Capturing my Cupcake Heart – The Chocolate Raspberry Rapture & Valentine’s at The Wedding Cake Shoppe

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Valentine’s is two days away and all I can think about is chocolate frosting on a cupcake.  Not fancy dinners or movies or flowers or presents.  Just chocolate frosting.  (And of course my sweetie and having a girls day out with my best friend over the weekend, but that kind of goes without saying).  I’m a beast.  There have been times when I’ve thought, “holy jeebus, there is way too much freakin’ chocolate on Valentine’s” but not this year.  No, this year I’m embracing the chocoholicness of the occasion and having myself a chocolate cupcake party on Friday.  (And by party I mean, like, two cupcakes.  You gotta have your limits.)  I don’t care if we’re expecting snow, I am getting my tooshie out there and celebrating because it’s fun, it’s pink, it’s sweet and heck, it’s the Friday before a long weekend and I am taking it.

Taking into account all the cupcake posts I’ve done over the years though, you’d think there would be more than a handful that coincide with the official day of hearts and flowers and all things pink and frilly and sweet.  Surprisingly, this is not the case.  After browsing through the posts in my “Be My Valentine” series, I realized I only had three that pertained to cupcakes: The Cupcake Shoppe, Short & Sweet Cupcakes and Le Dolci.  Aw.  I mean, I know it’s a silly thing to agonize over considering how difficult it is to get out on Valentine’s for a cupcake on a workday or a school day if you don’t have the day off, but I really thought I would have more to show for than that.  Hence the reason for my recent visit to The Wedding Cake Shoppe.  My last visit had been during the summer, I had never been to the shop during Valentine’s and by golly I just wanted a cupcake from there (and if you’re reading this, Cindy, it’s also because it’s fab seeing you too!)

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The girls do such a beautiful job decorating the shop with their themed cakes and window display.  For Valentine’s this year, there’s a giant tissue paper heart suspended in wire mesh from the ceiling in the middle of the display (or at least what appears to be a tissue paper heart.  I didn’t want to touch it!), flanked on both sides by round hat boxes and cake boxes, frosted tarts, cupcakes, sprinkles, napkins, and dishes in shades of peach, cream, ballet slipper pink interspersed with pops of punchy red and hot pink.  And of course, their jaw-dropping cakes including a 3-tiered cake decorated with fondant zigzags and hearts and a 4-tiered cake masterpiece covered entirely in pastel conversation hearts!

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Even though it was yet another cold, chill-down-to-your-bones winter day, it was sunny and relatively dry out so I thought it would nice to take the College streetcar straight across town from Yonge to Ossington.  I could sit back and relax, see the sights out the window without freezing my bum off, and enjoy a nice ride through a neighbourhood I hadn’t been in in awhile.  And when I got to The Wedding Cake Shoppe, it was so nice sitting down to a delicious cupcake before hopping back on the streetcar to run my next errand.  I love that I can sit here and enjoy a treat with a hot drink.

It’s those quiet moments in the middle of the morning or afternoon that I love because you get to slow down a bit before and after dealing with the hustle and bustle of rush hour, when you’re left alone to zone out with your own thoughts.  When I look back at all the great memories I’ve made on Valentine’s past, there are many of them and I guess it’s also for that reason that I wanted to do more this Valentine’s because I enjoy savouring the memories when everything so often seems to go by in a blur.

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This time around, I sat down to The Wedding Cake Shoppe’s Raspberry Rapture cupcake ($2.75), a chocolate cupcake with raspberry frosting.  I’m not kidding when I say that I’ve discovered a new favourite from their shop!  This cupcake was so yummy it skyrocketed straight to the top in my book, sitting right up there with Wedding Cake Shoppe’s Baked Raspberries & Cream Cheese.  Um, can you tell I love my raspberry?!  The Raspberry Rapture embodies the PERFECT chocolate raspberry flavour combination and I loved the soft, creamy, sweet and fruity buttercream frosting like nobody’s business.  It was so light and so delicate yet so flavourful at the same time.  And on top of the fudgy, brownie like chocolate cake?  CUPCAKE HEAVEN!

What made the cupcake even more fab were the chocolate-covered sunflower seeds on top.  YES, chocolate-covered sunflower seeds!  Bathed in minty green-robin’s egg blue, they were crunchy and sweet and gave the cupcake that extra bit of sass.  So different and so very cool!

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I’m really excited to start on a Cupcake Chronicles feature page for The Wedding Cake Shoppe so I’m hoping to have that ready sometime next week.  In the meantime, I hope every gets the chance to enjoy something sweet for Valentine’s over the next few days!

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The Wedding Cake Shoppe is located at 859 College Street, just west of Ossington Ave.  They are open 6 days a week (closed on Tuesdays) and their weekday hours are from 11am-7pm, weekend hours from 11am-5pm.  You can check out their official website here, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Butterflies, Ooey Gooey Dulce de Leche & a Rainbow of Macarons at The Wedding Cake Shoppe!

