The Cupcake Connection, Vol. 008 – Scrumptious New Flavours, Giving Back to the Community & More! Part I

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spring cupcakes at Short & Sweet Cupcakes in Toronto

After a good month of macaron munching in March, we’re diving straight back into cupcake mode!  It’s been months since my last Cupcake Connection post and while I’ve continued eating cupcakes (c’mon, it’s ME we’re talking about here), I couldn’t take photos of a few of them (I know, foreshame.  It was late and dark when I was eating them and one of them even got squished!  Very delicious, but so not sexy) and I have a bit of backlog going on with the ones I did take photos of so bear with me while I sort everything out over the next month.

There’s a LOT to catch up on, so much so that it feels overwhelming at times.  So many cupcakes, so little time!  Luckily for me, I have the support of many of my favourite cupcake shops giving me the goods to pass along to all of you so we’ll never be at a loss for great cupcake news.  We have quite a bit to cover (this is Part I of II!) so let’s jump right in and get started!

You’ll Need a Wheelbarrow to Carry All of These – New Flavours and Flavours of the Month

mini cupcake box from Prairie Girl Bakery in Toronto

Just when I think I’ve made a little bit of headway in trying the many cupcakes and flavours in Toronto, I get whip-lashed with a whole truckload of new and exciting flavours!  Seriously, it’s 1 step forward, 5 steps back!  But tis the spice of life and I wouldn’t want it any other way because without new fun and creative flavour combinations, the cupcake scene would get boring real fast and that’s the last thing any of us want.  Let’s start with Prairie Girl Bakery.  Talk about busting out the sweet treats!  Prairie Girl has unleashed 7, count ’em, SEVEN new Treats of the Week flavours ($2.95 for regular size, $1.75 for minis) to their rotating menu!  HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL.  These 7 flavours include:

  • Blueberries & Cream (Golden Buttermilk Cupcake with a swirl of Real Blueberry Icing and a swirl of Classic Cream Cheese Icing, topped with a Chocolate Blueberry)
  • Chocolate Coconut (Dark Cocoa Cupcake with Vanilla Bean Icing topped with Toasted Coconut)
  • Chocolate Flake (Red Velvet Cake with Vanilla Bean Icing topped with Chocolate Flakes)
  • Grasshopper Pie (Dark Cocoa Cupcake with Green Mint Icing topped with Cookie Crumble)
  • Malted Milk (Dark Cocoa Cupcake with Malted Milk Icing topped with a Maltesar)
  • Neapolitan (Dark Cocoa Cupcake with a swirl of Real Strawberry Icing and a swirl of Vanilla Bean Icing)
  • Tiramisu (Golden Buttermilk Cupcake with Tiramisu Icing, Marsala Wine Syrup topped with Chocolate Flakes)

Treats of the Week web page at Prairie Girl Bakery in Toronto

I would inhale all of these, but the ones I am most excited about are the Blueberries & Cream, Grasshopper Pie, and Malted Milk.  Prairie Girl has rolled a few of these out already this month so if you’ve missed them, don’t fret – their Treats of the Week operate on a rotating menu so they’ll always come back and you can know in advance now on their website where they list their upcoming Treats of the Week 4 weeks in advance which I ABSOLUTELY LOVE!

Next on the list?  Yummy Stuff on Queen Street West.  Their April Flavour of the Month ($2.75) is an ultra cool, psychedelic Cherry Almond Cake!  And I do mean psychedelic.  We’re talking bright turquoise vanilla frosting topped with juicy red maraschino cherries on cherry-studded almond cake.  I could float up to cupcake heaven right now.  I LOVE almond baked goods and this sounds and looks amazing (you can check out the photo Yummy Stuff posted on their blog HERE).

For the Love of Cake cupcakes in Toronto in Liberty Village

Lemon Meringue cupcakes from For the Love of Cake cupcake bakery in Liberty Village in Toronto

Taken in 2009, well before the birth of Ate by Ate! For the Love of Cake’s amazing Lemon Meringue cupcakes.

