Monday, June 23, 2014

Get to Know Your Cupcakes, Toronto

If you check this blog regularly, you will likely know that I've been very busy this spring planning all kinds of parties and showers for my sister and friends who are getting married and having babies. Yesterday was another such event - my sister's wedding shower - and I have officially executed all of my duties. Now I'm free to sit back and relax and enjoy the weddings and other events.

Celebratory parties are fun, but planning them always comes with stress. There are invitations to send, food to order, drinks to plan, flowers to arrange, photos to take, and ultimately, as planner and host, you are responsible for the success of the event. You must facilitate the fun. I have been feeling the stress of the various events I've planned lately, and on Saturday night I even had dreams about cupcakes. Telling Drew about the dreams while arranging real-life cupcakes in attractive formations on cake stands the next day, I realized that I've tasted enough cupcakes and placed enough orders to have become a bit of an aficionado about Toronto's cupcake scene. I'm here today to share what I've learned.

Prairie Girl's cupcakes (pink and white) with Bobbette and Belle's cupcakes
(topped with blue hydrangea) and colourful meringues.
 When taste is your primary concern (as it should be), then Prairie Girl bakery is the only way to go. Their strawberry icing is the best cake-topping-substance I've ever tasted. It's like an old-school strawberry frozen yoghurt, where they put the little square of yoghurt into the machine and pull a lever down, then add scoops of frozen strawberries and pull the lever down again, then take a waffle cone and twirl the mixture into a heaping tower with a surprise flavour at the bottom (the previous person's order), except that Prairie Girl's icing is sweeter than the yoghurt, and not frozen. Can you imagine the fresh strawberry flavour? And the tart sweetness? That's what I'm talking about. The other flavours of cupcakes are also delicious - their chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing, and banana cupcake with peanut butter icing are tied for second place in my books; the chocolate cupcake with strawberry icing is a blue ribbon winner.

Bobbette and Belle's
hydrangea-topped and
Prairie Girl's lemon cupcakes
When looks are your primary concern (as is sometimes appropriate), then Bobbette and Belle are for you. These magicians turn icing into the most beautiful edible creations, but you won't want to eat them. They're too pretty. The cupcakes themselves are good, but not mind-blowing; the cake isn't as moist as Prairie Girl, and I can't fault them for not having icing as delicious. But that's OK! When you order these, and I think you should for special times, know that you're getting an acceptably tasty cupcake that looks completely gorgeous.

If you want to get good cupcakes that are also good for your soul, then check out Eat My Words. This organization bakes fresh cupcakes (and other things) and sells them with the proceeds going to the Stephen Lewis Foundation for HIV/AIDS-related work. They're no slouches in the decorating department, either.

A Bobbette and Belle meringue, with Prairie Girl cupcakes,
surrounded by Paulette's mini-doughnuts cut into halves
If you're tired of cupcakes altogether (and I am with you there), then you may want to check out Paulette's Original doughnuts. Paulette had her own store front on Queen St. East for a little while, but has given that up to sell her amazing cake doughnuts online and through Delica Kitchen. There are doughnut flavours that you've never even dreamed of, and all of them are simply delightful. The vanilla doughnut covered in blueberry-balsamic icing is one of my favourites, followed by pecan-crunch cinnamon bun. Doesn't that sound amazing? It truly is.

Also in the doughnut-is-the-new-cupcake category, I wholeheartedly recommend Von Doughnuts. Whereas Paulette specializes in cake doughnuts, Von's are the fried kind, so come out fluffier and larger in appearance. It's hard to choose a favourite here, but chica cherry cola and mangiacake both stand out.

I have to say, as a final thought, that even after tasting all of the yummy cupcakes in Toronto, the lemon tart cupcake at Petits Gâteaux in Montreal with it's meringue icing is still my very favourite.

If you have other places that you like in Toronto, or want more recommendations (I know a good vegan bakery with great cupcakes, too), leave a note in the comments!

1 comment:

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