Cupcake Heaven in My Mouth – Sweets, Fillings, and Boston Cream & Lemon Cupcakes at Yummy Stuff, Part II!

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You know a cupcake and dessert shop has you in the palm of their hand when it makes you weak in the knees and abnormally impulsive.  A minute after I walked into Yummy Stuff, I was piecing together a scrapbook layout in my mind’s eye even before I had even taken my camera out to start snapping and immediately after I enjoyed the heavenly blissfulness of their cupcakes, I wanted to hightail it on back to the shop!  You’d think that one cupcake shop trip would suffice for the day, but I was thisclose to disrupting my afternoon errands for the purposes of going back and let me tell you, the cupcake fanatic in me was fuming when I walked the other way and ultimately decided to save the second trip for another day.  Willpower, my lovelies, WILLPOWER.

Yummy Stuff, with their iconic bright green mixing whisk logo, is located in a neighbourhood that is surprisingly accessible.  It wasn’t until I started walking around and getting my geographical barings that I realized how easy it was to connect the dots around the city.  First off, it’s on Queen Street West so you have the Queen streetcar at your service to and from the sweet shop.  Second of all, it’s a hop, skip, and step away from Roncesvalles Ave. which is an open door to exploring the revitalized foodielicious Roncesvalles neighbourhood (remember my post about Seventh Sister Bakery?), a neighbourhood that holds so much Polish history and culture among many other gems.

And given how walkable the “downtown core” streets are northbound and southbound (basically, everything south of Bloor and on) you can easily walk south to Liberty Village, and northeast to Dundas West (Brockton Village and Little Portugal), Little Italy and the west end of College Street, and Dufferin Mall and Bloordale/Bloorcourt Village.  The exploration options are endless!  Sometimes my cupcake trips are spontaneous (the hankering never really goes away), but most of the time, they’re planned and if you want in on a little secret, it’s acually how I plan my days.  That’s right.  I plan my activities and routes around what cupcake shop I want to visit on that particular day.  Crazy?  Maybe a little.  Effective?  Very.  Madly in love with cupcakes?  Totally.

Yummy Stuff is a space that is similar to that of The Wedding Cake Shoppe in that their workspace, station, and design studio is somewhat visible from behind the counter.  They are purely walk-in and take-out only though – no tables and chairs here, so be prepared to eat your treats elsewhere.  And they have MANY treats!  In addition to their custom designed cakes, cupcakes, and decorated sugar cookies, they have canisters full of giant cookies (snickerdoodles, chocolate ginger, chocolate chip, and peanut butter among others), lemon squares and tarts, brownies, peanut butter chocolate squares, and other special cookies including shortbread, lintzer cookies, and chocolate toffee butter cookies! 

Selection will vary daily and weekly, but rest assured that there will never be a shortage of options!  Prices range from $1-$4 for most treats.  I want to go back as soon as I can so I can try one of their chocolate ginger cookies, a decorated sugar cookie (they have sugar cookies decorated and in the shape of cupcakes and ice cream cones, oh my god), and of course, many more cupcakes!

Cupcakes come in two sizes: regular ($2.75 each, $15 for half a dozen) and mini ($1 each) and on the day I went, they had 8 flavours to choose from.  Like many other cupcake shops, their cupcakes operate on a rotating system which means what you see one day may not be there the next.  Classics such as vanilla, chocolate, and red velvet would be present on a daily basis but all other flavours are fair game on any given day.  Their menu (taken straight off their website) includes banana, carrot, chocolate, coconut, lemon, mango, vanilla, raspberry, red velvet, and a special flavour of the month.  This month’s decadent treat?  BOSTON CREAM!

I picked up a lemon cupcake and a Boston Cream (wouldn’t you?!) and oh my goodness, they were both heavenly, especially the lemon one!  Both cupcakes had a vanilla cake bottom and while the lemon cupcake was swirled with frosting, the Boston Cream was covered in a chocolate ganache with chocolate sprinkles.  AND they both had fillings!  Not all bakeries make their cupcakes with fillings.  Some might have a few with fillings for special occasions, but off the top of my head, For the Love of Cake in Liberty Village is the only cupcake shop who bakes every single one of their cupcakes with fillings in them. 

The Boston Cream cupcake was filled with creamy custard and had a moist, vanilla sponge-cake like texture to it.  Even though it sounds extremely rich, it’s really not and it’s actually relatively light in comparison to the donut!  It’s not heavy at all and I think it’s a great cupcake that would appeal to people who want something decadent but who don’t necessarily want to feel heavy or gluttonous afterward.

