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Cupcakes in the Los Angeles area

Okay, my husband and I love to try new things. When we visited NYC in July 2006 we had the pleasure of having a vanilla cupcake from the world famous Magnolia Bakery; to die for. In 2007 my husband and I were on a quest to find the best cupcakes in the Los Angeles area. We made a list and started trying different places. Here are our opinions.

The best chocolate cupcake was found at Dot's in Pasadena. The cupcake is moist and the frosting compliments the cupcake. The frosting isn't overpowering or too sweet. A very moist cupcake. Yummy.

Joan's on Third has very unique flavors. I liked the creativity. I especially enjoyed the peanut butter cupcake and also the lemon cupcake.

Yummy Cupcakes in Santa Monica has a large selection. The frosting is very sweet and they put A LOT of frosting on the cupcakes. The devil dog cupcake is yummy. I think the devil dog was a flavor for October, so I'm not sure if they have it all the time. The cupcakes weren't as moist as I like, but they were good. We had to scrape off some of the frosting.

Auntie Em's cupcakes are HUGE. They have good flavor, but once again the cupcakes weren't as moist as I prefer. The frosting was very good. We had the red velvet cupcake. Although the cupcake was good, it did NOT have the red velvet taste. We'll get back to that later.

Buttercake bakery had good cupcakes. They didn't have a large variety. I liked the mini-cupcakes. They had good prices. The buttercream frosting had a buttery aftertaste; didn't care for that, but I did like the cupcake.

Sprinkles in Beverly Hills is good. They have a lot of unique flavors. A lot to choose from. Good cupcake. Good frosting. Although the cupcake wasn't as moist as I like, you can't go wrong with a cupcake from Sprinkles.

Bluebird Cafe in Culver City was the worst. The cupcakes were large; which is fine. However, the cupcake is extremely dry, and the frosting is very thin and runny. The carrot cake cupcake did not taste like carrot cake at all. It had a very strong ginger flavor. The chocolate cupcake was dry. The white/vanilla was dry.

Now, back to the red velvet. Several posts suggested Auntie Em's and Doughboys, etc. etc. for red velvet. We tried the red velvet at several places. NONE of them have the red velvet flavor/taste. Red velvet isn't just a cocoa based recipe with red food coloring. There is a certain taste. NONE of the places suggested had that taste. So far, we have only found one place that has true red velvet. I mean red velvet you would find in the southern states. The one with the butter roux icing. The one made with buttermilk. The only place we have found in Los Angeles that makes a true red velvet is The Cobbler Lady on Crenshaw. This is a moist, to die for, melt in your mouth real red velvet cupcake. YUMMY!!!! If you want real red velvet that's the place to go. Yes, it's probably loaded with fat but it is oh so good, and besides who's looking for a healthy cupcake anyways.

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  1. Did you guys try Crumbs in BH at all?
    Their Devil dog and Blackou are incredible - but a meal on their own!

    3 Replies
    1. re: kex13

      Just went to Crumbs, WOW! Those things are huge, and so so so good. They have a lot of inventive flavors and a lot of the stand bys. I had an apple caramel cupcake that was so moist, had loads of frosting, and was drizzled with caramel. Hubby had the cappucino, and cousin had Reese's. All delicious!

      1. re: kex13

        Haven't tried Crumbs yet. Will add them to the list. We still have several more places we are going to try. Thanks for the recommendation.

        1. re: nonigirl1

          You must try Leda's Bake Shop in the valley. I love their mini's with real buttercream, although their red velvet mini wasn't impressive.

      2. The cupcakes at Violet's in Old Pasadena are great. Pretty good at Toast also.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mbh65

          Thanks for the suggestion. We will definitely check them out.

        2. Definitely try Crumbs. The variety is incredible and the red velvet wasn't half bad.

          2 Replies
          1. re: nikky

            Wow, Crumbs seems to be the place we should try. My husband and I will check them out. Thanks.

            1. re: nonigirl1

              Yes Crumbs is so yummy!!!

              I tried the cranberry orange cupcake today from Sprinkles. It is a special flavor for Thanksgiving. It was delicious!


          2. I love Vanilla Bake Shop in Santa Monica. Also, they have mini-cupcakes, so you can try a bunch and not feel *as* bad about it...

