Tag Archives: gingerbread cupcake

The Comfort of Cupcake

25 Jan

North Carolina has got (cupcake) game!  Last month,  I was in the Raleigh area for less than 24 hours for a job interview and knew that I would need  cupcake comfort immediately after.  So that’s how I met The Cupcake Shoppe Bakery, “Raleigh’s first and finest cupcake boutique and bakery”, located just 6 miles from my interview.   I walked in, a bit uncomfortable in my uncustomary suit and wobbly shoes, and breathed a sigh of relief.  In this charming atmosphere among the pretty cupcakes, I could now relax (and pretend that that interview didn’t happen…not one of my top performances.  I blame it on the fluorescent lights, they make me cagey.)

The day of my visit, the Cupcake Shoppe Bakery offered up 13 different cupcake varieties with fun names like “What’s Up Doc?” {carrot cake with cinnamon cream cheese icing}, “Mint Condition” {chocolate cake with mint buttercream}, and “Cookie Monster” {vanilla cake with Oreo buttercream}.  They also feature flavors of the week!  Gingerbread, eggnog, and peppermint were on the menu when I was in town  as Christmas was just around the corner.   After about three other people came in, decided, ordered, and left, I finally had made my decision and departed happily with my four-pack!

Unfortunately, I let the hussle-bussle of the holidays get the best of Cupcake Crusade and am irresponsibly posting this review about a month after my visit.  I also let the interview frazzle get the best of me and didn’t take notes after engaging in my cupcake comfort – I just needed sugar STAT, then comfy pants, and then sleep.  Some cupcake reviewer I am, huh?!  I can say that I fondly remember the “Pretty in Pink” {fresh strawberry cake with strawberry buttercream} and thinking “this has Top 10 potential!”.  It was most satisfying!  Soft cake with the perfect blend strawberry and respectfully sweet buttercream.  The remaining three didn’t leave as dramatic an impression, but were pretty to look at nonetheless.

On to the break down!

The Cupcake Shoppe Bakery / 104 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, North Carolina

1. Price:$3 each / $33 dozen / Minis (available by special order) $16 dozen. On the pricier side…

2. Room temperature:  Yes

3.  Size:  Standard

4. Cake to Frosting Ratio:  1:1

5. Vegan, gluten-free, or sugar-free/low-sugar options: No

6. To-go packaging: Standard cardboard cupcake box, with no dividers (or seat belts as I like to think of them.  Cupcake safety is important to me!) inside.

7. Milk for sale?:  Yes!  Also found on site: Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Crush, Coffee, and free water (I’m a sucker for pretty drink dispensers).

8.  Other treats for non-cupcake enthusiasts you may have in tow: You’re in luck – homemade brownies, truffles, cookies, breakfast muffins, and marshmallows.

9.  Ambiance: Pretty!  They took a pink and brown color palette and created a classy/sweet setting.  The seating was cool (aluminum ladder-back chairs) blended with a romantic splash (chocolate brown-tufted wall benches)And pleasant lighting seemed to make the pale pink walls sparkle a bit.  Outdoor seating also in what seemed like a nice neighborhood.  Oh yeah, and the cash register is pretty darn cool too.

10. Service: Lovely, friendly folk at this well-kept cupcakery.   They bake daily here, and any cupcakes left at the end of the day are donated.  Also, the bakers come in at 3 AM!  I love baking cupcakes but wouldn’t last a week with that schedule.

11.  Three words to describe the The Cupcake Shoppe experience:  1) Calming 2) Chic 3) Charming

Thank you Cupcake Shoppe Bakery for making my very first North Carolina cupcakery visit a delightful one and providing cupcake comfort!


Cupcake Shoppe on Urbanspoon

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Every Cupcake Has A Silver Lining

10 Dec

This week I went to visit the padres who live near Athens, GA.   During our outing about town, we drove by a sign that caught my eye – “Silver Lining Cupcake Co.”  I felt like my seven-year old self again, riding in the back seat of my parents’ car and spotting South of the Border on I-95, saying “can we please stop? Oh, please!  Oh, please!”.   Lucky for me, I have very cool and very sweet parents who were up the detour.

