Friday, January 30, 2009

Local Valentine's Goodies

Sprinkles (in Newport Beach) is doing a XOX Box for Valentine's Day. They do a holiday-inspired box for almost every holiday throughout the year. The flavors in this box include red HOT velvet (red velvet with spicy cinnamon cream cheese frosting), chocolate marshmallow, dark chocolate, and vanilla. The XOX box is available from Feb. 6-15. I haven't been to Sprinkles in a while, so maybe I need to stop by to try their new red velvet flavor.

My favorite cupcakery in Orange County, SusieCakes (in Newport Beach) usually has holiday-inspired cupcakes and desserts too. I found that they sell these Frosted Hearts sugar cookies. SusieCakes's chocolate chip cookies are also some of my all-time favorite cookies! I can't wait to see what flavors of cupcakes they will offer for Valentine's Day!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Love and cupcakes are in the air!

I love holidays that revolve around food, so it seems appropriate that I would love Valentine's Day. I do! Last year my husband got me an Edible Arrangement with chocolate-covered strawberries. So good!

This year I am hoping for something cupcake-related....a Peanut Butter cupcake from SusieCakes or a Pumpkin cupcake from Sprinkles or a Chocolate Coconut cupcakes from Bristol Farms. We'll see if he picks up on my hints!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cupcake Birthday

Britain, the daughter of my good friends Mike and Jessett, had her first birthday last week. I was so happy to see that she had a cupcake birthday. Jessett got this giant cupcake cake mold from her mom. I need to find out where she got it from.

Britain's outfit even matched her party theme. So adorable! Happy Birthday Britain!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Cupcakes from Starbucks

Starbucks is one of my favorite indulgences. As much as I prefer eating my calories (as opposed to drinking them) I have a hard time resisting a caramel apple cider or a salted caramel hot chocolate on a cold, rainy day.

But now I have found a new excuse to stop by Starbucks more often....cupcakes! After several reports of cupcake sightings at Starbucks, I decided that I needed to try them out. Would their cupcakes live up to the same status as their drinks or would they be another corporate cupcake failure?

I was surprised to find a nice display of three different flavors of cupcakes. I was even more surprised to see the price...$1.85 each. That's a bargain, especially for Starbucks. I chose to go home with a Double Chocolate Cupcake and a Red Velvet Cupcake. I only spent $3.70, that's just slightly more than most places sell one cupcake for. So far, I'm impressed.

I tried the red velvet first, since I have been craving one for a while. My first bite told me that something was different. I narrowed it down to the's not as sweet as a normal cream cheese frosting. Upon my second bite, I began to enjoy the cupcake more. Actually, it got better with every bite. Once I got past my view of how a red velvet "should" taste, I really enjoyed this cupcake. It was no gourmet cupcake, but it passed the good cupcake test.

The Double Chocolate cupcake did not have a normal frosting, instead it was topped with a chocolate ganache. I thought I would not like this cupcake because of the lack of frosting, but I was very wrong. I enjoyed it a lot! The cake was moist and the chocolate ganache on top was very tasty. I usually don't enjoy dark chocolate much, but I am making an exception for this cupcake. I will definitely eat one again!

Have you tried a cupcake from Starbucks yet? Let me know what you think. Also, I'm curious if all Starbucks locations are selling cupcakes. What have you seen?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Red Velvets at Starbucks?

I have received a tip that Starbucks is now selling red velvet cupcakes. Looks like I need to do some research.


Source: Vanilla Bake Shop

Talk about effective! I saw a print ad similar to this one while I was out running the other day. I definitely started craving a cupcake.

I was excited to find out that the cupcakes used for this ad are from Vanilla Bake Shop in Santa Monica. That makes sense since Honda's advertising agency is RPA, which is based in Santa Monica also. I remember noticing how pretty Vanilla Bake Shop's cupcakes looked when I reviewed them last September. I guess that really worked in their favor.

