Tag Archives: salted caramel cupcake

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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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
Neapolitan Cupcake & Gift Shoppe on Urbanspoon

Jeanne’s Jaunt to Jilly’s (oh alliteration, I get such a kick out of you!)

20 May

Sorry guys – no video this time around!  I was sporting a serious bad hair day and a general case of the blahs (I was pretty much the opposite of how I describe the appearance of Lenox Cupcakes, which can be read here: https://cupcakecrusade.wordpress.com/2011/01/29/fancy-mall-cupcakes/).  So, I figured I’d spare you all the horror of that picture show.

Last weekend, Steve and I jaunted to Jilly’s Cupcakery in Alpharetta, Georgia.  Once we arrived, it was reeeeally hard to pick four flavors (that’s old news, isn’t it?).  They informed us that the Red Velvet was their #1 seller (but I’m kinda getting tired of good ol’ Red Velvet.  I didn’t think I’d ever say something along those lines!  But I guess I’ve hit my limit, so I’m detoxifying now).  Salted Caramel is the #2 seller, so I figured I’d go with that one.  I thought the Orange Cream sounded dreamy…and the Strawberries n Creme had a buttercream frosting, which I’m always happy to see!  But the saleswoman really sold me on the Blackberry Spice (one of the daily special flavors).   Steve quickly selected Smores and Ultimate Chocolate.

Here’s the skinny on our spread:

~Smores (“classic chocolate cake topped with our signature “Light As Air” marshmallow frosting, and graham cracker pieces“):  This little  guy really was “light as air”, and the marshmallow frosting was very cloud-like, and it all smelled heavenly!  Okay, back to earth…bonus points for fun toppings!  Not only did you get the graham cracker pieces but also a Hershey’s chocolate square to top it all off.  The taste just didn’t quiet match up to its appearance, though.  I’m thinking a richer chocolate (maybe dark chocolate) and more dense cake to balance out the airy frosting would do the trick.  Or a graham cracker crust bottom could be cool, too!  Similar to the one in the cherry cheesecake cupcake we experience at Georgetown Cupcake.

~Ultimate Chocolate (“classic chocolate cake topped with our dark chocolate frosting and chocolate curls“):  This one didn’t really grab me.  And doesn’t exactly live up to its “ultimate” chocolate name…it’s more like “Just Chocolate”.   The taste was slightly reminiscent to Duncan Hines, which we also encountered here and debated whether that was a good or bad thing .

~Salted Caramel (“classic vanilla cake, topped with caramel buttercream frosting drizzled with caramel sauce and a sprinkle of
sea salt“):  As soon as my lips touched the frosting, I noticed a hint of salt and the vanilla flavor immediately followed.  I’ve had salted caramel cupcakes before and could barely detect the salt, so I was glad this one lived up to its name!  The frosting had a nice flavor and wasn’t overly sweet, which was a good thing since there was plenty of it.  Unfortunately, the vanilla cake wasn’t very moist and had me questioning if it was baked that day.

~Blackberry Spice (“vanilla chai cake with a blackberry filling, topped with chai cream cheese frosting, a fresh blackberry, and drizzled with our homemade blackberry glaze“): I had a “wow!” moment with this one, and all its bursting-with-flavors charm!  The cake was wonderfully fresh and soft, and the blackberry filling made for a fun and tasty surprise mid-way through.  But the real show stopper was the chai frosting.  Full of chai-flavored warmth and creaminess, it was a most delectable companion to the cake.

To sum it all up, I’d say one out of our four cupcakes had noticeably fresh/moist cake and Top 10 potential (the Blackberry Spice).  The key to Jilly’s may be to order from their “daily special flavors” or to visit earlier in the day.

I reeeeally did love that Blackberry Spice cupcake, come to think of it.  Not only does it score points for creativity (that was my first taste of chai-flavored frosting) and for having a filling (more bang for your buck, right?!), but it was also delicious to boot!  I’m going to take a long hard look at the Top 10 and see if we can find a spot for this gem.

Let me break it down for ya!

