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Mar 1, 2009 02:47 PM

Napa and Cotati - Sift Cupcakery ... my goodness ... seriously ... Ooh La La The Sky is Falling!

A few doors down from Ubuntu, Sift opened inside Cake Plate Fashion.

These cupcakes are even better tasting than they look and they look really swell.

I tried two flavors ... from their website description

Ooh La La
Delicious red velvet cake with traditional cream cheese frosting

The Sky is Falling!
Oh Chicken Little! Moist chocolate cake, white chocolate mousse filling and rich chocolate frosting

Yes. Exactly.

Rich, moist, creamy ... I'm licking the last bit of frosting from the cupcake paper. The cream cheese frosting on the red velvet is light and full of flavor and for the first time ever the red velvet cake isn't dry but full of buttery goodness.

That chocolate cupcake with the white mousse filling ... lip-smaking good.

I nominate them as best cupcake in the Bay Area. I've tried quite a few cupcakes in the Bay Area. I've liked quite a few but I've rarely gone back.

I will so be at Sift on every Napa visit. I might even drive up there on St Patrick's Day if they have the Guiness chocolate cake with Irish Cream frosting ... though I suggest they get a more politicaly correct name for it.

A few other interesting flavors they've had in the past ... Chocolate Zinfandel cupcake and a Champagne cupcake. Here's the current list

They opened first in Cotati in 2008. Haven't been to that shop though.

Sift Cupcakery
7582 Commerce Blvd, Cotati, CA

Sift Cupcakery
1000 Main Street, Napa, CA

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  1. I didn't have high expectations, but stopped in yesterday to the new Napa location. My daughter picked the "pinking of you" and the "limonata." They were both great. Both were a yellow cake (one may have been white) with lemon flavor to the limonata. The icing was a bit of overkill in terms of quantity, but tasted great. The "pinking" cupcake had a berry icing and the limonata a citrus. It's been awhile since I've been to Kara's, so I'm having a hard time comparing the 2.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Dan Wodarcyk

      IMO, they are far superior to Kara's. Don't forget there is a Kara's now at Oxbow.

      1. re: rworange

        Kara's at Oxbow is not open yet. They are still at least 6 weeks out based on the unfinished space I saw yesterday.

        1. re: Dan Wodarcyk

          Acutally, I am going to head over to Sift today.

          I don't think Kara's is going to be coming into Oxbow, which in my opinion is okay...I don't love their product.

          1. re: Doodleboomer

            Since this thread got bumped up, I did want to mention that Kara's did open this week. Neither Sift nor Kara's meets my cupcake ideal, but I'm always a fan of additional cupcake options! Sift's frosting tends to be pretty crisco-y to my taste, but their chocolate frosting is more appealing Kara's Meyer lemon is one of my favorites, and their buttercream is softer and creamier than Sift's.

    2. Nice tip! I'll have to try them next time I visit Napa. The most interesting flavor has to be the Irish Car Bomb. Yeah, that's right, I said it!

      I wonder how they compare to Sprinkles. That, to me, is the best I've had locally so far.

      1. Thanks for posting about Sift.

        Here's my photo of the "Miami Vice", which is a piƱa colada cupcake with strawberry buttercream frosting, from my visit to the original Cotati location in July 2008.
        My initial impression was, "hmm, interesting how these folks can make buttercream taste like Crisco!" Dry and crumbly cupcake too, hated this, so tossed it in the garbage can after one bite.

        I didn't post about it because I hate to trash small businesses based on one sample. I wanted to try something chocolate that might be moister and another frosting style since I don't like the fluffed up, whipped buttercream style here, but hadn't managed to make it back yet. On the positive side, I didn't find the combination too sweet, despite the piled high frosting.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I finally tried it...was in Napa this afternoon and stopped by to give it a try. I had the Irish Car Bomb and the champagne one. Both were really good. The frosting has the same consistency as that awful whipped buttercream crap I can't stand places like Kara's, but it has a much better taste.

          Unlike Kara's, which tastes too buttery, Sift's frosting is sweet and actually tastes like the promised flavor (champagne for the first one, Irish Cream for the second).

          The cake was nice and moist. I've never tried a fruit-flavored cupcake at these places but the raspberry cake on the Pink Champagne was delicious.

          This might be better than my current favorite, Sprinkles. I'd have to try them back-to-back to say for sure, but I'd probably be heavily biased towards Sift in such an experiment just because you don't have to put up with the annoying stuff you encounter at Sprinkles (long line, weird order processing system) and the girls behind the counter at Sift were so nice.

          1. re: Agent 510

            I had a Meyer lemon from the Palo Alto Kara's on Tuesday night at a dinner party. I love the dense and buttery Meyer lemon buttercream frosting, like a fine confection with just the right balance of sweet, richness and fruit. This is not the grainy with sugar, whipped up, airy crap piled high on so many awful cupcakes that give "buttercream" a bad name.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Well, I passed by Kara's in the Marina today and your post got me to go in, but it wasn't enough to get me to try the buttercream ones.

              I can report, though, that I'm now in love with the vanilla one (the "sweet vanilla", not the buttercream vanilla). It's like a clone of Sprinkles' version, complete with vanilla-flavored sprinkles on top, only much smaller. For anyone who doesn't like overly-sweet cupcakes, this may not be for you, but there was a nice creaminess and flavor behind the sweetness.

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Have you ever had a Sweet Things cupcake?

                I finally made it there for the hot cross bun (not so much).

                However, I bought a mini cupcake from them, and that was the kind of cupcake that gives buttercream a good name. No guessing, real buttercream. Not whipped or anything. The cake was really nice too, classic white and a little buttery.

                1. re: rworange

                  In Tiburon? Never been there, but I should.