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“Which cupcake do you want?”.  “Hmm…I really don’t think I should have one…”.  “But these are your favourites!”.  “It’s okay, you have one, I’m not going to get one”.  “But that’s why we’re here!”  Sigh.  Figures my mum would bail on me.  I look over at my dad and brother.  “Do you guys want one?”  Two head shakes respond back.  “Oh, fine!  I’ll have a cupcake all by myself!”  How disappointing that my whole fam did not join in on my cupcake fun.  My pouty huffy and puffiness did not last long though as my sweet teeth met with the thickest and gooeist of caramels and my eyes fell on the daintest of macarons in the sweetest of colours.  Cupcakes AND macarons – now THAT makes for the perfect sweet treat afternoon snack in my world!  And in a beautiful cake shop no less.  While my parents and brother sat at a little table in The Wedding Cake Shoppe watching me take photos, reposition my cupcake, reposition my macaron box, open my macaron box, take a bite of my cupcake and basically “do my thing” as my mum would say amidst sparkly butterflies, frosty gold finishes, and pastel brights, I salivated at the thought of finally sinking my teeth into The Wedding Cake Shoppe’s macarons for the first time!

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Along with an ooey, gooey Argentinian Dulce de Leche vanilla-caramel-y cupcake (oh my goodness, thickest caramel EVER!), I picked out a half dozen box of macarons ($1.85 a piece – can you believe it?!) for my family and I to share later on that day.  It’s remarkable how much more affordable Wedding Cake Shoppe’s macarons are compared to other patisseries and shops in the city.  I mean, I know we try to avoid making assumptions about people, places and things, but you have to admit, there’s no way anyone would have guessed that macarons coming from a wedding cake boutique would be less than $2 each!  But they are and the girls are always coming up with new flavours so there’s constantly something different to try.

I grabbed a mint chocolate chip (eeee!), chocolate, strawberry, mango, and 2 green teas.  While I can’t tell you which one was my favourite out of the 5 flavours because I didn’t try them all, I can tell you that they are so soft and delicate and they’re great for those who like the idea of macarons but shy away because they’re hesitant about the sweetness.  Much like Wedding Cake Shoppe’s cupcakes and buttercream, their macarons definitely err on the “I’m-not-sickly-sweet” side and they’re a real testament to the shop’s style and approach.  They don’t hide behind sugar; they simply allow flavours to shine on their own the best they can, with of course, a dash of sweet and sassy style!

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The Wedding Cake Shoppe is located at 859 College Street, just west of Ossington Ave.  They are open 6 days a week (closed on Tuesdays) and their weekday hours are from 11am-7pm, weekend hours from 11am-5pm.  You can check out their official website here, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Halloween Headquarters – Black Cats on Vanilla Cupcakes & Halloween Glamour at The Wedding Cake Shoppe

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Okay, so I’m a wee bit freaked out about the power zapping out so this will have to be short.  Sandy is currently howling outside my house (it sounds like ocean waves are crashing as I type.  Lovely.) and it’s time for bed!  I took these photos over the weekend and it would be a shame not to post them with Halloween just two days away though, so here is The Wedding Cake Shoppe decked out in black, bats, skulls, and Halloween cake and cupcake glamour!  If you can (or just plain willing to) brave the bad weather (er, anything for cupcakes for us crazy cupcake lovers, right?!), grab the special Halloween vanilla bean buttercream cupcake with the adorable black cat topper!  The Wedding Cake Shoppe is closed on Tuesdays though, so make the trip on Halloween on Wednesday if you want in on the treats!

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The Wedding Cake Shoppe is located at 859 College Street, just west of Ossington Ave.  They are open 6 days a week (closed on Tuesdays) and their weekday hours are from 11am-7pm, weekend hours from 11am-5pm.  You can check out their official website here, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Tea & Cupcakes for One – Fruity Peach Green Tea, Mango Cupcakes, & Pink Tea Pots at The Wedding Cake Shoppe

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My love of tea has finally reached its peak – and I think it’s going to enjoy its reign up at the top of my “Things I Love Dearly” list for a long time!  I am happy to report that I am now drinking tea 5 days a week (sometimes 6; it varies) and that I’ve developed a nice little routine for myself the same way java fanatics gulp down their coffee in the morning.  I’ve been alternating between coconut green tea, sticky toffee pudding, and my cute little box of Celestial Seasoning fruit flavours in blueberry, raspberry, black cherry, and country peach. 

