Sweet, Lemony & Bursting with Blueberry Sass – A Photo Spotlight on the Blueberry Lemon Cupcake From Desmond & Beatrice!

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Have any of you ever felt that your to-do list, whatever it may pertain to whether it’s errands, chores, or a bucket list on life, is never-ending?  I’ve been writing this blog for nearly 4 years and I still feel so behind on everything I want to eat, photograph and write about.  I suppose that’s just the nature of blogging.  So much to do but so little time.  And money.  And, well, person.  If only I could clone myself so that I could be in multiple places at once!  That way, I could be at multiple markets at the same time, check out all the Summerlicious spots I want within that tiny 2-week window, and take advantage of festivals that happen on the same day.  How accomplished I would feel!

Case in point: when I started Ate by Ate I wanted to knock it out of the park by posting lots and lots of yummy coconut, lemon and blueberry things (coconut and lemon desserts and blueberry breakfasts for the most part) among other delights but when I look at my current catalogue of posts I think, “pft, SO not good enough.”  I was hoping to have at least 1 post on coconut cake (or pie or something), 5 on blueberry pancakes and a ballpark of around 10 on lemon cupcakes.  Cue disappointed shake of the head accompanied by tsking.  I’m getting closer to that benchmark on the lemon cupcakes front but I’m nowhere near where I want to be in the blueberry department.

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So I’m, shall we say, putting pedal to the metal on this one and ramping things up a bit.  Since we’re on the topic of awesome lemon and blueberry sweets (re: my recent post on the lemon blueberry scones from Cobs Bread), I’m continuing on with a photo spotlight on the fantabulous and yummylicious blueberry lemon cupcake from one of my favourite bakeries and cupcake shops, Desmond & Beatrice!  The blueberry lemon cupcake ($2.75) is a vanilla cake studded with juicy blueberries topped with a generous amount of lemon frosting and a cute little dried blueberry.  Perfect for lemon lovers and blueberry muffin lovers who want to jazz things up cupcake-style!  If you haven’t already, check out Ate by Ate’s Cupcake Chronicles feature page on Desmond & Beatrice or enjoy some picturesque scrolling fun through all the D&B posts HERE!

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Desmond & Beatrice Bake Shop and Cupcakery is located at 750 Queen Street East, just one block east of Broadview Ave. in the Riverside District.  They are open 7 days a week from 10am-7pm.  You can visit their official website at https://desmondandbeatrice.com/ and follow them on Twitter @dandbcupcakes

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Hearts, Sprinkles & the Kiss Me and Sugar Lips Cupcakes – Celebrating Valentine’s with Desserts at Desmond & Beatrice

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Happy long weekend to my fellow Ontarioans!  I know it’s drawing to a close as we speak (t-minus 1 hour and 15 minutes right now) so I hope everyone was able to do something fun or at the very least catch up on some sleep!  While the weekend itself was low-key for me, I celebrated Valentine’s on Friday in style with a morning frolic to Desmond & Beatrice for lots of yummy Valentine’s sweets and treats!  The shop was adorably decorated with paper chain hearts in the windows and a smattering of Valentine’s sprinkles, candies and colours on their cookies and cupcakes.

valentinescollageTheir exclusive menu for the occasion included sugar cookie hearts, sugar cookie ex-boyfriend voodoo dolls (haha!), giant Date Night cookies chock full of chocolate, toffee, potato chips and popcorn (no joke!  Perfect for those who love snack foods and salty-sweet combinations), Message Me vanilla on vanilla cupcakes with classic conversation hearts, Chocolate Love double chocolate cupcakes with foil wrapped chocolate hearts, Love of Mayan chocolate chili cupcakes with chocolate frosting and cake, Kiss Me vanilla on chocolate cupcakes with showered with heart sprinkles and finally, Sugar Lips cinnamon sugar cupcakes with cinnamon sugar frosting and cake with gummy lip candies in addition to their selection of brownies, cookies and other cupcakes including red velvet, salted caramel and strawberry.

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It was such a happy visit: photo snapping, inhaling a mini red velvet cupcake, finally meeting D&B owner, Amanda, in person *waves* and walking out with a big box of Valentine’s treats to take home.  In my box were two sugar cookie hearts, two cookies n’ cream cookies, a giant brownie, a Kiss Me black and white vanilla on chocolate cupcake with heart sprinkles and a Sugar Lips cinnamon sugar cupcake.  With the exception of the brownie which I bought exclusively for my dad and brother (they’re chocoholics), I tried some of everything and while I loved it all and drool at the mere thought of it all (I dunked my sugar cookie hearts in almond milk and just thinking about it makes me wiggle with glee), the happiest surprise for me was the Sugar Lips cinnamon sugar cupcake!

