Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, No it's - SuperCake!


Remember when you were five and your mom made character cakes for your birthday? The beaming cake is colorful and perfectly piped with a hundred little stars, and on it is your favorite super hero smiling and wishing you an amazing day! Well they make tins for that. Special baking tins. And I decided to go old school on my friend's birthday and make him one hell of a nostalgic cake.

My friend - lets call him Clark Kent - because he dresses up as Kent every Halloween, and can rattle off the top ten reasons why Superman is better than any other superhero out there without taking a breath, well it was his birthday last week. So what do you make the man who loves the man of steel? Super Cake of course!


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Five Floolish April Fools Cupcakes

Time to make your April foolery sweet and tasty! Trick your friends with these fun foods that don't quite look like cake...

1) On Top of Spaghetti

For your pasta lovers bring out these savory spaghetti and meatball treats. This idea originates from the Hello, Cupcake book and has been riffed on by various pasta (aka: cake) lovers. (It's really made from raspberries and icing!) Make your own with Not Quite Nigella.

2) Corny Cupcakes
Who doesn't love corn on the cob? Particularly when the corn is really jelly bellies? Get out your corn holders and be sure to sprinkle sugar on this treat instead of salt! Get corny with Martha Stewart.


3) Burgers Baby
Fool your friends with these bite-size burgers! Nothing tastes quite like "mustard" and "ketchup" icing! Enjoy a little beef-cake with Smiley's Sweet Creations.


4) Eat your Peas and Carrots!
And your potatoes too! Another winner from the Hello, Cupcake book that is guaranteed to make your kids (and adults) eat their vegetables! Trick the eye with some starburst, caramel, and green m&ms! Be "healthy" with Eat 'n Vegan.


5) Fishy Sweets
Okay, so my last fooling food isn't actually a cupcake, but it's not quite sushi either! Make your own sweet sushi with rice crispy treats, chocolate, and papaya! Play sushi chef with Anastasia.


Have a sweet - and foolish - April Fools Day!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pineapple Upsidedown Lemon Cake


What do you do when you have two friends, one birthday party, and two favorite flavors of cake? Do you make two cakes for the same party? Doesn't that seem a little excessive? Not to mention a whole bunch-o-work!

I say let the inventing begin! Find out their favorite flavors and play mad-cake-scientist! It's Alive! It's Alive! It's....


Okay...it's only pineapple upside down lemon cake, I didn't bring anything back from the dead. But that doesn't mean a sweet cake concoction doesn't deserve its own lightning bolts and dramatic music!

I also decorated my monsterous cake with some white chocolate bark and piped butter cream icing. But this type of cake can be served without any decoration or icing at all.

Time to electrify your own friends with your own crazy cakes! And if you dare go a head and try some:


Pineapple Upsidedown Lemon Cake

Ingredients:
1 pkg lemon cake mix
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup oil
1 can pineapple rings (drained)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
8-10 maraschino cherries

Directions:
1) Over medium heat, melt brown sugar and butter in a sauce pan until the sugar dissolves.
2) Pour mixture into a greased or stick-free cake pan.
3) Arrange pineapple rings and maraschino cherries in a single layer on top of the mixture. I like to put a cherry inside each ring.
4) Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
5) Combine cake mix, eggs, oil, and water and whisk.
6) Pour batter on top of the pineapple rings and sugar mixture.
7) Bake for until a toothpick comes out of the center of the cake clean (approx. 35-40 min or use time recommended on cake mix).
8) Let cake cool in the pan for another 10-20 minutes.
9) Flip cake out onto a serving platter. The cake will have some juices from the pineapple, so be careful.
10) Eat!

Special thanks to Russell Gearhart Photography

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dutch Babies for Breakfast!


You're eating babies for breakfast? You bet I am! And they are deeeeeelicious!

A dutch baby is a pancake made from eggs, flour, milk, and butter. They are a variation of the German Pancake which is baked in the oven. The term dutch baby is said to be named by the daughter of a Seattle restaurant owner (in the 1900's), after the cake creation became a staple of the restaurant's repertoire.

