Tag Archives: Georgia cupcakes

Gimme Some Suga, Steve!

15 Nov

This week, I thought I’d hand over the mic to my husband, Steve.  He’s a personal trainer.  Me, I eat a lot of cupcakes and write about them.  It’s a well-balanced marriage.  Even though he’s passionate about good health and well-being, he’s still a super trooper on my quest to find the country’s best cupcake!  Last weekend, we merrily hopped in the car for a quick trip to Suwanee, GA to check out Gimme Some Suga Bakery Bar.  Turns out Roswell -> Suwanee does not equal quick trip, more like 40 minutes.  Oh well, it was still cool to explore a new Georgia town and walk around Suwanee’s lively Town Center.

So, without further ado…heeeeeeeeeeere’s Steve!  Take it away, Sugar Lips!  (Just kidding, I don’t really call him that.  But I should because it’d coordinate so well with the post’s title…and because he’s so sweet.  Sorry! Steve’s rolling his eyes right now…as I’m afraid you are, too.)

Man, when they say, “Gimme Some Suga” they really mean it!  The frosting on all of the cupcakes was super sweet.  So sweet in fact that it almost overwhelmed any flavor from the cake.  Luckily, I enjoy sweet foods and for the most part, enjoyed the cupcakes.

My favorite cupcake was easily the Pumpkin Spice.  The cake was delicious and the frosting was super sweet, but also right for the flavoring of the cake.  I feel like either the cupcakes need to be bigger or there needs to be less frosting.  I like a good amount of frosting, but when it’s as sweet as the frosting here, it overwhelms the cake. 

Overall, I think the store itself was okay.  It had neat little decorations and the person who serviced us was very friendly.  There was a birthday party going on when came in and it made the store very cramped, so we decided to eat our cupcakes outside. 

I think the Pumpkin Spice deserves a spot on my personal Top 10.  But to be honest, I have eaten so many cupcakes that I cannot remember them all. 

 ~Banana Bread Cupcake

Bread did not have much banana flavor.  Frosting was great – very chocolaty.

~Pumpkin Spice

Delicious!  I really enjoyed both the cake and frosting.  The frosting was so sweet that it might have overwhelmed the cake some.

~Lemon Cake

More sweet than tart or zingy.  Plain vanilla cake with sweet lemon frosting on top.  Not bad, but needs work to be more lemony.

~Chocolate Peanut Butter

Very sweet frosting – enjoyed it though! 

Thanks, Steve, for your insightful analysis!  My favorite was the Banana Bread Cupcake.  I really love banana bread, period.  Top it with chocolate frosting, even better.  And this guy had the genuine dense banana bread experience, yum!  I just wasn’t a fan of the dense frosting, it was almost like a piece of fudge (now, for some people, that may be right up your alley!)  The thick sugary frosting on all four cupcakes was too much for my sweet tooth to handle.  And I used to eat chocolate sprinkles by the spoonfuls, so I’ve always considered my sweet tooth to be big league.  Not to toot my own horn or anything…

Let’s roll out the break down now!

Gimme Some Suga Bakery Bar / 320 Town Center Avenue Suwanee, GA / www.gimmesomesugabakerybar.com

1. Price: $2.75 each / $15 half dozen / $28 dozen

2. Room temperature: Yes, holla! (I’ve always wanted to say that!  Did I spell it right?)

3.  Size:  Just a smidge smaller than standard

4. Cake to Frosting Ratio:  Slightly skewed in the frosting’s favor, which given it’s density, wasn’t working for me this time around

5. Vegan or gluten-free options:  Special order only

6. To-go packaging:  Cardboard box with logo sticker on top, no dividers inside though. Whoa, we were walking around with unsupported cupcakes and I didn’t even know it.  We were lucky no one was hurt!  (by no one, I mean no cupcake)

7. Milk for sale?:  I didn’t spot any milk, but they do have water, soda, Gatorade, Propel, Tazo teas, and coffee for sale.

8.  Other treats for non-cupcake enthusiasts you may have in tow: Cheesecake!  They’ve got 4″, 7″, and 9″ cheesecakes on their menu.  Along with t-shirts ($12.99) and bath bombs ($10).

9.  Ambiance: I really like the decor here ~ it was warm & inviting; hip and youthful; girly yet grounded (they had a tv tuned into the football game.  Steve was pleased.)  There were 3 indoor tables with groovy bar stools, fun artwork,  nice music playing, and rad lighting.  I was pleased.

10. Service: Excellent.  Even though, as Steve mentioned, there was lots of commotion with a birthday party going on, the one person manning the counter that day still gave us her full and kind attention.