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Now, I really like cinnamon (especially apple cinnamon, cinnamon toast cereal, and snickerdoodle cookies) but let it be known that I don’t enjoy cinnamon buns, one of the most popular cinnamon desserts and baked goods on the planet (no, I’m not crazy!) so for me, picking the cinnamon sugar cupcake was a toss-up.  I wanted to try something I wouldn’t normally be able to try (part of me really wanted the cute Message Me vanilla on vanilla cupcake but I convinced myself not to since I already had vanilla frosting on the Kiss Me one and the Love of Mayan one called out to me as well with its uniqueness but I decided against it in the end) but hemmed and hawwed over the thought of it being like a cinnamon bun.  I’m so happy I ended up choosing it because it tasted just like a cinnamon coffee cake with the best sweet and creamy cinnamon sugar frosting ever.

I’m ecstatic that I got to visit them on Valentine’s and enjoy so many of the yummy sweets they had on hand for the day because truthfully, I had been eyeing their menu online for weeks and promised myself that I would make every effort to make it to the shop on that day so I could celebrate and take photos for you guys.  Happy belated Valentine’s!

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Desmond & Beatrice Bake Shop and Cupcakery is located at 750 Queen Street East, just one block east of Broadview Ave. in the Riverside District.  They are open 7 days a week from 10am-7pm.  You can visit their official website at https://desmondandbeatrice.com/ and follow them on Twitter @dandbcupcakes

The Cupcake Connection, Vol. 007 – My Cup of Cupcake Tea! The Lemon Earl Grey at Desmond & Beatrice and Tea Cupcakes in the City

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Certainly my cup of “cupcake” tea!

What’s better than a cupcake with a steaming cup of yummy hot loose leaf tea?  A tea flavoured cupcake with a hot cup of tea!  Or in David’s Tea’s case, a tea modeled after the cupcake and cake (read: Red Velvet Cake, one of the most fantastical things you will ever drink during your lifetime).  The tea and cupcake love is truly reciprocal!  I’ve long dreamt about baking my own green tea white chocolate cupcakes and steeping tea to flavour frostings and cakes alongside pretty cups, pots, and saucers for my own afternoon tea parties.  And after reading Yummy Stuff’s November 1st blog post, I was over the moon: their November cupcake flavours of the month are Earl Grey and Chai latte!  That’s just love on top of more love.  I started mentally going through the month of November, figuring out which weekend I’d be free to swing by for the two cupcakes (that’s right, BOTH.  Go big or go home) and then I thought, “this would be a great time to do a Cupcake Connection on tea cupcakes!” because believe it or not, a number of cupcake bakeries around the city offer cupcakes infused with bold flavours straight out of a cuppa!

One of my favourite, FAVOURITE cupcakes is the lemon and Earl Grey cupcake from Desmond & Beatrice (pictured below).  Oh my goodness is it ever delicious and fantastic.  Their Earl Grey cupcake ($2.75) is tea flavoured in cake and topped with a honey lemon frosting and dusted with pink crystal sugar sprinkles.  It is beautiful and everything you could want in a scrumptious lemon cupcake (this will be going straight to my eventual Flavour Favourites post for lemon cupcakes) and in a tea cupcake.

It’s dainty, it’s sweet, it’s feminine, floral, bright, fresh, and the epitome of afternoon tea elegance.  The flavour and essence is like a cross between the classic floral notes of Earl Grey (even though I know the flavour is derived from the citrusy bergamot, I get more floral than I do citrus from it!) and the sweet lightness and freshness of a honey lemon poppy seed cake.  The cupcake doesn’t have a poppy seeds in it, but it makes me think of poppy seed cake just because.  So, grab a cuppa and sit back and relax as we list cupcakes around the city inspired by the soothing and delicious loose leaf beverage!

