Los Angeles - Home to the $4 Cupcake! How do you decide which shop to visit when they are sprawled out all over the city? Well from a bit of research and interviewing fellow Los Angelean cupcake connoisseurs, these are the major players:
1. Sprinkles of Beverly Hills - the first cupcake place to consistently have lines out the door and, at times, around the corner for these tasty treats. Don't be deceived by the small size of this glass windowed shop, just down the street from Rodeo drive.
PRO: Only sell cupcakes (and cakes on special order!) which means that the quality is consistently good - the icing is rich and the cake is moist. GREAT black and white cupcakes!
CON: They are standard sized cupcakes... so even though you're paying top dollar, you aren't getting any more cake (though I will concede that the icing is thick). They have classic flavors, nothing too interesting and the icing is pretty much buttercream vanilla or chocolate.
2. Crumbs of Beverly Hills - Equal distance from Rodeo drive in the opposite direction of Sprinkles - so you could feasibly hit two in one day! - this fine bakery sells a wide and diverse variety of cupcakes from Oreo to Pistachio. What put them on the list is the size and the filling in the cupcakes. YES! The cupcakes have an icing filling which is decadently delicious.
PRO: Diversity of flavors and the size of the cake part (definitely king sized!); if you crave something else sweet they have cookies, brownies, etc. Excellent Oreo cupcakes!!
CON: Inconsistent quality... I had a delivery order at work that was FABULOUS, but then went to the actual shop only to have them be a little stale-tasting. Maybe since they have so many flavors, they have to recycle yesterday's batch? Just speculation.
3. Yummy Cupcakes of Burbank - a frequent provider of movie-themed cupcakes to the studios, you can special order designs from them and enjoy a free mini cupcake while you wait! With the most adorable pink exterior and the accompanying cupcake souvenier shop, you can't help but love this place. Watch the chefs work their magic right in front of you too!
PRO: Cupcake while you wait! and the cute shop to walk around in while they ring you up!
CON: Icing stiff on many of the cupcakes... chocolate flavor isn't particularly special and the assortment of flavors is limited.
4. Joan's on Third of Los Angeles (Beverly Center Mall) - a deli to the stars, this hot spot has the Hilton sisters and cast members from Grey's Anatomy as regulars and for good reason! Aside from the huge selections of cheese from all over the world and a deli counter that could make any meat-lover moo, the confectionery section is decked out with a gelato bar and plates full of fresh baked goodies from cookies and pies to a variety of cupcakes.
PRO: Cupcakes are always fresh, generous portions of icing, the crowning achievement of the cupcake section at Joan's in dubbed "Joan's Favorite Cupcake" which consists of rich chocolate cake with sweet white icing and coconut. YUM! There's a reason it's Joan's favorite!!
CON: The whole shop isn't dedicated to cupcakes and they are sooo good!
5. Delilah's Bakery (Echo Park) - Also a favorite among studios for the delivery cupcake service, Delilah's is located in a small shop sort of in the middle of nowhere - ie Echo Park residential area. Despite its location, the cupcakes are definitely worth the journey with the rich flavors and particularly creamy icing!
PRO: Buttercream icing is excellent, cake is jumbo sized, will deliver to the greater LA area for a price ($$)
CON: Cupcakes go fast and they only bake at the beginning of the day, so order ahead if you want to get what you want. Out of the way location makes it an inconvenient stop over - tho the reward is delish!!