Never did I think I would love tea this much though.  Growing up, my only brush with tea was at dim sum restaurants.  Then bubble tea and loose leaf tea entered my world and everything changed.  I daydream about the type of tea I’m going to get during my next tea run.  I keep up with all the new seasonal flavours that come out, ready to be sniffed from their canisters and sipped from mugs and tea cups.  And like clothes and accessories, I coordinate and match my tea to my cupcakes.  It’s not an obsession, it’s enthusiasm!

So, for the first time ever, I am posting about cupcakes without actually talking about cupcakes.  All I will say is that Wedding Cake Shoppe’s fruity mango cream cupcake on vanilla is delightful and like mango mousse on vanilla clouds.  My dear sweet cupcakes will just have to share the spotlight on this one because the tea is clearly the star of the show!  Make way for the sweet and lovely peach green tea and mango cupcake from The Wedding Cake Shoppe!

My previous Wedding Cake Shoppe posts solely focused on cupcakes, scrapbooking, and beautiful decor and while all of those things still play a huge part in my personal Wedding Cake Shoppe experience, I am absolutely smitten with their loose leaf tea.  I KNOW.  Tea.  And cupcakes.  With cupcakes.  At a wedding cake shop.  I love Toronto.  Given how the shop has ample space and seating, it’s totally feasible to sit down with a cuppa and cupcake (or macaron!  Or all three if you’re feeling adventurous) for a quiet, peaceful afternoon.  Their drink menu is actually pretty awesome as it consists of coffee drinks (americanos for $2, lattes and cappuccinos for $3.25), homemade hot chocolate ($3.50), cold glasses of milk at $2.50 (perfect for the milk and chocolate enthusiasts at heart!), and LOTS of loose leaf tea!  Priced at $2.25, flavours include earl grey, chamomile, green sencha, English breakfast, chai raspberry, fruit explosion, peppermint, jasmine, vanilla rooibos, and my beloved pick, peach green tea.

I love the fact that Cindy and Sarah serve tea and drinks at their shop to go along with their cupcakes and macarons, yes, BUT, what I love even more?  THE TEA PRESENTATION AND ACCESSORIES!  The shop is all colour, freshness, sweetness, and beauty so I shouldn’t have expected any less when it came to their tea and drinks (just look at the gorgeous, dainty pink plate that accompanied my chocolate banana cream pie cupcake the last time!), but I was still taken aback by how fabulous their tea “service” was!  I didn’t get my tea in a paper cup.  I didn’t even get my tea in a mug.  I got my piping hot peach green tea in a freakin’ adorable pink and gold tea pot/teacup set!  You know, the type of tea pot that looks like a whole teapot but is really the kind that has a tea cup for a bottom?  Yes, one of those.  And when I gushed to Sarah about how cute the tea pot was, she told me her and Cindy find great accessories along Queen West so there you go!

It was like getting the 5-star treatment.  And for $2.25?!  Jackpot!  Peach green tea is my favourite cold bubble tea to get when I’m out and this hot loose-leaf version didn’t disappoint.  It was an amazing fruity tea that tasted just like bubble tea but hot.  It didn’t have a gritty aftertaste, it certainly didn’t taste like diluted flavoured hot water, and it was bright, crisp, and delicious with my sweet and creamy mango cupcake.  Even though Cindy and Sarah are up to their eyeballs in wedding orders and cake decorating, they really do a fantastic job with making every visit to their shop a memorable, happy experience and that is what’s so special to me.  I mean, seriously, every single time I’m there new fresh flowers in vases are sitting on every table, the shop is immaculate, and every visit feels like a fresh start.  Cupcakes and tea aren’t just food and drink to me; they mean so much more when you enjoy them in a welcoming atmoshphere that is beautiful on the inside and out.      

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The Wedding Cake Shoppe is located at 859 College Street, just west of Ossington Ave.  They are open 6 days a week (closed on Tuesdays) and their weekday hours are from 11am-7pm, weekend hours from 11am-5pm.  You can check out their official website here, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Dainty Cakes & The Chocolate Banana Cream Pie Cupcake – A Photo Spotlight on the Wedding Cake Shoppe

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The Wedding Cake Shoppe is located at 859 College Street, just west of Ossington Ave.  They are open 6 days a week (closed on Tuesdays) and their weekday hours are from 11am-7pm, weekend hours from 11am-5pm.  You can check out their official website here, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Here Comes the Cupcake Bride! Scrapbooking The Wedding Cake Shoppe

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The new spring season means fresh new scrapbook layouts and a spring cleaning mentality!  I was so excited to do a layout completely devoted to bright pastels and best of all, I got to break out my sweet treat cardstock and matching stickers and embellishments by my favourite scrapbooking brand, DCWV (Die Cuts With a View)!  It was like stumbling on treasure when I found the sticker, embellishment, and rub-on set of cupcakes, candies, and sweet in a rainbow of colours during a random trip to Winners last year, and I’ve been holding on them for the perfect layout.  I haven’t purchased any new scrapbook materials in months and I’ve been doing a pretty decent job of using up my very large stash of scrapbooking goodies!  It’s always so tempting buying new things for future layouts, but it feels even greater using up things I already have and being forced to be creative with only those materials.