Bake your own baby with the following recipe:

Dutch Baby Recipe
(makes one dutch baby)

Ingredients:
1/4 cup butter
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup flour

Directions:
1. Heat oven at 425 degrees.
2. Mix eggs, milk, and flour in a bowl.
3. Put butter in a 2 to 3 quart pan and let it melt in the oven. I suggest a glass pie dish. I've found this rises and distributes heat the best.
4. Add batter to pan once the butter is melted.
5. Let bake till puffy brown. Approximately 20 - 25 minutes.
6. Serve immediately as dutch baby will loose it's fluffy look as it cools.

Topping:
The traditional topping for a dutch baby is powdered sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice. I also like to add some maple syrup.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Rockin' Elvis Cupcakes


According to rock-legend-lore, it is said that the King had an appetite for peanut butter and banana sandwiches. In some circles, it is said the sandwich was fried, in other circles are tales of bacon bits sprinkled between bites of bread. But in the cupcake circle this tall tale or true bit of trivia has translated into the - always delicious - Elvis Cupcake.

Everyone's Elvis is different, but the basic requirement is to make a cupcake that includes banana and peanut butter. So I put on my blue suede shoes and went to town! In my version of the King's confection, we have banana cake, with a peanut butter frosting, and a chocolate Elvis signature topper! Thank you very much!

Make your own musical magic (in cake) with the following recipe:

Elvis Cupcakes
(makes approximately 18)

Banana Cake Ingredients:
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Banana Cake Directions:
1) Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
2) In a large mixing bowl cream shortening and sugar. I suggest using a stand mixer.
3) Add eggs and vanilla and mix.
4) In a new bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
5) Add to larger bowl (with contents from steps 1 and 2) the bananas, dry ingredients, and buttermilk. I suggest doing this in a rotating fashion (first bananas, then dry ingredients, then buttermilk). Do this in three installments each, mixing between each addition.
6) Line cupcake tray with paper liners and fill each 2/3 full.
7) Bake cupcakes at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Peanut Butter Frosting:
You will need one recipe of butter cream frosting. Follow the directions in my post about how to make butter cream frosting and simply add 1/2 cup of peanut butter (or more if you want more flavor). You will also need an additional 1 or 2 tbsp of water to help make a smooth consistency of frosting.

To Make Elvis Decals:
1) Melt down some cooking chocolate in a double boiler.
2) When chocolate is liquid, pour into a parchment icing liner.
3) Snip a small hole in the tip of the parchment liner and squeeze out the chocolate. Write cursive Elvis signatures onto a clean sheet of parchment paper.
4) Let cool in the fridge for 5 minutes, then use to top your cupcakes!

Of course, if you aren't in a rock-n-roll mood, you can always just make banana cupcakes with the recipe above, which are super delicious as well!

Elvis himself once said - "Do what's right for you, as long as it don't hurt no one." And what I've gotta do...is bake!

Special thanks for the glamorous photos by Russell Gearhart Photography.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Guinness Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting


How will you celebrate this St. Patrick's Day?

"How green is your beer?" The Irish (and non-Irish alike) reply. Yes, many of us will be lining up at the pub for a pint or two of green gold. But to that I say:

"How drunk is your cupcake?"

Huh?

Yes, even the illusive leprechauns perked up their ears at that one. Sure, green beer is a St. Patrick's Day staple. Drink your green beer baby. But that doesn't mean your cake has to be the designated driver. In fact, I dare you to intoxicate your cake (and make new friends - lots of new friends) with the fantastic Guinness cupcake recipe below. Chocolate + beer = St. Patrick's Day Bliss! Not to mention the Bailey's Irish Cream frosting, which is worthy of a limerick or two!


Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes
Makes approximately 20-24 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
4 oz (1/2 cup) unsalted softened butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 bottle (12 fl. oz) Guinness Stout (1 1/2 cups)

Cupcake Directions:
1) Preheat oven at 350 degrees.
2) Line cupcake tins with paper liners
3) In a large bowl whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
4) In a bowl or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter until light and fluffy.
5) Add sour cream and beat in.
6) With the mixer running slowly, pour in the Guinness.
7) Sift the dry ingredients into the batter and slowly stir until it is evenly mixed. Be sure to scrape down the sides so everything is mixed in.
8) Divide the batter up into cupcake liners.
9) Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.


