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Sprinkles Cupcakes in UTC--does it live up to the hype?

daantaat Feb 13, 2011 11:17 AM

Alright, after seeing lines snaking out the door at all hours of the day and night, I finally caved in to the hype and sent the significant other on a early morning run to Sprinkles, hoping to beat the lines. It ended up being an hour wait at 9:40 am. However, this hour wait appears to be worth it, based on the hot red velvet cupcake we've had. It's red velvet amped up with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, just for Valentine's Day. Super moist, crumbly-soft cake with the perfect ratio of frosting to cake! Not too sweet but just sweet and cinnamon-y enough to make it pleasantly linger in your mouth. Compared to Elizabethan Desserts, this one beats them hands down, both in flavor and texture.

We also got raspberry chocolate, dark chocolate and cinnamon sugar. Had a tiny bit of the cinnamon sugar and the texture seemed drier than the red velvet but am looking forward to trying the rest of them!

Elizabethan Desserts
155 Quail Gardens Dr, Encinitas, CA

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  1. d
    daantaat RE: daantaat Feb 13, 2011 02:38 PM

    ok, enjoying the chocolate raspberry now! Moist, dense chocolate-y flavor with a nice tart-sweet hit of pink frosting!

    2 Replies
    1. re: daantaat
      Alice Q RE: daantaat Feb 15, 2011 02:04 PM

      I think their dark chocolate and red velvet are great - the strawberry, lemon, banana and vanilla can be a little tough sometimes for some reason. Also love carrot and chocolate marshmallow (a must if you like the old fashioned hostess cupcakes!) As you can see, I have tried just about every flavor! I am hoping to get up there on a Tuesday soon, to try the orange. :)

      1. re: Alice Q
        daantaat RE: Alice Q Feb 15, 2011 08:51 PM

        please let me know how the orange is! I'll have to wait for the crowds to die down to get there first.

        I had their cinnamon sugar today and for some reason, it wasn't as satisfying as the hot red velvet or dark chocolate. It was moist, but denser in texture and seemed to lack a little "something." Perhaps a slightly sweeter batter would have done the trick. The texture may have gotten a little harder b/c it was in the freezer for about 18 hrs before I defrosted it.

    2. b
      berliz RE: daantaat Feb 13, 2011 02:47 PM

      There isn't a cupcake in thr world worth an hour standing in line.

      1 Reply
      1. re: berliz
        Island RE: berliz Feb 13, 2011 03:59 PM

        Agree. Or coffee. If I'm going to spend an hour on a cupcake I'll make my own delicious morsels.

      2. foodiechick RE: daantaat Feb 13, 2011 03:46 PM

        I will admit, the lines have kept me away. Tip: you can order ahead online a couple hours ahead of the time you want to pick them up, then walk right in ahead of the line. Only caveat, you have to order at least a dozen. Siince we work out of our home we don't have office friends to share them with so a dozen is excessive for us.

        1. d
          Davediego RE: daantaat Feb 17, 2011 10:23 AM

          Personally I think the cupcakes at Elizabethan desserts are much better than Sprinkles. I find ED's are moister and have better frosting. Sprinkles seem cloyingly sweet, and a tad dry (though much better than Cups in downtown LJ). Actually getting a chance to buy cupcakes at either place is their biggest drawback. The Sprinkles line is absurd and ED has terrible hours, sigh.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Davediego
            RB Hound RE: Davediego Feb 17, 2011 10:50 AM

            I suspect that a good part of the line at Sprinkles consists of UCSD students. Timing a Sprinkles visit during the breaks between quarters, or the summer, might be wise.

            [March 21-25, for example]

            1. re: RB Hound
              mliew RE: RB Hound Feb 18, 2011 10:35 AM

              Yeah it does seem to be a lot of UCSD students but I think it's mostly just because cupcakes are the new fad in San Diego (first it was yogurt, now cupcakes). In LA I doubt people are lining up an hour for Sprinkles, albeit there is much more competition in LA as well. I'm actually surprised how long the line still is considering they've been open for maybe a month or so now. I would say in another month there won't be anyone waiting.

            2. re: Davediego
              daantaat RE: Davediego Feb 17, 2011 07:37 PM

              Interesting, as I find ED's cupcakes drier and too sweet w/ too high a ratio of icing to cake. The exceptions being her coconut cupcake, Hot Diggity Dang and chocolate pudding cupcake, which are all excellent.

              1. re: Davediego
                uchound RE: Davediego Feb 18, 2011 07:46 AM

                I was disappointed in Sprinkles - particularly the frosting. I had a lemon cupcake that was insanely sweet.

                Personally, I like Cups much, much better. Their milk chocolate and Vanilla Vixen are moist and not too sweet. The texture of the frosting is incredibly smooth and creamy. And no line!

              2. geekyfoodie RE: daantaat Feb 18, 2011 05:06 PM

                An errand brought me to the area and, despite having lots of work to do, I had to see what the fuss was about.