11.  Three words to describe the Gimme Some Suga experience (according to Steve):

1) very 2) sweet 3) cupcakes

Although I’m not crowning a Top 10 this go around, the whole experience of Gimme Some Suga was worth the less than quick trip!  If you head out that way, let me know what you think.  Any other Suwanee must-see sights?  On another note, are you a nickname/pet name user?  Got any good ones?


Wholey Moly Whole Foods!

22 Sep

You might find yourself exclaiming this very same statement after encountering Whole Foods’ cupcakes,  for one or all of the following reasons:

1) They’re expensive – $3.49 a pop

2) They’re huge.  Like, there’s no possible way I could smoosh the whole thing in my mouth  (because, you know, I like to have that option)

3) They’re scrumdiddlyumptious! (name that movie…)

After my little identity crisis last month, I finally got my act together and marched into my local Whole Foods with downright determination.  I was gonna eat a cupcake gosh darn it and eat it good.

There were 11 flavors available, along with 7 characters (like Elmo, Spongebob, a cow, and I think the pig from Angry Birds) to choose from.   I paced the counter, back and forth back and forth, so many times that (I believe he was) the baker came out to offer assistance.  He gave a detailed run-down of each flavor, and with his help I able to narrow down my selection to the two flavors exclusive to the Merchant’s Walk (Marietta, GA) Whole Foods – the Peanut Butter cupcake and the Cookie Dough cupcake.  A few more minutes passed and my mind was made – the hefty Cookie Dough stud of a cupcake was coming home with me!

So...I got a vanilla mini cupcake also. I couldn't resist it's cuteness!

Back at home, I cozied up on the couch with my plate o’ cupcake in one hand and an eager fork in the other.  I had a good felling about this.  Took one bite and swooooooned – this cupcake was divine!  The cake was fresh, chocolately, moist and sweet.  Then the frosting was oh so lovable – soft and sugary.  And I think that actual cookie dough mixed into buttercream is genius.  Nearing the end of my little, cupcake love affair, I realized I was doing something unusual – I was taking teeny tiny forkfuls, almost crumb-size bites.  It was so good that I guess I was just doing whatever necessary to prolong the sweet experience.  Word to the wise – this cupcake is literally sweet!  I’m pretty sure eating the cupcake in full (I split mine with Steve) would result in a cupcake hangover.  And trust me, those are not cool.

Let’s break it down now…(btw, I’ve added a new category to the list.  I hope you like it!)

Whole Foods (Merchant’s Walk) / 1311 Johnson Ferry Road NE Marietta, GA / http://wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/merchantswalk

1. Price: $3.49.  That’s pricey, no doubt about it.  But, it’s jumbo-sized and prime for sharing.  Also, some are filled so you get a lot for your money.

2. Room temperature:  No, their specialty cupcakes (jumbo-sized and character cupcakes) are kept in a cold case.  They do however have room temperature, pre-packaged “Two Bite” cupcakes ready and willing whenever you are.

3.  Size:  JUMBO !  This may be Numero Uno in the jumbo cupcake category.  Well, except for Big Papi over at Trader Joe’s.

4. Cake to Frosting Ratio (<—new category!): While I stress the jumbo size, I must say this ratio is still commendable.  I probably had just a wee bit of frosting left unaccompanied.  But that’s okay with me – if it’s good frosting, I’ll take my frosting straight up (still waiting the day to try a frosting shot…)!

5. Vegan or gluten-free options:  Single ($2.99) and packs of 4 ($7.99) gluten-free cupcakes are on-hand.  The day of my visit,  these were of the “blondie chocolate chip” variety.  Not sure if this flavor is standard or rotates.  If you find out, let me know!

6. To-go packaging:  Interesting little plastic cup with lid.  You know the things they put a McDonald’s sundae in?  It’s kind of like that, but upside down.  It definitely prevents the cupcake from toppling over and messing up the cupcake’s “do”, which can really bum me out.  But extracting the cupcake still got kinda messy.  It’d be awesome if they’d employ the same technique of Edibles Incredible, where they put a long skinny strip of parchment paper underneath and along the sides of the cupcake so you can then pull up on the ends of the strip to lift it out.

7. Milk for sale?:  Oh yes, there’s so much milk for sale!  And every other delicious beverage you can imagine!  You know, now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure Whole Foods doesn’t sell Coke and Pepsi products.  So if those were the tasty beverages you were imagining – I’m sorry!

8.  Other treats for non-cupcake enthusiasts you may have in tow:  Oh yes, so many treats!  You can make a night out out of Whole Foods (remember when I mentioned that grocery stores do it for me? Crazy, but true!)  But seriously, you can go and load up a plate full of yummy variety from their hot bar and salad bar, get some freshly squeezed juice with a splash of wheatgrassthen pick out your well-deserved (since you drank wheatgrass) jumbo cupcake!  Oh yeah, and then you can get some groceries, nice-smelling soap, and a pair of Tom’s shoes if you fancy.  Whole Foods = my idea of a fun date.

