Cupcakes, cupcakes, cupcakes. They're not going away, folks. Three new cupcake bakeries opened this year, and there are two more on the way (the next>"/>
Cupcakes, cupcakes, cupcakes. They're not going away, folks. Three new cupcake bakeries opened this year, and there are two more on the way (the next one on deck is Wink). You're going to be eating them at showers, birthday parties, and office functions for at least another five years.
You know what? We at Voracious still like them -- well, all except for vanilla on vanilla. (Totally hate vanilla.) So after exhaustive research, here's our top 5 cupcakes, with a few runner ups, in Seattle:
5. Vanilla toffee cupcake ($2.95), The Yellow Leaf Cupcake Co., 2209 Fourth Ave., theyellowleafcupcake.com. Yeah, there's vanilla in the cake batter and the scoop of frosting, but Yellow Leaf -- the bakery we'd name Most Likely to Take Chances -- tops this cake with crumbled toffee so it bakes into a crunchy caramel layer. The Belltown bakery uses an Italian buttercream frosting for its cupcakes, and the lighter, satiny frosting looks great but can sometimes feel too insubstantial to match the bottom. Not with this one. (Another favorite right now: white chocolate pretzel.)
4. Mini cupcakes (all kinds, $1.25), Sugar Rush, 4541 California Ave. S.W., sugarrushbakingcompany.com. It's probably not fair to give an award to six different cupcakes -- in no particular order, lemon, strawberry, German chocolate, mocha, sunrise, chocolate mint. And if pressed to pick, we'd go with mocha as the top pick. But it's really the size that puts these on the list, since most days, a single-portion cupcake is more than most people want. And if some of the minicakes taste more like frosting shots, well...
3. Carrot Cake, Cupcake Royale, locations in Madrona, Capitol Hill, and Ballard;cupcakeroyale.com. A sentimental favorite. Back in the day before Seattle's first cupcakery revamped its basic recipes, the carrot cupcake was our standby. Chunky, reliably moist, with a little spice to it, the cake had a secret weapon: cream cheese frosting. And if it weren't for the fact that we hate vanilla, the new CR cupcakes are great, especially July's strawberry cupcake. That would have made this list, except it's almost September.
2. Peanut Butter & Jelly, Oddfellows, 1525 10th Ave. Oddfellows is a late entrant into the game, with baker Quill Teal-Sullivan earning SW's Best Baker on the Rise this year. Her PB&J cupcake, with its surprisingly light peanut-butter frosting, moist peanut-tinged cake, and spoonful of raspberry jam injected into its core before frosting, is one for the books.
A few runner ups:
Coconut cupcake, Bella Dolce, 2711 E. Madison, 325-9539 (nominated for its toasty coconut and cream cheese frosting)
Red velvet cake, Trophy Cupcakes, trophycupcakes.com (Um, more cream cheese frosting)
Lemon cupcake, Sugar Bakery, 1014 Madison, sugarbakerycafe.com (hidden jolt of lemon curd under the frosting)
1. Triple Chocolate Cupcake, Trophy Cupcakes, locations in Wallingford and University Village, trophycupcakes.com.* Moist Valrhona chocolate cake, a thick mound of chocolate frosting, and the tiny chocolate tiles that pave the top of this cupcake make it a chocolate cupcake to trounce all other chocolate cupcakes. Many have tried to master chocolate-on-chocolate action. Few have conquered as decisively as this one.
* Full disclosure: Voracious blogger Maggie Savarino works for Trophy, and was not involved in any way in this decision making panel. Panel members: Jonathan Kauffman and his two new chins.