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.

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Like a Cupcake Lounge – A Photo Spotlight on Short & Sweet Cupcakes’ Vaughan Location & Megan’s Mocha Madness!

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While working on my big Cupcake Chronicles feature page today behind the scenes, I realized I never shared my photos of Short & Sweet Cupcakes’ Vaughan location or my photos of their amazingly delicious Megan’s Mocha Madness cupcake with you guys after all this time!  I know this post is a little on the late side given how it’s been about a year since Short & Sweet opened their second location, but Ate by Ate just wouldn’t be complete without a post showcasing their York Region arm in all it’s beautiful cupcake lounge-like glory!

Located at Major Mackenzie Drive West and Dufferin St. within the Eagles Landing complex, the shop boasts a spacious, airy seating area near the back as well as a lovely hot pink seating lounge right by the front window, perfect for enjoying your cupcakes with friends!  They have colourful cupcake artwork on the walls, giftware to purchase up at the front and a big display case for their many flavours of cupcakes.  It’s a fun and fresh space and I really enjoy taking photos of the cupcakes here because the big window lets a lot of nice natural light in.

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And speaking of light, today’s photo spotlight is for one of my Top 5 faves from Short & Sweet, the Megan’s Mocha Madness which is a Friday-only specialty.  I have waited so long to have this.  I have had so many Fridays pass me by without this cupcake in my life because of either work or school or just not being in the area so you can imagine my squealing happiness over this morsel of decadence when I finally got around to having it.  It’s a chocolate cupcake with mocha coffee frosting and chocolate curls on top.  The frosting is one of the most delicious frostings I’ve ever had and this is coming from a girl who doesn’t even drink or like coffee!  It’s one of their best because the chocolate cake is fudgy and moist and the frosting is extremely flavourful and creamy without being overpowering with that bitter coffee aftertaste or too sweet and lacking in depth.

I think they hit the nail on the head with this one and  I wish so much that this was part of their every day roster as opposed to just being available on Fridays because this is a flavour that I could go for time and time again.  Even though I didn’t take these particular photos at their Vaughan location (there’s a reason for that, read on), I wanted to share them anyway since it’s been so long since my last Short & Sweet post.

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So, you’re probably thinking, “well, that’s terrific that your favourite cupcake shop opened a location in York Region where you live!”  You’d think that.  But after careful calculations and an experiment with my best friend, I have discovered that it is actually easier for me to get to their Avenue Road shop instead of the one on Major Mackenize!  At least during the weekends.  It’s easy-peasy during the week, but the timing doesn’t jive with a work schedule and boy is it ever awkward on a Saturday.  Unless there’s a car involved or a random weekday I have off, getting here on Saturday would require taking 2 buses (which isn’t the most practical because there’s some doubling back involved) and then walking for another half hour and then finally walking on the side of the road to get into the complex because no sidewalk exists.  But all of this mumbo-jumbo?  Because the most straight-forward transit route to the shop doesn’t run on weekends.

Sigh.  That’s York Region transit for you.

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Regardless of the confusing transit issue, I love the Vaughan location for its larger space and I can definitely appreciate the fact that both Ginza Sushi and Yummy Market are both a hop, skip, and jump away!  I’ve been working really hard on the Cupcake Chronicles since Ate by Ate started and it’s been a joy profiling so many shops and tasting all the variety the city has to offer.  I’m hoping to fill in some more holes this year so that we can have photo spotlights on Short & Sweet’s Blueberry Yum Yum in May and Tropic Thunder in June at the very least.  Look out for Valentine’s Day cupcake posts in the coming weeks!

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Short & Sweet Cupcakes serves two locations in the GTA: 1945 Avenue Road (south of Wilson Ave.) in Toronto; open Monday to Saturday from 11am-6pm, closed on Sundays || 1480 Major Mackenzie Drive West (at the corner of Dufferin St.) in Maple, Vaughan; open Monday to Saturday from 12pm-7pm, closed on Sundays.  You can also find their cupcakes at some Aroma Espresso Bar locations!