Jilly’s Cupcakery / Alpharetta, GA ~ Roswell, GA / www.jillyscupcakery.com

1. Price: $2.75 each / $30 dozen.  They have a limited amount of minis everyday, too!  $1.50 each / $15 dozen.  (I don’t know if I’ve officially voiced my adoration of minis or not, but I really think they’re the bees knees.  Not only are they fun to pop in your mouth, but they’re so darn cute to look at!)

2. Room temperature:  Yes!

3.  Size:  Average, with generous heaping of frosting.  The Smores was a tad bit smaller than the others though.

4. Vegan or gluten-free options:  Yes and yes!  And not just on the menu!  I saw them in the store with my very own eyes, ready for the purchasing.

5. To-go packaging:  Square cardboard box, with dividers, and logo sticker on top.

6. Milk for sale?:  I’m looking at my notes here, and don’t see milk amongst my chicken scratch (my handwriting really is atrocious).  I did jot down the following beverages available for the pickin’ in their mini fridge:  bottled soda and water, Vitamin water, orange juice, and apple juice.

7.  Other treats for non-cupcake enthusiasts you may have in tow: No such luck.  They do have t-shirts on display, but those are probably best suited for cupcake enthusiasts.  Kroger is just a few doors down though, so that should fill any voids.

8.  Ambiance:  Inside Jilly’s, it’s very airy and clean.  The cupcakes are displayed behind a sleek, yet charming counter with enviable pendant lighting above.  For your dine-in pleasure – there were two leather lounge chairs, two high-top tables, and an outdoor table (does an outdoor table still count as “dine-in”?).  They had a cute chalkboard on one wall and snazzy wallpaper on another, but Steve and I both remarked that something felt missing in the whole decor puzzle.  There was music playing (good times), a plant on a corner table (love how greenery can cozy up a place), innovative display case (check!), natural lighting (I’m a natural lighting lover), clean floors and tables (I think everyone appreciates this, especially the health department), what was missing???  I’m guessing the unadorned white walls needed a little sugar, like maybe a punch of color.  Or carry another complementary wallpaper around the rest of the space… 

9. Service:  Aww, they were so nice!  The woman who rang us up was full of helpful information and just fun to talk to!  She got bonus points in my book too, since she made a decision for me (I’m not a fan of making decisions…people love that about me when we’re trying to decide where to eat or what movie to see.  Not really 🙂  I recognize this is a weakness and am okay with it.  Moving on!)

10.  Three words to describe the Jilly’s Cupcakery experience:

1) Congenial 2) Adequate  3) Suburban

Jilly's Cupcakery on Urbanspoon

Next Up on Cupcake Crusade:  La CupCakerie in Cumming, Georgia.  I snatched up a Groupon offered earlier this week, so Steve & I can go feast on $20 worth of cupcakes for just $10.   Some of their cupcakes are alcohol-infused (that’s double trouble).  Here’s hoping I come out alive!

Starting the New Year on Cloud 9

7 Jan

Something about ringing in the new year brings out the little girl in me.  No matter how old I am these days, I still hope that my celebration will involve at least one of the following:

-confetti

-a sparkly dress

-festive finger foods

This year, my husband and I were invited to feast and count down to 2011 with our cool neighbors.  When I got the invite I was running errands in Roswell and drove past Cloud 9 Frozen Yogurt & Cupcakes.  Ah Ha!  Cupcakes = festive finger food WITH confetti on it!  I went in and purchased four cupcakes…and then counted down to the count down.  I’m not sure people realize how challenging it is for me to 1) to be left alone with cupcakes and 2) to be patient, especially when it comes to eating 🙂  But I did it and the evening turned out to be most enjoyable.  After all was said and done, I was crawling into bed at 1 am, smelling like campfire and frosting – 2011 was off to a great start!

Back to the cupcakes!  We ended up splitting the cupcake in fours, so that we all got to sample each flavor.  Here’s what we thought:

-Birthday Cake (funfetti cake, vanilla buttercream, confetti-like sprinkles): good cupcake, not too sweet and fresh cake.