Cupcakes are always so much fun to scrapbook but this layout I did of The Wedding Cake Shoppe was special in a different way.  The Wedding Cake Shoppe is a visual representation of memories, the passing of time, and the documentation of milestones – in this case, weddings!  At this point in my life, there’s wedding fun and happiness (and yes, stress!) all around me as friends get engaged, plan and have weddings, and attend as wedding party guests.  Each person has their own unique way of memoralizing this new chapter in their lives whether its through photos, wedding favours, videos, cards, or memory boxes. 

The Wedding Cake Shoppe captures the essence of this through visual cues throughout their space.  In the shop, there are wedding magazines on magazine racks, dainty framed photos of wedding magazine covers and pages, past and present, in crisp white lacquered frames, and beautifully decorated wedding cakes in styles that span the decades.

What really warmed my heart though during that first visit was an entire bottom wall by the front window display solely devoted to, and covered in, wedding thank you cards from happy brides, newlyweds, and Wedding Cake Shoppe customers.  Each and every one of these special points of reference inside the wedding cake and cupcake shop tells a story, a story about the role weddings have played in our society at different points in time and the cultural significance in using food to celebrate and symbolically represent this occasion.  Finally, it demonstrates the joy we have in capturing and preserving special moments in our lives through photographs, scrapbooking, and decor, and sharing this joy with those around us.  

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Scrapbooking materials used: teal cardstock (Best Occasions); watermelon pink, lavender, pale pink and yellow, and powder blue cardstock (Recollections); dessert printed cardstock (The Sweet Stack with glitter by DCWV); cupcake, candy, and dessert stickers and embellishments (The Sweet Stack embellishment pack by DCWV); rhinestone embellishment (Crafts by Dollarama); pink scalloped lace heart stickers (Martha Stewart Crafts); vintage postcard patterned paper; black and white floral patterned paper; blue and white speckle dotted patterned paper; pink and blue plaid patterned paper; powder blue, yellow, and gold floral paisley patterned paper (Anna Griffin); wedding cake stickers (Sticko); brown twine; medium scallop circle paper punch (ek success).

The Wedding Cake Shoppe is located at 859 College Street, just west of Ossington Ave.  They are open 6 days a week (closed on Tuesdays) and their weekday hours are from 11am-7pm, weekend hours from 11am-5pm.  You can check out their official website here, and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Petal Pink and Summer Strawberry Cupcakes – Making Cupcake Memories at The Wedding Cake Shoppe, Part II

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Party-ready cake and cupcake stands, sweet-as-can-be cupcake tags and decorations, and fresh flowers in water at every table – The Wedding Cake Shoppe is a bright and fresh wedding cake and cupcake emporium with enough whimsy and happiness to brighten even the cloudiest of days.  The Wedding Cake Shoppe, as a wedding cake decorating company, has been in operation for 7 years, while the retail storefront located on College Street just west of Ossington Ave., is celebrating its 3rd in Toronto later on this month.  Sisters Cindy and Sarah Coelho are the pastry chefs, artists, and brains behind the business and I was lucky enough to chat with Cindy during my time at the shop where we talked about cupcakes (surprise, surprise!), our passions and work, and swiss meringue buttercream! 

Although the shop is known for its beautiful, larger-than-life wedding cakes, cupcakes happily share some of that limelight.  Awash in pastels, cute polka dots, and swiss dots, the shop has over 20 different rotating flavours of cupcake cake and frosting to satisfy every kind of sweet tooth.  Chocoholic?  Check.  Fruity tooty?  Check.  Coffee drink addict?  Check, check, and check.  What sets The Wedding Cake Shoppe’s cupcakes apart from many other bakeries in the city is its use of different buttercreams and frostings.  While many shops and businesses mainly stick to one or two types of frosting, Cindy and Sarah use a mix of cream cheese frosting, chocolate ganache, and swiss meringue buttercream to frost their cupcakes, making their cupcakes more fluffy, whipped, and airy as opposed to thick and sickly sweet.

In a nutshell, swiss meringue buttercream is a frosting that requires more time, technical skill, and careful observation to prepare than American buttercream (icing sugar + butter) because of its use of egg whites.  Egg whites are whisked into a bowl of granulated white sugar (notice the absence of icing or confectioners sugar; big difference!) set over a simmering pot of water.  The sugar and egg white mixture is then whisked in a mixer to create a meringue base.  This meringue base is then mixed with butter and flavouring (fruit, extracts, whatever your heart desires) to form a smooth, velvety, swiss meringue buttercream.

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