The Cupcake Connection, Vol. 002 – Wedding Cupcake Decorating Classes, Summer Flavours, & Ice Cream Cupcakes!

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Ice cream flavours and cupcakes – how sweet it is

Welcome to the second installment of The Cupcake Connection, your humble resource to some of the sweet and tasty frosted happenings in Toronto’s cupcake world!  First up, new bake shop alert!  Some of you may already know this if you’re very tuned in to social media and its cupcake whispers, but for those of you who don’t and aren’t, I have some fantastic news for all vegans with a sweet tooth: Tori’s Bakeshop on Queen Street East! 

Tori’s Bakeshop, located at 2188 Queen Street East, is a vegan, organic, all-natural bakery that just recently opened and boy does it ever boast a boatload of treats!  Cinnamon buns, pies, tarts, scones, muffins, cookies, biscotti, and of course, cupcakes!  Much like Bunner’s Bake Shop, Tori’s Bakeshop offers a huuuuge selection of egg-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and gluten-free products.  Since I’m still planning my first visit to this great new shop in the east end, I decided to give them a call to ask them about their cupcakes and while it completely slipped mind to ask about prices (whoops!), I did get all the informatin on their flavours and selection.  On any given day (they’re open from Wednesday to Sunday during the week), they have 6 cupcake flavours to choose from: cherry, coconut, lemon, strawbery, peanut butter, cookes and cream, mint, and the classic chocolate and vanilla.  I absolutely can’t wait to come here and try their lemon, coconut, and cherry cupcakes especially.

Lime – perfect for summer!

Now, onto summer flavours!  We know how much fun it is using seasonal fruits and treats as inspiraton for our cooking, baking, and artistic endeavours and cupcakes are right in the thick of it all!  There are so many juicy, delicious summery flavours on hand right now at many of the city’s cupcake bakeries.  Short & Sweet Cupcakes is currently busting out their June flavour of the month, Tropic Thunder, a fruity mix of pineapple, banana, and coconut frosting and cake, The Cupcake Shoppe goes citrus this season with their summer seasonal Lime n’ licious cupcake, and Liberty Village’s For the Love of Cake has JUST doled out their special summer cupcake flavour, key lime pie!  I’ve been meaning to go back to For the Love the Cake for ages and this just gives me an even more delicious incentive – I see both the key lime pie cupcake and my beloved lemon meringue cupcake in my future this season! 

And of course, what’s a summer without ice cream?  Yummy Stuff is enticing our summer cravings with their June flavour of the month: the vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry Neapolitan cupcake!   This was exactly what I was referring to in Friday’s Yummy Stuff post when I was gushing about art imitating food imitating more food.  Not only did I take advantage of their Neapolitan decorated sugar cookie, I also snatched up their ice cream flavour inspired cupcake. 

With moist, fluffy, soft-as-a-pillow strawberry cake and thick creamy vanila and chocolate swirled frosting, the cupcake tasted EXACTLY like Neapolitan ice cream – without the freezer burn!  The cupcake was literally oozing with baked strawberries (no joke, I had to catch some of the strawberries as I bit into it to keep them from falling on my pants!) and their vanilla and chocolate frosting were bang on.  Yummy Stuff seriously makes some of the best chocolate frosting in the city and it was such a fun, summery cupcake to have for the month of June.

Since we’re on the topic of ice cream and cupcakes, why not have real ice cream together with cupcakes?  That’s right, folks, Cold Stone Creamery isn’t the only spot in town that makes these decadent treats!  The Cupcakery on St. Clair West has 6 different ice cream cupcake flavours to choose from including, each for $2.50 for 6 for $13:

  1. Ice Queen – vanilla cake topped with vanilla ice cream and pink vanilla buttercream
  2. Chocolate Sundae – chocolate cake layered with caramel sauce and Skor toffee bits, topped with chocolate ice cream and chocolate buttercream
  3. Cookies and Cream – vanilla cake layered with crushed Oreo cookies topped with vanilla ice cream and vanilla buttercream
  4. Chocolate Mint – chocolate cake topped with chocolate ice cream and mint buttercream
  5. Creamsicle – vanilla cake topped with vanilla ice cream and orange buttercream
  6. Banana Rama – chocolate cake topped with chocolate ice cream and banana buttercream

Learn how to make your cupcakes look as beautiful as this wedding cake at one of Le Dolci’s decorating classes!