                  1. re: Agent 510

                    No. I went to the SF location in Cal-Mart. They are also in Tiburon

                    Sweet Things
                    1 Blackfield Dr, Tiburon, CA 94920

                    Sweet Things
                    3585 California St, San Francisco, CA

            2. re: Melanie Wong

              I finally tried the regrettably named Irish Car bomb. Like a moth to the flame, I'm somehow attracted to beer-flavored desserts, expecting the worst.

              This was good. None of the flavors were overly assertive. Just enough Irish Cream flavor so that it doesn't taste boozy. The chocolate beer cupcake just tasted like a good chocolate cupcake with no noticable beer flavor.

              I also had a Black Cherry Jungle
              Moist chocolate cake, black cherry frosting and a cherry on top

              I liked this but it is marchiano cherry, not black cherry frosting. I have certain childhood tastes that I have never gotten over (thank heavens my fingers are now too large to fit in black olives). Anyway liked the cherry and cupcake.

              I can see the Crisco taste though ... not that any of these frostings taste like Crisco to me, but they don't have a buttery taste at all either. I am usually not a fan of the lighter whipped frostings either. However, I liked this. Maybe because there is a little more heft to it than most in this style. Maybe all the whipped frosting cupcakes have finally worn me down.

              I did have a classic buttercream at Della Fattora though ... well, cream cheese actually. This was really one swell cupcake. Nice light chocolate cake and thicker, more buttery frosting. They also have mini cupcakes as well which is what I got.

              Rather different cupcake at Fat Angel ... FINALLY got there ... (sorry, we will have hot cross buns tommorrow ... aaaarrrrg). It is the most homey cupcake I've ever tried. Very buttery, course crumb for the vanilla cupcake and more of a cocoa spread on top. It is a little like the Crixa frosting. It was good in the way of stirring up memories of friends mothers cupcakes and school bakesales.

              Della Fattoria
              141 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma, CA 94952

              Fat Angel Bakery
              71 Broadway Blvd, Fairfax, CA 94930

            3. RW, I was in Napa recently and checked out Sift on your recommendation and I have to say I was kind of turned off. I tried only the Key Lime Bliss because I'm a fan of lime, but it tasted weird. The cake was OK (it was a yellow cake) but the frosting was a lime mousse and it was electric lime green (which was OK from a fun perspective) but it tasted gummy. It had a key lime filling that actually had the color of puke green, so wasn't appetizing although it tasted fine. Overall, I just felt that the cupcake was too "gimmicky" with the names and flavor so it didn't make me feel like trying another one.

              5 Replies
              1. re: singleguychef

                I just stumbled upon the store in Santa Rosa, on Mendocino Avenue downtown. I got three flavors to split up with my family. Right now, all I can say is "better than Safeway."
                At least the cake part, the frosting was sometimes worse.

                Key Lime Bliss-- the cake was okay, the frosting was made with some horrible tasting bright green chemical. It tasted like cleaning fluid.

                50/50- orange cake which was okay with cream cheese frosting which was okay though not as good as anybody's homemade cream cheese frosting.

                Irish car bomb-- just tasted like too-sweet, slightly chocolate cake, crisco icing, also too sweet, no other flavor.

                I can bake my own cakes, or sometimes buy one from Patisserie Angelica or Village bakery, so there is no reason to go back.

                Patisserie Angelica
                6821 Laguna Pkwy, Sebastopol, CA 95472

                1. re: wearybashful

                  I tried the "Irish Car Bomb" flavor at the Cotati store and didn't particularly care for it either. The cake was slightly dry and just tasted like chocolate with no discernible Guinness flavor. The frosting did taste like Irish cream, but I didn't care for the texture at ALL...overly whipped and airy. (I like my frosting to have proper "weight" and mouthfeel; I recognize that's a personal preference.)

                  I haven't felt like going back, so that continues to be the only flavor I've tried.

                  1. re: bayareabeagle

                    I've been eating cupcakes off and on for months now:

                    CupKates: Salted Caramel or Double Vanilla
                    Karas: Meyer Lemon
                    Braxton's Boxes: Several good ones - very moist not too sweet. They told me they make ube too....
                    Fatapples: They don't look special but I love these.....
                    Sprinkes: Too sweet for me... but overall not bad
                    Teacakes (Emeryville) Peanut Butter

                    Note though that I do like the whipped buttery buttercreams - not a fan of anything grainy or crisco like.

                    1. re: myst

                      Fatapple's makes one of the best basic cupcakes. If you like those, you might like La Farine. They only have a few flavors, but the frosting and cake are similar to FatApples.

                      1. re: rworange

                        Thanks. I'll try one or more ..... the frosting is key for me because I would say generally I don't even like frosting. Its sweet and gooey and often greasy. So I have to like the frosting.

                        Fatapples is light and not too sweet and they are not oversized.

              2. Sift Cupcakery in Santa Rosa isn't much better.

                I had these for my cupcake loving friend's birthday. No one complained...but having had Sibby's for my wedding cupcake, I much prefer Sibby's Cupcakery.

                Flavors we tried:
                Ooh La La (red velvet)
                Peanut Butter Ripple
                And some chocolate cherry deal.

                None were bad, none were great.

                On a different day I tried the Coconut cake w/ coconut frosting. This cake was almost obscenely moist, refusing to stay together once cut. It sort of discintigrated in to a gloppy mess, but tasted so good this wasn't a problem. The center seemed to have some coconut cream cheese filling. The flavors were nice, but the cake, as I said, fell apart.

                Sibby's Cupcakery
                716 S Railroad Ave, San Mateo, CA

                Sift Cupcakery
                404 Mendocino Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95404