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Cupcakes :: the Good, the Bad, & the Ugly...

Okay... so i've tried: dots in pasadena, sprinkles in beverly hills, & vanilla bakeshop in Santa Monica.

I know there is another bakeshop across from vanilla bakeshop and one more in the santa monica mall. plus, i've heard of the one in long beach. But is it worth spending the money to try crappy cupcakes?

In all honesty, dots sucked. We ordered half a dozen different flavors and all the bottoms of the cupcakes were EXTREMELY dry and had no flavor. it's not like the frosting saved the cupcake either. i would say it was a complete waste of money.

Next on the list was Sprinkles. They were good but not OOOOOHHHH. Cupcake bottoms were good, frosting was good (slightly sweeter than what i would like). Definitely more worth the money than dots but not good enough for me to stand in line for 30 mins.

So what started this rant today is my visit to vanilla bakeshop. i ordered 6 minis for $10: peanut butter chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, black and white, vanilla bean, meyer lemon raspberry, and red velvet. In this order, pbc was dry and pretty much crap; bittersweet was too sweet; black and white was nothing special; vanilla bean had the funky texture of sanding sugar crystals which reminded me of sand; meyer lemon was doable and probably the best out of all of them; and red velvet that was moist but bland.

Tell me... what makes a good cupcake in your opinion and where can i get a decent one?

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  1. i can't vouch for them personally, but supposedly auntie em's in silverlake has great cupcakes.

    you also might want to try doing a search of the boards...this topic/debate has been covered before.

    9 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      I am not a huge fan of cupcakes. That said, I was at a wedding this weekend that served Auntie Em's cupcakes in lieu of cake. They were AWESOME. Hands down the best cupcake I have ever eaten, and I am now a believer.

      1. re: schmamo

        Just tried a cupcake from Auntie Em's on Sunday...it did NOTHING for me.
        It was cute though. Flavor...boring. Texture....eek. Frosting...pastey.
        I prefer mine way better.
        I went to LARK on Sunset recently...such a pretty shop with beautiful cupcakes.
        Again, most better to look at then to eat but one really blew me away.
        The Salted Caramel Cupcake was AMAZING.
        The Carrot Cake one was good.
        The service was WONDERFUL.
        I'd go back if I don't feel like baking.
        Now, gotta get to baking some brownies for my mechanic.

        1. re: tatertotsrock

          tatertotsrock! Salted Caramel Cupcake!!! oh my, what a fantastic combo! where is LARK? must know immediately.

          1. re: cecibean

            HI cecibean!
            MMmmm, yes, it was super-good!
            Here's the info:
            Lark Silve Lake Cake Shop
            3337 W. Sunset Blvd
            LA, CA 90026
            323-667-2968

            To make the trip to get that cupcake a super -sweet treat, go around the corner to Pull My Daisy and buy something cute and frilly and some flowers...that's what I did one Sat afternoon. The undie/flower store is a KCRW members so there's a great discount....if only Lark was a KCRW member.
            I forgot, I even got a huge Mexican Wedding Cookie...Oh My Golly, it was beautifully light and tastey and yummy and good and I want one now with a salted caramel cupcake chaser!

            1. re: tatertotsrock

              you're awesome. thank you! hope you are enjoying all the good eats in Culver City.

              1. re: tatertotsrock

                It's not Pull My Daisy -- thats further down the boulevard. Your thinking of the lingerie ( utterflies and lace or something) place around the corner, but I've heard from the ladies that place rocks.

                1. re: Hershey Bomar

                  Ah ha, Hershey Bomar,
                  You are correct...I think it's bittersweet butterfly or something...it hard to keep all my panty places in a row expecially while I'm in cup cake-sugar-coma-bliss.

            2. re: tatertotsrock

              You are correct on Lark in Silverlake, they do have great service and good pastries!

            3. re: schmamo

              My friend was raving about auntie em's and when I finally tried it I was not only unimpressed, but quite disappointed. They sure looked good, but the 2 that I had, one was totally dry, and the other was fall apart crumbly. And the frosting was horrible. The only cupcake I would recommend is sprinkles red velvet, and dots apple pie cupcake. I haven't tried vanilla in SM.

          2. GoodHealth is right - cupcakes in LA have been covered ad nauseum - c'mon, Mermy! But here's my two favorites :}

            http://www.daintiescupcakes.com
            http://www.buttercakebakery.com

            6 Replies
            1. re: bulavinaka

              Bluebird Cafe and Bakery on National in Culver City has fantastic homemade tasting cupcakes. First of all they are huge! A person could easily split one with someone else or just induldge in the moist and creamy goodness. red velvet is my favorite. I brought them to a birthday party and people were freaking out! The cupcakes were a big hit. They thought I made them because they have that slightly unpolished look. Definitely worth the trip to Culver City. Here is the website with all the cupcake info...
              http://bluebirdcafela.com/cake_cupcak...

