Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Review: Retro Bakery

This day has been in the works for a looong time. I've driven through Las Vegas so many times, but fate never allowed me to partake....that is, until last month. The stars finally aligned and I made it to famous Retro Bakery! I met the super-sweet Kari, owner of Retro Bakery, and ate some of the best cupcakes ever....ooops! Did I spoil the surprise already? I'm sure most of you have already heard about the amazingness of Retro Bakery, but read on anyway.

Choosing cupcake flavors is always a hard decision, but I knew I couldn't go wrong at Retro Bakery. Everything looked so good! Normally I pick a handful of flavors to sample, but this time I just couldn't do it. One of everything please!

From left to right, top to bottom:

Glazed Donut - just like a dense glazed donut

Hop Scotch - yum, yum, yum!!! Everyone was right!

Apple Cider - reminiscent of a caramel apple lollipop. It had a strong green apple flavor.

Milk & Cookies - my husband said the frosting tasted like milk. Of course it wasn't, but the cookie topped off this cupcake perfectly.

Chocolate Coconut (flavor of the day) - tasted just like one of my favorite candy bars: Mounds. I loved the chocolate ganache covering the coconut and frosting.

Chocolate Fountain - extra moist

Peanut Butter Cup - can't go wrong with this flavor combo.

Mint Chocolate Chip - they pulled off this cupcake nicely. Sometimes the mint flavor is too strong and makes me feel like like I'm eating toothpaste. Not here, delicious!

Maple Bacon - the center of this cupcake was coated with maple syrup. The maple buttercream was very sweet. I wish this cupcake was a little more savory and had more bacon. Can't go wrong with lots of bacon, right?

Cherry Cheesecake - I liked the cheesecake buttercream and the cherry cake was just ok. But I'm not much of a cherry person anyway.

Pink Lemonade - the lemonade buttercream frosting was so perky. Might be weird to describe it that way, but this cupcake was just so fun and tasty.

Red Carpet - similar to the Red Velvet from Sweet Tooth Fairy because it uses almond buttercream instead of cream cheese frosting. I prefer red velvet with cream cheese frosting.

The cupcake that stole that whole show was Hop Scotch. This unique cupcake was recommended to me by everyone who has visited Retro Bakery before. I knew I couldn't pass it up and I'm so glad I didn't. It is a vanilla cupcake topped with vanilla buttercream, dipped in butterscotch ganache. Heaven! The only negative thing I can say about this cupcake is that I wish the wrapper was edible too. I regret not getting two because sharing with my husband was pure torture. I tried telling him it was awful, but he wasn't fooled.

Before I left with my cupcake treasures, Kari told me I had to get some cookies too. My stomach said I couldn't add cookies to the dozen cupcakes I was already going to eat by myself, but I did as I was told. Kari then confided in me that she makes good cupcakes, but she makes even better cookies. Sold! A chocolate chip, sugar with sprinkles, and peanut butter chocolate chip pretzel cookie came with me. Kari was right, these cookies were the best I've ever tasted....ever!

(The look of love. I wish my husband looked at me like this!)

What can I say about Retro Bakery? It lived up to its hype as one of the best cupcake shops I've ever been to! Lots of variety, perfect buttercream frosting, great prices ($2.65 each), and most importantly, amazing-tasting cupcakes. And let's not forget about the to-die-for cookies, which can be shipped directly to your house (I've already done it). This gem of a cupcake shop is absolutely worth the drive whether you're in the Las Vegas area or not. There's no doubt that I will be stopping by here every time I'm close by. Don't make the same mistake I did and wait too long to stop by.

It really is all about the buttercream!

Retro Bakery
7785 N. Durango Dr. , #130
Las Vegas, NV 89131
Facebook: Retro Bakery
Twitter: @retrobakery

Monday, May 28, 2012

MacTop: Perfect Combination?

Did you catch the recent episode of Cupcake Champions that featured The Sweet Lobby? A former Cupcake Wars champion, the owner decided to combine her signature macaron with a gourmet cupcake. This is a bold move since one of the judges is Florian Bellanger, owner of MadMac Macarons in New York.

This risky move paid off as Florian said she did a good job on the macaron and both he and Candace Nelson enjoyed the cupcake too.

