The Cupcake Connection, Vol. 008 – Scrumptious New Flavours, Giving Back to the Community & More! Part I

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spring cupcakes at Short & Sweet Cupcakes in Toronto

After a good month of macaron munching in March, we’re diving straight back into cupcake mode!  It’s been months since my last Cupcake Connection post and while I’ve continued eating cupcakes (c’mon, it’s ME we’re talking about here), I couldn’t take photos of a few of them (I know, foreshame.  It was late and dark when I was eating them and one of them even got squished!  Very delicious, but so not sexy) and I have a bit of backlog going on with the ones I did take photos of so bear with me while I sort everything out over the next month.

There’s a LOT to catch up on, so much so that it feels overwhelming at times.  So many cupcakes, so little time!  Luckily for me, I have the support of many of my favourite cupcake shops giving me the goods to pass along to all of you so we’ll never be at a loss for great cupcake news.  We have quite a bit to cover (this is Part I of II!) so let’s jump right in and get started!

You’ll Need a Wheelbarrow to Carry All of These – New Flavours and Flavours of the Month

mini cupcake box from Prairie Girl Bakery in Toronto

Just when I think I’ve made a little bit of headway in trying the many cupcakes and flavours in Toronto, I get whip-lashed with a whole truckload of new and exciting flavours!  Seriously, it’s 1 step forward, 5 steps back!  But tis the spice of life and I wouldn’t want it any other way because without new fun and creative flavour combinations, the cupcake scene would get boring real fast and that’s the last thing any of us want.  Let’s start with Prairie Girl Bakery.  Talk about busting out the sweet treats!  Prairie Girl has unleashed 7, count ’em, SEVEN new Treats of the Week flavours ($2.95 for regular size, $1.75 for minis) to their rotating menu!  HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL.  These 7 flavours include:

  • Blueberries & Cream (Golden Buttermilk Cupcake with a swirl of Real Blueberry Icing and a swirl of Classic Cream Cheese Icing, topped with a Chocolate Blueberry)
  • Chocolate Coconut (Dark Cocoa Cupcake with Vanilla Bean Icing topped with Toasted Coconut)
  • Chocolate Flake (Red Velvet Cake with Vanilla Bean Icing topped with Chocolate Flakes)
  • Grasshopper Pie (Dark Cocoa Cupcake with Green Mint Icing topped with Cookie Crumble)
  • Malted Milk (Dark Cocoa Cupcake with Malted Milk Icing topped with a Maltesar)
  • Neapolitan (Dark Cocoa Cupcake with a swirl of Real Strawberry Icing and a swirl of Vanilla Bean Icing)
  • Tiramisu (Golden Buttermilk Cupcake with Tiramisu Icing, Marsala Wine Syrup topped with Chocolate Flakes)

Treats of the Week web page at Prairie Girl Bakery in Toronto

I would inhale all of these, but the ones I am most excited about are the Blueberries & Cream, Grasshopper Pie, and Malted Milk.  Prairie Girl has rolled a few of these out already this month so if you’ve missed them, don’t fret – their Treats of the Week operate on a rotating menu so they’ll always come back and you can know in advance now on their website where they list their upcoming Treats of the Week 4 weeks in advance which I ABSOLUTELY LOVE!

Next on the list?  Yummy Stuff on Queen Street West.  Their April Flavour of the Month ($2.75) is an ultra cool, psychedelic Cherry Almond Cake!  And I do mean psychedelic.  We’re talking bright turquoise vanilla frosting topped with juicy red maraschino cherries on cherry-studded almond cake.  I could float up to cupcake heaven right now.  I LOVE almond baked goods and this sounds and looks amazing (you can check out the photo Yummy Stuff posted on their blog HERE).

For the Love of Cake cupcakes in Toronto in Liberty Village

Lemon Meringue cupcakes from For the Love of Cake cupcake bakery in Liberty Village in Toronto

Taken in 2009, well before the birth of Ate by Ate! For the Love of Cake’s amazing Lemon Meringue cupcakes.

