Tag Archives: Georgia cupcakery

Cupcakes, It’s What’s For Breakfast

4 Nov

I discovered a cupcake the other weekend that would be sure to brighten any morning!  There’s no shame to eating cupcakes before noon, right?  Cupcakes are like donuts (small cake + frosting), and donuts seem to really have made a name for themselves in the breakfast department.  So I’m thinking a cupcake for breakfast every once in a while shouldn’t be frowned upon?  If you’re up for it, I’ve got just the cupcake for you – the French Toast cupcake at Smallcakes Cupcakery.

Smallcakes started in Kansas City, but opened an Atlanta location this September.  If you’re a fan of the Food Network’s show “Cupcake Wars”, maybe you saw the episode with Smallcakes owner Jeff Martin as a contestant.  Once I got wind of that little factoid, I was all geared up to go meet Jeff and hear all about the wonderful world of Food Network!  And Candace Nelson.  I sooooo want to sit next to Candace Nelson at the judges’ table and eat cupcakes and smile.

Smallcakes - Buckhead's Newest Cupcakery

Well, it just wasn’t in the cards for me to meet (and squeeze info from) Jeff that sunny Sunday.  My consolation though – a free cupcake!  It pays to follow Smallcakes’ twitter and facebook pages.  Freebies to be found!  My other consolation – the French Toast cupcake!  It’s exactly how you would imagine comforting, cinnamon-y french toast in cupcake form.  Fresh, spongy (we gotta think of a better adjective for spongy!) cake filled with cream and topped with a cinnamon buttercream / cream cheese hybrid.  Go, folks.  Get their French Toast cupcake (call first to make sure it’s available that day) and start your day with a frosting-induced smile.  Just a heads-up, they open at 10am…maybe eat a little fruit or cereal beforehand to tide you over.

Aside for the commendable moist cake, I’m sorry to say the rest of our cupcake loot – the Peanut Butter Cup, the Fudge Sundae, and the Vanilla-n-Chocolate – was kind of forgettable.  The French Toast cupcake’s deliciousness could, however, have Top 10 potential.

Let’s bring on the break down now, shall we?!

Smallcakes / 2955 Peachtree Road Atlanta, GA location / other locations include Overland Park KS ~ Olathe, KS ~ Lee’s Summit, MS / www.smallcakescupcakery.com

1. Price: $3

2. Room temperature:  Yes

3.  Size:  Standard

4. Cake to Frosting Ratio: Socially acceptable

5. Vegan or gluten-free options: No…bummer

6. To-go packaging: Standard box with cupcake dividers inside and logo sticker on top

7. Milk for sale?:  Negative on the milk.  Affirmative on the bottles of Coke, Sprite, Diet Coke, and Coke Zero

8.  Other treats for non-cupcake enthusiasts you may have in tow: The only edible treats are the cupcakes.  T-shirts and water bottles are available for purchase, but those seemed to be emitting cupcake enthusiasm.  Oh well…

9.  Ambiance: This was kind of a let down, like something was missing.  Or a bunch of things.  There wasn’t any where to sit, which I’m thinking hinders the whole “Welcome!” vibe.  There’s a long counter along the window that you can stand and eat your cupcakes at.  But again, I just wasn’t getting that “Yay, you’re here! Stay a while!” message.  The cupcake counter, the main attraction, was kind of sad in its slenderness.  While the cupcakes were very attractive, they only displayed one of each variety and the rest were herded away from us on the bakers rack behind the counter.  Can you tell I’m hungry as I write this?  Which means I’m grumpy, and maybe a little too honest.  But I want to give Smallcakes (ATL) the benefit of the doubt since they had just opened this location, and say that they’re in the process of implementing cozy seating, mood music, cheery decor…

10. Service: Socially acceptable

11.  Three words to describe the Smallcakes experience:

1) Uneventful 2)  Sparse 3) FrenchToast (can we still count that as one word?)

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Taste Test Extravaganza!

15 Jun

The other weekend, Steve and I hit the road!  We didn’t cross any borders this time around…unless county borders count.   Our destination – Augusta, GA!  Yup, hometown of Woodrow Wilson, James Brown, this little ol’ golf tournament called the Masters, and last but not least my aunt, uncle and cousins.  Oh yeah, and in case you were wondering,  Hulk Hogan was indeed born here.

I’ve always loved visiting Augusta.  Right along the Savannah River, it’s really rich with history dating back to the early 1700s.  With 9 neighborhoods on the National Register of Historic Places, there’s always something to catch your eye if you’re a preservation geek like me.  And if you also happen to be a cupcake geek like me, do not fear – Augusta has plenty to offer in that department, too!