Okay, so we’ve covered the new bake shop alert, slammin’ summer cupcake flavours, and ice cream cupcakes that are perfect for summer.  What’s that I hear?  Dum-da-dum-dum-dum-dum.  Ooo, wedding bells!  We can’t talk about summer without mentioning the bustling, topsy-turvy wedding season and Le Dolci has every sweet tooth covered with two very special Introduction to Wedding Cupcakes decorating classes this summer!  The first one will be held on Friday, July 6th from 2pm-4pm and the second one will be held in August on Sunday, August 5th from 2pm-4pm.  Each class is priced at $80 +HST/person and at the end of the class you get to take home a dozen awesomely yummy vanilla cupcakes beautifully decorated by you!  The wedding cupcakes decorating classes will focus on intricate fondant design – think bridal magazine! 

Aside from being creative and getting to indulge in sweet cupcake fun, I think these classes are perfect if you have a friend who’s getting married and you want to give them something truly personal and unique to congratulate them.  And you’ll get to enjoy the class at their brand new studio on Dundas Street West just across the street from Trinity Bellwoods Park – win-win.  That’s all for now, so grab a ice cold drink and enjoy the fruity, summery treats and cupcakes while you can!

If Candied Orange Peels and Creamsicles Were Married – The “OC” Cupcake at The Cupcakery, Part II

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Have you ever felt like you needed to reignite a spark to renew your interest in something you’ve always loved?  A feeling that you needed something to make you see things with fresh eyes?  If you’ve ever been heavily invested in a project, a hobby, or just a passion in general, I’m sure you’ve come across that feeling.  This is how I felt about cupcakes as I trudged my way through the first two and a half weeks of December.  The cupcake fire didn’t dissipate; it just required a little attention, a little shift in focus.  A little more kindling so to speak. 

Many of my holiday plans fell by the wayside and a number of these plans had involved fun cupcake adventures.  I had built everything up in my head so much that I ended up heartbroken when things didn’t work out.  Call it over zealous, call it over ambitious; I had put so much on my plate that nothing had come out of it at all.  It had gotten to the point where I had lost sight of what I wanted to get out of my cupcake exploration.  I had lost direction.  And for a little while, it wasn’t as fun anymore.

  

Fast forward to the new year.  I needed to forget about the disappointments over the holidays and breathe new life into something I loved so dearly.  And I did.  I can’t even begin to describe the overwhelming happiness and giddiness I felt after I threw some of that new firewood into the flame.  Enter The Cupcakery.  Located on St. Clair Ave. West just east of Dufferin St. on the corner of Glenholme Ave., The Cupcakery is a shop I’ve wanted to visit for ages!  I thank my cupcake friend Alex at Vivid Memories for posting about them and thus, leading me to such a wonderfully yummy shop. 

My favourite things about The Cupcakery?  Price and affordability, simplicity, and presentation.  Cupcakes are $2.50 each ($13 for 6 and $25 for 12) and I have to tell you, prices like those are icings on the cake.  In many of my cupcake posts, I’ve ranked places into price categories (low-end, mid, and high-end) and I am so happy to place The Cupcakery in the lower rung of the price ladder.  If my memory serves me right, their cupcakes are now some of the most affordable in the city and they are one of the few cupcakeries that sell cupcakes at this price point.  Several establishments have raised their prices and the ones who used to sell their cupcakes for $2.50 no longer do, so this really is a breath of fresh air.

Their cupcakes are colourful, bright, dainty, and perfectly frosted with lots of frosting and just enough cake to create the perfect balance.  Nobody likes a cupcake with just a dab of frosting (geez, could you spare a little?) or so much of it you think you’re eating it out of the can (there’s a reason why the word “cake” is part of “cupcake”!).  Even though their menu doesn’t scream wild and wacky, that’s the beauty of it.  They are beautiful, simple cupcakes that truly capture the essence of the sweet treat.  They have enough unique flavour combinations to entice the experienced cupcaker, but also enough simple classics to remain familiar to those who may not always eat cupcakes or to those who aren’t all that interested in the outlandish.

They have a selection of 6 cupcakes every day on a rotating basis and there are flavours on their menu that I am dying to try: Black Forest, Lemon Popp (lemon poppy seed with lemon frosting), and Let’s Be Berry (vanilla cake filled with berries with lemon frosting), just to name a few.  The 6 flavours they had on hand the day I went were: Back to Basics (chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream), Principessa (vanilla cake with pink frosting), After Eight (chocolate cake with mint frosting and chocolate chips), La Dolce Vita (chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream), Chips Ahoy (vanilla cake filled with chocolate chips with vanilla frosting and cookie chunks), and my pick, The OC!  Perfect for the chocolate orange lovers out there!  And of course, for the diehards of the old show.  A chocolate cupcake with orange frosting and chocolate chips.

