Optimistically Cautious

Sunday, October 29, 2006


I am not afraid to admit that I have a cupcake fetish, or at the very least am in the midst of a cupcake phase.

Ever since Magnolia Bakery hit it big in New York, gourmet cupcake shops have been springing up in major centres across North America. Even Edmonton, as small as we are, currently supports four cupcake franchises: two physical stores and two home-based businesses.

  • The Cupcake Shoppe: a home-based business, they deliver, and have sold their product at St. Albert's Outdoor Farmer's Market in the past. I haven't yet had a chance to try out their cupcakes, so I will withhold judgment until then.
  • BabyCakes Bakeshoppe (6861-170 Street): a cupcake bakery and tea room, I just read about this location in the Edmonton Journal. I will be sure to make a stop there sometime soon.
  • The Cupcake Bakeshoppe & Cafe (17298 Stony Plain Road): I visited this cafe a few weeks ago with a friend of mine, and after much anticipation, I was sorely disappointed. The cafe itself was quite charming, but the cupcakes were not what I expected. Because they were refrigerated, it was hard to determine whether or not they were freshly made. Moreover, the icing was of the buttercream variety - not sweet enough for my tooth. The server explained that they only use imported Belgian fruit purees in the icing, but to me, the strawberry icing atop "The Diva" tasted strangely reminiscent of artificially-flavored Pocky. I will return sometime soon, if not only to try the 'cakes that they had sold out of ("The Don" especially), but I will remain cautiously optimistic.
  • Whimsical Cake Studio: another home-based business, they are clearly my favorite (with the best website too!). They also deliver, and sell their product at the St. Albert and Downtown Farmer's Markets. Over the summer, Whimsical was profiled in the Edmonton Journal, which is where I discovered the company. I had my first taste of their cupcakes at the city centre market, and felt even more privileged when I managed to score the last two they had for sale that Saturday (yes, there was a little boy behind me in line. No mercy when it comes to cupcakes). The 'cake was obviously freshly baked, and the icing was a little taste of heaven - sweet, but not overwhelmingly so. If you're interested, Whimsical will be setting up booths on November 4 & 18 at Churchill Square. Details here.

An unidentified Whimsical cupcake (picture courtesy of a coworker with a talent for photography).

EDIT: on a cupcake-related note, I discovered Johnny Cupcakes clothing today. They make one cute shirt.


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