The Holiday Cupcake Blitz Begins! Fudgy Candy Cane Lane & Sweet Vanilla Confetti from The Cupcake Shoppe!

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I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy running across the street from The Cupcake Shoppe with a box of 2 cupcakes to take photos of them in all 3 years of blogging and Cupcake Shoppe cupcake eating.  There I was by the cement seating block in front of the Canada Post building across the street from The Cupcake Shoppe clicking away with my camera with my bare hands in the cold, all the while making sure my cupcake box didn’t blow away from the wind and grinning from ear to ear.  Was it cold?  Yes.  Was my mum waiting for me inside the David’s Tea across the street while I was snapping away?  Yes.  Am I a crazy nut?  Just a little.  But I don’t care.  Because you’d feel the same way if you were in my shoes. This moment was 3 years in the making.  3 YEARS!  The moment me and The Cupcake Shoppe’s seasonal holiday cupcake, Candy Cane Lane, exchanged pleasantries and shared cupcake hugs had finally arrived.  I was so full of jubilance I almost starting squealing mid-snap.

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It was a scrapbook moment.

I’ve been eating cupcakes from The Cupcake Shoppe for over 3 years now.  And each and every single year I missed out on their beloved fudgy Candy Cane Lane during the holiday season.  And every time I did I wanted to shake my fists over my ridiculously poor planning and timing.  I just couldn’t get to it.  I either wasn’t in the Yonge & Eglinton neighbourhood (before and after the holiday blitz, yes, during, no.  I don’t know why!) or I was visiting another cupcake shop or bakery.  Or I was just preoccupied with family, school or work.  I know, it sounds like the dumbest thing in the world.  If I want a cupcake, I should just go out and get it.  All I can say is that every holiday season passes by in a dizzying whirlwind of activity and at times it feels over before it even begins and I’ve missed my window of opportunity on a number of things.  That and my stomach could only hold so many different cupcakes and sweets and hot chocolate on any given day so something had to give.  And that something was Candy Cane Lane for the last 3 years.

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NOT ANYMORE, WEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!

The chocolate cake was as fudgy as chocolate fudge could be and the buttercream, adorned with a cute little candy cane piece, was white as snow with flecks of candy cane peppermint strewn throughout it.  The buttercream was soft and whippy with both vanilla and candy cane peppermint flavours mixed together.  The flavour is subtle as opposed to in-your-face (or in this case, in-your-mouth) so it’s great for those who enjoy a little pepperminty freshness without the abrasiveness of full on peppermint (i.e. mouthwash.  Because that’s so not sexy).  I kind of liken it to a peppermint hot chocolate in cupcake form!  The peppermint doesn’t overpower the chocolate and I think they actually complement each other pretty well.  And if I could make a cutesy suggestion, take the candy cane piece and roll it in the fudgy chocolate crumbs on the cupcake wrapper.  It will taste SO yummy!

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Seeing that I couldn’t possibly leave The Cupcake Shoppe with only one cupcake, I had to choose a 2nd to enjoy for the next day so I jumped on the super pretty, super fun and super cute-as-a-button Confetti!  It’s one of their newer ones and it has quickly become a favourite of mine from The Cupcake Shoppe.  It’s simple but truly delicious.  It’s one of their sweeter ones and it’s everything you love about birthday cake in a cupcake.  The vanilla cake and blue vanilla frosting are sweet and rich and deliciously yummy, the cake is studded with specks of rainbow sprinkles and the frosting is topped with a smattering of rainbow funfetti.

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While it might not scream Christmas, it does scream celebration and fun and that’s what the holidays should be all about so I think it’s a fabulous one to have alongside the Candy Cane Lane.  And if you’re looking for tea and cupcake pairings, try the Candy Cane Lane with David’s Tea White Chocolate Frost (one of their new Winter 2013 teas) or Read My Lips and definitely try the Confetti cupcake with David’s Tea Birthday Cake tea!  You’ll be glad you did.

