Cupcakes Redux

OK, admit it: You’ve been going through withdrawal, haven’t you?

After all, it’s been two whole months — yes, more than 60 days! — since I last wrote about cupcakes, and last hit you smack dab with frosting photos.

Consider this my after-Christmas gift to you. Heck, I know I can sure use some cupcakes right about now.

I’m not the only one. I recently dragged — though, believe me, it didn’t take much effort — 5 Second Rule with me to Icing on the Cake in Los Gatos. She’d eaten the cakes before, but had never been to the bakery. Me? I’d been to the bakery, but not for almost a year.

It’s a full-service bakery with a wide array of treats, including about a dozen different kinds of cupcakes offered each day, ranging in price from $2.75 to $3.75.

5 Second Rule, who has a household of four, bought two cupcakes. Me? Despite having a household of only two, I toted home five — yes, count ’em, five — cupcakes. What can I say except that it’s in the name of research, of course!

(Clockwise, from back): Peanut butter, caramel, and gingerbread cupcakes.

All of the cupcakes were moist. Always a good start. And all were pretty darn sweet. Not always the ideal thing to be.

The Red Velvet one had a deep chocolate-y taste, with a thick cream cheese frosting that was sweet, but with a subtle tang. It was a perfectly fine Red Velvet rendition, though, I think I still prefer the Red Velvet cupcake I had in Los Angeles at Sweet Lady Jane, which had a more tangy tasting frosting.

The Gingerbread cupcake was so cute with a plastic gingerbread figurine sticking out of the top. The cake part had a pleasant kick from the cloves and cinnamon. But the texture became a bit gummy in the mouth.

The Hostess cupcake look-alike was a stunner. It’s a chocolate cake with a center of whipped, white frosting, and a top heavily coated in rich ganache. I tried to cut the cupcake in half, but it pretty much just collapsed because it was so moist and frosting-laden. If you like super rich cupcakes on the rather sugary and gooey side, you will like this one. I, however, found it a little too gooshy.

The peanut butter one was an avalanche of peanut butter cream. I found myself asking, “Where’s the cake?” The top of this cupcake was carved out to create a crater for a load of whipped peanut butter cream. It’s as if you had a more gourmet version of the inside of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup smeared an inch and a half thick on top of a cupcake that was then coated in chocolate ganache. I love Reese’s, but even this amount of peanut butter filling was too much for me. I wish the actual cake component had been larger, as the peanuty-tasting cake was really wonderful.

Last, but not least, the caramel cupcake. Without a doubt, this was my favorite one. It also was a little less sweet than the others. The toffee-like tasting cake had what appeared to be the thinnest topping of caramel smeared on it before the silky caramel buttercream was dolloped on top. The result was a moist cupcake with a surprising slight crunch to it.  This one’s a winner.

If you missed my other cupcake tastings, you can go back and read my reviews of Kara’s Cupcakes, Sprinkles Cupcakes, and my cupcake adventures in Los Angeles.

Share and Enjoy
Print This Post


  • You’ve got to try the cupcakes at Teacakes! The first Bay Area store is on Bay Street in Emeryville. There’s also a branch at La Fiesta Square in Lafayette. My family like Teacakes better than Kara’s; the cake is moister and the frosting just sweet enough!

  • Oooh, better than Kara’s? I must taste for myself. I’ll definitely be heading to the Teacake Bake Shop ( soon! Thank you for the sugary tip.

  • Carolyn, I can’t stand it! This is simply cruel and unusual punishment to inflict on your loyal readers while we are still coasting along on the sugar high with which you have already so thoughtfully provided us during these past few weeks. Worst of all, I live right over in Cupertino — virtually just down the street from this emporium of temptation you’ve reviewed. I’m going to forget you ever mentioned that caramel one, and just conclude that the others probably are really not worth the calories — at least until, oh say maybe the middle of January!

    Oh, and thanks for doing all this arduous research for us Bay Area afficionados. Truly — better your hips than mine 🙂

  • Yeah seriously, Carolyn, I can’t believe you *forced* me to go to Icing on the Cake with you. The things we do for our colleagues. Hrmph!

    Next thing I know you’ll force me to go to a wine bar.

  • Cheryl: You and I at a wine bar could be very dangerous indeed! 😉

  • It seems like cupcakes are all about the frosting nowadays. What about what’s in the cake itself? Does it just have to be a vehicle for the frosting?

  • What a great review! Happy holidays Carolyn!

  • I love your blog, and I especially love the entries for places I’ve tried as well. Too bad about the peanut butter cupcake, but I have to tell you their peanut butter cake is awesome. Lots of moist peanut butter cake to stand up to the butter cream. My first experience with it was as leftovers from my wife-to-be’s bridal shower. We were both Weight Watchers extremists in prep for the wedding, and we splurged on the cake. Oh my gosh. It was as good as you can imagine. We’ve ordered it twice since then – once for my 30th birthday – and it’s just as good. So good.

  • Yum, why are all the bakeries so far to get to! Those cupcakes look really yummy, but I agree I’m not big on really sweet frosting. BTW, I think Kara’s better than Teacakes. You can check for yourself, but don’t forget I’m the one that turned you on to Kara’s! 😉

  • Tony: I hear ya on the peanut butter cake. That’s why I wished there was more cake to the actual peanut butter cupcake. The cake itself was sooooo good! There just wasn’t enough of it, though. I like your thinking: Must try ordering a bonafide peanut butter cake instead next time.

    Single Guy: That IS true. You are the one who turned me on to Kara’s, so I definitely trust your opinion and cupcake expertise.

  • Those are gorgeous! The gingerbread man is especially cute.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *