Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cupcakes & Co.

Cupcakes & Co
130 East Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, Ca 91502

The last stop on the cupcake run, Cupcakes & Co. was a little out of the way from where we had been. We went to downtown Burbank to park and walk to this cupcake store. When we arrived at the store it reminded us of a specialty cake store, with all types of cupcakes displayed around the store. They had wedding type cupcakes, floral decorated ones, cupcakes honoring different branches of the military, and more! The glass case containing the cupcakes for sale was practically empty by the time we got there. From the looks of it there had been about 9 types of different cupcakes. Since we were there at the end of the day it looks as though they weren't replacing the cupcakes in the display. There were 3 rows stacked high with where cupcakes should be.
The Service:
  • The guy behing the counter was ultra friendly and went through every single cupcake with us
  • He gave us his personal favorite recommendations
The Atmosphere:
  • There is no parking anywhere near the cupcake store, so it is kind of a walk
  • The store itself is beautifully decorated in blues and whites with all of the specialty cupcakes
  • There were 2 tables with stools to eat at near the front at the window
The Order:
  • Hot Chocolate-Chocolate cake, chocolate ganache inside, chocolate buttercream frosting with cinnamon
  • Blueberry Cheesecake-Vanilla cake with blueberries in it, cream cheese frosting with graham cracker crumbs, a dollop of vanilla frosting, and blueberries on top
Cupcakes are $3.50 each
Food Stain:
Hot Chocolate-Excellent
  • Tasted like a Mexican hot chocolate
  • Chocolate ganache inside was well portioned and didn't spill out when you took a bite
  • Chocolate cake extremely moist
Blueberry Cheesecake-Excellent
  • Taste more like a blueberry muffin, wasn't heavy or dense
  • The cream cheese frosting was smooth and buttery
  • They used fresh fruit on this cupcake as well as with the other cupcakes in the store.
We all agreed that Cupcakes & Co. (while kind of a pain for us to get to) was worth the trip. The presentation of all the different types of cupcakes around the store was something to see, as well as the use of color in the cupcakes.
As the cupcake run neared the end we had a really hard time deciding which place was the best. It was a tie between Yummy Cupcakes and this place, Cupcakes & Co. Cupcakes & Co. had the most interesting tasting cupcakes, while Yummy Cupcakes had really good ideas and execution of their cupcakes.

Yummy Cupcakes

Yummy Cupcakes is hard to miss with all the pink that surrounds the storefront property. We arrived at Yummy Cupcakes and started to wind our way through the cafeteria like line that you have to wait in to order. Waiting in line is actually preferred in this place because as you wait you get a chance to look at the L-shaped glass case containing cupcakes and all types of confections. On top of the case they had small containers of cupcakes in a jar. Layers of cake and frosting you could eat from a jar. The best part of this store is that they do sell cupcake and other types of merchandise, however it's in a separate room so the store does not seem cluttered at all! It is hard to tell what they have everyday and what is a special of the day, however today it didn't matter because everything was really good!
The Service:
  • Staff was extremely friendly
  • There were two girls working, one was taking orders and one was making cupcakes
The Atmosphere:
  • The cupcake were displayed in an L-shaped glass case that you can look at as you wait in line
  • The cupcake store was small in front, however the back seemed to be much more spacious
  • Cupcakes were all displayed on baking pans as well as cake stands
  • There was nowhere to sit except one bench outside of the store

The Order:
  • Root beer float-Vanilla cake with root beer flavored frosting
  • Coconut-Vanilla cake, coconut frosting, and coconut shavings on top
  • Margarita-Vanilla cake, key lime frosting, and a candied lime on top
  • Sprinkle-Vanilla cake, pink vanilla frosting, and sprinkles
All the cupcakes were $3.50
Food Stain
Root beer float-Excellent
  • Voted one of the best of the day
  • Tasted like they had poured a can of A&W root beer into the cupcake frosting
  • Cake was extremely moist
  • Frosting was piped on evenly
  • The cream in this cupcake was determined to be ok
  • Vanilla cake was good
  • Coconut shavings didn't overpower the whole cupcake
  • Tasted like a key lime pie
  • Very simple
  • Simple idea, but executed and presented well
  • Vanilla frosting was excellent and there wasn't too much of it.
We really enjoyed our experience at Yummy Cupcakes. The types of cupcakes being offered was really intriguing and we felt as though if a place could have a Margarita flavored cupcake it deserves high awards.