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*****

The Cupcake Shoppe is located in the Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood at 2417 Yonge St., north of Eglinton on the east side of Yonge St.  Their second location in Vaughan is located by Bathurst St. and Rutherford Road at 9340 Bathurst.  Hurray for more cupcake options in York Region!

They have a rotating menu of cupcake flavours each day and each cupcake is priced at $2.85.  For more Cupcake Shoppe goodness on Ate by Ate, click HERE!  There are write-ups, scrapbook layouts, and tons of photos on The Cupcake Shoppe’s following flavours: Cookie Dough, Eh? (maple), Lemon Drop & Lov’n Lemon (the first one is one of the most amazing lemon cupcakes you will ever eat and the latter, not so much), Red Velvet, Naughty n’ Spice (fall seasonal), After Ate (mint chocolate), Pretty in Pink (raspberry cupcake with raspberry buttercream), Triple Chocolate Fudge (chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and chocolate chips), Sleepless in Toronto (coffee), and the delicious summer seasonal Lime n’ Licious.

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.

No Need to Chase Down the Truck – The Summer Mint Chocolate Chip “Ice Cream” Cupcake from Yummy Stuff!

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“Ice cream man, ice cream man!” *cracks front door open*  “Wait for me, I got money!” *pitter patter, pitter patter; picks up piggy bank and shakes vigorously* “Gimme back my money you PIG!”  Ah, little Michelle Tanner in the episode of Full House where she gets her very first piggy bank and then wrestles with it to get her monies out when the quintessential symbol of summer makes it trip down the street, singing its melodic, happy tune, offering the sweetest, tastiest and frosty, lickably yummy treats.

It’s summer and few things bring a smile to the masses like an ice cream truck!  Popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, sundaes, and mouthwatering soft-serve ice cream cones tantalize the tastebuds during these hot summer months.  I looove ice cream and it’s arguably one of my weaknesses.  Vanilla and chocolate swirl soft serve?  LOVE!  But when you combine ice cream inspiration with CUPCAKES?!  I am nine ways to Sunday ecstatic!  Yummy Stuff, located on Queen Street West in Parkdale just east of Roncesvalles, has done it again this summer with another knockout cupcake for the month of June.

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Last June we were treated to an ice cream inspired Neapolitan cupcake: a strawberry filled cupcake frosted with thick, creamy vanilla and chocolate frosting.  It was fun, it was pretty, and it was delicious.  I love Neapolitan ice cream and Neapolitan inspired things.  The colour combination just makes me happy.  This June?  MINT CHOCOLATE CHIP!  And not just ANY mint chocolate chip.  A chocolate fudge cupcake with a nice big “scoop” of mint chocolate chip frosting with actual chocolate chips in it, topped with an adorable, cute-as-a-button mini ice cream cone!  It literally looks like an upside-down ice cream cone on a chocolate cupcake!

The cupcake ($2.75) is one of the best things I’ve ever tasted and it is hands down, one of the cutest and most creative.  I adore Yummy Stuff’s cupcakes and sweets and I only wish their monthly flavours were available all year-round!  It’s so much fun anticipating what flavours Morag and her team will come up with but gosh is it ever a bummer when there’s only a month-long window of time to enjoy it.

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You guys have to make your way to the shop, it is an awesome cupcake and it is bang on in presentation and execution.  Their chocolate cupcakes are fabulous and this frosting is to die for.  The chocolate chips make it so fun and yummy and they totally give it some good texture and crunch.  And ME, the girl who used to hate mint chocolate and mint chocolate chip anything and everything devouring a mint chocolate chip cupcake.  It’s crazy!  I love it to pieces and I can honestly say it’s one of the best in the city.  I was “dipping” my mini ice cream cone into the frosting and inhaling the chocolate cake and it was so much fun to eat.