Bailey's Cream Cheese Frosting
(It takes aprox. 1 and 1/2 batches of the following recipe to cover 24 cupcakes generously.)

Frosting Ingredients:
1 8 oz. bar of cream cheese, softened
1 4 oz. stick of unsalted butter, softened
2 cups confectioner's sugar
4-6 tablespoons of Bailey's Irish Cream

Frosting Directions:
1) Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, put cream cheese, butter, and sugar into the bowl and beat until fully. Slowly drizzle in the Bailey's. More Bailey's will add more flavor but will also make the frosting more watery. Beat until the Bailey's is completely incorporated into the frosting.

Feel free to decorate your cupcakes with some chocolate coins or use an idea from my previous post: Ten Cleverly Clover Cupcakes for St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Special thanks to the leprechauns at Russell Gearhart Photography.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ten Cleverly Clover Cupcakes for St. Patrick's Day

Kiss Me I make cupcakes (and I'm not Irish)!

That's right, we don't have to be Irish to green-up some cake for St. Patrick’s day do we? Not if we’re lucky, (and a little cake-crafty). I’m betting if we use some of the ideas below no one will care if we’re I-rish when we can provide the De-lish.

So get ready to chase the rainbow with cupcakes in hand, because before you know it all the leprechauns in your life will be after yee lucky cupcakes!

1) Keepin’ it Classic with Clovers
Start simple and class up a vanilla cupcake with some found clovers. Make sure you wash off the clovers before decorating! Made by Martha: Martha Stewart


2) Shamrock-Wow!
Pinch and decorate your cupcake tops with three leafs. Throw in a little licorice stick (green of course) for a stem and Wow! Sham-rock-tabulous! You could also use three mini cupcakes for a similar effect. This creative concept comes from: Fun Family Stuff



3) Gummy and Green
Make your own sugar shamrocks with some green gumdrops and a little luck. All you need is a small heart shaped cookie-cutter and you’ll be sculpting your own St. Paddy’s day sweets. Gummy-licous guidelines come from: Disney’s Family Fun Magazine



4) Find a Pot of Gold
Plant a pot of gold on top of your cupcake with chocolate foil-wrapped coins and rainbow hard-sugars. Super easy with winning results! Chase the rainbow with Zen Cupcake.


5) I’m Green on the Inside
Sometimes it's not about what’s on top of the cake, but what’s on the inside! It’s time to Green-up your cake with this Green Velvet Recipe from the Party Blueprints Blog.


6) Taste the Rainbow
If green is too bland, you can dazzle up your inner cupcake-self with stunning rainbow cake. Mix food coloring into your batter and layer it into each liner. Make cupcakes with Baking Bites or a whole cake with Ingrid!


7) Leprechaun Cupcakes
If you’re feeling fondant fabulous sculpt your own little leprechaun lads to decorate your cakes! This one was made by The Cupcake Gallery.


8) The Irish Love Tea
Looking for a little Zen in your St. Patrick’s celebration? Go eclectic with green tea bubble cream-filled cupcakes and a green tea frosting! Yum! Find Cupcake-n'-lightenment with this recipe from Chockylit and the Cupcake Blog.


9) Me Cake's A'hrr Minty and Deeeeelicious!
Celebrate with green frosting, piped clovers, and the perfect pairing of mint and chocolate! Minty and scrumptious! Recipe from Bon Appetit.


10) Kiss me I’m Irish (or make cupcakes)
Put on some green food coloring, pucker up and kiss away…or use a stamp and a food coloring marker like Two Parts Sugar did!


What about the Booze?
Of course we all know that St. Patrick's day is really an excuse to drink. So don’t let your cake be the designated driver. Intoxicate your cake with a little beer flavor. Look for my next post (coming this weekend) when I make Guinness Cupcakes!

Cupcake Challenge: My Sweet Cupcake


The final challenger in the Pasadena Cupcake Challenge is South Pasadena’s darling desert-erie My Sweet Cupcake.