The Sweet Lobby had decided to capitalize on this new creation by selling the MacTop in their Washington, D.C. store and will soon be offering it for online purchase (July). The MacTop will be available in many flavors, including: The Madagascar, Red Velvet, Lemon, Green Tea, Chocolate Raspberry, Chocolate Coconut, Strawberry Rose, and Vanilla Milk Chocolate. I have mine on order already and can't wait to give it a try.

What do you think of this combo?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sweet and Savory Done Right

I'm a HUGE sweet & savory fan! What's not to love with flavors like Sea Salted Caramel, Pistachio Truffle, Maple Syrup & Bacon. Do I have you salivating yet?!

Sweetapolita does it right with these Highway to Heaven cupcakes from The Sugar Cube cookbook. "Moist super-chocolatey delight that are brushed with coffee syrup, injected with homemade salted caramel sauce, topped with a rich sexy bittersweet ganache, drizzled with more salted caramel sauce and then, if you love double-wowing the crowd, spears of caramel-drizzled potato chips, of course." Yes, that's why they are called Highway to Heaven cupcakes, because I've died and gone to heaven. Recipe found here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Georgetown Cupcake Coming to LA

I've been drooling over Georgetown Cupcake since I first saw them on DC Cupcakes almost two years ago. Then my friend Tran did a guest review for me when she visited in the fall of 2010 and I wanted to try them even more! But I thought, "I'll never get to try them because they are all the way in Washington, D.C." Sigh...

Then I saw the latest news on their Facebook page: "We're so excited to announce our next location - Los Angeles!! We'll be opening at 143 S. Robertson Blvd! Can't wait to bring Georgetown Cupcake to the West Coast!

Hallelujah! Looks like I might get my wish after all! The only thing that would make this better would be if they came to Orange County. We are in need of some amazing cupcake shops!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Review: Cupcakes Couture of Manhattan Beach

Cupcakes Couture of Manhattan Beach has been on my must-try list since I was first introduced to them two years ago at the LA Cupcake Challenge. I was again reminded that I needed to pay them a visit when they were on Cupcake Wars last year. The problem was that I'm never out near Manhattan Beach, that is until a few months ago when I visited my husband at his office. I stopped by to take him to lunch and to show off our little guy to his co-workers. Desmond was a hit!

I was giddy with excitement as I pulled up to Cupcake Couture. Their shop is located in the heart of Manhattan Beach, just a few blocks from the beach. It is such a cute shop!

Part of the front of the shop is devoted to the kitchen, where you can watch all the magic happen. I also loved seeing all of the beautiful cakes in the windows.

Cupcakes Couture doesn't just sell cupcakes, they also sell specialty desserts such as macaroons, cake pops, cream puffs, cupcakes in a jar, cookies, and more! As much as I love cupcakes, I like to diversify my sweet intake too.

As much as I would have like to try ALL of the cupcake flavors, sometimes I have to limit myself. After all, I just had a baby and I'm working on getting back into shape. I went home with Lady in Red, Milk & Cookies, Strawberry Cheesecake, and Sea Salted Caramel.

Lady in Red: This is their most popular flavor and there's no wonder why! It was a red velvet cupcake done well. Tangy cream cheese frosting topped this moist red velvet cake. The frosting had a good consistency. This red velvet passed my test.

Milk & Cookies: Any cupcake with a chocolate chip cookie on top is a hit in my book. The moist cake wasn't just vanilla, as I suspected. It was a vanilla tres leche cake. Yum! The milk chocolate frosting on top was thick and chocolaty. Definitely a good choice!

Strawberry Cheesecake: This cupcake surprised me as my favorite of the day. The combination of flavors was outstanding! I loved that they used fresh strawberries in the cake and the crunch of the graham crackers on top was perfect.

Sea Salted Caramel: I usually don't enjoy whipped frosting, but the combination of this light frosting with the strong chocolate and caramel flavors made me change my tune. The caramel center was my favorite part. It makes sense that this is another popular flavor at Cupcake Couture.

Regular-size cupcakes are $4 each. Although a bit pricier than the average cupcake, these cupcakes are a good proportion size. I love how beautiful each cupcake was! All of their cupcakes were decorated with a little extra something. Gluten-free cupcakes and mini cupcakes are also available. Cupcakes Couture won my vote with their moist cakes, delicious frostings, beautiful decorations, and amazing flavors. Any time I am in the area, I will definitely stop by again. You should too.

