That's right. To anyone who is delighted by the appeal of adorable, classic, and very appetizing little cakes...cheers! Cupcakes have quickly become the main attraction for weddings, parties, and showers. Growing up everyone brought cupcakes to school for their birthday, and kids still do this (don't you know thats why I became a teacher?? ;)) But cupcakes are no longer sprinkles dashed overtop vanilla or chocolate frosting. Today, cupcakes are swirled, glazed, dipped or otherwise fancifully decorated (spoken by the Queen of Cupcakes herself, my girl Martha Stewart). Cupcakes are embellished with any number of normal (chocolate chips) or unique (Nilla Wafers) toppings. Both batter and frosting recipes have emerged and can be combined to create a special cupcake for any occasion.
Cupcakes even come in different sizes these days (you no longer have to use only your regular old muffin tin! hooray!). There are big cupcakes, they almost qualify as being a cake; and there are dainty lil cupcakes, ya know in case you have tea with the Queen. All in all, cupcakes are the new phenomena and are an excellent way to showcase a theme or to just show off creativity. Inspiration for cupcake flavors and decorations can be pulled from anything. And if you don't really have any ideas except the plain ol' sprinkles, look here and see if anything inspires the creativity in you!
Now, before I show you some of my favorite cupcakes, let me tell you some wonderful places you can go buy cupcakes if you'd rather not make them.
My personal first and foremost favorite: Crumbs. Crumbs in located in LA, NYC, and DC, although I hear the one in DC isn't so rockin. Check out Crumb's website here. If you don't live in one of those areas, have a half dozen delivered to you, it is so worth it. I visited the store in LA and I totally recommend you try the Grasshopper (tastes like mint choc chip) and the Vanilla/Vanilla Sprinkle (just the classic lil cupcake, but better). I'm dying to try both the Margarita (do you think you catch a buzz off of it?) and the Key Lime (my absolute favorite flavor of anything--except martinis).
Next up: Bakeshop. My friend, Erin, is in love with cupcakes--borderline obsessive ;) She is doing a Cupcake Tour around the Northern Virginia area and I just happened to coincide a weekend trip up there with her 5th stop. We went to a tiny, but very cute, bakery called Bakeshop in Arlington. Now, Bakeshop didn't have tons and tons of flavors to choose from, but I like this because it means that they really take their time on the flavors they do offer. I got the Perfect White and it definitely surpassed my expectations. It was light and fluffy with just the right touch of sweetness. If I ever go back I will try the 7-Up, it looks incredible.
I know there are hundreds and hundreds of cupcakeries out there, but the last one I want to mention is in my beloved hometown: Richmond. Pearls is great because it is so Richmond, if you know what I mean. All ingredients are local, cupcakes are baked fresh everyday, and everything just looks so gourmet, straight out of a magazine. Pearls doesn't go overboard on the decorating or combining of flavors, I love the simplicity of their cupcakes. I got the Plain Jane (can you tell that my overall my fav is vanilla and vanilla?) but I am itching to get back and try the Salty Mermaid (sea salt on cupcakes sounds crazy but is delicious!!). The other thing I like about Pearls is that they are conscientious of different diets people must follow. Everyday they offer both a vegan-free and gluten-free cupcake. Cheers to you, Pearls.
Get ready for your mouth to drool. Here are some wonderful cupcakes, either that I've made, plan to make, or simply that I drool over (come on, you will too).
Martha Stewart's Hummingbird Cupcake. Doesn't that look incredible?!
Martha Stewart's Fourht of July Cupcakes. These look so refreshing on a hot July day!
Bakerella's There's No Business Like Snow Business Cupcakes. I want to make these for my class this year! You need to check out her blog and look at all of her awesome ideas-she's extremely talented.
I love the understated beauty of these little gems found on Weddingbee.com
Hibiscus Mango from Georgetown Cupcakes. This one looks simple from the outside, but in the inside, its a different story. Its infused with hibiscus syrup and mango with a hibiscus-buttercream frosting. Heaven.
Do you have a favorite cupcake/cupcakerie? Let me know!
Cheers to Cupcakes!