            1. Wow, you liked Dots? I had a totally different experience with their cupcakes. In Pasadena I have not had a good one yet. Violet's had some cool flavors but I thought they were really sweet.

              I think so far the best cupcake I've had was a Dainties in Los Angeles.
              I bought them on a Friday, but them in the fridge, served them on Saturday and they were still moist. Could you believe it? I'd say give them a try for sure, but beware-parking is horrible.

              1 Reply
              1. re: bigtums

                Only liked the chocolate cupcake at Dots.

              2. No one has mentioned Lark, on Sunset in Echo Park. Absolutely beautiful and delicious cupcakes. Carrot cake and Chocolate mousse are my favorites, but plenty of others to die for. Good cakes too. Extremely reasonable, when compared to Sprinkles, anyway. I think the cupcakes are priced at 1.95 a piece. Try it. You will like it.

                1 Reply
                1. re: herculesmulligan

                  I recently tried a cream puff at Lark. Hands down the best cream puff ever. If their cup cakes are as good, they will rock.

                2. Try the cupcakes and muffins at Petite Sara - on Pico between Crescentg Heights & Stearns. Last Saturday after lunch we had just-out-of-the-oven Lemony pound cake type cupcakes with a big pocket of blackberries. delicious. Limited selection but there always seems to be something new coming out of the oven.

                  1. I drove down to Crenshaw near Slauson and tried the Cobbler Lady's red velvet cupcake this Saturday and it truly lives up to the review given here. It is delicious!! Now I know what people mean when they refer to the unique frosting and the hint of cocoa and truly unique flavor in the cake itself when they describe red velvet cake. The peach and apple cobblers are fantastic as well. Highly recommend it. FYI, they are closed on Sundays and make sure you call ahead to ensure that they're not out of the cupcakes when you arrive..

                    1. Crumbs is pretty amazing, but also very sweet. Has anyone tried the cupcakes at Jack n Jill's in Beverly Hills?

                      1. Make the drive to Violet's in Pasadena!!! Her red velvet is awesome!! I love all of her cupcakes and when I had my daughters birthday I drove around to all the cupcake joints.... because it was SOOOOOOO important to get the best cupcake (okay, maybe I loved doing it also!) ... and violet's won! :P
                        Only thing is you should call ahead or go somewhere early.... she gets slammed and sometimes her selection is very limited...
                        And to top it off... the owner and her employees are also VERY nice... which is a plus!!

                        Next party I throw... I'm going to a cake... I've seen pictures and they look amazing... and if they taste like the cupcakes.... it will for sure be a hit!!

                        also...her blueberry cupcake is my favorite!

                        1. for red velvet, try the bake n broil in long beach, you won't be sorry.

                          3697 Atlantic Ave
                          Long Beach, CA 90807
                          (562) 595-0396

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: la_vena

                            Correct! Simply the best red velvet and chocolate in L.A. The banana cream pie, The lemon lust pie....

                            Best of all, go for breakfast and have a veggie omelet, any omelet or the best Chicken Fried Steak and eggs is L.A. Then stop at the counter to look at what you want to take home.

                            I agree with the OP about Auntie Em's cup cakes but they do a good breakfast and those whoopie pies are very good also.

                            Prior post on BB

                          2. hey all -
                            i just checked out this thread and find it hard to believe nobody mentioned TOAST on 3rd street by La Jolla (not too far from Bev Ctr). FYI - most of their cupcakes and many of their cakes and banana pudding are MAGNOLIA recipes! Plus they have great food. Terrific atmosphere and ostly friendly staff. 1 downside is there's very often a line to sit and eat. But try the cupcakes!!!

                            1 Reply
                            1. lark in silverlake is hands down the best. Magnolia doesn't hold a candle to them. Try it.

                              1. If you like chocolate, I'd recommend Dainties.


                                Not traditional, but really yummy!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: maitai

                                  I second Daninties-the most moist cupcake you will get!

                                2. Toast Bakery Cafe actually has amazing cupcakes. Their red velvet are really moist and delicious. They are regular sized cupcakes (unlike the giant ones at Crumbs) and not as pretty as some other places, but they taste so much better than the places that focus on how the cupcakes look and not how they taste. If you like red velvet, Toast is the way to go.