The Cupcake Connection, Vol.009 – New Places, Spaces & Faces Featuring Prairie Girl Bakery, Cupcakes Leaside & Le Dolci!

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Prairie Girl Bakery in Toronto on King Street East.

Welcome to Part II of this spring’s first Cupcake Connection where we’re talking new places, spaces, and faces!  *NEWS FLASH*: Prairie Girl Bakery is expanding – again!  That’s right folks, the cupcake queen of Toronto’s downtown core with its two existing locations, is opening its 3rd location further up north in YORKVILLE!  Set to open at the end of the month, Prairie Girl will be opening its doors and wafting out the sweet scents of golden buttermilk and dark cocoa cupcakes while rubbing elbows with Louis Vuitton, COACH, Burberry,  and others at BLOOR STREET WEST & AVENUE ROAD!  Can you tell I’m ecstatic?!  Prairie Girl Bakery.  With a 3rd location.  In Yorkville.  You guys know what this means.

I can stuff my face with cupcakes while shopping my heart out at MAC and Sephora and Williams Sonoma and Whole Foods and…and…*catches breath*

BREATHE, DEB.

Prairie Girl Bakery cupcakes, Black Forest and Cherry Cheesecake cupcakes and Treats of the Week

Black Forest on Dark Cocoa and Cherry Cheesecake on Golden Buttermilk. Both on Prairie Girl Bakery’s Treats of the Week menu!

Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcakes in Chocolate Peppermint and Cookies and Cream

Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcake heaven – Chocolate Peppermint and Cookies and Cream.

This is so exciting!!  I got the news from Amy at Prairie Girl (thank you, Amy!) and almost started doing the Elaine dance from Seinfeld.  It’s just so perfect.  It’s within the heart of Yorkville, one of the best places to window shop and stroll in the summer, it’s walking distance from Queen’s Park (hello, perfect cupcake picnic area!), and close to so many of my favourite shopping, strolling, and eating destinations (I’m looking at you Annex, Kensington Market, Fresh, and Mela!).  I can’t wait to visit their new location and of course, I’ll report back with photos of the shop and of whichever delightful frosted confection I decide to sink my sweet teeth into on that particular day.  Keep your eyes on the cupcake for more details to come!

While Prairie Girl is set to open their new, 3rd location in the city, one cupcake shop has set up shop for the very first time in Toronto, this time on the east end in Leaside at 85 Laird Drive.  If you haven’t already, give a warm welcome to Cupcakes by Heather & Lori!  Known as The Cupcake Girls on their W network television show, Heather and Lori hail from Vancouver with 6 cupcake shops under their belt in BC alone!  I haven’t paid a visit to the shop yet but I’ve definitely given their site (www.cupcakesonline.com) more than one look-see and there are so many flavours I want to try: Lava Flow (raspberry chocolate with cream cheese frosting and raspberry dollop); Blue Hawaii (blue vanilla frosting and coconut); Raspberry Beret (raspberry filled lemon cake with lemon frosting and raspberry dollop); and Pecan Brownie (pecan brownie cake with caramel and chocolate chips inside and dolloped with cream cheese frosting).

Cupcakes Online. Leaside. website

Cupcakes Leaside and their adorable website!

I’m really looking forward to paying them my first visit not just because it’s a cupcake shop that looks adorable and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside but because Leaside is an area that I haven’t really explored yet.  With the exception of going to Rahier and Patisserie La Cigogne on Macaron Day, the area is practically unchartered territory for me so there will be so much to see and do when I do end up going.

And since we’re on the topic of brand spankin’ new, our dear Le Dolci has introduced a slew of new classes to their already fab selection!  New to their cupcake class line-up: Cupcake Bouquets!  This class is meant to unleash every ounce of creativity in you as you create edible works of art.  Completely floral-themed, the cupcake bouquet class with have you creating cupcake bouquets for centrepieces, sweet tables, gifts and more as you learn how to pipe floral patterns with buttercream.  If you were to take this class and Le Dolci’s Advanced Piping Techniques class where you practice piping roses, pansies, and daffodils, you’d be a whiz at piping flowers and basically creating cupcake floral arrangements!  The first Cupcake Bouquet Making and Arrangement class is set for May 12 from 12pm-2pm and is priced at $80 +HST/person. 

Flowers and cupcakes at Le Dolci on Dundas Street West in Toronto.

:Le Dolci cupcake studio storefront on Dundas Street West in downtown Toronto.

And so concludes the first Cupcake Connection of the spring and summer seasons.  I can’t wait to see what the next several months bring!

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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!