And the lemon.  OH MY GOD THE LEMON.  Off the bat, this belongs in the Top 5 (possibly even Top 3) Most Amazing Lemon Cupcakes in Toronto.  My first goes to The Cupcake Shoppe’s Lemon Drop (read: the Lemon Drop, NOT the Lov’n Lemon!), then it’s just a kerfluffle of scrumptiousness that I can’t figure out.  There’s the lemon meringue cupcake from For the Love of Cake, the lemon one from Bake Sale on the Kingsway, and this one from Yummy Stuff.  This was SO.DAMN.GOOD.  A sweet, fruity, tangy frosting (read: frosting, not whippy buttercream or mousse) swirled on top of vanilla cake with a lemon curd filling inside.  The texture of the frosting is perfect (not gritty, not thin and watery, and not thick and cracking) and the flavour and taste is bang on.  It’s not cloyingingly or artificially sweet, but it packs BIG flavour that left my friends and I taken aback in the best way possible.  It it truly one of the best tasting cupcakes EVER and I would come back to one a million times over. 

I was curious when I saw Yummy Stuff’s website had a blog so I clicked on their link and happily found out about their special cupcakes of the month!  They have monthly entries on their blog providing updates on seasonal goodies, dessert projects, and new cupcake flavours and I’m really happy they have this as it gives everyone a more personal connection to them and a heads up about new and delicious treats!  I only wish I had come during Christmas because their dessert line-up looked amazing!  Sigh.  You have to start somewhere though and at least now I know how delicious their cupcakes really are and can look forward to eleventy billion more visits to come.   

*****

Yummy Stuff is located at 1660 Queen Street West in the west end Parkdale neighbourhood, east of Roncesvalles Ave.  They are open Tuesday-Sunday, from 10am-7pm from Tuesday-Friday, 9am-6pm on Saturdays, and 12pm noon-5pm on Sundays.  They are closed on Mondays.  Visit their official website here.

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Short & Sweet Cupcakes Has Found a New Home on Avenue Road!

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I’m excited to pass the word along that Short & Sweet Cupcakes has successfully moved to their new home, 3 blocks north of their old location.  Previously on Old Orchard Grove off Avenue Rd., they are now operating all shiny and new at 1945 Avenue Rd. and I am really looking forward to seeing the new place and of course, picking up a cupcake or two!  To celebrate, here’s a look back at their old location where I found my holy grail cupcakes in the city.  When I first embarked on this cupcake tour of mine, never did I think that I would find a cupcake shop that has made me feel more welcome and at home than Short & Sweet.  Coming here has become much more than just getting a cupcake or sugar fix; it has become a muse for me, and a place where I have made genuine relationships that I can only see growing as time goes on.  To Short & Sweet, congratulaions on a successful move and to everyone else…get yourself some awesome cupcakes 😉  To view all my past Short & Sweet scrapbook layouts and to relive all the Short & Sweet cupcake love, click here.

*****

Short & Sweet Cupcakes is now located at 1945 Avenue Rd., south of Wilson Ave.  If you take public transit (like me) the easiest way to get here is to get off at Wilson subway station and take the 96 bus to Avenue Rd. and walk south.  You can also get here by getting off at York Mills subway station and taking the 165 Weston Rd. North bus to Wilson Ave. and Avenue Rd. and walking south, or getting off Yorks Mills subway station and walking west to Avenue Rd. from Yonge.

“Live Life One Cupcake at a Time” – Oodles of Frosting, Buttermilk Cake, & Lemon Cupcakes at Prairie Girl Bakery

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I thank my friend Alex from Vivid Memories for my first visit to Prairie Girl Bakery as I found out about this lovely cupcake shop from her blog.  Prairie Girl’s cupcake shop is so pretty to look at.  The colours are bright, fresh, and pretty (purple, pink, white, and green!) and you should see the inside.  My two favourite things about Prairie Girl, aesthetically, are the painted cupcake tile mosaics on the wall and the cupcake displays behind the counter.  I have never seen cupcake displays like these before.  Normally, you’re accustomed to seeing cupcakes either lined up nice and pretty in a glass display case, or placed on metal cake stands.  Not the case at Prairie Girl.  The cupcakes are placed on sliding drawers *insert cricket chirping*.  I don’t know if they’re plastic, plexiglass, or what, but their beautifully frosted cupcakes are lined up for the world (or in our case, the city) to see on sliding panels.  It looks exactly like those fancy drawers that you place your jewelry in that slide in and out and oh my god, I love it.  Eeee.