Famous Cupcakes

4820 Laurel Canyon Blvd, North Hollywood, Ca

Kardashian girls' endorsed Famous Cupcakes was next on the list. We walked into the tiny shop located within a shopping plaza. Famous Cupcakes is small, don't let that fool you. We walked into the bright shop and found ourselves facing a cupcake display with approximately 13 different types of cupcakes featured in rows. Each cupcake row had a plaque in front of it describing the cupcake to the customers. There were all types there from Va-Va-Va-nilla, The Good Morning, Strawberry, Peanut Butter Chip, the list goes on.
The Service:
  • We were greeted with a smile and "Can I help you?" as soon as we walked into the store
  • The guy who was working at Famous Cupcakes was incredibly friendly and knowledgeable
  • He didn't rush us when it came to picking cupcakes, even though there was someone waiting behind us
The Atmosphere:
  • Very light, white, and bright
  • Small, but since they only specialize in cupcakes there doesn't need to be that much counter space
  • There was only one table and 2 chairs, which posed a problem because there was quite a few of us
  • This is a good place to pick up a 6 pack of cupcakes from and take them home to eat
The Order:
  • Strawberry-Strawberry cake with strawberry frosting and strawberry chocolate shavings on top
  • Good Morning-Vanilla cake with brown sugar cinnamon crumblings and a dollop of spicy vanilla frosting
  • Cookies and Cream-Chocolate cake, chocolate cream, and cookies and cream frosting
Each cupcake was $3.50

The Food Stain:
  • Tasted exactly like fresh strawberries, no artificial flavors
  • Cupcake moist
  • Frosting to cake ratio was really good, the frosting wasn't too sweet where it overpowered the cupcake
Good Morning-Good
  • The Good Morning cupcake was a good concept
  • Tasted like Cinnamon Toast Crunch
  • Too much crumble topping on it
  • Really messy and kind of hard to eat
Cookies and Cream-Good
  • The frosting held the cookies and cream flavor
  • Real pieces of chocolate cookie in the frosting
  • The cupcake was very simple but it tasted like cookies and cream
Overall this place was a good value for $3.50 a cupcake. The best part of this place in addition to the taste of the cupcakes was the presentation. The cupcakes were extremely neat and interesting to look at. The size was just right if you just wanted one. We left feeling satisfied and not cheated out of our money. The cupcakes were also pretty easy to split in half, just in case you did want to share. The store also had pre-packed mini cupcakes for sale which may be reason enough for us to go back there again.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Big Sugar Bakeshop

Big Sugar Bakeshop

Big Sugar Bakeshop
12182 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

Big Sugar Bakeshop was the first on the tour. The building was adorned with blue and dark brown awnings marking our arrival at the spot. There was a sign outside advertising the cupcake of the day (Orange) and Twilight cupcakes. Inside we found the environment to seem light and airy, however the further back in the store we went the more cluttered it became. They sold all types of cupcake paraphernalia, however it didn't seem organized. The glass case seemed to hold at least 8 different types of cupcakes as well as different types of sweets. As mentioned before there were the special cupcakes of the day (orange), Twilight cupcakes, and FIFA cupcakes (in honor of the World Cup) were the most notable on display.
The Service:
  • We felt as though we weren't welcome in the store, the staff was unresponsive when we were trying to decide what types of cupcakes we wanted to order. It could have been just a bad afternoon but we just weren't sure what we wanted to order and some guidance would have been appreciated.
  • The girl who rang up the cupcake was very efficient.

The Atmosphere:
  • The place seemed to have a lot of room, however it was cluttered with items for sale that weren't very organized.
  • The case which held the cupcakes was well organized and labeled and easy to read.
  • There were only very few tables at the front of the store, it felt crowded.
The Order:
  • Boston Cream-Vanilla cupcake with cream and chocolate ganache on top.
  • Coconut Cream-Vanilla cupcake with coconut cream frosting and coconut shavings on top.
  • Orange-Vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting that had orange extract in it as well as orange colored candy sprinkles on top.
Each cupcake was $2.50, even the special ones.

Food Stain:
  • Overall we weren't impressed with the actual cupcake
  • We felt the frosting was very good, and there was a good ratio of frosting to cupcake.
Boston Cream: Good
  • Tasted exactly like a Boston Cream donut
  • Seemed like they may have used vanilla beans in the cream
  • Chocolate ganache was good and there wasn't too much of it on the cupcake
  • The cake was moist only because of the cream.
  • Cupcake was on the small side. We felt as though it was the same size if we had made it at home.
Left is the coconut cupcake and right is the Boston Cream
Coconut Cream:Good (The best at this place)
  • Lasting flavor, with the distinct, "just right amount", taste of coconut even though there was no coconut in the cake.
  • The cake was dry.
  • The coconut shaving was a good feature on the cupcake.
  • The buttercream frosting was plain vanilla.
  • Cupcake was on the small side.
  • Plain vanilla cupcake was good, however it wasn't moist.
  • The orange was just in the frosting, it was a buttercream frosting and was the best part of the cupcake.
  • Once again we felt like this cupcake was small for the $2.50 we spent on it.
Overall we felt as a team that this place was not worth the $2.50 we spent on each cupcake. We felt as though it tasted as if they had used a store bought mix. We felt as though we could have spent less making cupcakes that would have tasted better and been more moist. We weren't sure if it was because we went on a Saturday and perhaps they don't make fresh cupcakes on this day, however overall we were left with a bad taste in our mouths.

Cupcake Run

Our next venture took us around the Los Angeles area, we went out in search for cupcakes. This week we had Valerie's friend Melissa with us as we toured 4 of the most popular cupcake places. Big Sugar, Famous Cupcakes, Yummy Cupcakes, and Cupcakes and Co. were on the list.

(T Shirt Design above done by Kimber