Pretty cakes on-hand, too!

9.  Ambiance:  The Merchant’s Walk Whole Foods to is just about a month old, so every thing is still shiny and new.  Most of the Whole Foods I’ve been to, though, have a pleasant ambiance – breezy and hip.  Plus, there’s indoor and outdoor seating that says “hey neighbor, why don’t you stop and stay awhile!”.

10. Service:  Excellent!  I wasn’t left waiting, they let me take pictures and ask random questions as well as pace back and forth in front of their counter.  And then the baker came out and provided me with all sorts of helpful information, too.  Happy customer right here.

Fresh ingredients + unprocessed sugar = less guilt 🙂

11.  Three words to describe the Whole Foods Bakery experience:

1)  Invigorating 2) Neighborly 3) Licking-my-plate-delicious

To sum it all up, I really loved that Cookie Dough cupcake.  And really want to find a spot for it on the Top 10.  It’s just getting so hard now with all the amazing cupcakes that have come before it and captured my heart & taste buds.  Give me a little more time to think it through and I’ll find a righteous spot for it!

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Atlanta Cupcake Factory Forces Me To Break Out The Dictionary

2 Sep

And by “break out the dictionary”, I mean break out the online dictionary (watch out, we can get brainy up in here).  The reasoning behind my dictionary search – to examine the meaning of “factory”.  You see, when I first heard the name “Atlanta Cupcake Factory”, I envisioned this massively old brick building.  That carried a rich and quirky history, like the largest paper clip manufacturer this side of the Atlantic or something.  And now the  industrial, architectural beast of a building was re-purposed to the sweet tune of mass cupcake production.  Can you picture it?  I imagined buying a ticket that got you a tour of the facility.  We’d wear hairnets and white lab coats as we strolled the factory floors and watch freshly baked cupcakes stream down a conveyer belt.  Puffs of colorful frosting would magically drop from some mechanical arm as the cupcakes merrily rolled on by.  We’d get high on the scent of sugar, sample dollops of frosting, then conclude our tour with the all-you-can-eat-cupcake-buffet in the building’s cafeteria.   I see myself emerging the factory at sunset with crumbs in my hair and bellybutton, wearing  a gift shop t-shirt proclaiming “Cupcakes Are The New Paperclips!”.

So, you can understand my surprise when my friend Beatrix first pointed out the Atlanta Cupcake Factory tucked into a small strip of shops called Highland Row.

It’s really charming, but factory it is not.  At least not the factory-type I pictured.  Hence, the need for an official “factory” definition.  Here we go – according to good ol’ Merriam-Webster, a factory =

1. a station where factors reside and trade

2. a building or set of buildings with facilities for manufacturing

3. the seat of some kind of production

So even though their website states that they are “dedicated to handcrafted, small-batch wholesome baking”, Atlanta Cupcake Factory is still the seat of some kind of (–>cupcake) production.  So I guess it’s legit.  I’m just gonna chalk up this whole tangent to my wild imagination, and not a fail in elementary education.  (But now that it’s out there, don’t you think this country needs my visionary cupcake factory!  Surely there’s a sleepy old plant out there some where, just prime for the picking, that we can bestow this sweet endeavor upon.  Let’s make it happen America!)

In terms of the actual Atlanta Cupcake Factory –  it’s a bigwig in the Atlanta cupcake arena and is certainly worth a go-see.  It’s been recommended by Southern Living, has won Creative Loafing’s “Best of” award in 2008, 2009, and 2010, and made National Geographic Traveler’s “25 Cupcakeries We Love” list (um, how have I not seen this list until now?!  I’m so ashamed, I only have like 9 of the cupcakeries from this list on my radar.  This is not a good day for Cupcake Crusader.).

Stepping into the 5-year old, family-owned and operated Atlanta Cupcake Factory is like slipping into a little cupcake-feathered nest with tons of homespun appeal.  At first, you might be caught off guard by the tight quarters but you’ll soon be enveloped by the cozy and intimate vibe to even notice.  There were about 12 flavors to choose from during my Friday afternoon visit with Beatrix (but their online menu sets the mouth-a-watering with lots of flavors like Banana Brown Sugar, Sugar Cookie Vanilla Peach, Strawberry Lemonade, and Chocolate Dolce de Leche.)  Beatrix had her heart set on a Vanilla Salted Caramel (an ACF top-seller) and I went with the Fresh Strawberry…and the Chocolate Almond Raspberry for good measure!  We sat outside with Beatrix’s loveable pup, Schmoo, and enjoyed our sugary sweets!

