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MSP: Cupcake Search

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  • Seige Jul 18, 2009 04:20 PM

My soon-to-be 13-year-old niece is going to be visiting in a couple of weeks and I'd like to get some cupcakes to celebrate her upcoming birthday. Any suggestions on some great ones? I've not tried Cupcake on University in Mpls yet, but from their website it looks like they have some great varieties - just not sure how they taste. St. Paul or Minneapolis locations reasonably close to St. Paul are preferred (I don't want to drive all over to get these). Oh - and unlike many others, I don't really like the Miel y Leche cupcakes. I like the idea of her variety, but not the dryness and lack of filling in her cupcakes. Thanks!

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  1. I was at Franklin Street Bakery the other day and the cupcakes looked incredible. They had some cute pink ones -- I didn't note the flavor. Sorry.

    1. Yum! Kitchen & Bakery on Minnetonka Blvd in St. Louis Park. Not only do they have an great bakery and cupcakes, their menu is outstanding.

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      Yum!
      4000 Minnetonka Blvd, Minneapolis, MN 55416

      1. I've eaten at Cupcake many times - they are so delicious! If you have time to stop in, they sell "mini" cupcakes - try a sample or two. The variety that they make changes daily; I believe they stock about 10-12 choices on any given day. I also recommend their food - the quiches are lovely, and their breakfast menu goes all day.

        They really make phenomenal cupcakes. Moist, usually a filling, crazy light yet decadent frosting... *drool*

        The only downside for me is the price - at around $3 a cupcake, it can add up sooner than you think. However, if they were cheaper, I'd be going there a lot more, so my gym thanks them. :)

        6 Replies
        1. re: anoxora

          I'll double down on Cupcake. Great selection, great flavors.

          1. re: Jordan

            I also like the cupcakes at Cupcake. I particularly enjoy the Boston Cream and the Carrot Cakes. I also love the little baby cupcakes. Great when you want just a taste, but don't want/need a whole cupcake.

            The Salty Tart at the Midtown Global Market also has great cupcakes. The variety is much smaller, but worth seeking out. The chocolate creme fraiche cupcake is great. Moist, not overly sweet. I would guess it was frosted with an Italian Meringue Buttercream. It's not a cupcake, but the pastry-filled brioche is also wonderful.

            1. re: BigSal

              Funny (not funny ha ha, funny odd), I've always found the cupcakes at Cupcake to be very dry and the opposite to be true of Miel y Leche. :shrug:

              Maybe it has to do with how fresh they are when I get them. I really think that good cupcakes do not stay fresh for very long.

              Will have to try some at the Salty Tart!

              1. re: turtlebella

                I have to agree that Cupcake's cupcakes are dry and in general unpleasant. I haven't tried Miel y Leche yet (can't wait to, but for some reason I just haven't made it happen, so I guess I can wait to).

                I'd recommend the cupcakes at A Piece of Cake on Selby in St. Paul, especially the coconut one with coconut cream cheese frosting. Yum.

                I haven't had the cupcakes at Salty Tart, but I have had other things and been blown away. I think it's a very safe bet that their cupcakes would be delicious.

                1. re: ShinyCake

                  I'll jump on board the dry cupcake train. I've also not had luck with Cupcake, I've been there three times for lunch (having a cupcake each time for dessert) and although the sandiwches are great, all three cupcakes I had were delicious is flavor but the cake was dry. My "best cupcake" vote still goes to Yum! Kitchen & Bakery.

                  I also agree with you on A Piece of Cake on Selby. Great cupcakes and maybe the best rice krispy treat I've ever had.

              2. re: BigSal

                I've had two cupcakes at Salty Tart and had to throw them away because they were dry and stale. Everything else at S.T. has been great--but not the cupcakes.

                I second MSPD's recommendation for Franklin Street Bakery.

                Cupcake is pretty good, but mostly because of its emphasis on cupcakes gives you more flavors. But, FSB's are better.

                ~TDQ

          2. I would recommend the cupcakes at Salty Tart in the Midtown Global Market. I had some sort of chocolate cake with a dulce de leche filling a few weeks ago and it was divine. We also picked up some delicious cookies there.