A little further south you’ll find For the Love of Cake, where they’ve brought back their classic S’mores and my beloved Lemon Meringue cupcakes ($2.65) for the month of April (and if demand is high, possibly for even longer!).  The Lemon Meringue was the very first flavour I tried at For the Love Cake back in 2009 (can you believe it’s been that long?!) and it remains, to this day, one of my favourite cupcakes.  Annnnd speaking of S’mores, my dear  Short & Sweet Cupcakes has added two mouthwatering flavours ($2.90) to their permanent menu on Fridays (Boston Cream!) and Sundays (S’mores!).  It pains me that I haven’t tried either of them yet so let’s hope that I can sink my sweet teeth into at least one of them in the coming months!

And then there’s Dessert Lady in the heart of Yorkville.  They’ve expanded their selection to include 3 NEW flavours ($3):

  • Double Chocolate Cupcake with Hazelnut Crunch Buttercream
  • Passionfruit Cupcake with Caramelized White Chocolate Buttercream
  • Sweet Corn Bacon Cupcake with Salted Caramel Popcorn Buttercream (SAY WHAT?!)

And here I am thinking maple bacon cupcakes were way out there – this 3rd flavour knocks it out of the park!  If you love wild and wacky flavours, especially sweet and savoury combinations, I think you’ve met your match and I dare you to try it and report back!

Community and Cupcake Shops – Giving Back

Second Harvest Logo

Cupcake shops are more than just lace and frills.  Many establishments are partnering with different organizations in and around the city to make a difference in their communities.  Prairie Girl Bakery and So Into Cupcakes in Scarborough have both formed relationships with charitable organizations and programs in an effort to help others and to further deepen their growing engagement within the food community.  Prairie Girl Bakery and Second Harvest are joined at the hip via ongoing donations, and are also affiliated with the following causes:

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And more recently, So Into Cupcakes has partnered with Toronto’s Fresh City Farms!  I found out about this through their Facebook page and it’s wonderful as more and more people are signing up to have fresh, local, organic produce delivered to their homes.  These memberships not only support our farmers, they provide ongoing support to local food co-ops and local food organizations.

Phew!  That was a lot to get through and we’re not even close to being finished.  Thankfully, there’s always room for Part II so stay tuned for more delicious cupcake news!

Cupcakes, Cupcakes Everywhere! A Photo Spotlight on a Treasure Chest of Flavours at For the Love of Cake in Liberty Village!

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Finally!  My long-awaited first post on Ate by Ate of one of my favourite cupcakeries in the city, For the Love of Cake in Liberty Village!  Here’s Part I, a photo spotlight on cupcake goodness with delicious holiday cupcakes waiting in the wings: gingerbread, hot chocolate marshmallow, and candy cane!  Enjoy the photos – full write-up coming up tomorrow!

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For the Love of Cake is a cupcakery and bakery located at 171 East Liberty Street, Unit 117 in Liberty Village.  They are open 6 days a week: 12pm-7pm from Tuesday to Friday and 11am-5pm on Saturdays and Sundays; they are closed on Mondays (December 24 and 31 are for pre-order pickup and deliveries only).  Please note that For the Love of Cake will be having holiday closures during December and January.  They will be closed on December 25, 26, and 27, and from January 1 to 14, 2013. 

Deck the Hall with Boughs of Mini Cupcakes! Chocolate, Peppermint Frosting & More at Prairie Girl Bakery, Part II!

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Not the most flattering photo of me, but it’s with cupcakes so it’s all good!

Even the bitter cold won’t keep me away from cupcakes!  I’m no winter warrior (after living in my homeland of Canada for 27 years, I’ve come to the conclusion that each year does not get easier and that I am, in fact, a wuss during both summer and winter seasons), but if I’m armed with a hat and super thick mitts and a scarf, there’s not much that will drive me away from the cake and frosting.  I even poo-pooed the weather forecast back in February during one of the worst storms of the season and frolicked (well, more like stomped and sloshed) around town in the snow and slush making cake pops at Le Dolci, having lunch at Mela Cafe, and stuffing my face with a strawberry Valentine’s cupcake at Short & Sweet on the way home.  Us cupcake fans know: when you love cupcakes you LOVE cupcakes, icky weather and all.

