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ISO Best Cupcake recommendations for cupcake-off in East Bay

Hi, all! We're looking for cupcake recommendations for a cupcake-off we're doing at work. We all live in the East Bay (Richmond, Berkeley) so we prefer East Bay bakeries, but it's more important that they're good (we want the best!) than easy to get to. So far we're getting ones from Teacakes and Love At First Bite. Please help us! TIA!

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  1. I like the brightly frosted cupcakes from the bakery at Market Hall.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Oakland Barb

      How do they taste? I think we're going to try and do at least one "standard" (like vanilla), and one fancy flavor - do they have a variety?

      1. re: coolbean98

        Should I say "pink or blue"? I think they might go as far as chocolate, but I don't believe they have an exotic flavor (excepting the above).

        1. re: Oakland Barb

          Are they vanilla with pink or blue frosting? Because that's good enough for me. What do they taste like?

          1. re: coolbean98

            Yep- vanilla.
            It's a spongy kind of cupcake and the frosting is really good.
            Nothing esoteric about them They look like "fancy" supermarket cupcakes (but fresh) and taste the way you always think the supermarket ones should, but don't- if that makes sense.

      2. re: Oakland Barb

        I stopped by Market Hall for first time last night while I was picking up a menu from Oliveto. Saw that they only had 2 types of cupcakes behind the glass at that time. a chocolate one with chocolate frosting and a vanilla cake one with pink frosting.

        Great Market by the way. Will need to go back to check it out further.

      3. After research on Chowhounds, Yelp, & Local Publications, I found the following suggestions for our "Cupcake-off"

        Our Possibilities So Far:

        Love at First Bite- Berkeley

        Teacake Bake Shop- Emeryville

        La Farine- Berkeley/Oakland

        Toot Sweets Fine Desserts- Albany

        Fat Apples Restaurant-Bakery- El Cerrito/Berkeley

        Cassandra's Wedding Cakes and Beyond- Richmond

        Market Hall Bakery- Oakland

        Le Gateau Elegant- Martinez

        Please give more suggestions/comments!

        3 Replies
        1. re: trailofbreadcrumbs

          Lola's on Solano occasionally makes cupcakes, but they are bigger than conventional ones. A couple weeks ago they had a devil's food with what I think was a chocolate ganache frosting that was out of this world. You can taste the good quality butter and chocolate that goes into these. I've also seen a banana cupcake there, but haven't tried it. Call and see if they will do a special order for you. All the baked goods there are very high quality.

          1. re: lmarie

            Sounds Delicious! I hope they have that devil's food cupcake. Thank you for the suggestion, calling ahead will make this adventure much easier.

          2. re: trailofbreadcrumbs

            There is a Teacake Bake Shop in Lafayette, too, in the same shopping center as Chow's but probably the same inventory as the one in Emeryville, which was their first location.

            Teacake Bake Shop
            35 Lafayette Cir, Lafayette, CA

          3. La Farine and FatApples remain my favorite. Crixa carries cupcakes but the last time I had one it was a super-sized cupcake and didn't fit my critera for what a cupcake should be. I see they have smaller sized ones now, but haven't tried them.

            I'm going to lose all credibility here, but Raley's cupcakes have been calling out to me lately. I KNOW the are probably supermarket drek ... but they look so pretty ... in that phony supermarket way.

            5 Replies
            1. re: rworange

              haha.. I almost picked one up the other day, they've been tempting me also.

              1. re: rworange

                Crixa carries cupcakes?? I live around the corner and I've never seen cupcakes there - do they only have them at certain times? Or are they some kind of small cakes that don't look like conventional cupcakes (I guess the difference would be shape and those crinkled liners)?

                1. re: coolbean98

                  They sure look like cupcakes, possibly rarely made but special order. Sort of like the
                  Lenten Russian Honey Cake.

                  1. re: wolfe

                    I'd ask or check the daily online menu. It seems they start making them around Valentine's Day.

                    1. re: rworange

                      If that is true than this is PERFECT timing.

              2. That Takes the Cake in SF (2271 Union) delivers, although there might be an extra charge to the East Bay. They are the best cupcakes on earth and have a good variety of flavors as well as a tasty vanilla option. My favorite is the red velvet. More info at: http://www.saralynnscupcakes.com/menu...