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            Salty Tart
            920 E Lake St Ste 158, Minneapolis, MN 55407

            1. I had Cupcake's cupcakes at my wedding. We got both the Triple Vanilla and Triple Chocolate. They were made fresh that morning, and were moist and out of this world! I highly recommend them. Also, we had about 2 dozen left over, and they were great even 3 days later.

              1. just had two from Cupcake and they were very dry.

                1. I'm not a big cupcake fan in general (too much frosting and cake not well-incorporated) but I do enjoy Franklin Street.'s cupcakes. I've had both the chocolate and carrot cake - and they were quite good.

                  Haven't been impressed with the few times I've been to Cupcake, either.

                  Oh, and it appears that there's a new place going into the old Legacy location on Marshall (next to Izzy's). I know because I've been to Izzy's quite a few times since they released this year's winning flavor, Midnight Snack. Besides the graham cracker ice cream, peanut butter swirl, and chocolate chunks, there's something in there that makes it absolutely craveable.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: latte4me

                    dh got a scoop of the midnight snack & gave it a thumbs up also. i had the hot brown sugar.

                    whoops, this thread is about cupcakes, not ice cream--- focus, soupkitten---***focus***---

                    umm. . . nobody's mentioned a baker's wife yet.

                  2. http://www.sweetsbakeshop.com/

                    haven't tried those yet but they sell em out of Local D'lish. I think I saw them at the Mill City Farmers too at the LD 'general store'.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: getgot211

                      Those "Sweets" cupcakes look ridiculously delicious and creative. Definitely trying them out.

                      1. re: getgot211

                        I tried two from Sweets last week, they were very good.

                      2. I just wanted to interject a bit with a question about the inconsistent textures people are describing from the same vendors. Could the percieved dryness/moistness be related to the temperature of the cupcake when you eat it?

                        I ask because when I make my own cupcakes with buttercream frosting, they have to be stored in the fridge to keep the buttercream safe. I've noticed that if I eat them fresh out of the fridge, they seem horribly dry and flavorless, but if I let them rewarm to room temp, the moisture comes back, and the flavor is far better.

                        As for the vendors mentioned in this post, I've only tried Cupcake, which I remember being served from refrigerated cases. I don't know whether the others are or not.

                        As far as answering the OP's question, my impression of Cupcake's cupcake was moderately favorable. I think it was a triple caramel (if I recall correctly.) I remember waiting until it got up to room temp, eating it, and thinking it was good, but not mindblowing. A little too sweet for me, and the chewy caramel in the center was distracting. The texture was plenty moist and fluffy.

                        1. I have been a Cupcake customer for years. Much as I like them, I have to say that the cupcakes are uneven. They were wonderful at the beginning, then underwent a smallish slump. Lately, I've been quite disappointed with the simple cupcakes. But there are still some delicious treasures to be had.

                          My advice: Go for the filled cupcakes - the special ones with a dollop of filling in the middle, under the frosting. The extra filling helps keep the cupcake moister. Me, I love the Lemon, the Caramel, and the Triple Chocolate. (See the web site for flavors: http://www.cup-cake.com/cupcakes.html - look for the Premium cupcakes.)

                          Warning: when you're at Cupcake, it's impossible to tell the filled cupcakes from the non-filled ones unless you ask the usually disorganized staff. Each cupcake has a tag with the name (usually), but there's not always info on the construction/ingredients, and the counter staff often doesn't know. (The service at Cupcake is mediocre-to-awful, but I always go back for my favorite treats. They make good soup and really good whole wheat bread...)

                          The Sweet Bakeshop cupcakes look great, but I haven't tried them. When I saw them at the Mill City Farmer's Market, I bought some wonderful macarons instead. (It's tragic that I can't stuff in more food in a day...)

                          Good luck finding the best cupcakes in town!

                          Anne

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: AnneInMpls

                            Anne, I agree! I think there is either a temperature or freshness issue at Cupcake, leading to wildly inconsistent results. Sometimes the cupcakes are newly baked and they are delicious. Other times, I think they have sat in a refrigerator for too many days and have dried out during that time. I wish you could tell in advance which you were getting!

                            I ordered 4 dozen cupcakes from Franklin Street Bakery for a party and they were great. I also had wedding cupcakes recently from Woullet that were quite good.

                            1. re: AnneInMpls

                              Anne et al- If the 'disorganized staff' is any indicator, perhaps they have had trouble keeping bakers at Cupcake too- that would be one factor in uneven quality. I had a bunch of the carrot cake cupcakes for my birthday a couple of years ago, they were great...