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I know I say this every year, but I am truly so excited for Christmas and the month of December!  I have plans with friends and family and my boyfriend, I have my Christmas presents ready to go, I’ve been taking advantage of some ridiculously fabulous sales (I’m nothing if not a fantastic shopper!), some desperately-needed scrapbook downtime is just a few weeks away, and for the first time in months, I feel calm, cool, collected and very content with the blog content I have planned for the rest of the month.  Last year I was really disappointed in myself for not taking advantage of more holiday shenanigans and while, in hindsight, the circumstances I faced that prevented me from doing what I wanted to do for the blog were uncontrollable and unavoidable, I still feel like I could have done more to make Christmas and the holidays on Ate by Ate really great.  And the way to make anything extra great is with cupcakes!

Introducing the marvelous minis from Prairie Girl Bakery!  I’ve only ever posted about their full-size ones so this is special.  Prairie Girl’s mini cupcakes ($1.75 each, $9.95 for half a dozen, and $18.95 for one dozen) come in all their permanent menu flavours and the bakery’s two Treats of the Week flavours.  Honestly though, even though they’re mini in comparison to the full-size ones, they are by no means teeny-tiny.  When I think of mini cupcakes, I think of a 4:1 ratio, bite-size morsels, and morsels you could easily pop in your mouth in one swift motion.  Let me tell you, Prairie Girl’s minis will give you MULTIPLE heavenly bites and I’d say they’re comparable to half a cupcake.  Two will truly hit the spot.  Hell, I think even one could given how rich and creamy and thick the frosting is!

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What I am loving about Prairie Girl’s flavours these days (aside from the thick, creamy, scrumptious frosting) is how they’re wonderfully subtle in holiday spirit.  Aside from the dark cocoa chocolate cake with creamy vanilla peppermint frosting and crushed peppermint candies (pictured), the holiday flavours they’ve been doling out have come from their Treats of the Week line-up.  What you see here are mini golden buttermilk cupcakes with sweet, creamy cinnamon frosting topped with a hot cinnamon jelly bean!  Last week’s Treat of the Week?  Pumpkin on vanilla.  And this week?  Almond on chocolate and vanilla cranberry on golden buttermilk.

OH.MY.GOD.  I want everything!  And I only wish these flavours were around permanently and not only for a week!  What I love is that even though these flavours don’t necessarily scream “holiday” or “Christmas” necessarily, they touch on all the things we love about the festive season: the sights and smells of spices, nuts, and winter fruits.  I mean really, when was the last time you came across a CRANBERRY frosted cupcake?!  In my book?  NEVER.  Even though nothing beats lemon and coconut (and lemon and coconut meshed together!) in my heart, I love cranberry like you wouldn’t believe and I’ve always wished for a cranberry cupcake.  I really don’t think I’ll be able to get my sweet teeth on any before the week is over and while that makes me so sad, I’m so happy knowing this is a flavour on their rotating Treats of the Week menu.  If I’m patient enough, I’ll get to it the next time around!

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Prairie Girl Bakery also offers a number of adorable decorative cupcake toppers that you can purchase up by the cash and they have almost type of cupcake box known to foodies!  All of their fab boxes have inserts in them, keeping all your cupcakes neat and tidy and smush-free!  What’s great is that they have so many different combinations.  If you want a regular-sized cupcake plus two minis, there’s a box for that.  If you want 4 minis (pictured), 4 inserts are waiting for those little cakes to be plunked down.  And if you want 2 little ones, you’ll get the cutest cupcake purse box ever!  My boyfriend is currently gaga over Prairie Girl’s chocolate cream cheese icing on golden buttermilk (which I still haven’t tried – foreshame!) and I am loving the chocolate peppermint.  It’s like a chocolate peppermint patty with frosting!

I had myself a jolly good time taking these photos (hello mini cupcake models!) and I’m hoping this is just the beginning of the wonderful and delicious Christmas cupcake season!

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The Prairie Girl cupcake car!