                4 Replies
                1. re: ashley9779

                  I must visit every cupcake shop, so when I read the above post about That Takes the Cake, I was shocked that I hadn't heard of it. We were fairly close by today, so I did stop, and I have to say NO. Just NO. Very cute shop. Everything cosmetically so nice and foofee and lovely. Beautiful young woman behind the counter. But the cupcakes? BAD! Very chemically tasting and the frosting is really grainy, fakey flavors, and one note (sickeningly sweet). It's mostly the graininess and funky flavors that mess up these cupcakes. I didn't think Kara's were perfect, but they are far superior to this place--all style and no substance. I also wasn't pleased by their mix of Tuesday flavors. No chocolate with chocolate frosting, but they did have chocolate with Oreo frosting. Yuk. The flavoring in the vanilla cupcakes really does not taste like real vanilla.

                  1. re: Atomica

                    This reminded me -- a friend bought the vanilla/vanilla cupcakes from Whole Foods a few weeks ago, and we all agreed that it was a big thumbs down. The cake was fine, if a bit dry, but the frosting was awful, with really fake and sweet flavors.

                    On a more positive note, on Sunday I had one of the Teacakes' Raspberry cupcakes (vanilla with raspberry frosting, they also have chocolate with raspberry frosting) and it was really delicious. I may want to go back for more next Sunday.

                    1. re: JasmineG

                      I bought a cupcake from the Potrero Whole Foods a few weeks ago--I think it was vanilla cake with chocolate frosting or vice versa. Anyway, it was actually quite delicious. I believe the products vary widely from store to store.

                      1. re: Atomica

                        Replying to myself here. Just bought a vanilla cupcake at the same WF. The cake part was kind of old and not as good as last time. The frosting is a bit over the top. I'm willing to bet there's a whole stick of butter in the amount of frosting used on one cupcake.

                2. You could also give a call to Sharlene's BabyCakes--they are based in Oakland and make really fabulous (and cute) cupcakes to order. I had some at a friend's birthday party and they were super-delish!

                  1. I recommend the chocolate cupcakes at Bette's Diner on 4th Street in Berkeley, they are moist and delicious!

                    1. I agree with costaverde's suggestion on Bette's. They tend to keep everything really fresh, and they get a lot of turnover so I think that helps a lot.

                      Love at First Bite is terrible, in my opinion. It's a cute shop and the cupcakes look pretty, but I've been there a few times now and I find their cupcakes to be dry and uninspiring. They do have vegan cupcakes though, which has been helpful when I need a single-serving vegan dessert for my vegan sister-in-law.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: beanbag

                        I agree on Love at First Bite. Very disappointing cupcakes, I bought two and finished neither one.

                        1. re: JasmineG

                          I have repeatedly walked into Love at First Bite to check out the cupcakes - and I've never bought one. They just look too "manufactured" or something. I did buy a disappointing oatmeal/dried cherry cookie there once.
                          However, their 'Nilla Banana pudding is fabulous.

                          1. re: lmarie

                            Yes, the banana pudding is yummy, though a bit pricey for $4. I had a chocolate raspberry cupcake once, and the buttercream frosting was so sweet that it literally gave me a toothache. I usually don't like to waste my food, but I really had to throw this away.

                      2. saw some cupcakes behind the glass at Sweet Adeline, i didn't try any of those today, but their oatmeal cookie and butternut squash galette were great. ginger cookie was only ok.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: nicedragonboy

                          coolbean98 lives close to Sweet Adeline and told me the cakes are good but the cupcakes where subpar. Let us know if you ever try one next time! *I'm interested in hearing

                          1. re: trailofbreadcrumbs

                            Off topic, but I think all their savory items are delicious. The cakes I've had are okay, but I think savory is where it's at. I love their butternut squash quiche!

                        2. It's in SF, but you must try the mini-cupcakes at DeLessio Market/Bakery (2 locations). Lots of "fancy" flavors. Really really good.

                          1 Reply
                          1. The other day I tried a Lemon Cupcake at Citizen Cupcake & was kind of disappointed. The frosting was tasty but a little dry and I wasn't so thrilled with the lemon filling. A friend of mine had the chocolate/chocolate one and agreed about the frosting. Although, I have to say they both looked WONDERFUL. I think next time I will try the main bakery in Hayes Valley.