This adorable shop is the queen of quaint! Pretty red cupcake decals and lacy curtains line the windows as you enter this red ‘n white polka-dot palace. You are immediately greeted with the slogan “Everyday is a cupcake day!” and the brimming smile of one cake loving hometown hostess! If cake was heaven, My Sweet Cupcake would be the frosted gates.


Sweet jewels of frosting and fruit glimmer under a glass case, as the cupcake-ista describes each decadent desert. We choose our selections and sit in a cozy window seat under a crystal chandelier to consume our cake. Not to mention the charm of fun felt flowers and hand painted signs that surround and proclaim “you’re sweet!”

And we are.


My Sweet Cupcake was also the only shop to wish me a happy birthday, and back up the gesture with a free cupcake! How kind. Our sinful selections included:

1) Circus Circus – A vanilla cupcake baked with chunks of circus circus cookies, topped with butter cream and a pretty pink elephant cookie.
2) Lady Bug – Chocolate cake cut in half to create a whip cream center, topped with cream and fresh strawberries.
3) Black Tie – Chocolate cake with a cream cheese center, topped with powdered sugar and chocolate stripes.


Despite the birthday bribery, how does My Sweet Cupcake compare?

Moisture: 4 Stars
Though delicious, this was the first shop that had a somewhat dry texture to their cake. Not entirely, but it was notable after attending two other cupcake shops prior. Not to say the cake wasn’t good, because it was mighty munchable!

Frosting: 4 ½ Stars
My Sweet Cupcake was the first to have multiple frostings and textures, from whipped cream to piped chocolate and classic butter cream. With a variety of tastes, we had more to explore and enjoy in our frosting feasts. All were good, but none stood out as amazing (hence the ½ star missing). But that doesn’t mean you won’t want to try more than one!


Flavor: 4 ½ Stars
Super creative in its concepts (who doesn’t think a circus circus cupcake is complete genius?), however, execution didn’t quite live up to my imagination. That said, the flavors were still sweet and scrum-didily-umptious!

Presentation: 3 ½ Stars
Simple decorations and pretty presentation make these confections crave-able, but no fancy feats of fashion were on these cupcakes adorned. Simple and straight forward, still makes a creative gal wish for frills and flair.


Atmosphere: 5 Stars
This is where My Sweet Cupcake stands far above the others. Finding that perfect balance between branding and delightful design, Sweet Cupcake feels like a home outside of home. Its cozy, comforting and the perfect place to consume cake! Not to mention the stellar customer service of the lovely and kind, Davida, who seemed genuinely interested in my birthday and our cake tasting adventures! (That’s right I even remember her name).

Selection: 4 Stars
The good variety and fun flavors of My Sweet Cupcake will keep your pastry passions pleased, and I can’t wait to see what new and fun flavors will be cooked up in the weeks to come.

Finally tasty tally for My Sweet Cupcake is: 4.5 Stars

If you are looking for a place to hang out and spend some time with a friend, My Sweet cupcake is hands down the best place to entertain and indulge in a delightful delicacy.

(We're making a three and zero for turning thirty! We aren't saying My Sweet Cupcake is a three).

It seems all of Pasadena’s Cupcakeries are worthy or your avid appetites! I challenge you to go taste them all for yourself!

Read reviews of: Violet's Cakes and Dots Cupcakes or Pasadena Cupcake Challenge Criteria

Special Thanks to Russell Gearhart Photography

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cupcake Challenge: Dot's Cupcakes


To dots or not to dots? That is the question!

As a self-proclaimed polka-dot lover, it would seem perfectly plausible that a shop that combined my love for cake with my love for dots would be heaven in a cakebasket. And indeed, my Ingrid instincts were right on the spot...or right on the dot...

Dots Cupcakes is the second cupcakery to be tested for my birthday tasting extravaganza (See official cupcake tasting criteria here: Pasadena Cupcake Challenge). It is by far the most corporate cake shop of the three visited. Dots is to cupcakes as Starbucks is to coffee. Dots has the perfect pink set up, pink walls, dot shaped cushions, T-shirts, and polka-dot boxes with pretty pink stickers. If Dot's wanted to franchise, it could, in fact I think they have two locations in Pasadena alone.

