Category Archives: Cupcake Saga
The third time now, it has rained on me when I ventured into Kensington Market, which is bad news because there are (apparently) still about 2-3 others “best of’s” therein. We went to El Trompo to grab best Mexican for takeout (backlog of TV to catch up on now that everything is almost back in swing). Brent found an old takeout menu online and we made our decisions based on that. He called the number provided and afterwards he tells me that he was not even sure if it was the right place he called. They never said the name of the place when answering the phone and had not asked for his name or number. It was raining and we were without an umbrella so we had to hurry it up in walking there. And the food was ready much faster than we had anticipated.
Getting it to go, we did not get to sit down in the restaurant and eat it, of course. It was a small place and very Mexican looking in it’s decor and atmosphere (as far as I can tell, never been really). They even had a bowl of limes by the cash register. On the way to Brent’s house we also made a quick pit-stop at the Wedding Cake Shoppe where I could buy yet another cupcake for my book. Being the end of the day, there was not much selection left. However I lucked out, because they still had a few cookies & cream cupcakes. I had not had one in over a year, since the cupcake shop in Cape Cod drew me in with it’s hilarious name (CupCapes of Falmouth).
The other reason we were getting takeout was because Brent’s fridge was being replaced and his roomies were not home, so it was up to me & him to be there to empty out the old one. Doesn’t sound so bad does it? It was. I played more than a few rounds of “I can’t even tell what this used to be” which was not just reserved to fruits & veggies. There was the absolutely disgusting coffee pot of fruit juice. At first glance it looked perfectly normal, but it belonged to Kyle. The very same Kyle in whose car we found a thermos of rotten milk and mold in the coffee filter. Brent spilled it in the sink and to my horror, I saw, congealed chunks of fruit punch! It looked like a low-budget horror flick in the sink.
Having (somehow) not lost my appetite after that mini-adventure we settled down to eat. Brent ordered the house specialty, tacos Al Pastor (pork with pineapple bits) while I went for something more “traditional”, chorizo sausage tacos. Each one came with a small container of sauce. One was green, one was red. We assumed that it was guacamole and salsa. We were wrong. They were both hot sauces of some sort. It proved hard to dip the taco into the sauce without destroying it and losing the precious contents to the sea of sauce. And the verdict? I made the better choice (don’t listen to what Brent says). Sausage bits go well with hot sauce. Pineapples, they do not. The pineapple bits kept falling out, back into the styrofoam container… and I was not picking them up and putting them back into my taco as I had been with sausage bits and even a few onion bits. I had always though of tacos as being that what you see in Taco Bell commercials, rife with beans and sour cream, thus I never indulged. And it is a good thing, for I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed them (I hate beans, even jelly beans) and thus would have been reluctant to try El Trompo. The tacos were served on soft shell, and it blew Tacos El Asador’s soft shell tacos out of the water!
All that meaty, spicy, savoury deliciousness left me with a horrid sweet craving. I resorted to swiping a bit of icing off the inside of the box containing my cupcake. It was bad, I kept fidgeting and wanting to eat the cupcake. Eventually Braeden (unwittingly) came to my rescue! He came home with a pizza box… full of decadent brownies… that had Smarties bits on top… and chocolate chunks inside! (NOTE: this just kicked off another horrid round of sweets craving, dammit all).
Eventually I got to indulge my (already satisfied) sweet tooth on the cupcake. There was another reason why I went back to Wedding Cake Shoppe (other than it being along the way). I had their cupcakes a long time ago, back when this whole “best of food” thing had started. And I remembered quite liking the lavender cupcake I had. When I was on the website looking over their cupcake selection, I noticed that they were ALL made with butter-cream (except for a chocolate topped truffle cupcake). This made me wonder, was Bobette & Belle’s (and a few others too) butter-cream just not made right? Or did I used to like butter-cream? Was the lavender cupcake not made with butter-cream (it’s not listed on the website, so I will never know). It turns out that there is a reason why Wedding Cake Shoppe was voted best cupcakes in the city. Their butter-cream is so light & fluffy that it barely even registers as such. I was wary of how much icing was on the cupcake, but due to it’s lightness, it was just right.