My cupcake was placed in a little pink box that was just the right size for a single cupcake.  It was so cute and pretty, like a precious jewel.  You should have seen me holding on to my little cupcake box for dear life as I rode on the streetcar and then the bus.  I mentally cursed every single time I lurched forward as I felt the cupcake jiggle in the box and I cursed some more when I eventually took a bite of my cupcake because it was so delicious I wished I had bought a second one, specifically the Chips Ahoy one, to accompany my chocolate orange! 

To my utter surprise though, I opened my little box to discover my cupcake in perfect condition!  After all that jiggling, the frosting wasn’t smushed and it was in immaculate condition.  And best of all, a napkin was included underneath my cupcake.  Love!  It was everything I had hoped the cupcake would be.  The chocolate cake was moist, soft, and fudgy and the orange frosting was PERFECT.  The flavour was bold without being sour and the frosting was sweet and creamy without being runny or greasy.  It was a beautiful juicy orange sugar flavour, exactly like what candied orange peels and creamsicles would taste like if they were married and embodied in a frosting.

This is the first look into The Cupcakery and I’m really looking forward to posting more about them and talking about some of their other products as well.  This cupcake made me so happy and I think it was a fabulous way to start off the new year, cupcake style!  The cupcake fire is roaring with a vengeance and ready to take on the next adventure.   

*****

The Cupcakery is located at 1034 St. Clair West Ave., right at the corner of St. Clair and Glenholme Ave. between Oakwood Ave. and Dufferin St.  The Cupcakery is open from Wednesday-Sunday at 11am-5pm Wednesday-Friday, 10am-5pm on Saturday, and 10am-4pm on Sunday.  They are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.  You can check out their official website here, ‘Like’ their Facebook page here, and follow them on Twitter @tcupcakery.

Check Marking My Way Through the Cupcake Shop Directory into 2012 – The Cupcakery on St. Clair West, Part I!

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The Toronto and GTA cupcake shop exploration continues on into the new year!  2011 was a fantastic cupcake year from top to bottom.  Not only did I get the chance to visit bakeries I never even knew existed prior to the start of the year, but I also engaged in some full-blown cupcake baking marathons at Le Dolci where we icing sugar queens baked over 400 minis on some days!  It’s been a joy photographing them, scrapbooking my adventures, and of course, eating them!  It was so much fun following monthly and weekly flavour specials, trying out combinations I never thought I would enjoy (my aversion to all things mint chocolate did a 180 as soon as my sweet teeth got cozy with the Mint Everest cupcake from Short & Sweet!), getting a handle on vegan cupcakes, and becoming friends with the masters and bakers behind these sweet local businesses. 

My favourites in 2011 include the fluffy sweet Strawberry cupcake from Flour Studio, the Lemon Drop cupcake from The Cupcake Shoppe, the Black Velvet from Sweet Escape Patisserie, the Cookies n’ Cream vegan cupcake from Bunner’s Bake Shop (blog post and photos forthcoming), the lemon sugar cupcake from Bake Sale on the Kingsway (thorough blog post also forthcoming!), and the Mint Everest cupcake I mentioned up top from Short & Sweet Cupcakes.  My goal was to visit as many cupcake shops as possible and I think I did a smashing job showing off some of the prettiest and tastiest in the city so far.

I have a very long way to go before I check every cupcakery off of the “cupcake directory”, but I don’t mind because it means there’s a whole world of tiny cakes with frosting waiting for me.  I’m determined to visit every shop on Queen Street East (what I dub as Toronto’s cupcake roadway), to show you all what’s available in Markham (aside from Old Firehall Confectionery), and to start a new series of flavour groupings here and there.  It’s going to be another fabulous cupcake year in 2012, so to kick things off, a Part I picture post of The Cupcakery on St. Clair West!

*****

The Cupcakery is located at 1034 St. Clair West Ave., right at the corner of St. Clair and Glenholme Ave. between Oakwood Ave. and Dufferin St.  The Cupcakery is open from Wednesday-Sunday at 11am-5pm Wednesday-Friday, 10am-5pm on Saturday, and 10am-4pm on Sunday.  They are closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.  You can check out their official website here, ‘Like’ their Facebook page here, and follow them on Twitter @tcupcakery.