  • Life is Sweet, 2328 Queen Street East: Earl Grey with Orange Coconut ($2.50) – exactly as the name says!  This sounds absolutely heavenly and I need to have this in my mouth NOW.  Permanent flavour on the menu.
  • So Into Cupcakes, 2060 Ellesmere Road: Chai Vanilla Latte ($2.50 for regular size, $1.50 for mini) – vanilla cake topped with chai buttercream frosting and whipped vanilla and sprinkled with cinnamon.  Seasonal flavour, available during the month of October.
  • The Wedding Cake Shoppe, 859 College Street: Green Tea ($2.65) – their signature vanilla bean cake topped with Japanese green tea buttercream frosting.  Cindy compares it to green tea ice cream on cake!  Daily rotation; call ahead to ask (416-916-2253) or keep up with their Facebook page for daily listings of flavours.
  • The Wedding Cake Shoppe, 859 College Street: Spicy Chai Latte ($2.65) –  Sprinkled with cinnamon, this chai spiced cupcake is made with fresh brewed chai tea and ground spices for the frosting on either vanilla bean or chocolate cake.  Daily rotation; call ahead to ask (416-916-2253) or keep up with their Facebook page for daily listings of flavours.
  •  Yummy Stuff, 1660 Queen Street West in Parkdale: Chai Latte ($2.75) – rich chocolate cupcake adorned with chai spice buttercream frosting full of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and more.  Seasonal flavour, available during the month of November.
  • Yummy Stuff, 1660 Queen Street West in Parkdale: Earl Grey ($2.75) – light and spongy bergamot cupcake with Earl Grey and orange zest buttercream frosting.  Seasonal flavour, available during the month of November.

Sundays Just Got a Whole Lot Sweeter – The $2 Cupcake, Tart, Square, & Cookie Bonanza at Desmond & Beatrice!

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You might think of Sundays as quiet, peaceful, lazy days.  Many shop owners choose Sunday to have their day off, traffic on the road is a little lighter save for the long weekends, and places aren’t open as late as they are during the rest of the week.  At Desmond & Beatrice on Queen Street East in Riverside though, Sundays might as well be the new Friday!  *NEWS BULLENTIN*  Sundays at D&B are $2 bonanza days!  $2 cupcakes, $2 tarts and squares, $2 EVERYTHING!  Everything on their edible display counter anyway; no way are we getting away with cute $2 aprons!  I have no idea how long D&B has had this promotion (*note to self: ask next time!), but boy does it get people extra kooky-crazy for their delectable, delightful desserts!  It sure did that to me.  I passed by their bake shop before they had opened, glanced at the front window, and almost got whiplash when I whipped around to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating.  $2 Sundays?!  No speciality cupcakery with the exception of Dessert Lady in Yorkville, who sells their vanilla and chocolate ones for $2, sells their wares for that price. 

And apparently, I was a little late to the party because when I came back when they were open later on in the day, they had been wiped clean!  The only thing that greeted me was a dish of peanut butter and banana cupcakes.  I should have known better.  Sundays might be a little on the quieter side (although you’d never know it taking the bus; it is crowded and packed early in the morning!  And by “early”, I mean 9am by bus schedule standards), but so many people are out and about in the city, whether it’s for a festival, a sporting event, a concert, or just good old fashioned weekend brunch.  Anyway, lucky for me, D&B had enough sense and hindsight to keep their delicious cupcakes coming and before I knew it, full, fresh, beautiful batches of red velvet, vanilla, and double chocolate were before me, waiting to be chosen like the crown jewel in a treasure chest.  And my precious cupcake of choice this time?  Double chocolate!

If you can believe it, chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting are something I don’t have very often.  If you were to go through my eleventy billion cupcake posts on the blog, you’d find less than 5 devoted to chocolate on chocolate.  And it’s not because I don’t like chocolate – I love chocolate!  It’s simply because I want to paint a more diversified portrait of the cupcake flavours available in the city and now that I have a steady foundation of posts (I believe this post here will be Cupcake Chronicles’ 90th!), I can feature more classic flavours here and there to round things out.  This double chocolate cupcake post is inspired and dedicated in part to both my boyfriend and my brother, two chocolate lovers whom I hold very dear to me, and given how my brother can take or leave cupcakes, I’m determined to find him the best of the best to really wow him.  And this one right here from Desmond & Beatrice has to belong on everyone’s Top 3 Most Amazing Chocolate Cupcakes because it is out of this world and RIDONKULOUS.  Yes, that’s right, ridonkulous.