                The line wasn't very long... I estimate roughly 15-20 transactions in front of me. Yet, it moved at a snail's pace because the bottleneck was at the lone cashier. No matter how fast she moved, there was no beating the steady stream of orders, any extras customers wanted (drinks, for example), or people who infuriatingly thought that monopolizing the cashier's time was their right when there's a line behind them. ;)

                I waited 30 minutes (11:15-11:45am) this morning. The demographic today was overwhelmingly mothers out with their kids. Everyone else seemed to be a smattering of professionals working in the area (or at least I presume that from the shirt/tie) and students. The clientele was also 99.9% female.

                Red velvet (without the Red Hot frosting) was ok. Texture was great, but it was overwhelmingly chocolaty and I like my red velvets with a hint of cocoa and the tartness only buttermilk can give. I think Elizabethan Desserts, Influx, and The Daily Scoop do the red velvet cupcake better.

                Lemon Coconut is a total winner and I don't normally like coconut. Beautiful lemon frosting on top of a moist vanilla cupcake and topped with shredded coconut. The only thing I'd change is to toast the coconut lightly.

                I have a black and white (chocolate cupcake with white frosting) and a vanilla and chocolate (yellow cake with chocolate frosting) left. I wanted to try a peanut butter cupcake, but they didn't have them today.

                All in all, was it worth the wait? Not really. Don't get me wrong... it wasn't bad. I think I just fall solidly into the camp of "why am I waiting for this?" As mentioned above, they do run on the too-sweet side. Not a problem for me, but I recently tried Pubcakes (local business featuring cupcakes made with SD's craft brews) and the complex flavor combos have been unforgettable. I feel like the cupcakes I bought today were great, but nothing unique and likely something I can duplicate at home.

                I will return for a PB cupcake, though, and perhaps try to time my visit so that there's no line. Do I have to show up 5 minutes before it opens? :P

                9 Replies
                1. re: geekyfoodie
                  DiningDiva RE: geekyfoodie Feb 18, 2011 05:29 PM


                  1. re: geekyfoodie
                    foodiechick RE: geekyfoodie Feb 18, 2011 08:01 PM

                    Kind of disappointing that they only have one cash register staffed, given the lines they have had for the last month. It may add to the hype of their popularity, but it is exactly what has kept me from trying them (and I am in the area at least once a week). I recently saw Sprinkles cupcake kits at Jonathans, but at $20 per box I would much rather experiment at home. Pubcakes sounds far more interesting and original (thanks for the link DD).

                    LA is moving beyond the cupcake craze and it seems "the next big thing" is pie. Today I read of a "pop-up" pie-by-the-slice place. Now that is a trend that I can fully embrace, bring on the pie!

                    1. re: DiningDiva
                      foodiechick RE: DiningDiva Feb 18, 2011 10:00 PM

                      Rats. My family moved back to the south in '76 and I didn't return until '88 so missed a large window of time. Fingers crossed some forward thinking, entrepreneurial baker will see what is happening in LA and set up shop.


                      1. re: foodiechick
                        Fake Name RE: foodiechick Feb 19, 2011 06:44 AM

                        Cupcakes = short ribs = mac n cheese = chocolate lava cake = gourmet burgers = out-of-season caprese salad.

                        But pie- both sweet and savory, yes, please?

                        May I have another slice of pie, please?

                        1. re: Fake Name
                          RB Hound RE: Fake Name Feb 20, 2011 08:27 PM


                          1. re: RB Hound
                            MrKrispy RE: RB Hound Feb 22, 2011 09:34 AM

                            I guess Coco's and Marie Callendars are ahead of the curve!

                            1. re: MrKrispy
                              DiningDiva RE: MrKrispy Feb 27, 2011 04:19 PM

                              Not really. We're talking about *good* pie not chain restaurant, mass produced pie

                          2. re: Fake Name
                            Beach Chick RE: Fake Name Feb 28, 2011 07:30 AM

                            Cupcakes = short ribs = mac n cheese = chocolate lava cake = gourmet burgers = out-of-season caprese salad...
                            (LOL) the out of season caprese salad.

                            Pie. Pie. Pie...love love love..

                            1. re: Beach Chick
                              anachtomi RE: Beach Chick Mar 6, 2011 08:12 AM

                              I think the line at Sprinkles is completely self manufactured and it's really annoying. Refer to the other poster who talked about having one cashier....I can tell you I was there at 9am [when there was no line] and it took 25 minutes to buy six cupcakes with about 4 people in front of me.

                              They don't premake the cupcake boxes, building each one takes 3-4 minutes
                              They have about three people doing the job of one person, totally slowing up the process, they change their gloves twice for every order, forget about it if they have to go to the back and refill a cupcake flavor.

                              It's a joke.

                              They are moving at a snails pace and there is no way that this is not deliberate and it was so completely annoying.

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