Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Orange County Picks "Best Of" 2012

Each year the Orange County Register puts out a publication called "The Best of Orange County." It is derived from a survey where residents of Orange County vote for the "Best (blank) in Orange County." The publication was delivered today and of course the first category I looked at was "Best Cupcakes." Although I wasn't surprised by the #1 pick, I did raise an eyebrow for the others. Make sure to check out my pick at the end.

First Place: Sprinkles Cupcakes
It's hard to compete with such a large, well-known brand. But it's even harder to compete with Sprinkles when they are so good. Along with their great-tasting cupcakes, Sprinkles gives you the experience of a gourmet cupcake. They make their cupcakes feel special and well worth the price tag of $3.50. One think I really like about Sprinkles is, along with the dozen or so flavors they offer daily, they sell different holiday and season-themed cupcakes throughout the year. I'm looking forward to trying their Salty Caramel available November 2-25. I just wish Sprinkles Ice Cream was available in Orange County too.

Second Place: Casey's Cupcakes
I don't know why I haven't tried them yet, maybe this is the week to do it, but Casey's Cupcakes seems to be a crowd favorite. Going from one location in Riverside to adding three locations in Orange County, this cupcake shop suggests that the cupcake business is doing well. From what I've seen, Casey's Cupcakes are large cupcakes with lots of frosting. I'm always a little weary of large cupcakes because of the fear that size is trying to make up for something else. Orange County seems to like them, so I think it's worth a try.

This shop was bound to be successful just from its location in Old Town Orange Circle. The Perfect Circle is my local shop, as it is only blocks from my house. I love the cream cheese frosting that is preset on top of the red velvet, pumpkin, and banana cupcakes. The owner has appeared on the Food Network's Cupcake Wars twice and even grabbed a win the second time. Mixed reviews from readers and reviewers have left me surprised that The Perfect Circle was one of the top cupcake shops in Orange County. Bad customer service and dry cake don't seem to be holding down The Perfect Circle's popularity. Cupcakes are $3.25 each and run out quickly, so make sure you plan your visit accordingly.

Critic's Choice: The Queen's Bakery
This was the most surprising pick on the list. I reviewed this newly-opened bakery earlier this year after discovering them as contestants on Cupcakes Wars. Although the cupcakes were just ok, the macaroons and cookies were delightful and delicious! The bakery is quite elegant inside and it was perfect for my rainy day review. I would love to go back and check out some of their other treats. As for being a top pick for best cupcake shop in Orange County? I think this critic needs some advice from me.

Cupcake Activist's Pick for Best Cupcakes in Orange County: Sweet & Saucy Shop
Sweet & Saucy Shop opened their second location, to my delight, in Orange County. I could barely wait and checked out the new shop in Crystal Cove the week it opened. I was blown away by the perfectness of every dessert I tried. Of course I loved the cupcakes best, but the macaroons, cake lollipops, cookies, and mini pies are outstanding too. There's no doubt in my mind that Sweet & Saucy shop is the best cupcake shop in Orange County!

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