A little further south you’ll find For the Love of Cake, where they’ve brought back their classic S’mores and my beloved Lemon Meringue cupcakes ($2.65) for the month of April (and if demand is high, possibly for even longer!).  The Lemon Meringue was the very first flavour I tried at For the Love Cake back in 2009 (can you believe it’s been that long?!) and it remains, to this day, one of my favourite cupcakes.  Annnnd speaking of S’mores, my dear  Short & Sweet Cupcakes has added two mouthwatering flavours ($2.90) to their permanent menu on Fridays (Boston Cream!) and Sundays (S’mores!).  It pains me that I haven’t tried either of them yet so let’s hope that I can sink my sweet teeth into at least one of them in the coming months!

And then there’s Dessert Lady in the heart of Yorkville.  They’ve expanded their selection to include 3 NEW flavours ($3):

  • Double Chocolate Cupcake with Hazelnut Crunch Buttercream
  • Passionfruit Cupcake with Caramelized White Chocolate Buttercream
  • Sweet Corn Bacon Cupcake with Salted Caramel Popcorn Buttercream (SAY WHAT?!)

And here I am thinking maple bacon cupcakes were way out there – this 3rd flavour knocks it out of the park!  If you love wild and wacky flavours, especially sweet and savoury combinations, I think you’ve met your match and I dare you to try it and report back!

Community and Cupcake Shops – Giving Back

Second Harvest Logo

Cupcake shops are more than just lace and frills.  Many establishments are partnering with different organizations in and around the city to make a difference in their communities.  Prairie Girl Bakery and So Into Cupcakes in Scarborough have both formed relationships with charitable organizations and programs in an effort to help others and to further deepen their growing engagement within the food community.  Prairie Girl Bakery and Second Harvest are joined at the hip via ongoing donations, and are also affiliated with the following causes:

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And more recently, So Into Cupcakes has partnered with Toronto’s Fresh City Farms!  I found out about this through their Facebook page and it’s wonderful as more and more people are signing up to have fresh, local, organic produce delivered to their homes.  These memberships not only support our farmers, they provide ongoing support to local food co-ops and local food organizations.

Phew!  That was a lot to get through and we’re not even close to being finished.  Thankfully, there’s always room for Part II so stay tuned for more delicious cupcake news!

Ate by Ate’s 200th Blog Post! Celebrating the Memories & Great Times With Cupcakes From Dessert Lady

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It’s the blog’s monumental 200th post! 😀  I know it might have made more sense to celebrate the 100th, but I kind of made an oopsie and didn’t realize it until it was too late.  I’m so excited though that this is the 200th post!  When I started the blog, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up, that I would fall off the wagon and stop blogging altogether if I let complacency and laziness set in.  I knew I wanted to make my food scrapbooking a focal point and I knew I wanted to post about a variety of things so that there would be a little something for everyone to take away.  It’s not that I was necessarily doubting my ability to write food posts (I can talk anyone’s ear off about food), it was more so an anxiousness about keeping the inspiration fresh and genuinely being excited and loving what I talked about.  The last thing I wanted was to feel “bored” or to come to the conclusion that there was nothing else out there to inspire me.  You all know there’s never too much love for cupcakes though!  To celebrate this milestone, I present to you delicious cupcakes from Dessert Lady in Yorkville!

Dessert Lady is a bakery and chocolatier located on Cumberland St. in Yorkville that also serves ice cream and sorbet.  They deliver, take phone and in-store orders, and they also do catering.  They bake extravagent cakes (think special occasion), birthday cakes, pies, tarts, cookies and shortbread, chocolate truffles, biscotti, and of course, cupcakes!  What’s really great about Dessert Lady is their prices.  If you’ve kept up with the cupcake posts, you know that many of the cupcakeries in Toronto price their cupcakes around $2.50-$2.65 on the lower end.  While Dessert Lady has 3 tiers of cupcake pricing (which I will explain later on in the post), their cupcakes start at $2.00.  I KNOW.  How awesome is that?  Even if the $2.00 ones are basic flavours, it’s still worth mentioning and duh, eating.  Because we all know that if we can get a delicious cupcake for $0.50 less, we will.