Chocolate cupcakes are either really great or really bad.  Some can fall in the so-so category, but more often than not, they’re love it or hate it.  Some are way too dry, too powdery (a little too much of that cocoa powder taste), or too dense to the point where it just tastes like thick, goopy chocolate muck.  D&B’s amazing double chocolate delight is what EVERY chocolate cupcake should aspire to be like.  I was shocked out of my skirt because I couldn’t believe how damn delicious this was!  It is a fudgy, creamy embodiment of a brownie in cupake form.  It tastes like chocolate brownie fudge with fluffy cake.  It is so moist, so creamy and so decadent.  The frosing is as smooth as it gets and eating it with a fork makes you feel like you’re digging into a special chocolate birthday cake with, quite possibly, some of the best chocolate frosting in the world.  If you’re head over heels over brownies, this cupcake is the answer to your prayers, in addition to D&B’s crazy $2 Sunday sale!  I don’t think anybody needs an incentive to go to D&B, but this promotion sure is a mighty sweet deal so take advantage of it if you’re in the area! 

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Desmond & Beatrice Bake Shop and Cupcakery is located at 750 Queen Street East, just one block east of Broadview Ave. in the Riverside District.  They are open from Tuesday-Sunday (closed Mondays), from 12pm-6pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11am-7pm on Thursdays and Fridays, 10am-5pm on Saturdays, and 11am-5pm on Sundays.

Polka Dot Rainbow Sprinkles & Fantastical, Fresh, Creamy Vanilla Cupcakes at Desmond & Beatrice, Part II

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I love Desmond & Beatrice.  I know there are many cupcake shops that I hold dear to my heart, but Desmond & Beatrice is truly something special.  I didn’t even have to take a bite from my first cupcake to know that this bake shop would shoot straight into my Top 5 favourite cupcakeries.  There is such a pure, genuine, unpretentious quality about D&B that really resonates with me and I know exactly why it does: because of the shop’s aesthetic and the message it sends about sweets and life in general.

Desmond & Beatrice is a beautiful, sweet bake shop bursting with freshness and brightness with its modern, streamlined aesthetic, clean, crisp bright whites (I love the white lacquered finished on the exposed brick), vibrant pops of colour and prints (the scrapbooker and aspiring interior decorator in me hyperventilates), and an immaculate array of picture-perfect frosted cupcakes, jumbo cookies, and sweet-as-pie sqaures and whoopie pies.  Vases of fresh, bright coloured flowers (orange ranunculus!) sit atop the shiny, round tables and soft, squishy cushions in orange, pink, and blue prints dot the sunny window seat at the front of the shop.

And speaking of this cushy window seat, I think D&B is so smart for putting their seating area here.  I know what you’re thinking.  It sounds like it’s common sense, right?  Not necessarily.  A cupcake shop could easily use the window area as a storefront display area or simply not offer seating at all.  The reason why I say this particular facet is smart and savvy is because any and all foot traffic can see people sitting down with their treats.  People had a clear view of me chomping on my cupcake and as such, this makes people curious, and it makes people want to come into the shop even more when they see you enjoying your heavenly dessert.  And people did.  Two families came straight in as soon as I sat down.

The bake shops feels simaltaneously contemporary and homey, paying homage to earlier decades of homemaking and baking with their many framed prints hanging on the walls around the shop.  Even with its clean and crisp, modern feel, it emotes happiness in such an innocent, carefree, kid-friendly way.  There are cute banners, cupcake and baking aprons, pastel colours, party supplies and goodies, stickers, and sweet trinkets in the shop waiting to be purchases and enjoyed by fellow sweets lovers.  And the beautiful cupcakes!  With sprinkles!  It’s like one big, happy kid birthday party.  And this is where I get to the part about why D&B has tugged at my heart strings the way that is has.

Growing up, I never really attended classmates’ and friends’ birthday parties and I never held one of my own.  I had a great childhood with some of the best memories I could hope for, but the birthday parties and the sleepovers and such never made it to my memory books and it’s always been something I’ve felt wistful about.  As such, just being inside the bake shop makes me feel like I’m at a special party, even if it’s just a cupcake party for one.  Desmond & Beatrice is a celebration of all things sweet and good in life and their shops makes you want to indulge a little bit, to remember how much fun it is getting excited over simple things like sprinkles and frosting and baking straight from the heart.

