Cupcake Mania!

As many of you know, my latest obsessions are frozen yogurt and cupcakes.  Since AK and I were going to be in LA for 4th of July weekend, Hui and I eagerly planned our half-day trip to hit LA hot spots such as Pinkberry (to confirm that it is still the reigning champ!) – although I must admit I had my eyes on Sprinkles in Beverly Hills.

I had visited Magnolia Bakery in Greenwich Village in New York, purportedly the bakery that started the craze, but had been sorely disappointed.  The cupcakes I had there could have easily come out of the local supermarket.  Could Sprinkles really live up to its name?

As soon as I got close to the store, we could see the line that snaked out the door.  The storefront was modern and trendy, as you would expect for Beverly Hills (and West Side of LA generally) – most women in this area were dressed in either expensive and fashionable clothes (often with HUGE designer sunglasses) or yoga outfits.  


Once you slowly make your way into the store, you are greeted by rows and rows of beautiful, elegant cupcakes, each adorned with Sprinkles’ signature dots.  A wave of warm sugary goodness also washes over you as you step through the door.  

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Unfortunately, despite the visually pleasing interior, there is no system to the ordering madness (hasn’t anyone figured out a numbered ticket system? Hui says that it is to retain the aura of being a small charming shop…hmph), and there is a bit of chaos as you try to read the super-tiny prints on the wall to decide on which flavors to order.  Hui had visited the week before and recommended the vanilla and the orange, a seasonal flavor, which had been replaced by a very fresh-looking strawberry flavor.  We ordered the strawberry and red velvet flavors and immediately sat down to wolf them down.

 Sprinkles Box CIMG1200

First off, the strawberry cupcakes smelled amazing!  You can almost tell just by deeply inhaling the cupcakes that the store uses high quality ingredients.  Once you bite into the cupcake, you are enveloped by the fragrance of the strawberry, and the cake (which I agree could be more moist, but was decent enough for me) is perfectly balanced by the overly sweet yet somehow still delicious frosting.  It was simply divine!  I have heard criticism that there is too much frosting on each cupcake, to which I respond, “not possible!”  If you spread the frosting on the bottom half of the cupcake (which normally has to be eaten plain), it is perfect.  Usually, I am not a big fan of excessively sweet Western desserts (and this frosting is sweet to the point that your teeth hurt).  However, the texture of the frosting – firm to the bite, but melts in your mouth – and the flavor and fragrance of the cupcake overall won me over.

We ended up ordering a variety of additional cupcakes (got in line again!), including vanilla, peanut butter chocolate (for AK), cinnamon sugar and a bunch of the strawberries.  In addition to the strawberry, I also had the red velvet cupcake, which was decent (the cream cheese frosting was yummy though).  I think the red velvet cupcakes I make are better…haha. 

Sprinkles Cupcakes - Peanut Butter Chocolate, Cinnamon Sugar and Vanilla

Finally verdict:  I loved Sprinkles and would definitely make a special return trip (my 3rd Aunt also loved the strawberry flavor, although my mom thought it was too sweet as was expected).  Since I am not afraid of standing in line and in fact am often drawn to it (must be my Taiwanese heritage), the waiting time does not deter me, but I can see that being a negative for many people.  Compared to Kara’s Cupcakes in the Bay Area, the frosting of the Sprinkles cupcakes is far superior.  Kara’s frosting is too heavy and leaves an oily aftertaste – not unlike eating a stick of butter.  Sugar Butter Flour has great chocolate cupcakes (the only one I’ve tried – but I’ll be back!), but none of these unique flavors.  Finally, Sibby’s Cupcakery makes beautifully decorated cupcakes (with delicate spring flowers, etc. – see photos from my birthday party), but is probably the least tasty.  Is it that LA tends to have better high end stores?  Or is it that the fact that it is hard to get makes me want them more???


4 thoughts on “Cupcake Mania!

  1. See, I do read your blog! ^_^ I should be studying for my test, but I thought that I should take some time out to read your blog. O=) **No, I am not avoiding studying…**

    HoneyBee and I should go to Sprinkles again some time. I actually have never been to the store, but I have had their infamous Red Velvet and the Banana Nut flavor. I agree that their Red Velvet was a little lacking and that if you smooth the frosting all over the cupckae it works better… But… it’s too sweet for me. I have a very very sweet tooth, but I just can’t bare the frosting. Still, I would love to go back and give it another try, maybe the frostings different from when I had it a year ago. ^_^ Next time you and Ms. Lin come down we can check out all the goods in LA. There are so many bakeries, patisseries, and more that I think you both would love… of course HoneyBee is invited too!

    Can’t wait to see your photos and comments on Boule! ^_^

  2. Thanks for reading and commenting Kat! (Although you should focus on studying!) I completely understand the criticism of Sprinkles cupcakes – I think it’s the fragrance (“xiang” in Chinese) that tipped the scale for me. Normally I don’t even have much of a sweet tooth but have learned to appreciate the richness of certain desserts (it can’t be all sweet – there needs be something more). Anyway, I can’t wait to go back to LA and would love to see you on the next trip Honeybee and I take to Sprinkles and Boule. 🙂

  3. I know I am bad! I wanted to do well, yet I couldn’t bring myself to study… conflicted feelings =*( It’s all good though, I got a 99 out of 100 and I don’t need to take the last 2 tests since I already have an A. YAY SUMMER! HoneyBee should come out and party with me ^_- as we wait for BumbleBee to come down with Ms. Lin to join the fun!

    I can see what you mean about the aroma the cupcakes must have. Since I have only had it brought to me, I would love to go there to get it fresh. Dot’s Cupcakes, a copy of Sprinkles really, is not too bad in Pasadena too. When I go up to LA, I’d definitely want to go to Boule though! I can’t wait for some yummy Macaroons! ^_^

    When I was up in SF, Ms. Lin never took me to Kara’s to try and compare >_<# I still have to explore around. Ms. Lin said the same thing about Magnolia in NY too. You should really go to the “Donut King” in NY, it’s worth the trip. If we happen to go at the same time, I will take you there since I’m the only one who’s been there. I can take both you and Ms. Lin there for the best Tres Leche donut ever! ^_^

  4. I WISH I can partay all day with kat!!! We have to spend some time planning since July is kind of crazy for me.

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