Another print ad from the same campaign has several pictures of things people might crave (cupcake, coffee, golf, shoes, etc). The ad asks "What do you crave?" So my question to you is "What do you crave?" Whether it be cupcakes or fried chicken...I want to know!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Cookies

What a historic day! Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America. Let's hope he can provide the change we need to get our country back on track.

What better way to celebrate this day than with a special-edition Inauguration cookie from Wonderland Bakery. According to the Fast Food Maven, President Obama ordered 6,000 of these special cookies from the local Wonderland Bakery in Newport Beach, CA. The cookies are sugar cookies with a French vanilla buttercream icing, topped with a presidential emblem hand-picked by the President himself. The cookies will be served today at a luncheon and at two evening galas.

I reviewed Wonderland Bakery last year after a friend bought me a red velvet cupcake from there. So although I would prefer to celebrate today with a cupcake, a cookie is a good alternative. The cookies can be purchased from their store and website for $8.25 (which seems pretty steep considering this economy, but I guess today is a special day).

Back to TPC Cupcakery

Since my husband and I happened to be in the Orange Circle on Saturday night, I stopped by The Perfect Circle Cupcakery to see if I could try one of their Red Velvets. Sadly, they were out of Red Velvets again. Hopefully they are taking notes about which cupcakes run out so they can make sure they have enough to satisfy the end-of-day cupcake cravings.

My plan is to try all of the flavors they offer, but not at all once. I'm pacing myself. I only had a choice between Sweet Joe and Chocolate Coconut. Since I tried the Chocolate Coconut the previous night, I went with the Sweet Joe.

Sweet Joe tasted exactly how I expected it to...just like a coffee crumb cake. It didn't fully satisfy my cupcake craving, as it was more of a muffin. This would be a good "cupcake" to sell in the morning, alongside some coffee or hot chocolate.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Return to The Perfect Circle Cupcakery

I love having a local cupcakery! If I get a cupcake craving, there is a good possibility that I can walk down the street and buy a cupcake (hopefully the craving comes before closing time). But the bad part about having cupcakes so close is that I want one all the time.

I've been trying to pace myself, so Friday was my first trip to The Perfect Circle Cupcakery in 2009. After hearing some friends rave about the Snickerdoodle cupcake I decided I needed to try it myself.

Since I arrived later in the day, my flavor choices were Sweet Joe, Old Towne Orange, Snickerdoodle, and Coconut. I was bummed that I missed out on the Red Velvet. The manager said that they usually run out of Red Velvet a few hours before closing. Next time.

I went home with Snickerdoodle and Chocolate Coconut. So did Snickerdoodle live up to its reputation? Oh yeah! It tasted exactly like a snickerdoodle cookie. The cake was moist and the buttercream frosting was delicious.

I've had the Chocolate Coconut from here before, so I knew it was going to be good. It didn't let me down. I'm really starting to crave the chocolate and coconut combination. Whoever thought of it is a genius!

I read on The Perfect Circle's MySpace page that their grand opening will be on February 1st. I'm hoping to be there! Another thing worth noting is their hours. They are open:

Tuesdays to Thursdays 12-7
Friday to Saturday 12-8
Sunday 12-5
Closed Monday

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cupcake In Bloom

I've been seeing bus banners everywhere advertising "Cupcake in Bloom" from 1-800-FLOWERS. After several people asked me about this, I decided I needed to do a little research. After all, I should know about everything cupcake.

Just as I suspected...Cupcake in Bloom is a floral cupcake-shaped arrangement, not actual cupcakes. Even though it was a little bit of a let down, the arrangement is still cute. It sells for $24.99.

Since I was on the 1-800-FLOWERS website, I searched "cupcakes" on a whim that something else might come up. I was surprised when something actually did. You can purchase cupcakes from Cheryl&Co to be delivered to a special someone. A 6-pack of cupcakes is $29.95 and a dozen is $49.95. Quite pricey for a few cupcakes. Instead, I would find a mail order cupcake company that specializes in cupcakes. I haven't tried one yet, but that is definitely something I should look into.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Love = Sweets = Cupcakes!