D&B has a rotating selection of cupcakes each and every day, featuring 6 flavours out of the eleventy billion they have.  Okay, so I’m exaggerating a little bit.  They don’t have eleventy billion flavours, but they do, in fact, have over 20 and they are mighty fine, mouthwatering flavours that make my mouth gape open like a foolish gawker.  Flavours such as mint cookies and cream, cookie dough, mint patty, earl grey, vanilla latte, and SO.MUCH.MORE.  On the day I went, they had vanilla on vanilla with sprinkles, chocolate on chocolate, red velvet with cream cheese frosting, coconut with cream cheese frosting, mint patty, and chocolate chocolate chip.

Cupcakes are $2.75 each, $16 for half a dozen, and $29 for one dozen and they are worth every penny.  My love for sprinkles won out and I decided to go simple this time around with the classic vanilla on vanilla.  And it was one of the most magical, wondrous cupcakes I had ever had.  Not just the most fantastical vanilla – but one of the BEST cupcakes EVER.

The vanilla on vanilla at D&B is one of the richest, purest vanillas and it is bang on what a vanilla cupcake should be.  I know some people equate vanilla with blandness and the flavour that doesn’t make waves, but I’m telling you, this cupcake will knock the knickers right off you and make you beg for more.  The cupcake is rich and creamy with soft cake and a river of adorable rainbow polka dot sprinkles trickling down the thick spirals of marshmallow-like frosting.  There is so much to love.

The ratio between cake and frosting is PERFECT (no need to scrape off excessive frosting or moan and groan about peewee dots of frosting on a mountain of bland cake), the vanilla flavour is consistent between frosting and cake (they match each other bite for bite), and it is gorgeous to look at.  The vanilla isn’t too weak, too overwhleming, or artificial and I think the level of sweetness is something that would satisfy everyone and the consistency, thickness, and texture of the frosting is definitely something I think everyone would enjoy.  Desmond & Beatrice have a cute framed print on their wall which reads, “You Are My Cup of Tea” – D&B is my cup of tea and the shop has reeled me as a life-long fan.

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Desmond & Beatrice Bake Shop and Cupcakery is located at 750 Queen Street East, just one block east of Broadview Ave. in the Riverside District.  They are open from Tuesday-Sunday (closed Mondays), from 12pm-6pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11am-7pm on Thursdays and Fridays, 10am-5pm on Saturdays, and 11am-5pm on Sundays.

Sugar & Sprinkles – Cupcakes, Baked Treats, and The Sweet Things in Life at Desmond & Beatrice, Part I

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Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to Ate by Ate’s first tribute to what I call, “The Introduction to Cupcake Central in Toronto”, also known as Queen Street East.  Oh yes, there is a cupcake district in Toronto.  There are 7, count ’em, SEVEN spots to stuff our faces with cupcakes on Queen Street East: Desmond & Beatrice, Bobbette & Belle, It’s the Icing on the Cake!, Sweet Bliss Baking Company, Altitude Baking, Yoshi’s Sweets, and Life is Sweet.  And I am going to sweep my way through them if it’s the last thing I do!  Even though I’ve known about the magical land of cupcakes that is Queen Street East for what feels like forever, it has taken me months (well, actually, who am I kidding – it’s taken me over a year) to get my sweet teeth to the concentrated district of frosting and sprinkles and while I wished my fairy wings had landed here sooner, this first cupcake experience at Desmond & Beatrice was well worth the wait. 

I have been on Queen Street East – in the Beaches, in Leslieville, in Riverside – numerous times, but cupcakes have always evaded me for one reason or another.  I ate a cupcake somewhere else earlier in the day.  I was too full from brunch or lunch.  I opted for a shortbread cookie and macaron from Bobbette & Belle during my first Christmas visit to the classy sweets boutique.  Blah blah blah.  Two weeks ago, I made it my mission to get myself a cupcake from Queen Street East, specifically from Desmond & Beatrice, and to enjoy every sweet cake crumb morsel and lick of frosting.  NO MORE EXCUSES.  And so begins our sweet and delicious journey on Queen Street East.  This is the photo spotlight Part I post of II – enjoy the photos!   

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Desmond & Beatrice Bake Shop and Cupcakery is located at 750 Queen Street East, just one block east of Broadview Ave. in the Riverside District.  They are open from Tuesday-Sunday (closed Mondays), from 12pm-6pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11am-7pm on Thursdays and Fridays, 10am-5pm on Saturdays, and 11am-5pm on Sundays.