The cupcakes come in two sizes – regular and mini – and aside from their special, limited edition flavours that come out every week or so (the Treat of the Week), Prairie Girl has 13 cupcake flavours and combinations to choose from on their permanent menu.  You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter (@prairiegirlbake), and check out their website here to keep up with their updated special flavours and for other news.  Most of the cupcakes are frosted on either golden buttermilk cake or dark cocoa cake, with the exceptions being the red velvet, banana, and carrot cake cupcakes.  Frosting flavours include strawberry, lemon, peppermint, vanilla bean, chocolate cream cheese, vanilla with toasted coconut, and peanut butter. 

Yes, you read right, peanut butter.  Prairie Girl is NOT a nut-free bakery so for those who have nut allergies, PROCEED WITH CAUTION!  For those who don’t (like me), eat as much as you like! 😀  In all seriousness though, Prairie Girl specifically states on their menu that their facility bakes with nuts and I think it’s important to toot this piece of information as loudly as I can because of the prevalence of nut allergies and sensitivities.

These cupcakes are BIG!  You should see the size of the cupcake hoods.  Plenty of space for the ample amount of frosting they give you!  The frosting is beautifully piped (from up top they look like peppermint swirls) and they come in adorable cupcake boxes with “pockets” for the cupcakes to sit in so they don’t move around (yup, even for a set of two) and with clear little cellophane “windows” on top so you can see and proudly display your sweet treats inside.  Minis are priced at $1.50 each, with half a dozen coming in at $9.95 and a dozen at $18.95.  Regular-sized cupcakes are priced at $2.95 each, $16.95 for half a dozen, and $31.95 for a dozen.  Thus, Prairie Girl’s regular-sized cupcakes rank closer to the mid to higher end of cupcake shop prices around the city.  In the context of cupcakeries in the city, the size of their cupcakes is worth the price.  And is the taste?  Yes!

I can’t vouch for the dark cocoa cake yet as I haven’t tried it (trust that I will), but their golden buttermilk vanilla cake is very good and so different from other cupcakes I’ve had.  You know how cupcakes taste, well…cakey?  Not in a bad way, of course (for the good ones), but you know the texture I’m referring to.  Their golden buttermilk cake is different -and delicious- because of how moist it is.  In my opinion, it’s practically like a yellow sponge cake.  You could literally see the lemon zest in the frosting which was deliciously lemon-y, and you could even taste the juicy lemon juice in the lickety good frosting.

These cupcakes were SO much fun to eat.  I know, cupcakes are always fun to eat (duh!), but these cupcakes had my friend Sally and I giggling and laughing because we were making an utter mess out of ourselves!  The cupcakes are swirled with lots of frosting and the consistency is whippy and airy and much less dense than other frostings I’ve tried from other places.  This consistency causes the frosting to slip around and off the cake a little bit easier, but really, these are mega hilarious to gorge on.  Even though my friend Sally and I ate our cupcakes at two different times, we encountered the same giggly situation with frosting dribbling down our chins, us scooping up our fallen frosting, and shoving the remainder of our cupcakes into our mouth before we made any further spectacle out of ourselves! 😀

Prairie Girl’s convenient location off King St. E. and Victoria St. makes it a hot spot for the downtown work crowd and I quite like that there’s a great cupcake shop that is 1) open 7 days a week and 2) so close to the subway, the Eaton Centre, and the underground PATH!  It drives me bonkers that the address misleads people into thinking it’s literally on King St. (because it actually faces Victoria St. and if you didn’t do a bit of looking around, you’d seriously miss it entirely), but I guess I can be a forgiving for yummy cupcakes 😉

*****

Prairie Girl Bakery is located at Suite 106, 18 King St. East off King St. E and Victoria St.  The cupcake shop itself actually faces Victoria St., so it’s just a smidge north of King on Victoria St.  They are open 7 days a week from 10am-6pm from Monday-Saturday, and from 11am-5pm on Sundays.  A special thank you to Jean for allowing me to take photos in the shop, it is very appreciated.

Scrapbooking materials used: violet, grape, neon pink, and neon chartreuse cardstock (Recollections); lime green and bright pink patterned paper (Lime Garden by K&Company); pink plaid patterned paper (Choco Mod Patterns by DCWV); pastel polka dotted cardboard; cupcake stickers/embellishments (Cupcake “It’s a Party” by Autumn Leaves, Creativity Inc.); paper corner rounder (ek success); black felt tip Sharpie marker.