On my last visit to Augusta (some time this past winter), I noticed a cupcakery on the verge of opening, so Neapolitan Cupcake & Gift Shoppe went on my radar.   When making plans this time around, my aunt mentioned that she spotted another cupcake shop in town, Sweet Cups!, and a cupcake taste test a la Augusta-style was born!  But it didn’t stop there, oh no!  My aunt then heard from my cousin that a local Mennonite bakery makes amazing cupcakes, so the Lil’ Dutch Bakery was added to the ballot too.  And that’s how the cupcake taste-test-extravaganza came into being.

In the interest of time, my aunt and uncle picked up four cupcakes from the Lil’ Dutch Bakery while Steve and I were en route.  Then after our arrival (and some fortifying lunch), we all headed to Sweet Cups! to select another four cupcakes.  It’s a little, unfussy shop tucked off of Washington Road in an assuming shopping center.  Once inside, we were greeted so warmly by the darling baker herself.  She gave us a run-down of the daily offerings, which included minis (cue the cheering) in almost all of the same flavors as the “big kids”.  After our deliberation, we selected the following four (regular-sized) cupcakes: strawberry, key lime, red velvet, and sweet potato.  Mmmm…that’s some sweet, Southern goodness right there!

Sweet Cups! Cupcakes, Confections & Catering

Next stop – Neapolitan Cupcake & Gift Shoppe in the Le Pavilion shopping plaza.  The scene inside is quite a change from Sweet Cups! where cupcakes were basically the main attraction.  But at Neapolitan, with both cupcakes and gifts on the agenda, there’s lots to see.  There was also a flat screen TV complete with leather couch seating area, pink & white striped walls, and a drink dispenser dispensing FREE pink lemonade.  Woo hoo, free stuff!  Double bonus points to Neapolitan for 1) giving free stuff and 2) serving a color coordinated beverage (I don’t know why, but that does something for me)!  I also got to chat with the owner, Molly, whose super sweet personality matched the pretty cupcakes on-hand.

All four of us put our heads together again, and selected the following four cupcakes: lemon, peanut butter, salted caramel, and cookies & cream.  And then we left…without our cupcakes.  I guess I was in sensory overload and just spaced out or something.  Luckily, we didn’t get far and the kind woman who rang us up was standing outside with our box o’cupcakes anticipating our return.  That should teach me a lesson for next time…don’t drink the free lemonade 🙂 just kidding, I have no one to blame but myself.

Neapolitan Cupcake & Gift Shoppe

All loaded back into the sugar-scented vehicle, we headed for home (well, my aunt & uncle’s home).  It was a few hours before dinner and the subsequent cupcake taste test, so my aunt and I had a fun time “photo styling” our cupcake spread.  Check it out!

We made sure the packaging was included in each photo. I'll discuss this element in more detail in "The Breakdown"...

Ok, so fast forward through the arrival of my cousin and his sweet family, playing with my cousin’s cute kids, and a yum yummy family dinner, and you have me frantically (and messily, sorry Uncle L!) cutting up 12 cupcakes into fours and trying to create some sort of system out of it all for a seamless taste test spectacle.   We eventually got all the sweets “plated”, fashioned a blindfold out of my aunt’s pretty blue scarf, and the taste test was underway! (I wish I had photographed the whole scene, especially when the blindfolded taste tester was waiting for me, mouth wide open, to feed them their forkful of cupcake.  The mental pictures I have though make me smile.)

So after five volunteers were subjected to the blind taste test in a controlled environment under scientific eye, we were able to crown the following winners:

Once we concluded the experiment, I jotted down some feedback and then chowed down myself.  I can honestly say there wasn’t a bad cupcake in this bunch.  And something about Sweet Cups! strawberry confection really wooed me – the delicate pink frosting with bits of strawberry, the wonderfully comforting blend of strawberry and vanilla…it’s a darling of a cupcake.  And Sweet Cups! sweet potato cupcake is not to be overlooked. This was one of Steve’s favorites, along with Neapolitan’s peanut butter and salted caramel.

Here are some other comments the gang had to say:

-The cake at Neapolitan was a tad bit on the dry side.

-The Lil’ Dutch Bakery strawberry cupcake tasted like a pop-tart.

-The contest between Lil’ Dutch Bakery’s strawberry cupcake and Sweet Cups’ was neck and neck – it was a close race for those two.

-The Lil’ Dutch Bakery key lime cupcake tasted like lime jello.

-The appearance of the Lil’ Dutch Bakery cupcakes wasn’t much to write home about (along with the packaging), but their deliciousness (and 3 crowned victories) reinforced that whole “don’t judge a book by its cover” philosophy.

*and my little note to self: 12 pieces of 1/4 a cupcake = bad idea.  A cupcake hangover ensued.