My two picks: roasted pineapple coconut with vanilla buttercream frosting (because you all know how much I love coconut!) and a chocolate cupcake with raspberry frosting, both priced at $2.50 each.  And if you’re wondering, the adorable tiny nautical dish is mine.  Yes, that’s right, I have dishware with me when I take photos.  Well, I kind of bought it that day and thought it would be adorable to use it, so technically I’m not a crazy girl who carries around dishes with her.  Technically.  And the reason why I have the cupcakes photographed the way that I do is because photography is prohibited in the store.  Sigh.

The cupcakes are beautifully frosted and decorated.  The piping is very clean and the attention to detail is adorable.  The pineapple coconut cupcake is frosted with vanilla buttercream with toasted coconut flakes on top, dried sweet pineapple studded throughout the cake and -get this- there’s a little flute of white chocolate on top! 😀  The chocolate cupcake with the raspberry buttercream is a simple one, but really, top notch stuff. 

Although I loved them both, I have to say that the raspberry chocolate knocked it out of the park.  This even surprised ME.  You’d think that I would like the pineapple coconut more because, well, it’s me, but the raspberry chocolate was all sorts of awesome.  Their raspberry frosting was SO fruity and the tartness of the raspberries wasn’t tamed down with an overabundance of sugar.  You can literally SEE the texture and composition of the raspberries in the buttercream.  Their cupcakes are soft and their buttercream frosting is light and whippy, but not “buttery” in that filmy, greasy way.  It has enough thickness and body to it that it actually tastes like creamy frosting in your mouth as opposed to something melty and thin in consistency.

Dessert Lady prices their cupcakes using 3 different tiers/categories: Premium ($3.00), Contemporary ($2.50), and Classic ($2.00).  Taken from their menu, premium cupcakes include the following flavours:

  1. carrot cupcake with walnuts and cream cheese frosting
  2. coffee cupcake with walnuts and pecan crumble frosting
  3. red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting
  4. rich fudgy chocolate cupcake with mocha buttercream frosting
  5. spicy mango cupcake with tangy lime buttercream frosting

 Contemporary cupcake flavours (priced at $2.50 each), are the following:

  1. chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting
  2. chocolate cupcake with raspberry buttercream frosting
  3. pumpkin cupcake with cinnamon buttercream frosting
  4. roasted pineapple coconut cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting
  5. tangy lemon cupcake with raspberry buttercream frosting

And finally, the classic cupcake flavours (priced at $2.00 each):

  1. banana cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting
  2. classic chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting
  3. classic vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting

I love the prices are so reasonable and in line with so many other cupcakeries around the city.  The fact that they offer several flavours at $2.00 is a bonus.  I know quite a few people who aren’t into fussy, complicated, flashy flavours (unlike me of course, ha) and prefer simple vanilla and chocolate.  If that’s the case, this is a steal for you and it’s very worth it because they are yummy. 

In my opinion, I’d wouldn’t pay too much attention to red velvet, just because other places sell that flavour at a less expensive price.  Even if it’s amazing, I know I can also get an equally amazing red velvet cupcake for less somewhere else.  The only blip in the 3-tier pricing arrangement I can see is when you purchase half a dozen or a dozen and you want to mix and match BETWEEN tiers.  There’s a set price if you purchase half a dozen classic cupcakes, for example, but you run into trouble if you don’t want all 6 to be from that one category.  In a case like that, I can only assume that you’d have to pay for each cupcake at its individual price, unless of course they’re willing to cut you a deal.

Thank you to everyone who follows the blog and enjoys the posts.  I hope everyone’s enjoyed the scrapbooking aspect of it and the stuff I’ve chosen to write about thus far.  It’s been so much fun in so many ways and I’ve met some wonderful people and made some really sweet friendships because of it.  Here’s to another 200 posts 😀

*****

Dessert Lady is located at 12 Cumberland St. in Yorkville on the north side of the street, west of Yonge St. and north of Bloor St.  They are open 6 days a week from Monday-Saturday (they are closed on Sundays and are only available for consultations by appointment) and are open for business at 10:30am on all 6 days.  If you are interested in seeing other cupcakes from Dessert Lady (and other cupcakeries in Toronto in general!), check out Alexandra’s blog, Vivid Memories where she documents her cupcake tour of Toronto!