Despite Dots' dazzling design, the first welcome we received as we walked in the door was "No Photographs!" So our careful camera wielder had to "shoot from the hip" to give our eyes a peep at Dots' delicious deserts. Shhhhh, don't tell anyone!

At Dots you can purchase both mini cupcakes ($1.50) or full size cupcakes ($2.75), so for more flavor and selection we opted for three mini-cupcakes! Our tastes included:

1) Pina Colada (pina colada cake, topped with butter cream and coconut).
2) Fleur de Sel (chocolate cake with a caramel center, with a bit of salt on top of the frosting).
3) Lemon Drop (lemon cake, vanilla-lemon frosting).


So How Does Dots Measure Up?

Moisture: 5 Stars
Delicious and creamy, these silky cakes were fresh and fantastic.

Frosting: 4 Stars
Their fun frosting was yummy and satisfied the palette, but it was a dense frosting, lacking in fluffy texture. Granted this may all be a matter of taste...literally.

Flavor: 5 Stars
Exotic and well developed flavors were found in this cake-y repertoire! We testers agreed that the Fleur de Sel was a particularly scrumptious combination of chocolate and caramel, with a special salty splash. Yes, salt on cake - who would have thought? But it really helped bring out the flavor, and add an unexpected sensation! I can't wait to try the other flavors!


Presentation: 5 Stars
Dots outdoes all the shops in cake presentation. Including sweet details like fontant flowers, swirling straws, and red cherries glittering like sugar jewels, each cupcake looked beautiful! Fashion forward and so in style!

Atmosphere: 4 Stars
I described the shop as corporate above, but with love. The design of Dots is meticulous to a T. Every bit of trim, sign, sticker, and seat is thought about and crafted with care. The question is if you are into branding or hoping for more of a homegrown happening. Our cake-ista was chipper, but felt a little rehearsed. "Our Vanilla is to die for!" She says through pre-sugared and tightly trained teeth.

Selection: 5 Stars
Dots had so many flavors, you're really happy they sell mini-cupcakes just so you can try more than one. With tongue teasers like raspberry cheesecake and chocolate mint, to marble swirl and pina colada - who wouldn't be knocking down the door for more more more!

Dot's Final Tally: 4.7 - oh let's just round up to 5 stars!

I dare you to come on down and taste only one mini-cupcake. Can you resist? I can't!

Up Next: My Sweet Cupcake
Previously: Violet's Cakes


Special thanks to my hip-shooting cupcake capturing photosmith - Mr. Russell Gearhart! Yes, he shoots more than cake! Visit his website: Russell Gearhart Photography

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Cupcake Challenge: Violet's Cakes


Our first Pasadena Cupcakery to be evaluated is Violet’s Cakes! (If you're unfamiliar with my cupcake challenge, please read my cupcake criteria at this link: Pasadena Cupcake Challenge).

Violet’s cakes is a retro shop located on Holly Street near Pasadena’s downtown. The first thing to greet you at Violet’s is the red pin-up girl pimping baked beauties that charms the window and is the establishment’s logo. White walls with retro-red polka dot trim welcomes you as you enter, and a simple display case sits to the right next to a cash register. Perhaps the most interesting part about the Violet’s interior is the fact that you can see straight into the kitchen where pink mixers turn, and an employee’s preps baking batter.


Violet’s closes at 3pm, and my visit is at 2:30, which accounts for the shortage of cupcake choices, only four or five selections remain. My birthday buddy Miss Bobbi-baby and I decided on two flavors to taste:

1) White Chocolate Peppermint: A white cake with a candy cane peppered frosting and center.

2) The Elvis: A banana cake with peanut butter frosting (so named after Elvis’ obsession with peanut butter and banana sandwiches).


We compliment all cake with the palette pleaser milk. In our opinion Violets measures up as follows:

Moisture: Five Stars
These airy creations are light on the palette, yet creamy and moist. With a somewhat similar texture to box mixes (meant as a compliment), these silky sweets tantalized the tongue.

Frosting: Five Stars
Fluffy and delicious, both butter cream frostings were plentiful and pleasing. The peanut butter frosting in particular was ravenously rich!