Another Monday, another 3 hour break. Again, I decided to venture out and get something done. I walked to the Toronto Archives to drop off a necessary form and I thought, heck, while I am this far north, may as well go further north. I was a few streets south of St. Clair and so I thought why not go there? Afterall I had been meaning to go to The Cupcakery and if I just so happened to pass by The Stockyards, I could get my pulled pork fix. Close to two hours of walking, in unexpected heat… and The Stockyards was closed. Another 20 minutes… and The Cupcakery was also closed. So I headed back to class, hungry and defeated, where I looked up two other possible cupcake options for the day. But, nope. For The Love of Cake is also closed on Mondays. I had only one option, Dlish. And when I got there, almost at closing time, all they had were either flavours I’ve already had or ones that were too plain for my book. So I settled for a dark chocolate cupcake. While sitting at the streetcar stop waiting, ants tried to get at it too.
The cupcake was surprisingly delightful. The dark chocolate gave it that rich chocolatey taste without making it overly sweet and the icing on top was very light and creamy. I also loved the sprinkles on top. It made my day.
It seems that lately every time I head to Kensington Market for cupcakes I get rained on. That has happened twice this week. Twice! Not enough to stop me, mind you. I had my super destroyed umbrella! It was barely enough to cover me as I walked to Brent’s work, let alone the two of us as we both tried to cram under it for shelter. Our first stop in Kensington was the best bulk food store, Casa Acoreana . It was OK, not even close to the best though! It had a rather small selection and it was kind of hard to figure out how exactly things worked there. Some things were behind the counter and we had to get the guy to scoop it for us and when I wanted to get coffee, a nice old man handed me a scoop from the counter. It was all very old-timey, all it needed was some barley spilling out of a burlap sack. I still think the bulk food shops in St. Lawrence Market are better. It was nice that they had cinnamon hazelnut coffee, of which I have not partaken in since my days at Second Cup when I would go looking for it in the cupboards and open it up as our feature flavour, to much grumbling. How can no one else like the flavour of it?! It tastes like cookies! With caffeine!
Our next stop was the best cheese shop, Global Cheese. Not being a cheese person, I was really at a loss in the store. Aside from grilled cheese, pizza and french onion soup, I don’t really eat cheese. Even so, I will only eat it if it has been melted. Brent bought some oh-so-delicious-sounding goat’s milk brie (what’s not to love about those three elements?!). From there it was a quick jaunt across the street to Miss Cora’s Bakery where I would finally get my cupcake fix! Alas, there were no cherry pisatchio cherries. It was also deafeningly loud in there this time around. I guess it was closing time and they were finishing up. Either or, we sort of had to shout our orders. For lack of dinner plans, and curiosities sake, we also got some pizza. I say curiosity because the pizza toppings consisted of stir fry items and the other slice had goat’s cheese (I know, again with the goats!). The pizza was (surprisingly) good. The stir fry actually tasted like I was eating stir fry with a pizza crust underneath, and for good measure, Brent managed to pull a carrot out from under the other toppings. A carrot slice on a pizza. The goat’s cheese was barely discernible (a good thing) although it had a funny texture that thankfully got drowned in the rest of the pizza toppings.
And the cupcakes? Well cupcake. We bought two, one chocolate and one mocha, but I had to take the mocha home to my make-shift table-top studio. So we split the chocolate one. It was pretty good, I liked the crispy things on top. The icing was thick and creamy and the cake part tasted good on it’s own. Was it absolutely remarkable? Did it make me scream out loud (like that smores one did)? Nope. Still tasty, but not the best I’ve had. They also get lots of props for giving me a plastic container to transport my cupcakes, the kind that grocery store cupcakes come in. Needless to say, I have not thrown it out. It is a God-send.