And speaking of making your way to the shop, folks in the east end are now lucky enough to have one in their neighbourhood!  YES, Yummy Stuff has JUST opened their 2nd location in the city and they opened their doors for business on the Danforth for the first time this past weekend!  Even though I made my visit to their Queen West location for this cupcake, I am most certainly planning a trip to the east end location some time this summer!  The 2nd location is smack dab on the Danforth at 1938 Danforth Ave., across the street from East Lynn Park and just a few blocks west of Woodbine Ave., so it’s totally walkable from the subway.  And if you want to make a fun foodie outing, head out to their new location on a Thursday when East Lynn has their farmers’ market from 3pm-7pm.

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Congratulations Yummy Stuff!  All the best at the new location and keep making delicious sweets because we love them!  And if I can, I am coming back for another mint chocolate chip cupcake!

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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.

Their *NEW!* 2nd location just opened up at 1938 Danforth Ave., across the street from East Lynn Park, just a few blocks west of Woodbine Ave.  Their hours at the Danforth location are 11am-7pm Tuesday-Friday, 9am-6pm Saturday and 12pm-5pm Sunday.  This location is also closed on Mondays.  Visit their official website here.

Strike a Cupcake Pose – Spring Has Sprung! A Photo Spotlight on Prairie Girl Bakery Minis

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Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcakes in bluberries & cream, toffee, and chocolate on golden buttermilk

Cupcake minis topped with creamy frosting surrounded by orange and yellow lilies on the brink of bursting open, and vibrant, fragrant hyacinths dripping in jewel tones.  Nope, these photos weren’t taken in a pretty park or in a magical floral oasis (but mind you, the flowers that did surround me were absolutely charming!).  These photos were taken in a little gem of a hideaway just steps away from Prairie Girl’s flagship store between King and Adelaide East, providing a respite from the noise of honking horns and the hustle and bustle of foot traffic.  Leave it to me to pose my cupcakes like mini models on a wooden runway.  THEY’RE TOO CUTE!

I may not have any photos just yet of Prairie Girl’s newest location in Yorkville by Bloor and Avenue, but I do have some of their Treats of the Week (minis priced at $1.75) to show off here: the sassy Blueberries & Cream on Golden Buttermilk with blueberry and cream cheese frosting and blueberry Jelly Belly, and the fudgy, decadent Toffee on Dark Cocoa with caramel-toffee frosting and sticky crumbled toffee bits.

Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcakes in bluberries & cream and chocolate on golden buttermilk

Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcakes in bluberries & cream, toffee, and chocolate on golden buttermilk

Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcakes in bluberries & cream, toffee, and chocolate on golden buttermilk

The Blueberries & Cream was a fun, tart cupcake but if you can believe it, the Toffee was the nicest surprise for me!  I didn’t anticipate enjoying the Toffee as much as I did.  Toffee and caramel flavours have always been hit or miss for me.  Even though I don’t eat them much, I have a weakness for Caramilk chocolate bars but on the flip side, I had the worst experience with caramel corn when I was little (um, a lot of trips to the toilet vomiting) and even the sight and smell of it now makes me want to hurl.  And desserts like sticky toffee pudding and creme caramel are ones that still need a bit of exploration on my part.  Despite these reservations, I gave the Toffee a try and my was this little cupcake ever yummy!  I didn’t expect the flavour to be as rich and creamy as it was and it had this wonderful buttery warmth to it characteristic of great toffee and caramel things.

The adventures at Prairie Girl Bakery continue!

Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcakes in bluberries & cream, toffee, and chocolate on golden buttermilk

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Prairie Girl Bakery’s flagship 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 6 days a week from 10am-6pm from Monday-Saturday.  They are closed on Sundays and statutory holidays.  Their 2nd location is located in the underground PATH in First Canadian Place in the Marketplace food concourse.  The FCP location is open from 8am-6pm, Monday-Friday.  And their *NEW* Yorkville location is situated by Bloor St. West and Avenue Road at 150 Bloor Street West.  They are open 10am-6pm Monday – Saturday; they are closed on Sundays and stat holidays.

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).

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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!