                            I can't wait for "The Great Cupcake-off". I think we will have 7 East Bay Bakeries. Details to COME..

                            1. I've been to Love At First Bite several times now, and have really enjoyed everything I've had there. Flavors I can remember trying off the top of my head: Chocolate w/ Mocha frosting, Red Velvet w/ Cream Cheese frosting, Strawberry w/ Strawberry frosting, Carrot-Pineapple w/ Cream Cheese frosting.

                              In general, I find most cupcakes a little on the sweet side, and these as well as Teacake Bake Shop are no exception. However, I find Love At First Bite's cupcakes have a little more depth of flavor and have always been very moist and fresh tasting.

                              1. The best cupcakes I ever had were the coconut cupcakes at Green's Restaurant in San Francisco. It was years ago, so I don't know if they still have them. I live in the East Bay too, but I never had any as memorable as those on this side of the Bay.

                                1. Bakesale Bette has good cupcakes. You might have to order them in advance however.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: lacerise

                                    Really? When did they start having cupcakes?

                                  2. I just had THE PERFECT CUPCAKE! Chocolate w/cream cheese frosting, piled high and rolled in coconut. I bit into it and chewed and kept waiting for that off taste...too sweet, not sweet enough, the chemical aftertaste. Nope! Perfection! This cupcake came from Joan's on Third in L.A....Third St. between La Cienega and Fairfax. If you know anyone going to L.A., I strongly urge you to have them pick up a box. You'll be very happy. BTW, they're $3 apiece. We just had a cupcake party at my office last week and ordered the vanilla, chocolate and almond cupcakes from Market Hall Bakery. They were $2.75 each and didn't hold a candle to these.

                                    1. Bumping this thread up to recommend my new favorite cupcakes in the East Bay, CupKates. They don't have a fixed location, they travel around in a truck to different locations around Oakland and Berkeley Tuesday through Sunday (you can check the location from their website http://cupkatesbakery.com/ or following them on Facebook or Twitter), and their cupcakes are really good. The Fleur de Sel is my favorite, but the S'more is also fantastic. They're not too sweet, nice and moist, and have interesting flavors.

                                      8 Replies
                                      1. re: JasmineG

                                        I'll second Jasmine's comment. CupKate's is wonderful. I've tried the red velvet, caramel w/fleur de sel and the vanilla and they're all terrific. I think my favorite is the vanilla w/vanilla bean frosting. It's not too sweet, as Jasmine said, and the vanilla is pronounced and luscious.

                                        1. re: lacerise

                                          Oh yeah, I forgot about that vanilla cupcake -- really pronounced vanilla flavor, especially in the frosting.

                                          1. re: JasmineG

                                            I third the CupKate's rec. THEY ARE AWESOME.

                                            1. re: happenstance

                                              Fourth for CupKates. Yes, they are awesome. Braxton's Boxes in Berkeley( you need to order them) also make excellent cupcakes.

                                        2. re: JasmineG

                                          i finally tried them today. I must say I was impressed. The cake was moist and fresh (tasted like the Hershey's recipe on the back of the box, e.g. oil-based, but I think that's good for a cupcake) and the frostings were really great. They were clearly "cooked" or "meringue" buttercreams, so they were silky smooth and not too sweet. I had the salted caramel and chocolate peanut butter and I really liked them both.

                                          1. re: milklady

                                            Had a great asparagus /goat cheese panini at Summer Kitchen Bake Shop on College today. Didn't try the cupcakes, but they looked delicious, fresh and very attractive. Based on the sandwich, the cupcakes must be good, too, plus there were minis.

                                            Summer Kitchen Bake Shop
                                            2944 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

                                            1. re: macadam

                                              I walked into Summer Kitchen today and looked at their cupcakes too -- they have chocolate, raspberry, and one other, and they all did look good (in a not too fancy kind of way) and they're $3. I might try one this weekend (I was coming in with my hands full of ice cream from Ici, so getting a cupcake too felt overindulgent.)

                                              1. re: JasmineG

                                                I've posted about a cupcake from summer kitchen on another thread... I had a lemon/gingerbread one. I quite liked it.

                                        3. Whatever happened with the taste off? Which did you try? Who won?

                                          1. did you have the cupcake taste off? Who won?