom can attest to...
Dough Boys does have a fabulous red velvet minicake, but i think my favorite is definitely Lark Cake Shop in Silverlake. Soooooo goood.
Vanilla Bakeshop in Santa Monica has them too, but they're very dry and the frosting is less creamcheese, more sugar frosting, although their baby cupcake presentation is fabulous.
If you're ever in the Eastside, try Humphry's Cupcakes in Echo Park. They are sold out of KG Bakery on Echo Park Ave and Scott. As a fellow red velvet connoisseur, and I've had all of the above, plus Wonderland in OC and Kara's Cupcakes in San Francisco, Humphry's is the best. The cake's texture is a perfect density and the frosting just the right amount of sweetness. They also have one of the best Green Tea cupcakes I've every had...a perfect pair for all you Pinkberry lovers, and their birthday cakes have a texture unlike no other. They've been in business in Echo Park for over 20 years so they have stood the test of time.
Bluebird's red velvet is heaven! The cake is so tender it's almost quivering. And the frosting generous and just right cream cheesy.
I'll have to try doughboy's red velvet even though I think Oprah has no taste buds, and her best friend Gale has only very slightly better taste buds.
My plans to try Doughboy's this weekend were foiled! But I'll throw in a nod for Buttercake on Pico near Overland. A stop at the Cemitas Taco truck in front of Pep Boys, dessert at Buttercake, and a gander at the news at the news stand next door have become a delicious lunch habit of mine. And if I can resist buying a magazine, the whole outing costs me under $5.
The cupcakes at Buttercream are good: fluffy, not too sweet, and entirely un-fancy. But the red velvet is the only one I buy any more because it stands out as the best. I love the tangy sour cream frosting, and the chocolate seems more intensely flavored and lighter in texture than the regular chocolate.
I also LOVE their chocolate drop cookies (I forget the real name). They're little cookies with a crackly, almost shiny crust on top. The inside texture is soft and gooey, almost like an underbaked brownie. The contrast between the crispy top, fresh walnuts, and the gooey inside is almost enough to make me stop typing and drive over there right now.
From a previous post I stopped at My Little Cupcake on Ventura Blvd. just east of Laurel Canyon and must say they are a contender. The presentation equals the finesse and creativity of Sprinkles and the quality was pretty top notch. Of the few we tried the Reese's peanut butter and the Bugs Bunny carrot were the best. Only the marshmellow topped High Top was a little dry. Yesterday, they were doing a wonderful blueberry special and promised this week to unveil a fig cupcake with creamed goat cheese frosting. But I agree with you in that it's going to be awhile before the next sampling. Maybe once "The Oinkster" opens in Eagle Rock we can do an "Auntie Em/Oinkster" comparison.
Yum! I love red velvet cake! I totally concur with your Sprinkles description - plus, I can't even fathom waiting in those ridiculous lines. However, a friend had them at her graduation dinner, and the red velvet cupcake was indeed good, if a little too airy for my tastes. And I've always loved the red velvet cupcakes (or cakes, really) at Doughboys, and am always looking for reasons to warrant treating myself to one.