Since I admire and respect Beatrix’s opinion greatly, I asked her to type up her critique (like we had done here after our visit to Belly General Store).  So without further ado, please join me in welcoming back the words of Beatrix!

The thing I like best about the ACF is that their cupcakes actually taste like their name – i.e. strawberry truly tastes like strawberry, etc.  Some cupcakes really just taste like straight sugar, regardless of what flavoring they profess.  But ACF seems quite genuine.  Another funny anecdote to relate is how much joy they brought my 89 year old grandmother when I took them down for an Easter celebration.  She took that double chocolate cupcake from the box and proceeded to get chocolate frosting all over her from head to tow.  She looked a lot like a kid eating their first birthday cake when all was done.  And Schmoo (the loveable pup I mentioned earlier) dutifully sat under her wheelchair in expectation of the cake crumbs from heaven.

I wholeheartedly agree with Beatrix in that the cupcake flavors are not misleading, but immediately identifiable and rich.  Both Beatrix and I delighted in the bursting freshness of the raspberry puree atop the Chocolate Almond Raspberry.   I instantly detected the warm caramel flavor faintly contrasted by a pinch of salt in my bite of Beatrix’s  Salted Caramel cupcake.  And the Fresh Strawberry, oh now that was a darling of a cupcake.  One of those make-you-feel-like-a-(very lucky!)-kid-again kind of cupcakes.  Maybe a Top 10 contender, I told Beatrix (still deliberating in that department).   Overall – fresh cakes all around (ACF uses no oil and bakes on-site everyday) and standard cake/frosting ratio.

Phew, apologies for my chattiness today (or is it always?)!  But at least it was educational, no?  Let me get to a brief break down and get you on your way!

Atlanta Cupcake Factory / 624 N. Highlands Ave.  Atlanta, GA / www.theatlantacupcakefactory.com

1. Price: $2.50 each

2. Room temperature: Yes!

3.  Size:  Standard

4. Vegan or gluten-free options:  No

5. To-go packaging:  Plastic clamshell.  Ours came in a six-seater.  It’s effective, but I’m not a huge fan of plastic.

6. Milk for sale?:  Yes, along with Coke, Sprite, Diet Coke, H2O, coffee, and cinnamon coffee.

7.  Other treats for non-cupcake enthusiasts you may have in tow: Homemade rice crispy bars (including fruity pebble and chocolate salted caramel varieties) and chocolate espresso brownies.  Oh yeah, you can also buy cute handmade aprons for $30.

8.  Ambiance: It’s a small space with a vintage feel, fun art, and nostalgic flair.  Plus it had two of my favorite elements in a cupcakery – hardwood floors and lots of natural lighting.  No where to sit inside though.  Two patio tables and bench available outside (which is dog friendly!).

9. Service:  Welcoming and down-to-earth.

10.  Three words to describe the Atlanta Cupcake Factory experience (once I got over my reality check):

1) Flavorful 2) Cozy 3) Artsy

Just for fun, here’s a shot of Beatrix’s Pekingese either 1) eagerly anticipating Beatrix’s exit from ACF or 2) longing for her very own cupcake.  I tell ya, that dog has a special place in my heart (and just happens to be my god-dog :))!  Thank you Beatrix and Schmoo for being such trusty crusade companions!

Atlanta Cupcake Factory on Urbanspoon

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Hello There Cupcake, Nice To Meet You!

29 Jul

Our latest cupcake adventure takes us to “the heart of Georgia”!  Located about 85 miles southeast of Atlanta and smack dab in the middle of the state (hence “the heart…” nickname), is none other than Macon, Georgia.  Allow me to geek out for a moment here.  (Feel free to join me, or skip ahead to the part where we pig out on five cupcakes).  This city of the South is home to the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, the Allman Brothers Band Museum, the Ocmulgee National Monument, over 5,000 National Register of Historic Places-listed structures (including this beauty -wow!); and was once home to Otis Reading, Little Richard, and Oprah’s “Favorite Things” episode (2007).  Another thing going for Macon – Hello There Cupcake!  Which is just what I exclaimed (in my head) when I walked through their doors!  Yup, Macon has got an authentic cupcakery in its midst.  The store is pretty, the cupcakes are pretty, the cupcakes taste good and were a good price – what more could a (cupcake-obsessed) girl ask for?