Ok, let’s see if I can handle the breakdown x 3

Lil’ Dutch Bakery  / 3830 Washington Road, Augusta, GA /( no website) 706.228.5336

Sweet Cups! Cupcakes, Confections & Catering / 604 Shartom Drive, Augusta, GA / (no website) 706.922.1300

Neapolitan Cupcake & Gift Shoppe  / 106 Pleasant Home Road 2A, Augusta, GA / http://www.neapolitangifts.com

1. Price:

Lil’ Dutch Bakery – $1.59 each (that’s a deal right there, folks!)

Sweet Cups! – $2.50 each /$25 dozen/ minis! – $1.50 each, 3 for $3.75

Neapolitan – $2.75 each / $30 dozen / minis! – $0.75 each, $10 dozen

2. Room temperature:

Lil’ Dutch Bakery – Yes

Sweet Cups! – Yes

Neapolitan: – Nope, they’re kept cold here

3.  Size:

Lil’ Dutch Bakery – Cake size = grande (or venti, if we’re talking Starbucks lingo) / Frosting size = poquito

Sweet Cups! – Standard

Neapolitan –  Cake size = standard / Frosting size = piled high

4. Vegan or gluten-free options:

Lil’ Dutch Bakery – No, sorry

Sweet Cups! – No dice

Neapolitan – Gluten-free (in chocolate, vanilla, and red velvet) is made on an order by order basis – $18 half dozen, $36 dozen

5. To-go packaging:

Lil’ Dutch Bakery – All four cupcakes were set on top of a styrofoam plate/tray of sorts and covered with plastic wrap

Sweet Cups! – Pink cardboard box with interior dividers and logo sticker on top

Neapolitan – Brown cardboard box with interior dividers and logo sticker on top

6. Milk for sale?:

Lil’ Dutch Bakery – Ummm, I’m not sure.  Aunt T, what say you?

Sweet Cups! – Not that I spotted.  They did have bottled beverages on hand like Snapple, Gatorade, sodas, water, and Starbucks frappuccinos

Neapolitan – Couldn’t find here either, but don’t forget there’s free pink lemonade!  Also available – Cokes, water, and Jittery Joe’s coffee (I’m a fan of this coffee since it started in Athens, GA.  plus it’s yummy!)

7.  Other treats for non-cupcake enthusiasts you may have in tow:

Lil’ Dutch Bakery – I think lots of baked good abound here, but Aunt T will have to fill in the details…

Sweet Cups! – Cinnamon rolls and slices of red velvet cake

Neapolitan – Cookies, cake pops, plus t-shirts, onesie, bath bombs, and other gifts galore

8.  Ambiance: 

Lil’ Dutch Bakery – Not sure, Aunt T & Uncle L picked up our goods.

Sweet Cups! – Unassuming yet welcoming.  Pale green walls, minimal decor, no seating area so plan on cupcake “take-out”

Neapolitan – Vibrant and full of pink!  Like I mention above, there’s a lot to look at – gift items and such.  And plenty of seating (3 tables, 2 sofas) so you could sit and stay awhile (and watch SpongeBob on their tv)

9. Service:  

Lil’ Dutch Bakery – Oh no, can’t answer this one either.  Aunt T, you’re gonna have to be my guest blogger here!

Sweet Cups! – The woman helping us the day of our visit was actually the baker, and she was very kind and fun to talk to.  She seemed to love baking, and I think that shines through in the cupcakes.

Neapolitan – Friendly and especially helpful service (thank you, thank you for coming out to look for us and not throwing out our cupcakes when we accidentally left without them!)

So, I’m sort of skipping #10 here – please don’t shun me!  I’ve just up and run out of steam.  Maybe I need a cupcake

Thanks so much B. Family (Aunt T, Uncle L, P, J, AK, C, and L) for such a fun time, making this happen,  and all your help!

Lil’ Dutch Bakery
Lil' Dutch Bakery on Urbanspoon

Neapolitan Cupcake & Gift Shoppe on Urbanspoon

CamiCakes Continued…

14 May

Last time on Cupcake Crusade, Jeanne the fearless cupcake-eater and her gallant companion Steve set out for new horizons!  We wanted to 1) take this mission to new heights by adding video and 2) try some well-acclaimed Atlantian cupcakes.   Once we arrived, encountered the masses of people, and the camera started rolling, I pretty much lost my “fearless” persona.  But, all in all – mission accomplished!  ( You can relive all the excitement here: https://cupcakecrusade.wordpress.com/2011/04/25/camicakes-cameo/ )

Pre-visit, my online research led me to believe that CamiCakes is a top contender in the Atlanta’s best cupcakery debate.  Seeing the never-ending long line on the day of our visit (and actually, this was the busiest cupcakery I’ve been to Atlanta) validated that whole hunch.