Flavor: Four Stars
Hands down, we both thought the Elvis cupcake was a more creative and tasty treat. And yes, the white chocolate peppermint pick was yummy as well, but we felt white chocolate was too subtle, and the dessert was more of a single note experience.


Presentation: Three Stars
Lacking in frosting finesse, these cupcakes were simple in presentation. A classic frosting swirl and a few shakes of sprinkles that you might find characteristic of a supermarket confection. But what they lack in fashion, they surely make up in flavor.

Atmosphere: Three and a Half Stars
The retro flair is fun, but the white walls lack in overall design d├ęcor. Cute cupcake paintings fill some space, but the seating area is cramped and craves design dazzle. The ability to see the kitchen is interesting, but sometimes it’s best to leave the magic to the man behind the curtain. Meanwhile, the cupcake-ista was pleasant, but lacked the sweet smile I want from a peddler of pastry. Show us some teeth, sweet seller of the sucrose!


Selection: Two Stars
I must again merit the mention of my half-hour-before-closing visit. The lack of selection is indeed a reflection of freshness, and the unwritten guarantee that cake is baked daily. If you’ve got leftovers – well those go down the throat of some begging bloodhound out back, not saved for tomorrows treat seekers. So yes, there were only four or five cakes to choose from, and had a heftier selection been brought, it would indeed entice repeat visitage. The moral of the story? Next time show up early.

Violet’s Final Tally: 4 Stars
Violet’s is surely worthy of your cupcake cravings, dimes and dollars.

Up Next: Dot's Cupcakes and My Sweet Cupcake

Special thanks to additional taste tester and fantastic photographer Russell Gearhart who provided documentation of this fun event!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Pasadena Cupcake Challenge


The Challenge: Who Has the Best Cupcakes in Pasadena?
The Judge: One Cupcake Lovin’ Birthday Girl (moi) and Her Best Friend
The Competitors: Violets Cakes, Dots Cupcakes, and My Sweet Cupcake

It was a bright and sunny January afternoon and birthday cake was in dire need. Yes, this joyful judge, is normally the one in her social circle to make the cake, but today was her birthday and no cake was in sight. Thus, to the hands of local creative cake-stresses she did turn, for much needed birthday bites. But alas, Pasadena is the home of not one, but three cupcake shops! Which one to pick? Why all of them of course! And so the Pasadena cupcake challenge was born. Tasting wine is fine, but tasting cake does a birthday make!

To add a little fun to any tasting experience, this joyful judge decided to rate each cupcake shop on food, flavor, and outright fabulousness! Her cupcake criteria falls into these six categories:

1) Moisture – This is a key element in any baking book. What is the texture of the cake itself? Is it soft and fluffy, moist and marvelous? Or is it dry and stale like dusty dirt?

2) Frosting – Yes, toppings can come in many flavors and styles, from ganache to butter cream, whipped frosting, or glazed. Flavor and texture both come into play here, as well as consistency and proper pairing.

3) Flavor – Chocolate is chocolate is chocolate. Or is it? A successful cupcake needs to blend flavors into an elegant palette. Too much chocolate can overwhelm. The wrong frosting can clash. Is it boring old vanilla, or a mega-mess of too many tastes?

4) Presentation – As an artist and cake decorator the look of the cupcake is important. Presentation alone will cause you to buy a cupcake! How creative were our cake-dressers in pimping their pastries?

5) Atmosphere – This criteria is about the shop itself. The presence of a business can make or break a cupcake experience. Are the shop keepers as sweet as their sweets? Are the seats comfortable and the cakery quaint?

6) Selection – What are the choices? Though classic chocolate and vanilla are staples of any cake collection, what other unexpected flavors might tickle the taste buds? Is there enough cake to keep a customer coming back for more and more and more?

Which cake shop will win our judge’s adoration and life-long patronage? Which will make a birthday? And whose pretty pastries will flounder and fall flat?

Stay Tuned for the next three posts to see which Pasadena pastry takes the cake! Posting order will be: Violet’s Cakes, Dot’s Cupcakes, and My Sweet Cupcake.