Tag Archives: lemon 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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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?

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!

Fancy Mall Cupcakes

29 Jan

This past Sunday, the husband and I set out for Lenox Cupcakes.  I knew it was in Buckhead, on Peachtree Street, in a mall.  You’d think it’d be in Lenox Square mall but then you’d be wrong…just like we were.  Standing in front of the Lenox Square directory, not seeing “Lenox Cupcakes” on the map, I winced.  But Steve handled my oversight quite well.  We got back in the car and drove the 0.3 miles over to Phipps Plaza.  At least we weren’t that far off 🙂

Phipps Plaza is kind of fancy, folks!  It has a Saks Fifth Avenue, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Tiffany & Co, etc.  Here some interesting scoop I came across…

~Phipps Plaza was named a “Southern Best” in Southern Living magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards.

~It opened as Atlanta’s first multi-level mall in 1969 (with Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor as the original anchors).

~Celebs like Usher, Elton John, and Janet Jackson have been spotted here.

Stroll down the “spacious promenades” and through the “grand interior courts” (Frommers.com), up to the second floor and you’ll find Lenox Cupcakes (just outside of Belk)! 

When we arrived, there were 11 flavors to choose from in their cupcake counter/case.  And I must say, these cupcakes were beautiful!  The icing technique on each one was impeccable.  Have you ever known a woman whose hair is always perfectly coiffed and makeup to the nines always perfectly applied?  That’s what these cupcakes make me think of.

After about 10 minutes, we finally decided on the following three cupcakes:

~Sunny Lemon: Lemon cupcake with “zesty lemony” buttercream

~Carrot Cake: Carrot cake cupcake with cream cheese frosting

~PB Chocolate: Valrhona dark chocolate cupcake w/peanut butter frosting and chocolate fudge drizzle.

We got ours to go and enjoyed the feasting at home.  Here’s a quick summary: 

~Lenox does not skimp on frosting!  If anything, and I can’t believe I’m about to say something like this….but, I think there was too much frosting!   There was actually frosting left on my plate, which usually never happens.  Plus, the frosting is sweeeeee-eeeet!  Almost like eating a spoonful of straight up powdered sugar.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all this like it’s a bad thing ’cause some people like their frosting super sweet and an unbalanced frosting/cake ratio. 

The Sunny Lemon wasn’t all that “zesty”.  It was the most tame zesty I’ve ever had.  I personally like my lemon cupcakes to be on the light and fluffy side (as well as zesty), and this one is pretty dense.  Dense cake and thick frosting.

~The carrot cake was yummy.  A good amount of raisins throughout the spongy cake, and a sweet cream cheese frosting.

~The PB Chocolate was ok.  Again, kind of heavy.  Not overly peanut buttery.

That’s all I got!  Let’s break it down now…

Lenox Cupcakes / Phipps Plaza – 3500 Peachtree Rd. Atlanta, GA / www.lenoxcupcakes.com

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

2. Room temperature:  Affirmative

3.  Size:  Standard

4. Vegan or gluten-free options:   None to be found on the (online) menu.

5. To-go packaging:  Individual, white cardboard boxes.  Cute logo sticker on top.

6. Milk for sale?:   Negative.  Bottles of water, Coke, and Diet Coke were on hand though.

7.  Other treats for non-cupcake enthusiasts you may have in tow:   Well, if the non-cupcake enthusiasts you have in tow happen to like cupcake-themed merchandise, then you guys are in luck!  One side of the store is kind of like a gift shop where you can find things like cupcake shaped bath fizzes, t-shirts, fancy cupcake wrappers, candles, cupcake containers, etc.

8.  Ambiance:  This one is tricky to describe.  It’s cute – with their pretty pink and brown boxes piled here and there; cupcakes stands and towers scattered about; warm, hardwood floors; and dry stacked stone veneer walls.   I’m not sure if it was the lighting, the stone veneer walls, the windows you couldn’t see through or what, but I kind of felt like I was on a movie set.  Like in Pleasantville or Truman Show.  Maybe if they had some music playing, experimented with the lighting a bit, scattered some fresh flowers or plants it would eliminate that sensation (for me, at least).  They do have a small table to sit at if you wanted to eat your cupcakes right away.

9. Service:  Very pleasant. Informative and patient staff.  Clean and tidy space.  BONUS points for samples on hand, gotta love those!

In summary, we didn’t find a Top 10 candidate here.  BUT! If you have a special event coming up and want some pretty desserts to wow and serve your guests, I would say Lenox Cupcakes fits the bill.  Plus, they have mini cupcakes on the menu and those are always fun for parties, too!

Lenox Cupcakes on Urbanspoon