-Black & White (chocolate cake, vanilla buttercream, more confetti-like sprinkles): same as above

-Strawberry (strawberry cake, strawberry cream cheese frosting): Tasty, fresh cake.  Not overly strawberry-flavored.   But do note, it’s a strawberry cream cheese frosting.  I personally prefer strawberry buttercream, but hey, that’s just me.

-Cookies & Cream (chocolate chip cake, Oreo cream cheese frosting)*:  The unanimous favorite!  The cake was insanely soft and spongy, and the chocolate chips on the bottom were appreciated.  Good stuff here!

*Some readers may remember my post a few months back about my fructose-intolerance.  Well, after I had these cupcakes I had a sneaking suspicion that fructose may have been an ingredient.  Turns out Oreo cookies, in the Cookies & Cream cupcake frosting, have high-fructose corn syrup in them.  Just a heads-up for other fellow fructose-intolerant comrades out there.

Let’s break it down now!

Cloud 9 Frozen Yogurt & Cupcakes / 1195 Woodstock Road (Super Target Shopping Center) / Roswell, GA / www.cloud9roswell.com  

1. Price: $2.75 each / $30 dozen

2. Room temperature:  Yes, these treats are ready to rock n’ roll.

3.  Size:  Standard, a generously sized standard.  Generously frosted too – score! 

4. Vegan or gluten-free options: You can special order gluten-free, but have to get them by the dozen ($30 per dozen).

5. To-go packaging:  Cardboard box with dividers inside and logo on top.

6. Milk for sale?:  It’s not on the menu, but if you ask they might be able to get you a cupful.  On the menu – coffee, hot chocolate, sodas, and water.  They did have the water pitcher and cups out for self-serve water, which I always appreciate.  It’s the little things, you know?

7.  Other treats for non-cupcake enthusiasts you may have in tow:   Frozen yogurt -lots of flavors and toppings to choose from.  Plus, they had this “yogurt cake bottom” thing to put at the bottom of your yogurt cup -to get the get the best of both worlds (I’m guessing).  Cloud 9 is really like two shops in one, catering to two hot trends right.

8.  Ambiance:  Airy and fun.  Calming periwinkle blue walls, sleek blue and white seating, modern, cloud-like light fixtures…On one wall, they displayed entries from a cupcake coloring contest, which added charm and a sense of community.

9. Service:  The word dedication pops into my mind.  I first encountered their dedication when I was leaving the art store (in the same shopping center as Cloud 9).  A Cloud 9 employee was coming in with a tray full of mini cupcake samples, and he let me have one!  Then, once inside Cloud 9 the other employee seemed genuinely happy to see and help me.  Plus, the place was spotless.  You can tell that Cloud 9 takes pride in what they do.

*Nice feature – you can order cupcakes on their website (1 dozen minimum) and they can custom create yogurt and cupcake flavors to “enhance any themed event”.

So, to sum it all up I’d say I truly enjoyed my trip to Cloud 9.  Cool decor and excellent customer service.  The cupcakes, although quite tasty, didn’t make the cut for Top 10.  The Cookies & Cream did come pretty darn close to placing though.  It’s still worth a visit; I think kids especially will get a kick out of all the sugary options to choose from!

*Thank you L & L for the fun night, your wonderful hospitality, and the delicious food!

UPDATE (2/2/2010):  So I went back to Cloud 9 after suggestions to try their Red Velvet cupcakes, hearing that it was better than Georgetown Cupcake’s version.  My friend, Beatrix, joined me on this mission to revisit Cloud 9 and we had a grand time sampling new flavors.  While the Red Velvet was good (the cakes was very fresh with a nice flavor, and wasn’t the scary shade of red), I’m afraid that (at this time) Georgetown Cupcake is still my favorite red velvet cupcake maker.   I WILL say, though, the Snowball cupcake we had a Cloud 9 was AWESOME!  A (fresh!) vanilla cake with soft coconut buttercream (just the right amount), topped with shredded coconut.  I want another one…right now…maybe one every day.  With this kind of reaction, I’m thinking this lovely cupcake deserves a spot on the TOP 10!   Beatrix had the Salted Caramel and really enjoyed it, too.  She was licking the wrapper, which I never see her do! 

Cloud 9 Frozen Yogurt and Cupcakes on Urbanspoon