I was flying solo on this mission, and actually looking quite the opposite of the store’s appearance.  Inside Hello There Cupcake you’ll find glittering chandeliers, chic decor, perfectly “coiffed” cupcakes, and spotless floors and tabletops.  Me, on the other hand, not so coiffed.  I was in town helping a friend paint their house, so I had spots of paint all over me (including my hair) and entirely un-chic apparel.  Alas, Hello There Cupcake still welcomed me through their doors and loaded me up with lovely cupcakes.   Despite the gnarly appetite all that painting created, I was good and only picked out four (our self-designated allotment for each mission) cupcakes.  Well…I was good for about 55 seconds.  I did pick out four cupcakes at first!  They kindly packaged them up for me so I could take them home to eat with Steve, and as they were ringing me up… I caved.  I just had to have the coconut cupcake also!  And in it went, into its own individual box as I grinned mischievously.  Steve would never have to know I strayed and I could stuff that beautiful cupcake in my mouth in sheer delight as I drove home.

Fast forward through my 1.5 hour drive home, a quick scrubbing shower, a little dinner, and we had the following cupcake feast laid out before us!

Lemon Love ~ lemon cake with cream cheese frosting, topped with the cutest little sugar daisy you’ve ever seen!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ~ chocolate chip cake with cookie dough frosting, topped with mini chocolate chip

Strawberry Dream ~ strawberry vanilla cake with strawberry frosting

Turtle ~ chocolate cake with pecans, caramel Italian buttercream with caramel drizzle and pecans on top

Snowball ~ coconut cake with cream cheese frosting, topped with shaved coconut

When I opened our box of goods, I found myself exclaiming yet again “why, hello there cupcake”.  They were just so darn pretty!  Overall, all cupcakes were tasty and fresh (they bake from scratch every morning and never sell a day old cupcake), yet landed on the denser side of the spectrum.  The cake-frosting ratio was skewed only slightly, and for me a tad bit more frosting on my fork is fine in my book.  I didn’t have a stand-out favorite, but enjoyed the Strawberry Dream, the Lemon Love, and the Snowball equally.  Steve awarded Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough best-in-show.  The only downside amongst this spread – the Italian buttercream on the Turtle cupcake.  It wasn’t a favorite in our household.  I didn’t think it was that bad, maybe just a bit bland, but Steve was not pleased with its “watery” consistency.  This might be a delectable that needs to be eaten right away and not sit around for a few hours.

And now, let’s down a stroll along the break down…

HELLO THERE CUPCAKE / 4524 Forsyth Rd. Macon, GA / www.hellotherecupcake.com

1. Price:  $2.50 each  / $27.50 dozen

2. Room temperature: Yes!

3.  Size:  Just a wee bit bigger than standard

4. Vegan or gluten-free options:  Not at the moment they said, so maybe this means it’s in the works.

5. To-go packaging:  Square, pink cardboard box (sans adornment) with standard dividers inside.

6. Milk for sale?:  Indeed!  + coffee, water and Coke products.

7.  Other treats for non-cupcake enthusiasts you may have in tow:  Frosting shots for 50 cents!  I’ve heard about this phenomenon and it intrigues me.  How exactly do you shoot frosting?  I can’t imagine it slips right into your mouth.  I can just picture it now – head tilted back, lips wrapped around a shot glass, mouth-watering, and just waiting….and waiting….and waiting for the frosting to eventually fall out.  I may have this all wrong, so I’m now determined to partake in frosting shots next encounter.  I walk on the wild side…sometimes.   In the mean time, any one out there ever given this a go? I’d love to hear about it!  Hello There Cupcake also sells greeting cards, birthday kits (package of 2 candles, matches, a bow, and confetti), t-shirts, and hats.

8.  Ambiance: Minimalism meets glamour.  I gotta give props to whoever designed the store!  The size of the space was just right.  The decor was creative without being clutter and sparkled without being flashy.  I walked in and had that “oooooooh, how pretty!” moment.  There were a few places to sit (yay, no need to eat on the sidewalk)Plus, everything seemed super clean and tidy.

9. Service:  There were two people on staff the day of my visit, so everything seemed to be running ship-shape.  No long line,  cupcakes well stocked, and (like I mention above) the shop was spick and spanBonus: they answered all my questions and gave good recommendations.

10.  Three words to describe the HELLO THERE CUPCAKE experience:

1)  Clean 2) Enchanting 3) Pretty

Even though we don’t have a Top 10 game-changer here, I still look back on my time at Hello There Cupcake fondly.  It was like a Cinderella moment – I went into Hello There Cupcake  looking bedraggled, but eating their cupcakes made me feel pretty.  Now, that’s my kind of fairytale!

Hello There Cupcake on Urbanspoon

p.s. Macon-dwellers (and coming soon to Warner Robins) ~ check out their facebook page to learn more about giveaways and cupcake debuts!