Is there any holiday more appropriate for cupcakes than Valentine's Day? I know what you are thinking...didn't Christmas just end? Yes, it did. And now we are moving on to the sweetest holiday of them all (Halloween may involve more sugar, but it sure isn't sweet).

I'm not sure why sweets are associated with Valentine's Day, but I certainly don't mind. Check out round one of some adorable Valentine cupcakes.

Image via flickr

Image via flickr

Image via flickr

Image via flickr

Image via flickr

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cupcake Bites Revisited

Bakerella is a genius! Everything she makes looks amazing! Last year I broke out of my cupcake comfort zone and made her famous Cupcake Bites. Talk about success!...everyone who tried them raved about them! I have to admit, I did a pretty great job making them.

My brother made a special request for his birthday last week. He wanted some of my delicious Cupcake Bites (true, they are Bakerella's Cupcake Bites, but he doesn't need to know that!). Even though they require a lot more work than normal cupcakes, they are well worth it. Thank you, Cameron, for giving me an excuse to make these delicious bites from heaven.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Diva's Cupcakes & Coffee

I recently returned from a week-long snowboarding trip to Utah. I got some great snow and was sad to have to come back to real life in California. The last time I was in the Salt Lake City area was over two years ago, therefore this was my first chance to check out cupcakes in Utah.

I got some great advice on where to go from Becky, blogger of Utah Loves Cupcakes. On my first day in Utah, I followed Becky's suggestion and went to Diva's Cupcakes and Coffee in Salt Lake City.

I loved the atmosphere of Diva's Cupcakes! Not only do they sell cupcakes, they also sell coffee, sandwiches, and soup. They also have several places to enjoy hanging out, including a library and an outdoor patio.

I met the owner, Gordon Wilkins and the pastry chef, Disa Cuellar while I was there. Gordon enlightened me of their best cupcakes. I tried Red Velvet, Gingerbread, and Chocolate. All of them had cream cheese frosting.

Cream cheese frosting is my favorite kind of frosting, which is why I really enjoyed these cupcakes! I had a hard time picking my favorite, but it ended up being the gingerbread. The cake was denser than a normal cupcake (since it was actual gingerbread) which made it more dessert-like.

On my way out, I noticed that Diva's Cupcakes has a drive-thru. I know this is not unheard of for coffee shops, but I have never seen one for a cupcake shop. Smart idea! Next time you are in the Salt Lake area, I would definitely suggest stopping by Diva's Cupcakes!

Between snowboarding every day and visiting family at night, I only had time to review one cupcake shop. I guess that just means that I might have to make another trip to Utah sooner than I thought.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Two Parts Sugar

One of the greatest benefits of being the Cupcake Activist is being able to eat cupcakes frequently. I call it "research." A few weeks ago I was contacted by Monica Serratos, the owner of a new cupcake company in Mission Viejo called Two Parts Sugar. She asked me to try some of her cupcakes. Of course, I was thrilled!

On Christmas morning I received a special gift--two dozen mini cupcakes! I can honestly say this was my yummiest present! My family and I snacked on the cupcakes for Christmas brunch.

One of my favorite characteristics of Two Parts Sugar's cupcakes are the unique flavors. The red velvet I tried wasn't just a plain red velvet, it was raspberry red velvet. I love trying out new flavors! I also ate a chocolate and vanilla bean cupcake. The cake was moist on all of them and the frosting was delicious, not too heavy but perfect for these mini cupcakes. My family and I give Two Parts Sugar a thumbs up!

Two Parts Sugar is a made-to-order cupcake company. Their cupcakes are $30 for one dozen normal-size cupcakes or two dozen mini cupcakes. They offer free delivery within a 15-mile radius from Mission Viejo. They also bake special occasion cakes. Check out their website and blog for more details.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hello 2009!

I am slowly (and sadly) making my way back to reality. I have been doing a lot of snowboarding, relaxing, and visiting cupcake shops. More to come...


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