              1. re: cecibean

                The very fine cupcakes from Bluebird are also very elusive - call ahead before going. The last time I checked, their hours were geared toward the neighborhood's business folks during the week.

                1. re: cecibean

                  I love Bluebird's cupcakes and cakes. Especially the red velvet. But their cupcakes are not "huge," they're regular size, thank goodness.
                  They do run out of certain cupcakes, so good to check first.

                2. re: bulavinaka

                  sorry! :P but i'll have to try these out

                  1. re: mermy

                    :) Pulling your leg... some have tired of cupcakes... I rarely tire of anything that is done well...

                    1. re: bulavinaka

                      :) totally agree.. if done well... you can eat it forever!

                3. Auntie Em's has amazing coconut cupcakes....try Leda's in Sherman Oaks. Their cupcakes are wonderful and come in two sizes (mini's and regular, so you can test a few flavors)...I also like Big Sugar...their cupcakes are moist and the icing isn't too cloying...They also have really good bar cookies...There's also a cupcake bakery in Studio City that has cupcake in their name that I haven't tried but have heard has very good cupcakes...Sorry I can't think of the name!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: CynGriff

                    I second Leda's. They are my fvorites. The bite size cupcakes are perfect for a treat. Her cookies, bars, muffins, cakes and scones are great, too.

                    The Studio City place is called Big Sugar, and it is just worhtlees. They don't concentrate enough on baking, too many cute tchockes and other stuff. The baked goods there are dry and have little flavor.

                    To me, a good cupcake is moist, flavorful, not tooth achingly sweet but sweet enough. The frosting should be buttercreme! I like Leda's bacause of the custard and gel "surprises" under the frosting.

                    1. re: Diana

                      Yeah, the bite sized ones are a nice treat... but they are SO tiny in cake and so LOADED in frosting that that they all end up tasting the same! :P

                      --Dommy!

                  2. Lark Cake shop in Silverlake at Sunset in micheltorena is great. They specialize in cakes but they have cupcakes so you can try smaller sizes first. Maybe not a traditional cupcake but their carrot cake cupcakes are great. They often have what look like interesting experiments, too like once I saw a nutmeg cupcake.

                    1. Another place to add to Ugly list - Crumbs cupcakes from NYC - just opened up down the street from Sprinkles in Beverly Hills. My loving husband brought home three for us to sample earlier this week and overall impression is too much of everything. The red velvet was too sweet frosting and the cake was dry. The cupcake is also the size of two cupcakes (that is why I love Vanilla bake shop for their minis - just enough). The others we tried were carrot cake and carmel apple.

                      http://www.crumbsbakeshop.com

                      Would like to hear what other people think of Crumbs.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: catcaper

                        I brought 8 Crumbs cupcakes to work yesterday for a friend's birthday (and also because it gave me an excuse to sample). My overall impression is also that these are enormous and messy and about as opposite of many of the dainty cupcakes you find around town that you can get. They're basically the size of Costco muffins and totally covered with toppings. But I thought they were good and certaily better than Sprinkles, though I don't know if that's saying much.

                        We tried: the chocolate and vanilla with cream cheese frosting (good, classic white cake, moist, overly sweet frosting), the Reese's (meh...the frosting tasted overwhelmingly of shortening to me on this one), the carrot cake (really liked the cake part, wished the frosting tasted less sugary and more cream cheesy), the caramel apple (this was my favorite, had an apple filling in a tasty spice cake). People also liked the Hostess one and the fudge chocolate chip one. If I do go back to Crumbs though, I'll just get the 18 pack of minis. They had sample out of these and one equals about two bites. I tried a snickers mini when I was in yesterday morning and it was very moist and the perfect size.

                          1. re: miffy

                            Looking at thepicture reminded me of something. I actually really like how they're packaged vs. some of the other cupcake stores in town. Having them in a holder like that makes it so they don't topple (Vanilla Bake Shop, I'm talking to you).

                            1. re: mollyomormon

                              YES! They are pretty and innovative variations!

                        1. re: catcaper

                          I was at Crumbs this morning and got an Artie Lange "on the house" and 3 mini's (choc, vanilla, raspberry) for my twins and my husband. I asked what their best cupcake was and Artie Lange was the answer. I thought it was fine but I had a slice and didn't feel like I needed to eat more. The cream cheese frosting tasted fine. The cake was pretty moist. I am a huge dark chocolate fan and the chocolate in the filling didn't seem chocolatey to me. I am curious to read what others thought.

                          I prefer Dainties and Sprinkles (dark chocolate or mocha) to Crumbs.