Piece of Cake Takes a Piece of My Heart

19 Jul

We’ve got a top contender for Atlanta’s best cupcake (in my book, at least)!  The recommendations, high ratings, and online accolades did not go unnoticed, and I finally made it to sweet, PIECE OF CAKE (you can read of my failed, first attempt here)!  And let me just tell you, everything I read was true.  Heavens to Betsy,  their cupcakes rock the house!

I met up with a friend of mine, who had the beautiful idea of a mid-week, mid-day sugar snack.  Which couldn’t have come at a better time, seeing as I was suffering from an acute case of cupcake withdraw.  Two and a half weeks I went without cupcakes!  May be a new record…that I’m not at all proud of.  Another record breaker that day – the weather.  Lord Almighty, I’m pretty sure Wednesday July 13, 2011 was the hottest day of my life.  Turns out it only hit 96, but I can now say that whole Hotlanta thing is no myth.  You’d think that a popsicle, frozen yogurt, ice cream, what have you, would’ve hit the spot, but oh no!  A half-dozen of Piece of Cake’s small cupcakes put a skippy skip in my step.

Piece of Cake is a bakery veteran.  They’ve been around 26 years and that time has served them well.  They’ve perfected cake consistency to a T.  We’re talking soft, spongy, fresh, moist, flavorful cake that doesn’t crumble apart in your hand – that’s a piece of art.  Their cake/frosting ratio is respectable.  It’s as, I believe, cupcakes were intended to be.  No risk of frosting shock found here.  But boy of boy, there’s just the right amount of sugar stirred (and love, I’m guessing) into those cupcake creations to make any sweet tooth sigh with relief.

So back to my half-dozen, small cupcakes – I selected the Caramel, Coconut, Lemon, Orange, Red Velvet and Yellow (w/chocolate frosting) Cupcakes.  Three were had on the spot, well, on the pretty patio of Henri’s Bakery just a short distance away.  (Gotta give my props to them for not shooing us away, considering they sell cupcakes too! )  I went to town on the Carmel Cupcake first – sweet Mary Jane, that thing was good.  Next up, the Coconut Cupcake – hold the phone, this cupcake is not messing’ around.  At this point, I’m thinking “why, oh why, did I go with the small cupcakes?!”  I wanted more.  So I went in for cupcake #3, the Vanilla (w/chocolate frosting), which is like edible nostalgia.  Later that evening, I presented Steve with his half of my Piece of Cake catch.  I sat right by his side as he sat down to enjoy, and asked for a bite the second he bit into each of the three cupcakes.  What he calls mooching, I call research.  The goodness continued, and the only downside I observed was the Lemon Cupcake lacking that zesty zing.  Overall, Steve commended the cake consistency as well and deemed them tasty!  When I threw out the bold statement of these being Atlanta’s best, thinking he was right there with me, he surprised me with his nod to CamiCakes.  Soooo,  you know what that mean folks?  A blind taste is in order!  Let’s do this (insert dramatic music here)…maybe next week, stay tuned for that endeavor.  Until then, Piece of Cake still has a piece of my heart as well as spot on the Top 10!

Allow me to break it down for you…

PIECE OF CAKE / 3215 Roswell Rd. Atlanta, GA / www.pieceofcakeinc.com / Other locations = 10971 Crabapple Rd. Suite 1300 Roswell, GA and 307 E. College Ave. Suite A Decatur, GA

1. Price:

Large = $2.75 each / $14.75 half dozen / $29.50 dozen

Small = $2.25 each / $12 half-dozen / $24 dozen

Mini = $16.50 dozen

2. Room temperature:  Yes

3.  Size:  The large cupcakes were definitely on the plump size, but not plump enough for me to share half of graciously.  The small-sized cupcakes look awfully similar to mini cupcakes…maybe a smidge bigger than your average mini.  And I didn’t spot any mini cupcakes on the day of my visit, so I’m afraid I can’t report back on that department.  Anyone out there ever have a mini cupcake from Piece of Cake?  In terms of size, what would you compare it to?   

4. Vegan or gluten-free options:  Not in cupcake form.   But they do have a case full of gluten-free goodies (frozen) from Pure Knead, a “dedicated bakery specializing in allergy friendly fare”.

5. To-go packaging:  White cardboard box with red bow print on top (cute!) and dividers inside.

6. Milk for sale?: No beverages, so you gotta take your thirst somewhere else(I say that in the nicest way possible.)

7.  Other treats for non-cupcake enthusiasts you may have in tow:  For on the spot enjoyment, there’s chocolate chip cookies, shortbread cookies, tarts, brownies, cheese straws, slices of cake and pound cake.  Then you can either order (and ship if need be!) layer and/or pound cakes, as well as pick up a gift of chocolate-covered peanuts, bag of malt balls, jar of gum balls, yogurt covered pretzels, mini chocolate chip cookies, pimped out popcorn (i.e. drizzled with chocolate and the like).  Candles, napkins, paper plates, and greeting cards are all available for your party needs, too!