On our way, in the pouring rain, we stopped at Metro to get some crackers, you cannot eat goat’s brie on it’s own, that would be gross. Well, not true. Even on a cracker it tasted like old moldy plastic and stale rubber and feet (well, what I imagine these things taste like). I have learned a lesson, venturing out of my cheese comfort zone is not a good idea. There were also some cutting the cheese jokes while we ate fancy cheese on the floor and watched Breaking Bad. So classy.
NOTE: we also passed by Wedding Cake Shoppe and I saw that they were still open and I was *this* close to going in, but I resisted. It took all my willpower. Thankfully it was raining and I was drenched and cold.
Today I happened to be heading downtown and so I figured on my way home, why not grab a cupcake? So it was decided, I would stop in at Bake Sale for some snackage. I went on the website beforehand to make sure I was not wasting my time going somewhere that only has chocolate and vanilla cupcakes. And man alive was I surprised! The website listed as flavours: lemon, Boston cream AND cookies & cream cheesecake! Three possible cupcakes! I was psyched, I mean really psyched. Custard! In a cupcake! With chocolate!!
I got there and was a little alarmed, for a split second it looked as if my choices were chocolate or vanilla.. and then I saw it. Lemon! I promptly ordered one and then as I was paying I noticed some more cupcakes in what I think was a fridge and I asked if she had any Boston cream cupcakes and the nice lady informed me that they had not made those ones in a long time. Ah well, only a reason to go back there.
The cupcake itself was a little bit more dense than what I am used to, but because it was lemon cake it was more akin to a lemon pound cake, so in this case the denseness worked. It was very good cake, the lemon was not too much and it was not fake in it’s taste. I do have a point of contention with the icing though, it was a touch too sweet, especially given it was lemon. It did taste of lemon, but more like sweetened lemonade. It was still a good cupcake and I will be back there for the Boston cream, maybe my asking will have sparked some inspiration and they will bake a batch? Damn, I should’ve given her my number so she could call me in the event they do whip some up.
On Mondays I have a three hour break between classes, so what else was I to do other than wander around downtown? And of course where else will wandering lead me than to… CUPCAKES! In my defense, I was just doing my work. I ended up at Prairie Girl Bakery. There treat of the week was a pumpkin spice cupcake with either vanilla or chocolate icing on top. Having already had a pumpkin spice cupcake over the weekend, and for lack of repetition in my book (save for the fact that every page will feature a photo of a cupcake) I went for the good ol’ Red Velvet. I must admit, it has taken me a while to come around on red velvet (especially after I found out that the red colouring comes from beets, why not cherries? Raspberries? Strawberries? Why beets?!), especially the cream cheese icing. But especially in comparison with butter cream icing as well as some other diabetic-coma-inducing icings I have encountered, cream cheese icing is really starting to grow on me. In terms of on cupcakes, because I have been eating that as crepe filling since childhood.
So how does Prairie Girl’s red velvet cupcake taste? Delicious of course, really what else could you expect? The cupcake was very light & fluffy and just fell apart, in a good, freshly-baked kind of way. The cupcake batter had been generously poured, for the cupcake spilled out with a giant muffin top. Largest one I have encountered to date. It did make taking it out of it’s safe-haven box a little difficult but so worth it.
That is the other plus for Prairie Girl. They have a special box for the cupcake with a hole cut out so the cupcake stays in place while it is transported. And it stands the test of time. That cupcake, in it’s box, lasted through 6 hours of transport and some horrible rain. It took all my will power not to eat that cupcake. A whole day! A whole day of carrying a tantalizing cupcake! Every once in a while the box corner would pop open and I would get a whiff of it, ooh it was to die for.
