SF- Anyone tried Kara's Cupcakes (passion fruit & java) on Scott near Chestnut?
ok, so I went to Kara's Cupcakes 3 days in a row... Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (and almost went again on Sunday, more on that later) -- the only reason i havent been back yet this week is because I've worked late each night this week... the cakes are moist and the buttercream is real silky buttercream... these cupcakes are way better than the other ones in the Bay Area
tried 5 varieties the first day
3 more the second day
and 4 on Sat.
I had 2 leftover on Sunday and had those for breakfast... so couldnt really justify going again on Sunday
yellow cake w/ regular white icing
yellow w/ buttery buttercream (my favorite)
choco w/ sweet buttercream
choco w/ bittersweet buttercream
banana w/ cream cheese frosting
pumpkin w/ cream cheese frosting
yellow w/ white coconut frosting
choco w/ white coconut frosting
yellow cake w/ sweet choco buttercream
choco cake w/ java buttercream
I really wanted to try the Fleur de Sel cupcake but they havent had it when I've been there. Also, they sell out of most flavors and by 3pm (they close at 7pm) the choices are very limited...
I can see how the people behind the counter are a bit annoying - the same thing was going on yesterday with friends chit chatting with the employees. The display case was about half empty. Nevertheless, they were attentive to the 5 of us that were there.
They had the Fleur de Sel cupcake yesterday and it was very good. The moist chocolate cake is stuffed with caramel and the frosting was very good. Fleur de sel is sprinkled on top. Definitely try this cupcake.
I tried the Fleur de Sel cupcake this past Saturday--- as just as you say, it was very good. Very moist, the caramel was a nice surprise, the fleur de sel played off the chocolate very nicely.
My boyfriend tried the carrot cupcake-- also very good. I'm not sure what kind of frosting it was (not cream cheese) but it was good. Almost buttermilky. Overall, my BF and I agree on 3 things:
good, small, expensive. (2 cupcakes 6.50) Neither of us have tried Miette so can't compare- but we're thinking of Sprinkles in LA. Their cupcakes are better tasting, dense texture, bigger and better value for the price. You can easily share a Sprinkles cupcake.
We had unotable service which was relief based on reading this thread. I don't find the place good to spend any extended time. There are thin counters, with not so comfortable seats--- basically, ok to eat quickly and be on your way.
I went last Friday around lunch time. In the case, they had chocolate, passionfruit, Meyer lemon, carrot, java and about 8 or so of each. The case looked maybe half full. Not great merchandising.
I ordered a passionfruit and my friend had a java. The woman working the counter was very sweet, but a little slow. Let's just say I ordered my passionfruit cupcake several times before she finally remembered what I had asked for. Oh well.
Ok, let's talk flavor. The passionfruit curd was nice and tangy, the cake was moist, but the buttercream was lacking in flavor. Very light in texture (like it was whipped to hell and back), but not much flavor wise.
The java was a nice chocolate cupcake, but rather crumbly in texture (made a total mess on the table) and the top of the cupcake was really gummy and sticky in texture. Ick! But the real problem was the buttercream. Close your eyes and you would not be able to tell what you were eating. It didn't taste anything like coffee. In fact, it tasted like nothing at all.
While we were sitting at the one table in the shop, 2 men walked in. One of which was saying that his sister was a childhood firend of Kara's. He asked for Kara and she came out. Well.......they proceeded to chat/yell/talk very loudly in front of the case for more than a few minutes. It wasn't a problem until Kara started yelling "Dude! remember when...." every few minutes. And this repeated more than a few times. Then, an older woman walked in and was trying to check out the selection, but couldn't because Kara and her friends were blocking the view of the case. They finally moved, but not until this little gem was unleashed.
The childhood friend asked Kara the genesis of this business and she went on to say "Well, after we got married, I went to culinary school, did some research on the whole Magnolia NYC thing and then we found an architect and a designer and figured, why not?"
Childhood friend says "Didn't you have an on-line business before this?"
Kara "Oh yeah. I was doing the whole catering thing for a while. But I was a total b*tch to people when they would call up and order stuff." (Insert laughing and guffaws all around)
Ok. Up until this point, I had planned to return and try some other flavors. But this comment cemented my previous negative experience with Kara (during her on-line catering b*tchy days). I had ordered some lemon cupcakes and wanted other flavors, but was told "no, we're not baking those today."
Me: "Ummmm...I need them in 2 weeks time. I am placing a special order, IN ADVANCE. Can ya help me out??"
Goody gum-drops. Another bakery with attitude. Just what SF needs.
Funny--I had a similar experience with the service. I decided to give Kara's a second try as it's right down the street from me. At around 3 p.m. I went in to pick up a cupcake and found the case about 3/4 empty. I ordered the last passionfruit cupcake.
The clerk (not sure if it was Kara) was talking to someone about bridal hair styles while taking my order. She was so engrossed I had to repeat my order twice. I stood at the register for a couple of minutes waiting for my change while they discussed blow-outs. Then she forgot how much money I had given her and how much change was required, until another clerk took pity and fished some quarters out of the drawer.
The cupcake was as you described it: tangy filling, tasteless frosting. I'm not going back.
If you're in the Marina and need a sweet fix, you can try Moonstruck, the new chocolate cafe on Chestnut.
They are open, but haven't been able to match their production to the published hours yet. I went at 5:30 on Wednesday or Thursday and they were already closed.
Today I went at two and about half of the cupcake displays were empty. I was most interested in trying banana caramel, but they were sold out. Mostly they had the basic flavors: vanilla or chocolate cake with vanilla or chocolate frosting, carrot, coffee. I think the passion fruit was sold out, too. When a customer asked if they'd be open until seven, the clerk responded that they would run out of stock before then.
On to the chow: I had a vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. I'd give it a 3 out of 5 rating. The frosting was creamy but not particularly chocolately, and the top of the cupcake was a bit overcooked. I did like that cake wasn't cloying sweet, and certainly tasted fresher than Miette. They are a bit on the pricy side: $3 for a plain cupcake, $3.5 for filled versions.
As a very new storefront, it seems like they're still sorting a lot of things out. I would check back in a month or so.