8.  Ambiance: It’s a darling little shop filled with sunlight and sugary aromas.  Stepping inside feels familiar even though I’ve never been before.  No place to sit though (bummer),  so you do need to plan on eating elsewhere.   May I suggest your car?  Because it’s just wrong to wait more than a minute to eat these rock star baked goods.

9. Service:  Excellent!  I loved how friendly/down-to-earth/easy-going the staff was.

10.  Three words to describe the PIECE OF CAKE experience:

1)  Darling 2) Sunny 3) Delicious
Piece of Cake on Urbanspoon

Thanks K, for the fun idea and good company!

Meet Miss Mamie!

3 Jun

Cupcake Crusade continues! Still searching for the best, kick-butt cupcake in the country!  Armed with this mission, Steve and I skipped over to Marietta, Georgia to see what Miss Mamie’s Cupcakes, Cakes and Such had to offer.

Miss Mamie’s cupcake menu has 18 flavors, consisting of both the traditional (like carrot, red velvet, and vanilla with buttercream) and the unique (like margarita, rocky road, and the aforementioned Guinness).  For some reason, I was able to pick out my cupcake flavors in record time. It was a proud moment.  Anyway!  Here’s the line-up for our feast of four (4 cupcakes between the 2 us seems to be the magic number)!

*A little heads-up: There are two cupcake cases, so be sure to scope out both before selecting your treats!

Lemon Lavender Cupcake (“a sumptuous cake made with fresh lemon zest, juice, and lavender.   Topped with a delicious lemon buttercream and a caramelized lemon slice.“)

This was a dense cake with dense frosting.  I picked up on a subtle lemon flavor, but not so much the lavender.  I was looking forward to that unique taste, but never detected it.  Do you think that the caramelized lemon topping was edible?  hmm…I should’ve eaten it anyway, maybe it would’ve given me that extra lemon zing that I love…next time!

Cheesecake Cupcake

(“white cupcake with cheesecake batter baked inside.  Frosted in cream cheese and topped with a cherry.”)

Nice, spongy & moist cake with a little “pocket” in the middle filled with the cheesecake batter.  Creamy frosting, but not especially cream cheesy.  This one would be good if you don’t have a mammoth sweet tooth like I do.

Cookie Dough Cupcake (“white cupcake with cookie dough baked inside.  Topped with buttercream and an additional chunk of cookie dough.“)

This was probably my favorite out of the bunch.  Buttercream + cookie dough = gold star!  It has been waaaay too long since I last had cookie dough…why am I not eating this on a regular basis?!  And because that buttercream + cookie dough combo ranked high on the sweet-tooth meter, the cupcake’s simple, thick vanilla cake brought  balance to the whole scene.

Guinness Cupcake (“chocolate cupcake made with the Guinness beer topped with cream cheese and mini chocolate chips.”)

I’ve got a little footage of me experiencing the Guinness Cupcake, if you’d like to check it out (btw…this cupcake was my very first brush with a real live, ManCake [I’m blushing!], which I once considered here.)

A common thread between all four of our cupcakes – dense cake and frosting, but fresh to boot.  Not especially sweet, either.  Except  my friend, the cookie dough cupcake.  We didn’t crown a Top 10 cupcake this go around… I must say, it’s getting harder and harder to do the more places we go.  Do you think I should do a Top 50 instead??

Before I break it down, allow me to back it up a bit…what I wanted to say during our little intro (before the train stole the scene!) was that Miss Mamie’s has two cool things going for it, right off the bat –  1) it’s in a historic building and 2) it’s in a quaint, historic downtown.  Gotta love me some historic charm!  And there’s plenty of it encompassing Marietta Square.  I might  have to make another top 10 list, for “top experience” (unique location, cool decor, abounding character,etc).  What do ya think?  Miss Mamie’s would definitely place in that category!

Scenes from downtown Marietta, Georgia

Okiedoke, allow me to break it down for ya!

Miss Mamie’s Cupcakes, Cakes and Such / 156 Roswell Street SE Marietta, GA / www.missmamiescupcakes.com 

1. Price:  $2.50 / Buy 5, get 1 free / $27.50 dozen

2. Room temperature:  Yes, Ma’am

3.  Size:  Standard

4. Vegan or gluten-free options:  No, Sir

5. To-go packaging: We dined in, and had our cupcakes served to us on whimsical mismatched china dessert plates. 

6. Milk for sale?:  Didn’t spot any…but you can get apple juice, bottled water, Pellegrino, ginger ale, Coke, Sprite, Orangina, hot tea, and coffee.