I must begin this review with saying, if you haven’t been to Athens, GA – go!  It’s awfully rad – a neat combination of artsy hip, laid-back southern, and progressive intelligence.  There’s lots of good food to be had as well, and in the seven years I’ve known Athens there’s always something new on the scene.  Enter – Silver Lining Cupcake Co.  They just opened their doors in late October 2010.  It’s housed in a funky, modern building along Baxter Street, yet the cupcakery still emits cozy comfort.  The smell of warm vanilla floating around, soft blue hued walls, hardwood floors, and a mixture of modern and traditional seating.

The cupcakes are located in the center of the counter, it what looks like a glass, cold-case but is actually just a glass case (room temperature cupcakes – hooray!)  Silver Lining had about seven different options to choose from that day, and I must say that these cupcakes were pretty.  Each cupcake was carefully frosted and thoughtfully decorated so I’d say Silver Lining definitely gets an A for appearance!  We picked out one Gingerbread, one Red Velvet (said to be a popular pick), and one Nutty Chocolate and had them packaged to go.  *Side note – the frosting coverage on these guys errs on the slender side.  My mom said that was a good thing.  Me, not so much.

 

Once home, I quickly divided each cupcake into three pieces.  My poor parents – little did they realize that the cupcake they each picked out would be spread out amongst the group but they rolled with the punches like champs.  (Did I mention that my parents are really sweet??) Sometimes, when I’m divvying up cupcakes like this it can get really messy but somehow this bunch remained quite tidy.  I think that’s a good way to describe these treats – tidy.  Anyway…we each enjoyed our three morsels and discussed once the plate was emptied.  Here are our highs and lows of the experience:

-The Gingerbread (our all around favorite). 

~The downside:  the description at the store said it was topped with a lemon buttercream, and while the buttercream was yummy the lemon flavor was timid.  Maybe a few pinches of lemon zest in there would do the trick.

~The silver lining:  the spice cake tasted very good and the consistency was perfect.  And the little gingerbread man cookie on top was cute and tasty, too!

-The Nutty Chocolate

~The downside:  the chocolate cake was pretty plain and quite dry, and unfortunately detracted from the fantastic frosting (see below)

~The silver lining: the hazelnut buttercream was amazing!  It was like Nutella-flavored mousse, which = genius!

-The Red Velvet

~The downside:  the cake was curious.  It tasted good, but the texture was interesting.  I described it as watery and my dad said “frothy”.  Some folks may really like an airy cake to balance out a rich frosting.  I myself would love a bit more density to the cake, maybe some more butter or cocoa in the batter…

~The silver lining:  delicious frosting – the kind that tastes like a blend of buttercream and cream cheese frosting.  I liked the crushed pecans sprinkled on top, as well.

And there we have it!  I wish Silver Lining Cupcake Co. much success as they spread cupcake happiness throughout Athens.  Now, the breakdown

Silver Lining Cupcake Co. / 1075 Baxter St. Suite B102, Athens GA / http://silverliningcupcakeco.com

1. Price:  $2.50 each.  Hungry for more?  $14 for half a dozen / $25 for a dozen

2. Room temperature:  Yes!

3.  Size:  Petite.

4. Vegan or gluten-free options:   Not on display during our visit.  But they can be made, just give them a call with 24 hour notice.

5. To-go packaging:  White cardboard box with logo sticker on it.  This seems to be the norm now at cupcakeries.

6. Milk for sale?:   Yup.  As well as coffee, sweet tea, lemonade, hot chocolate, and water.

7.  Other treats for non-cupcake enthusiasts you may have in tow:  Hanging out with the cupcakes, we spotted a tray full of “cake bites”.  They take whole cupcakes and mash them up into bite-size balls, and then cover them with icing (0.75 each).   Non-cupcake enthusiasts may find these treats all too similar to cupcakes and could settle for a beverage.

8.  Ambiance:  Airy and sweet, without being overly sweet.  A guy wouldn’t feel like he was sitting in a doll house here (some cupcakeries give me that impression).  Lots of seating makes you feel welcome to stay and enjoy.

9. Service:  The staff was welcoming, helpful, and efficient. Plus, the place was very clean…and tidy, just like the cupcakes!

Thanks Mom & Dad for the cupcakes, your help with this review, and for stopping the car! 🙂

Silver Lining Cupcake Co. on Urbanspoon