Friday, April 27, 2007

Individual servings of cake

Cupcakes. I am crazy about cupcakes. Perhaps it is because they remind me of the birthday cakes my mother used to make for me when I was a child. Homemade white cake with white butter cream icing. Heaven. Cupcakes are the perfect treat for the adult me.

When I lived in NYC I would occasionally treat myself to a cupcake from a bakery that opened near my apartment building in Chelsea,
Billy's Bakery. The cupcakes were an absolutely delightful treat. There was perfect amount of icing on every bite of moist cake. Somehow these cupcakes had the magical power to cheer you when you were sad or help you celebrate good news.

I liked Billy's Bakery better than
Magnolia Bakery or Buttercup Bakery. I liked that, unlike Magnolia, there was never a line at Billy's. The Billy's staff seemed to really care about their baked goods. It wasn't just a tourist destination. Also, I think Magnolia over-ices there cupcakes. Way too much icing and I love icing so there must really be too much. I do not have any strong opinions about Buttercup Bakery. It was just inconvenient to get there when I lived in NYC. Now close friends of mine live nearby and it never seems like the right time for an indugent cupcake when I am visiting them. I do however have the Buttercup cookbook, a gift from a dear friend, and I love it. I will get there one of these days.

Cupcakes in San Francisco are another story. I cannot find one to compare and believe me, I have made it a personal quest to find the same satisfying treat.
Noe Valley Bakery doesn't use butter cream frosting, although their carrot cake cupcakes are excellent. (They also have tons of other delicious treats and breads.) Citizen Cake's cupcakes are too fancy. Miette, in the Ferry Building, does not use enough frosting. Kara's Cupcakes opened in the Marina and while I have not been to the store itself, I have had some samplings at a party. Good, but no Billy's. Love at First Bite Cupcakery and Bakery in Berkeley has good, but not memorable, cupcakes. Plus I cannot reasonably go to Berkeley everytime I have a cupcake craving. Alas, I will have to continue to sample cupcakes in the Bay Area. Oh, the hardship.

As a cupcake freak, I absolutely wanted cupcakes at my wedding reception instead of an actual cake. When I called wedding cake bakers, I was quoted an outrageous price per cupcake. I could not get them to understand that I wanted something simple. (I hate fondant.) My minimum quote was $5 a cupcake. Luckily, I finally found a ex-Whole Foods pastry chef with the help of a co-worker who agreed to make me 175 cupcakes using the
Magnolia Bakery Cookbook (Her idea!) at a very reasonable price. She even went the extra mile on decorating them. And, she didn't over-ice them! They were absolutely delicious and a huge hit at the wedding.

Check them out! We had Lenox Miss Piggy and Kermit "cake toppers" because I love The Muppets!

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