7.  Other treats for non-cupcake enthusiasts you may have in tow: Not readily available (unless you count necklaces, but those aren’t edible).  But they do make custom cakes, awfully pretty ones at that!  (Remember Mamie has an art degree along with her Le Cordon Bleu training! )

8.  Ambiance: Sweet, shabby chic mixed with cozy, historic yumminess.  I appreciated the vintage, floral table clothes; the collection of cake stands used to display the cupcakes; the string of cute aprons hung on the wall; big storefront windows;  and the exposed brick wall!  Oh yeah, and the music!  That’s a Pandora station I would totally tune into.

9. Service:  Kind folks can be found behind the counter at Miss Mamie’s!

10.  Three words to describe the Miss Mamie’s experience:

1) Charming 2) Genuine 3) Relaxed

Miss Mamie's: Cupcakes, Cakes & Such on Urbanspoon

One more thing!  If you do make the trip to Miss Mamie’s and Marietta Square, you might want to swing by “The Big Chicken” while you’re in the neighborhood and check out this quirky roadside architecture.

Sugar Shack, Baby!

24 May

Well the Sugar Shack is a little old place where we can get together – Sugar Shack, bay-beeee!  Sorry, I can’t help but think of the B-52’s classic Love Shack tune when referencing our latest cupcake destination.  Wouldn’t you know it, both the Sugar Shack and the Love Shack are located in Georgia!  Two solid reasons why everyone should move to Georgia – ’cause that’s where it’s at!  🙂

So after Steve and I got our ducks in a row this weekend (after encountering these obstacles), we arrived at Sugar Shack late Sunday afternoon.  And, we’ve got another vlog that will (hopefully!) sum up our outing.  We did encounter one more obstacle, though.  Once we got home from Sugar Shack, we discovered that one of our video clips didn’t download – it mysteriously disappeared.  Drat! I’m still pretty bummed because it was a critical transitional piece.  Thanks for bearing with us here as we learn, and mess up, and grow, mess up some more, and then get really awesome.  Roll tape!

We really enjoyed our experience at Sugar Shack, and got a kick out of all their creative flavors (I counted 41 varieties on their menu, and spotted about 30 in the display case).  Plus, with each of our four cupcakes being filled, I feel like we really got our moneys worth.  Each frosting/topping was creamy and not overly sweet.  The cakes were soft, but not spongy soft.  It was more like a crumbly soft…but not cupcake blanket soft.

One thing the vanished clip included was a shot and description of the cupcake counter, that I was especially excited to share with reader Nessa.  I promise I’ll secure that footage during our next outing, but I do have a photo to offer as a consolation:

And now, the breakdown

Sugar Shack / 4058 Peachtree Rd. Atlanta, GA / http://www.sugarshackatlanta.com

1. Price:  $2.50 each / buy 11, get one free

2. Room temperature:  Nope, they’re kept in a cold case.  But they weren’t super cold, so that was good.

3.  Size:  Standard

4. Vegan or gluten-free options:  They had a gluten-free chocolate cupcake available on the day of our visit.

5. To-go packaging:  Oh, shoot.  We ate ours on the spot, and I didn’t happen to notice the to-go packaging behind the counter.  Sorry folks!

6. Milk for sale?:  Yes!  You can also scan their tea menu (yup, a whole menu devoted to tea!), or slurp on coffee, hot chocolate, espresso, Boylan’s natural sodas, sparkling water, Coke/Diet Coke, orange juice – no shortage on beverage offerings here!

7.  Other treats for non-cupcake enthusiasts you may have in tow:  Tons!  Soups, sandwiches, salads, cookies, brownies, cheesecake, pies, cake, muffins.  All of that is bound to make everyone happy!

8.  Ambiance: It may be full of sugar, but shack it is not.  Sugar Shack is charming!  Fun (but not too loud) music playing, lots of natural light, playful chalkboard menus, plenty of indoor seating on cool retro, aluminum chairs – all lending to a solid cozy factor.  There’s also abundant outdoor seating, where you can join in on the lively atmosphere that is Brookhaven Station.

9. Service:  Sweet!  We definitely felt welcomed at Sugar Shack.  The place was clean and sparkly, and we were well taken care of.

10.  Three words to describe the Sugar Shack experience:

1) Fun 2) Filling 3) Peppy

We didn’t crown a Top 10 cupcake this time around (the Sundae came close), but are happy to now know about Sugar Shack. It’s a cool place that’d I definitely recommend to folks!

Sugar Shack on Urbanspoon