Food & Drink

Bay Area’s Favorite Cupcakes

May 14, 2012 1:34 PM

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Kara's Cupcakes. (credit:

Kara’s Cupcakes. (credit:

Cupcakes, who doesn’t like them? Growing up, we may have only been familiar with vanilla and chocolate, but these days you can find cupcakes of every flavor: strawberry, caramel, and even some topped with bacon. Trend or not, cupcakes are still making a Bay Area statement. – Joanne Boston

karas Bay Areas Favorite Cupcakes

Kara's Cupcakes. (credit:

Kara’s Cupcakes

Ghirardelli Square
900 North Point
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 563-2253

Kara’s Cupcakes, situated at Ghirardelli Square, is loved by all who walk in the door. They make each batch of cupcakes with organic ingredients from local purveyors resulting in a tender and flavorful cake. No day-old cupcakes here, the cupcake you’re eating came out of the oven the same day. Outstanding flavors are the “Sweet S’mores” – chocolate cupcake with a graham cracker crust and a toasted marshmallow frosting, which you might have seen on the Food Network, and the “Fleur De Sel” – chocolate cupcake with caramel filling, ganache frosting and fleur de sel.

mette Bay Areas Favorite Cupcakes

Miette cupcake (credit:

Miette Cakes

Ferry Building Marketplace
Shop 10
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 837-0300

Miette at the Ferry Building is a great place to stop by for their cupcakes and other sweets. Gaze at the glass display cases and take your pick from these ageless flavors: yellow vanilla, carrot, chocolate-raspberry, or gingerbread. Pick up the “Old-Fashioned” – a bittersweet chocolate cake with Italian meringue and candy-coated peanut. The meringue is almost like smooth marshmallow. Enjoy this as you peruse the rest of the Ferry Building Marketplace.

mission minis Bay Areas Favorite Cupcakes

Mission Minis cupcakes. (credit:

Mission Minis

168 22nd Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 817-1540

This cupcakery is situated in the heart of the vibrant Mission District. The petite cakes are baked fresh everyday with quality ingredients resulting in some of the best, and possibly cutest, cupcakes SF has ever seen. Tired of your ho hum vanilla? Try the “cinnamon horchata,” an homage to the refreshing rice milk drink popular in Latin culture. The cupcake is in fact horchata cake with classic cream cheese frosting topped with cinnamon dust. Founded only last year in 2009, Mission Minis has already developed a fan base by serving up creative flavors influenced by their neighborhood.

sprinkles Bay Areas Favorite Cupcakes

Sprinkles cupcakes. (credit: Joanne Boston)


393 Stanford Shopping Center
Palo Alto, CA 94304
(650) 323-9300

You get a wide range from flavors at Sprinkles from your timeless Madagascar vanilla, present everyday, to the uncommon chai latte, which is only available one day a week. However. It’s all about the red velvet here at Sprinkles. The decadent cake is moist and tender and topped with the perfect amount of cream cheese frosting. Not too sweet, which enables one to eat the whole thing – that can be dangerous!

that takes the cake Bay Areas Favorite Cupcakes

A_cupcake, um, That Takes The Cake. (credit: Joanne Boston)

That Takes The Cake

5855 Macarthur Blvd
Oakland, CA 94605
(510) 969-0189

Need a cocktail after a hard day’s work? How about a cocktail cupcake? Try a margarita: margarita cake infused heavily with tequila and topped with tequila and lime butter cream frosting, and sprinkled with tequila salt. Also on the menu: cosmopolitan and strawberry daiquiri! Special order these babies and you’ll be happy in no time. Non-alcoholic favorites include the cupcakery’s moist red velvet with cream cheese frosting known as the “Gentlemen Prefer Red” and the fresh banana complete with a banana chip.

teenycake Bay Areas Favorite Cupcakes

Cupcakes from Teeny Cake. (credit:

Teeny Cake

Stonestown Farmer’s Market
3251 20th Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132
(415) 317-4928

Michelle, owner of Teeny Cake, treks over to the farmer’s market at Stonestown every Sunday. You can find some classics such as chocolate and carrot cake, but get ready for fun combinations like the “Night at the Movies” and “caramel apple.” One that caught our attention was the duo of vanilla and vanilla bean cakes topped with vanilla buttercream, Sylverleaf olive oil, and fleur de sel – inspired by Restaurant Picco’s soft serve ice cream topped with olive oil.
joanne Bay Areas Favorite Cupcakes

Joanne Boston (credit: Joanne Boston)

Joanne Boston is a food blogger from San Francisco who is always on the lookout for great food. She loves hosting twEAT-ups with fellow foodies and enjoys learning about the restaurant scene in any city she visits. Catch her on her blog and on Twitter @joanneisafoodie.

View Comments
  • Pootypootus

    Fyi you are all high. Kara’s fleur de sel and vanilla are good but the others are ok. Miette ehhhhh decent soemtimes. Mission mini’s? Seriously. The best overall cupcake is made by Sweet Things. Trust me I’ve done an abundant amount of research. It’s their cake. It’s dense yet moist and will keep for several days. Vanilla cake with chocolate frosting. Trust me check it out for yourself at Laurel village.

  • sr

    my new fave is cupcake cove in the financial district. i am addicted to the chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting. yum

  • CS

    Don’t forget Sweetiecups. She’s mastered the savory and the sweet (walnut & brie, chocolate mint, and Nutella filled are my favs). At PressClub wine bar happy hours too. Definitely should be on any ‘best of’ list.

  • gloria wells

    SusieCakes (Marin, SF, and LA) absolutely takes the cake to the top of the charts!!

  • Jim

    No the best cupcakes are from Santa Rosa, Sift Cupcakes the winner of Cupcake Wars. They are GREAT! Check them out!

    • Samantha

      Totally agree with you Jim. Sift is the BEST!

  • robbie leavitt

    Come on, Joan. How can you overlook Sift in Napa, Novatyo and S Rosa? They won a national cupcake cook-off against the best in the US. They have no equal!

  • JE

    The best cupcakes are at the Walnut Creek Baking Company.

  • Jennifer

    cupcake cove… far the best!

  • Lisa Krieger

    It’s Sweetcakes in Redwood City!!

  • Rob

    Sift in Napa. Excellent quality, great staff and not over priced.

  • posavea

    That picture of the cupcake from “That takes the Cake” looks so delicious!

  • M Iorfido

    “That takes the cake” is one the best cupcakes around. Moonbabycakes is also right up there too.

  • Gee3

    Cako in Union Square and J-Town for the win!

    • Laura Malkiewich

      So delicious and cheaper than sprinkles but I still think kara’s has better frosting

  • Kimba

    I don’t get to the city too often anymore, but I love cupcakes. I’ve sampled quite a few and my favorites, hands-down, are from Tiffane’s Cupcake & Cookie Boutique in Livermore (of all places). Always nice and moist and beautifully textured frosting too.

  • Alane

    How could you leave out “Citizen Cake” The Food Network just did a story on them to be fetured on The Food Networks Best Cupcakes.
    Check them out!!!

  • What?

    Red velvet is NOT a chocolate batter AND is never buried under cream cheese frosting!!! I tried 10 bakeries in SF and have yet to eat a true red velvet. Icky at best!

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