                            2. of the 6 cupcakes I have had from CupCake the only one that wasn't dry was a tres leches one.

                              just had the dulce de leche filled Chocolate cupcake from Salty Tart. until recently I had been less than impressed with everything I had tried from ST, but the Rhubarb bars they had were great and the croissants are good too(but $2.50 and half the size of Trung Nam). the cupcake was great, good flavors and not dry at all. IMHO much better than any I have had from CupCake.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: getgot211

                                Can any of you Salty Tart-lovers (!!) recommend something there that is not over the top sugary? I really like European style pastries, such as one would find in Paris, like an apple tart, or Napoleon.....I really like custardy/creamy fillings and moderate chocolate when it is there, and buttery stuff, as opposed to things coated with sugar crystals, thick icing, caramel on everything. Seems like a lot of the stuff at ST is in the sugar overload category. I was hoping from the pedigree of the owner that there would be more in the Euro mode. I know there are some savory things- I'm talking about desserts. Thanks-

                                1. re: faith

                                  i purchased some cornmeal cookies with lavender (rosemary?) that were deliciously tender but not overly sweetened, and i believe available in a couple of sizes.

                                  1. re: tex.s.toast

                                    I like Salty Tart's rosemary corn cakes (available in tiny loaf shape when I saw them) - they're delicious, very crumbly, and not too sweet. They are sweetened, though, so expect a dessert item rather than a dinner side.

                                    As for highly buttery but not very sweet items, well... Mr. Tastebud once got a berry butter tart (a baked cakey tartlet thing) that was rich and delicious and not covered in sugar or icing. Me, I love Salty Tart's coconut macaroons because they're rich without being tooth-achingly sugary. But they're macaroons, so they're definitely quite sweet - just not as sweet as other versions. (Me, I love sweet treats, both here and in France.)

                                    If you're looking for high butterfat without too terribly much sugar, try a cream horn at Keefer Court on West Bank. This is a lovely thing: a flaky pastry cone stuffed with whipped cream that's not too sweet and is just a bit salty, which makes it wildly craveable in my book. In fact, I think I might have to go get one for brunch tomorrow.

                                    Anne

                                  2. re: faith

                                    I'd recommend the pastry cream-filled brioche bun. It's my favorite thing I've tried at Salty Tart so far, and it's definitely rich without being very sweet.

                                2. Thanks for all the responses! Tonight was cupcake night and I ended up going to Cupcake this afternoon to get them. The varieties looked great online and it was relatively close to home, so I went with it. I would say overall there weren't any real clunkers in the bunch (I got 12 different flavors) but some were definitely more outstanding than the others and yes, some were dry, but still not as dry as Miel y Leche. As for the freshness/serving of MIel y Leche cupcakes I've had before, I bought them the moment Sheela brought them to Letterbox. I don't know how much fresher they could have possibly been, but admittedly I don't know how they were stored beforehand or how long it'd been since they were baked. Anyway - back to Cupcake. The favorites by far were the Lemon Meringue (which I unfortunately didn't get to taste - so I guess I'll have to go back!), Chocolate Mousse, Carrot Cake, Peppermint Patty, and Lemon Sunshine. The biggest duds (and I use that term loosely) were Orange Dream (dry) and Brown Butter Vanilla (frosting WAY too sweet). Whoever said to make sure you get the ones with filling was spot on. I think the chocolate cupcakes also seemed moister than the white/yellow cakes, which is a bit of a bummer for me as I prefer white/ yellow cake. Anyway - all in all, it was a successful experience and my niece and family LOVED trying all the different flavors. And one of these days I'll trek over to FSB. :) Thanks Chowhounders!

                                  1. Cupcake is pretty good - but not great. You can order a specific kind by the dozen, in advance. Or you can go and see what the selections are on the day that you need them. I have been to Cupcake numerous times since it first opened. I will agree - the cupcakes themselves have become dry. I think it's because they have since switched the flour that they use to make them. They just aren't as moist and fluffy as they used to be. But if you get a cupcake that has good frosting or toppings - it's not as bad. I do love the orange cupcakes - there is orange zest in the batter. Besides - these are for a 13 year old and I am sure that she will be wowed by any of them! She won't be as picky as us foodies!