Cupcakes make the world a better place. Yes, they really do. Just watch what happens when you give your grandchildren one of these cute, irresistible treats. Bakers know what the kids like: From small towns to big cities, cupcake shops — or cupcakeries — continue to spring up, demonstrating that the craze is still going strong. Here are our picks for the sweetest little shops across the country. Go ahead, indulge your sweet tooth!
Baked and sugar Sweet sunshine
New York City
It's too difficult to choose between these shops, so we're calling it a tie. Baked is Brooklyn's worst-kept secret bakery. Friends Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito opened their vision of a neighborhood café in 2005 and since then, Baked has been nationally recognized by the likes of Martha Stewart and the Food Network. Its cupcakes have out-of-this-world taste, texture, and overall awesomeness. On the Lower East Side of Manhattan, sugar Sweet sunshine is the epitome of what a cupcakery should be. This warm, inviting bakery has the sweetest little cakes to fit any heart's desire, in flavors like Pistachio, Lemon Yummy, and Black & White…Just Right. But the true cupcake connoisseur will appreciate the classic vanilla with buttercream frosting.
Dozen Bake Shop
Dozen Bake Shop is a local favorite for desserts — especially its cupcakes. With a completely open kitchen, this fun and welcoming space allows patrons to watch its bakers at work. Dozen makes cupcakes with a dense, soft cake and fluffy frosting; it's a winning combination. The menu includes the über-popular Red Velvet, and even an inventive maple-bacon flavor for those who like to mix their sweet with salty. With four locations in and around Pittsburgh, it's easier than ever to get your sweet fix.
If you're a fan of the TLC show DC Cupcakes, you have to take a trip to this splendid Georgetown shop run by sisters Katherine Kallinis and Sophie LaMontagne. If you don't already know their story, Katherine worked in fashion and Sophie in private equity before both left their careers to pursue their passion for artful cupcakes. We should mention the dreamy flavor of their cakes, too. Their chocolate cupcakes' key ingredient is Valrhona chocolate, the finest of the finest. And the shop's design is airy, eye-appealing, and fragrant with sugar.
Abby Girl Sweets
A family-run business, Abby Girl Sweets is named after owners Nathan and Andrea Thompson's daughter, Abby. She's also their official taste-tester. Patrons flock to this shop for the moist cupcakes with velvety icing. The Thompsons use only the best ingredients, and everything is made fresh daily. Abby Girl offers 12 varieties to choose from, including a rotating special flavor of the week.
The Flying Cupcake
On The Flying Cupcake's blissful menu, the Salted Chocolate Caramel cupcake — a chocolate cupcake filled with caramel and topped with a chocolate-caramel ganache — is a true stand-out. This bakery's signature is its presentation, and the freshly made, ample-sized cupcakes are decorated to the sugary hilt. Each cozy eat-in shop (there are two) is decorated in a 1950s home-style manner. We suggest that you take a cupcake to go for someone special — the pink boxes perfectly fit the sweet treats.
There are more than 20 flavors of cupcakes to choose from at Magpies, in Classic, Deluxe, and SuperDeluxe categories. With so many options — all cupcakes come in mini and regular sizes — it's no wonder Knoxville residents appreciate this one-stop bake shop. Rachael Ray has also praised the cupcakes which are baked daily and decorated with precision. A feast for the eyes, and mouth!
Toot Sweet Cupcakes
Austin's prized bakery has quite a following, thanks to its oversize gourmet cupcakes. Toot Sweet prides itself on its organic, all-natural ingredients; the sweet cream butter used in its incredible buttercream frostings; and only the finest European chocolates. The result: cupcakes with taste. We'd love to try the Mint Truffle — a chocolate-mint cupcake filled with minty cream and frosted in chocolate buttercream.
Happy Cakes Bakeshop
At the helm of this successful shop are owners and friends Sara Bencomo, Lisa Herman, and Laura Reynolds, who have combined their creativity, passion, and business sense into a "Happy" union. The bakery get its cheery name when Bencomo's then-2-year-old son once exclaimed, "Happy Cakes" instead of "Happy Birthday." But who isn't happy when they're eating cupcakes? In addition to its regular repertoire of goodies, Happy Cakes also offers gluten-free and vegan cupcakes.
Husband-and-wife team Michael Williamson and Jennifer Shea use only the finest ingredients — Valrhona cocoa, free-range eggs, and pure Madagascar bourbon vanilla — in their treats. With varieties ranging from classic to design-your-own, Trophy's always-changing menu features flavors like Hummingbird and Snickerdoodle. We're particularly intrigued by the Chai Cardamom.
Sprinkles and SusieCakes Bakery
It's another tie. Just mention the name Sprinkles to anyone from L.A. and you'll hear why this cupcakery has legions of devotees. Sprinkles's Beverly Hills location was actually the world's first cupcake bakery, and it offers a dizzying array of flavors. And now Sprinkles is expanding to Chicago, Dallas, and Phoenix, among other cities. SusieCakes, located throughout Southern California, has its own passionate fans. This home-style bakery does the all-American treat right, with luscious frosting-filled cupcakes sure to tickle anyone's sweet tooth.
What's your favorite local cupcakery? Share your top picks in the Comments area below.
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