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May 31, 2013 02:30 PM

El Cerrito/Berkeley/Richmond/Oakland Cupcakes?

I adore cupcakes, but I am still searching for my ideal cupcake. I know it exists because I've had it, but alas every time I find it, it disappears.

Does anyone have any suggestions on cupcakes I should try in the El Cerrito/Berkeley/Oakland area? I prefer ones that have moist and tender cakes, strong & interesting flavors and not hideously sweet frostings. Picture perfect looks are not so important as those things. They don't have to be from a cupcake-specific bakery.

I hope to order a bunch of cupcakes for a party, so places that have more than one flavor and can handle orders of a few dozen are a plus.

My favorite cupcakes were from Sugar Cone Bakery in Kensington, made by Alfred Schilling. They were amazing (especially his banana-chocolate cake topped with white chocolate frosting and granola). Alas Sugar Cone Bakery is closed and I don't know where to get his cupcakes anymore (any leads?).

Places I am thinking of trying: Sweetbar in Oakland, Crixa Cakes in Berkeley (do they really have cupcakes or just mini-cakes?)

Are Braxtons Boxes or Stephanie's Sparkles worth ordering from? I wish they had a brick and mortar shops so I could just try a few cupcakes before ordering a dozen (or 3 dozen minimum in Stephanie's case).

Thanks in advance!

If it helps, here's what I have tried so far:

Duck and Bunny in Providence, RI- My current #1 favorite but I really can't justify that plane ticket price for a cupcake (they are seriously good though).

Cako in SF- they are my #2, but I'd love to find something this good closer to me. I'm sad that they changed their recipes from when they first started, they used to be moister, messier, less sweet, and a lot more fun.

Teacakes in Emeryville- they are my current #3, though I find their flavors a little uninspired and they are a little on the sweet and too-dry side, they are still the best of what I've found in the East Bay so far.

EncoreCakes, El Cerrito- I tried so hard to love them, but after trying a dozen+ cupcakes, they are just too dry and the flavors too timid, though I love the idea of her flavor combos. Her textures need work- the fruity ones are too soggy and the chocolate filled ones are overwhelmed by having a giant dense chocolate truffle stuck in the middle of them. But I'll keep trying as she gets used to her oven and fine-tunes her flavors. Her mocha cupcake and her copycat "Hostess cupcake" are pretty good.

Fat Apple's, El Cerrito- Dry cupcakes, buttercream has a weird salty flavor. Bonus for not being horribly sweet though, and the chocolate actually tasting like chocolate.

Lalime's, Berkeley- The most amazing buttercream. I've never found any other place that makes buttercream this good (though Alfred Schilling came very very close). Unfortunately the cupcake part is only one step above 3 day old muffins- dry, crumbly, bizarrely dense and firm, almost slightly rubbery in texture.

Love at First Bite, Berkeley- Ugh. Terrible. Dry, tasteless, frosting tasted worse than pre-made from the grocery store because it has this weird "stale oil" aftertaste.

Kara's Cupcakes, SF- so very pretty, but that's about it. Each flavor tastes pretty much the same: sweet, dry, vanilla cake. Snooze.

Suziecake's, Los Angeles- incredibly moist, and I love piles of frosting but this was way too sweet. The sugar bomb made my teeth hurt and I have been known to nibble on sugar cubes.

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  1. Personally, my favorite cupcakes are from the Cupkates truck. Luckily they can be found around the east bay fairly easily. Moist, tender cake and the best buttercream I've had on a cupcake in recent memory. Of the places you mentioned, I've only tried Teacakes and Love at First Bite, and I agree with you about both of those. The flavors at Cupkates are good enough to keep me interested (which is saying something) but not super adventurous. Twinkie, tiramisu, salted caramel, to name a few. They also usually have a special, seasonal flavor. In any case, I've thoroughly enjoyed all the ones I've tried from there.

    Lastly, I'm pretty sure that Crixa just has small cakes, and not actual cupcakes. I hope you'll report back with what you find.

    1. Not a huge cup cake fan, but the ones i tried from angel cakes (they have a pop up every friday from 1-5 at tea here now in oakland) were pretty good.

      1. I'll recommend Cupkates too. I'm not much of a cupcake fan but these were moist, luscious and interesting flavors. Here's the display at my friends' wedding.

        1. Thanks chemchef and Melanie, I will definitely check out Cupkate's, they sound like what I am looking for.

          Majordanby, thanks for the Angel Cakes suggestion, what fun flavors (meyer lemon blackberry?)! I can hopefully plan things out to swing through their Popup on Friday and also check out Sweetbar nearby. I'm thinking of "suggesting" Angel Cake's "cupcake of the month" club as a birthday present idea... home-delivered cupcakes sounds wonderful.

          1 Reply
          1. re: greymalkin

            I tried CupKate's today and they were great! Moist and flavorful as promised, and not overly sweet. Nice buttercream too. Tentatively, I may have found my new local favorite! Huzzah!

            An interesting contrast to the ones at Sugar Daddies in Davis which I was able to try the day before. Those were ginormous and tasted okay but were very very sweet. Something that sweet on a very warm Davis evening was not a good combo and probably not a fair way to try the cupcakes. Chilled water never tasted so good though.

          2. I also recommend the CupKates truck. You can order from them for pickup and delivery.

            1 Reply
            1. re: milklady

              I just tried them this Sunday and they were great! Particularly enjoyed the s'mores and tiramisu.