For lunch today we headed out early to The Burger’s Priest in Leslieville. Why early you may be asking? What good can come of eating a giant greasy burger so early in the day? We got a ride from Braeden. It saved is from having to walk 2.5 hours each way. And as it turns out we also just missed the rush. I went in, and turned right back around and got out. It was insanely crowded in the tiny storefront. I sat outside (near a wasp nest, that forced me to move further down to the KFC parking lot). No sooner had Brent gone in to place our order, a giant line formed. I know this because the line went out on the sidewalk. For good reason too. The cheeseburger I had was amazing! Albeit it was kind of weird. I ate a piece of just the meat and found it surprisingly bland. I say surprisingly because overall the burger was really good, tomatoes and all (well not all, the second one fell out onto the sidewalk, I shed no tears for it). The burger was a greasy, dripping, falling apart mess of deliciousness. Needless to say I could barely finish mine. And it was the default smallest burger, with cheese. It was a double patty. People, this is a lot of meat! They feature a secret menu and Ryan actually ordered off of it. He ordered The Vatican with breaded jalapenos. It was so amusing watching him eat it, as well as watching passersby and their reactions.
Full of burger-y deliciousness Brent and I headed off along Queen Street, leaving Braeden and Ryan behind. We still had soem business to attend to in Leslieville. Namely, best whoopie pie and best coffee roasters. But also some cupcake shops along the way. Up first we chanced upon Sweet Bliss. It was a nice surprise, for I had thought it was further east. I stopped in and promptly purchased a cupcake. It turns out now I had it mixed up with Life Is Sweet, which actually is further east. Damn. Anyways, picked up a pumpkin spice cupcake that the guy wrapped up nicely, right down to tying a bow around it. Up next we went to It’s The Icing on the Cake were I bought an orange coloured strawberry cupcake. I was convinced she had lied to me. But that was disproved during my impromptu mini-photo-shoot in a bus shelter. I got so many weird looks. But the cupcakes had to be photographed lest they get destroyed/eaten on the way home. While taking out the orange cupcake I got some icing on my finger, it was strawberry flavoured.
We crossed the street to Bobette & Belle where they did have the lemon cupcake in stock, but I was so afraid of it being mired by butter-cream AND being dense that I opted not to get it (already was carrying two cupcakes, had one more stop to make). The whoopie pies were small so we got two, chocolate and red velvet. The red velvet we tore into as soon as we left. It was OK, it was rather dense and rich, which is the signature marking of a whoopie pie. Thank God it was so small. Needless to say, we did not eat the second one right away. The second one was way better. The cream in the middle was very lightly flavoured with peanut butter and the cake part had the slightest hint of coffee flavour, but neither was overpowering.
All this made me rather thirsty, thankfully Te Aro was the next stop along the way. The cafe itself is very nice, big and spacious with a large patio. They offer cuppings as well, where you taste different coffees and learn about them. The coffee itself that I had, Elevens it was called, was not as good as I had hoped for. It was a bit winy at the end. Personally, I prefer Full Of Beans. They had a much larger selection and the coffee tasted better. Last stop on my short cupcake tour was Desmond & Beatrice. There I purchased a spicy carrot cupcake (it was between that and the chocolate mint, but I hate mint).
So how did the three cupcakes fair?
The winner was Sweet Bliss’s pumpkin spice. It had just the right amount of spices and subtle flavour of pumpkin and the cream cheese icing on top was light and creamy, not heavy. Second place was Desmond & Beatrice with the spicy carrot cupcake. A light and fluffy, well spiced cupcake, with actual shreds of carrot in it. Also with a cream cheese icing on top and (for some weird reason) a pecan. The icing was a bit thicker and sweeter, not as good as Sweet Bliss’s. Last place goes to It’s The Icing on the Cake. The cupcake was very fake in it’s flavour. It was more like eating strawberry candy than anything else. There was no evidence of real fruit anywhere in the cupcake. And it had coconut flakes on top. Weird. It ranks fairly low in terms of all the cupcakes I have had thus far.
(Pumpkin Spice- Sweet Bliss, best cupcake of the day)