While waiting in line (and sheepishly shooting some video footage), we spotted a menu on the wall with mouthwatering images of what CamiCakes had to offer.  (This came in handy since the long line blocked our view of the real-deal cupcakes.)

We picked out the following four cupcakes, took them outside to chow down, and jotted down these thoughts:

1) Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream (“classic chocolate cake topped with yummy peanut butter cream cheese frosting”) – the chocolate cake was so moist and fresh, it almost fell apart.  But boy, the flavor was good and the frosting was soft and fluffy.  Actually, the whole package was soft and fluffy – it made me want to just smush the whole thing in my mouth!

2) Chocolate Raspberry Almond Cream (“moist chocolate cake infused with raspberry puree, topped with cream cheese, toasted almonds and drizzled with raspberry puree”. Doesn’t that sound amazing! ) – this cake had the same crazy-moist thing going for it.  I didn’t notice much almond flavor, but the whole ensemble of chocolate, raspberry and cream cheese was bursting with make-your-mouth-happy flavor!  Heads- up: these cupcakes are no skinny minis and the cream cheese frosting makes it all quite filling.

3) Sweet Potato (“cinnamon and real sweet potato mixed in our yellow buttery cake and topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting”) – talk about bursting with flavor!  Our previously posted film footage showed me deeply inhaling the aroma of this bad boy, and Steve comments in the background that he could even smell it from across the table and behind the camera!  So, did it taste as good as it smelled?  Oh yea, it was a party in my mouth (is that expression overly used now?  Sorry if your answer is yes!) .  The flavors are very reminiscent of pumpkin pie, with a strong kick of cinnamon and I’m guessing nutmeg.  I loved this one and am contemplating a Top 10 spot for it.

4) Cotton Candy (Sorry I don’t have the official description!  I think because it’s a seasonal flavor, it doesn’t get a permanent spot on the online menu.  But let me try to sum it for ya…buttery yellow cake with two-toned pink and blue buttercream frosting) – both Steve and I thought this tasted like your standard vanilla cake with vanilla frosting.  (I felt bad for Steve because I think he was pretty jazzed about a cotton candy-flavored cupcake.)  Steve said it was still good, but for me it wasn’t especially memorable.

No shortage on frosting here

Another heads-up here – over half the cupcakes on CamiCakes’ menu have cream cheese frosting.  This general makes me frown, but Steve thinks cream cheese frosting rules.  Let’s take a vote!  Who’s right – me or Steve?? (post your vote as a comment below)

When all was said in done and smushed in my mouth, CamiCakes had two new fans under their belts.  Steve says it’s one of the best places we’ve been to in Georgia, and I may very well agree!

And now, we break. it. down

CamiCakes Cupcakes / Atlanta (Buckhead), GA ~ Atlanta (Vinings), GA ~ Jacksonville (Tinseltown), FL ~ Orange Park, FL / www.camicakes.com

1. Price:  $2.50 – give it up for an under $3 cupcake, woot woot! / $28 dozen

2. Room temperature:  Yes, oui, si, ja…that’s all I got.

3.  Size:  Not jumbo and not standard…I’d say pleasantly plump.

4. Vegan or gluten-free options:  No, non, no, neine…I’m out of languages, sorry to any Asian continent followers.

5. To-go packaging:  For our four cupcakes, we got a pretty pink cardboard box (with standard dividers inside) and a logo sticker to seal it up.  Individually purchased cupcakes went in a plastic clamshell (without the interior braces)…not a fan of those, but what can you do.

6. Milk for sale?:  Get this, they had pink milk for sale!  Well, technically it’s strawberry milk.  But I’ve been thinking that the cutely decorated cupcake boutiques (especially the ones with pink decor)  should serve pink milk ~ it’s a simple, yet fun and festive touch .  Anyway, they had that as well as organic milk, bottled water, sodas, ice tea, Tazo teas…

7.  Other treats for non-cupcake enthusiasts you may have in tow: See answer to #4.

8.  Ambiance:  It’s a little bubbly and a little Ikea hip.  There were a few barstools so as to sit up near the main counter-area; four indoor tables along the wall (with pretty pink bud vases and fresh flowers – another nice touch!), and 2 or 3 outdoor tables.  The predominant, long cupcake counter is where it’s at though! I don’t know if it was the endless line running through the middle of the store or because most people take their cupcakes and run these days, but not a single soul was taking advantage of the indoor seating. 

9. Service:  Warm and easy-going, which I think is awesome given two elements that would’ve had me all kinds of frazzled if I worked there.  1) the endless line, out the door!  and 2) the credit card machine being down, so it was cash only.

10.  Three words to describe the CamiCakes experience:

1)  neighborly 2) bustling

 3) mouthwatering

Camicakes Cupcakes on Urbanspoon