Cupcake Couture of Manhattan Beach
916 Manhattan Ave.
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Twitter: @CupcakesMB

Friday, May 18, 2012

Ice Cream Sundae Cupcakes

I love the look of these cupcakes from Love From the Oven. They suggest that these Ice Cream Sundae cupcakes would be great gifts for Teacher's Appreciation Day or Mother's Day (that was a few days ago though). I agree! One tip they recommend is that you make the frosting on the thick side since you are going to "scoop" it onto the top of the cupcake Brilliant! You can check out the full post here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Is Anyone Still Watching 2 Broke Girls?

Of course I was super excited when I first heard about a TV show with a premise of two girls trying to open up a cupcake shop. But after about four episodes, my husband and I had had enough of 2 Broke Girls. Every episode was so predictable and the sarcasm was just a bit too much.

For the season finale, the girls tried to get Martha Stewart to taste one of their cupcakes. Did anyone watch? Should I just back on the 2 Broke Girls bandwagon?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Giveaway for Sweet Tooth Fairy Cakebites

Yes I have a love affair with Sweet Tooth Fairy. Ever since I first tasted their cupcakes over two years ago, I have thought about them every day since. You know they must be good, as they are my #2 top cupcake shop of all time!

And I'm not the only person who thinks Sweet Tooth Fairy is amazing! Since my review, they have opened 7 more locations, won Cupcake Wars, and have been asked to compete on Cupcake Champions.

My good friend Kristin lives in Utah and frequents Sweet Tooth Fairy often. I live vicariously through her since I'm several hundreds of miles away from the nearest location. Kristin recently wrote a post about Megan Faulkner Brown, the woman behind the spatula at Sweet Tooth Fairy. Her post talks about how Megan is not just a great baker, but an inspiration in many different ways.

The Vocal Sokol is giving away two dozen of Sweet Tooth Fairy's famous Cakebites to a reader of her blog. You can read about Megan and enter the contest here. If you win, I might make you send me half of your prize :)

Friday, May 11, 2012

New Cupcake Show on Food Network

Cupcake shows are so popular right now! The Food Network is premiering a spin-off show of Cupcake Wars called Cupcake Champions. 16 Cupcake Wars former champions will compete in this new show. Each week 4 winners will compete to be a finalist for the final round of the top 4. There will be one winner who walks away with $50,000. First episode airs this Sunday at 8pm/7c.

My local cupcake shop, The Perfect Circle Cupcakery, will be competing on the new show. Her episode appears Sunday, May 20.

Will you watch this new show?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Perfect Circle Cupcakery Truck?!

I was surprised to learn from Eat in OC that The Perfect Circle Cupcakery now has a mobile cupcake truck! I wonder what their plans are....join the food truck rotation, private catering? I'll post more when I know more.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Guess Who Ate Cupcakes Last Weekend?

I may have eaten a dozen cupcakes. I may have eaten three unbelievably delicious cookies. And I may have met the fabulous Kari of Retro Bakery. I call that a successful weekend! Details coming...

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Yummiest & Easiest Cookies Ever

I love to bake! But how wonderful is it to bake something yummy that's also easy to make?!

Picky Palate did it again. She is full of delicious desserts, but this one is awesome because of how easy it is to make.

Here's the recipe. Yellow cake mix, can of pumpkin, mini chocolate chips, toffee pieces, and Rolo chunks. Put them all in a bowl. Mix. That's it! Really, it's that easy. Now go bake these cookies right now!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Will I Finally Make it to Retro Bakery?


I've driven to and through Vegas a hundred times. So why haven't I stopped at the raved-about Retro Bakery? Timing. The problem is that we always seem to drive through at night, well past closing time or on Sunday, when they are closed.

But not this time! My husband and I are on our way to southern Utah for my husband's Ironman race. We are driving through Vegas during the day, so now I have no excuse for not stopping by. And why wouldn't I want to? Everyone is talking about Retro Bakery!

I've asked for some recommendations and the general consensus is: everything is awesome! I love hearing that. But the #1 recommendation and their best-seller is Hopscotch. That's at the top of my list. I can't wait to share my findings at Retro Bakery.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Hello Cupcake! App

We've all seen the amazing book "Hello, Cupcake!" Now there's a Hello Cupcake! app available on itunes. According to their press release, "The app contains a selection of  ten digitally enhanced projects from the two books, with additional cupcake projects available to expand your collection." I think the most valuable part is it "features step-by-step how-to videos for each cupcake project." The app costs $2.99 and is available from itunes here.


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