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Cupcake Wars - Who has the best in SF?

I need at least 2 dozen cupcakes for a baby shower this weekend, and I can't seem to find any local recommendations for places beyond Kara's (too far away, inconvenient delivery hours), Miette (bad reports here) and Citizen Cake (past bad experience and pricey for what you get).

Are there any recent entrants to the field, or should I make my own? I am in SOMA & Bernal Heights, but would go almost anywhere but the Marina to pick them up.

The most perfect ones seem to be Sibby's in San Mateo, but at $39 per dozen with a $25 delivery charge, I'm thinking I could hire my own baker for the day.

Or, maybe I should open my own place...
Thanks in advance!

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  1. I have been partial to Kookez (restaurant in Noe Valley, that also sells the cupcakes "to go"), which I think are closer to $2 each. Very fresh and tasty, and I prefer their buttercream frosting to Citizen Cake. And the "colors" are perfect for a shower. You could call them, but I doubt they would deliver.

    1 Reply
    1. re: violin

      Kookez is a great location for pickup. I'll call and see about a special order.

    2. Noe Valley Bakery has an assortment of cupcakes. I've had the carrot cupcake which is very good. Otherwise you might try DeLessio's, don't remember if they have cupcakes.

      That Takes the Cake on Union is another option. The owner is/was a caterer so maybe you could get them delivered.

      The Orange Zinger is moist and has a nice citrus zing.

      Delessio Market & Bakery
      1695 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103

      Noe Valley Bakery & Bread Co
      4073 24th St, San Francisco, CA

      2 Replies
      1. re: wanderlust21

        Here's my old post on the mini-cupcakes at Delessio with a photo.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          Great photo of the mini cupcakes. Makes me want to go there asap, but this "mini" thing is dangerous. I could probably eat three or four...

      2. If you're at the Ferry Building, try a cupcake from Miette. I do like the the chocolate and vanilla ones, though there may be only 1 or 2 other people on CH who agree. :)

        Most things I've had from Noe Valley Bakery were mediocre to bad, but I've never tried a cupcake. They do have good brownies (but really terrible cookies). I'll have to try a cupcake there.

        The cupcakes at Destination Baking Co. (Glen Park) are pretty good, but not their strong suit and they only make one kind (white cake with very good chocolate frosting).

        The Kookez cupcakes definitely seem the most reasonably priced.

        I generally like Citizen Cake, but I thought their cupcakes were really "off." Bad, bad buttercream, funky flavor/texture.

        Delessio's are fantastic. I went to the Falletti location a couple of weeks ago and they were almost completely out, but I had a hazelnut one. Never my first choice, but it was *outstanding*.

        There's a cupcakery in Berkeley called Love At First Bite.

        By far the best cupcakes I've had in ages were a few weeks ago in St. Louis, Missouri. I don't understand why someone here isn't able to make perfect cupcakes. There are better places in Seattle too. Yes, maybe you do need to open your own place. Or I should. :)

        2 Replies
        1. re: Atomica

          Thanks, for the recs. I too noticed the bad Citizen Cupcakes. Like a dirty freezer smell/taste, no? Maybe they are storing the sandwich fixings with the baked goods.
          I think we should take a page from Sibby and do a home-delivery business. I get raves for my low-fat chocolate cupcakes with cream-cheese frosting. Too bad I don't have the space/time/energy to do them on Sunday.

          1. re: foodiegrl

            You hit the nail on the head on Citizen Cake. I've also had ice cream (or gelato, whatever it is they sell) recently that tasted very strongly of old refrigerator.

        2. I'm partial to cupcakes at desitination baking co. on chenery in glen park. imho, they're better than what i've had from bakeries in noe, and they're cheaper. i also recently had some fantastic chocolate cupcakes from creighton's bakery on portola - they were out of this world, and also very reasonably priced.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sfoperalover

            Thanks to both for the Destination recommendation. I walk by there all the time on my way to BART, and I love their morning pastries. Never occurred to me to get cupcakes there. Maybe I'll order plain ones and decorate them myself. That's the fun part!

          2. I had this issue a few months ago, and after looking around and pricing everything out, I made them all myself, because the bakery ones were just so expensive. I made 4 dozen (half chocolate and half vanilla) and decorated them, and it only took about four hours, start to finish, and I made them from scratch. I definitely recommend Delessio's cupcakes, if you go that route, I had those once at a shower (and since then) and they're fantastic. Good luck!

            1. I read about this place on Daily Candy, so I can't personally vouch for it (and it's pretty close to being in the Marina, on Union Street in Cow Hollow), but FWIW . . .


              3 Replies
              1. re: farmersdaughter

                I really like That Takes the Cake. I recently organized a cupcake tour and hit 5 cupcake shops in the city...


                I liked Kara's cupcakes the best because of the Fleur de Sel cupcake - chocolate cupcake with caramel filling, ganache frosting and fleur de sel. That Takes the Cake was a close second for me, but I'm a chocoholic and the ganache frosting is superior to buttercream IMHO.

                1. re: Chile Head

                  I love your cupcake comparison and the pictures, etc. Yay, you did like one of the Miette cupcakes!!

                  1. re: Chile Head

                    That Takes The Cake is fairly new, only about a month I think since opening. It's a cute and precious store, but I thought the cupcakes were OK and the icing was a bit too sweet for my taste. I like Kara's better because of the interesting flavors. That Takes The Cake choices are more traditional, home-style cake flavors.

                2. Avedanos on Cortland has cupcakes (believe it or not). And they are great. One of the owners bakes them and you can probably ask if you can place a special order.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mayamoo

                    oooooo! This sounds like a great option. I really want this place to make it.

                  2. Camp Cupcake once gifted us some very good mini cupcakes. I have no idea what they cost. 415-407-1414

                    1. For me, the cupcakes at Miette are way too dry, with the exception of the delicious ginger one.

                      The mini cupcakes at Delessio are good, and very cute!

                      Finally, I really like the chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream at Sweet Things, the bakery inside Cal Mart in the Laurel Village shopping center. Can't say I've tried other flavors there, but parking is easy.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mrs bacon

                        I concur that the Miette cupcakes are on the dry side. However, I do like the chocolate flavor of their chocolate cupcakes. If they can improve the texture/moisture of the cake, I think they would have a winner.

                        I haven't tried the mini cupcakes at DeLessio yet, but I did take a few pictures of them the other day. They look good...

                      2. i've tried noe, delessio, miette, and sibby's, and sibby's is by FAR the best, taste and texture-wise. sibby's are more homemade than the gourmet-ish delessio and miette, and moist. but not so homemade that you'd be able to duplicate them yourself. they are really quite special.

                        i had sibby's at a baby shower and we had a wide and interesting selection of both mini (but not as small as delessio's) and normal-sized cupcakes. i'd go with sibby's.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: lilitake

                          Anyone with a copy of the Cake Bible can duplicate excellent cupcakes.

                        2. Bi Rite on 18th has cupcakes in store and you can order in quantity from their catering menu. The chocolate and carmel are my favorites. Not cheap, but good.

                          1. Has anyone tried American Cupcake? They are cater only, but plan to open up a shop soon... I like Kara's the best because they are very moist, reasonably priced (bigger size than Miette), and have great flavors. They are inconvenient for delivery though. Citizen Cake is riding on its reputation (what's left of it) and Miette's are dry and overpriced. Delessio's are great but small (they're minis). Noe Valley Bakery on 24th is a great alternative.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: liquidmint

                              American Cupcake seems to be getting a lot of good reviews on Yelp. One thing mentioned on there that's pretty interesting: their top-secret frosting recipe has no dairy products in it. So what would be in it, then?