A recent fad that has taken off across the country is cupcake bakeries. I love cake, so the cupcake business model immediately caught a fan with me! For the last few years when ever I travel I try to find a highly rated cupcake place to try in the city. As cupcakes have become more and more popular it seems every city I visit has several bakeries that specialize in cupcakes! Listed below are my thoughts on a few that I have visited across the country. As I continue my cupcake travels I will be sure to add additional posts. Enjoy!
Houston- Crave Cupcakes
I have to give credit to Crave Cupcakes in Uptown Park! They started my cupcake addiction! I love that it’s located conveniently in my favorite area of my hometown the galleria! They have a really cute shop and always have great service. I also like the open concept they have inside of the shop so you can see back to the kitchen where staff is busy baking and icing cupcakes. Crave has good variety of flavors, including my favorite red velvet! They even have little decorations to add to the cupcakes like a cowboy hat and the state of Texas. Texans go crazy for that type of stuff. Their cupcakes are decent although I have heard there are several other cupcake places in Houston that I should try. I will admit I have had better cupcakes (more on that later) but Crave holds a special place in my heart!
Crave Store in Houston, TX
Kansas City- Cupcake A La Mode
I came across Cupcake ala mode by accident. I was working at the Jackson county court house and an attorney was introducing himself to the courthouse staff with cupcakes. They were SO good, so I quickly googled the location and stopped by there later! On one of my many visits the person working said they prepare the cakes fresh every morning. You can definitely tell the difference. The cakes are always moist and soft just the way I like them! They have a variety of flavors, some on the “gourmet” side but my favorites are the basic ones! White cake with white icing, you can never go wrong with that and chocolate with white icing. Boring I know but they are so good I have a hard time veering from the safe choices to try something different. Whenever I drag braver family members and friends to Cupcake a la mode, they rave about the other flavors such as “love doctor” which includes a strawberry on top or “peanut butter kiss”. These are hands down some of my favorite cupcakes EVER! My only complaint is that the location is a little hard to get too. It’s past the popular plaza area in KC. I imagine as they continue to gain in popularity they will have another location in a more visible area. As with Houston I have heard there are several other places in KC with great cupcakes but I cannot imagine them getting any better than Cupcake a la mode!
A la mode’s chocolate cupcakes, including my favorite, third on the bottom!
St. Louis- The Cup (formerly the Cupcakery)
Since KC is my second hometown I usually do not have anything positive to say about their across state rival St. Louis but I will give credit when it is due! Like Kansas City, St. Louis also has a great cupcake shop! After hearing good reviews about the shop from various people I stopped by on one of my trips to St. Louis. I was really impressed. It is in a great location, right in the heart of the Central West End area in St. Louis. Their menu is pretty simple compared to other shops I have been too but since I generally keep it simple I do not mind! I have only had the confetti, white cake and white icing, really good. Another plus to the cup is they give you more bang for your buck. All these cupcake places love to charge around $3 bucks for a cupcake but they all range in size! The cup gives you a really good cupcake that is a great size for the price. Overall I enjoy stopping there when I visit St. Louis.
My favorite cupcake for the Cup, confetti! (photo from the cup website)
District of Columbia- Cake Love
When my family moved to the DC area recently I was on a mission to find a cupcake place in the area. I googled and found Cake Love. I could relate to the founders story, which made this store stick in my mind. An attorney who left the practice of law to start a cupcake shop! I could honestly see myself doing that in the future. The ratings and reviews were also good so I went expecting great cupcakes as I have had in other cities.
Hands down the WORST cupcakes I have ever had! I cannot even tell you what I had; all I know is that I did not finish it! They have several locations in the DC area so we stopped by the location in National Harbor. It seemed like a slow day for the store and it did not seem like the items on display were freshly baked. It is possible that I would have enjoyed the cupcakes if they were fresh or made that morning but I will never know! After that bad experience I will not be returning.
I have not tried Georgetown cupcakes yet. Their shop is featured on a realty show, DC cupcakes. My mother and sister say they were really good but during my next visit I may brave the crowds and give them a try and then blog about it of course!
Orlando- Sweet By Good Golly Miss Holly
On my recent trip to Florida we googled and found this shop in the Orlando area. This shop had a different concept then all of the other shops I have been too. For one they offered yogurt in the same flavors as the cake. The yogurt actually seemed more popular than the cupcakes. Another great idea was offering mini cupcakes! Basically you could four mini cupcakes for a reasonable price. What I enjoyed most about this was that it allowed me to try different flavors. With the standard sizes you only can really afford to try one flavor per visit but here I was able to try my standard white cake/vanilla and my other favorite red velvet. They had a lot of options, which made the mini cupcake concept even better. Overall I liked Sweet in Orlando. I would go again if I vacationed in Orlando again.
Boston- Sweet (Harvard Square)
While at a conference in the Boston/Cambridge area we stopped by a cupcake place in Harvard Square. Let me just say if it is not enough that Harvard students attend the best University in the country they also have a huge shopping and dining area called Harvard Square which includes their own cupcake shop! We stopped by to pick up souvenirs from the Harvard bookstore and ran into the cupcake shop Sweet. As you can tell, location is a big deal to me and I really did enjoy their location in Harvard Square. For tourists it is really convenient. The shop also had a nice look and they offered nice to go boxes. I do not think the size corresponded well with the prize, they were significantly smaller than others I have had before. I really did not enjoy the cupcakes from the shop though. Others in my group said they were the best they ever had. Since our group was split I guess they are worth trying. Everyone has his or her own ideas on what makes a good cake.
Picture from my trip to Sweet!
My friend Ryan posing at Sweet. Great shot of the shop.
I look forward to finding new cupcake places in the United States as I continue to travel. I really hope this is not just a fad but something that is here to stay! First on the list, as I mentioned before is Georgetown cupcakes in DC. I also need to stop by one of the many Sprinkle’s locations. They claim to be the world’s first cupcake bakery and I hope they do not disappoint. Last by not least, I hope to travel back to New York City soon and visit the bakery made famous by Sex and the City Magnolia Bakery. Also thanks to my friend who is always named Erika who gave me the inspiration to write about one of my favorite things CUPCAKES!