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 statement in San Francisco. – Joanne Boston
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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 www.jobostonisafoodie.blogspot.com and on Twitter @joanneisafoodie.