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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 6 days a week from 10am-6pm from Monday-Saturday.  They are closed on Sundays and statutory holidays.  Their new 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.

Scones & Strawberry Marshmallow Macarons – Afternoon Tea Treats on a Fall Morning at Yorkville Espresso Bar

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Ste. Anne’s coconut black tea at Yorkville Espresso Bar!

An espresso bar and cafe with amazing tea, delicious scones, and adorable macarons among other afternoon tea-style sweets and treats?  In the picturesque neighbourhood of Yorkville?  That’s a cafe after my own heart!  Yorkville Espresso Bar, located at 3 Yorkville Ave. just west of Yonge Street near the Toronto reference library and just steps away from the Cookbook Store and my beloved Italian-vegetarian Mela Cafe, is a new cafe that just opened up last year and after my very first visit, I think it’s a wonderful and splenderific addition to the neighbourhood.  Brunch, vegetarian, Mexican, ice cream, macarons, Italian, Middle-Eastern, pub classics, and now a new espresso bar and cafe – aside from Kensington Market, Yorkville is truly my ideal place to eat to my heart’s content.

The pretty Yorkville park nearby

I know, there are plenty of cafes in the area including Lettieri and Zaza, not to mention around the city in general, so what makes this space so great?  The thing about cafes is that they have to offer something different, something a little more unique in order to stand out from the others.  Because let’s face it, it’s not like we have to go very far to fetch an Americano, a cappuccino, or an espresso and while yes, every cafe will have their own way of making these drinks, it’s the atmosphere and the food goodies that accompany these drinks that will make us foodies feel compelled to come back for more.  Some cafes offer the comfort factor with plushy seats to relax in while you read, sip, munch, or type away on a laptop (or a tablet, sigh), others are great as meeting spots for friends, and then the are the ones that are fabulous purely for the food and drink.  THIS would be Yorkville Espresso Bar’s forte.

It’s a small space so you wouldn’t necessarily see large groups inhabiting it, but it is cozy enough for you to sit down with a friend and a coffee, tea, and light meal or snack.  And let me just say, Yorkville Espresso Bar is awesomesauce in the food and goodies department.  There is something here for everyone: the sweet tooth, the vegetarian, the gluten-intolerant, and the just plain hungry!  Often times I’ll shy away from certain spots, not because I think their drinks are bad persay, but because I want something a little more special than baked goods wrapped in saran wrap in a basket or baked goods that look as though they just got a shot of steroids and a bath in grease.  That could be the food snob in me tsking but really, it’s unappealing and I know I can’t be the only one who feels this way!

Yorkville Espresso Bar is great though because their selection of food and sweets changes on a pretty consistent basis (from what I gather on their Facebook page where they announce menu items for the day), they’re always coming up with new and unique yummies to showcase, they offer a number of gluten-free menu items (see below in the next few paragraphs for examples!), and you know everything is fresh and hot off the press because the adjoining kitchen studio that handles the baking, cooking, and catering for the espresso bar doles them out throughout the day.  They were already baking their 2nd round of scones at 10am on a Sunday morning because they sold out of their 1st round.   Can you believe it?!

Oh!  And I can’t forget about their tea!  I honking LOVE the tea.  They get their teas from Ste. Anne’s (Ste. Anne’s Extraordinary Teas), which is actually a spa located in several spots in Ontario (Grafton and Port Hope) and the whole concept behind the tea is driven by the relaxing spa experience.  I had their black tea coconut tea with my cinnamon scone and strawberry marshmallow macaron (I KNOW – MARSHMALLOW!) and I loved it to itty bitty pieces.

Their food menu is insane.  Let’s start with the savoury, gluten-free muffins first.  These are items that have graced their display case of goodies over the last few months:

  • sweet potato chocolate chip muffins
  • sweet potato and cranberry muffins
  • carrot and beetroot muffins
  • blueberry flaxseed muffins
  • gluten-free, vegan chocolate zucchini muffins!

Other savoury bites include jalapeno cornbread, brioche with dates, Parmesan, and thyme, 8-year old cheddar and chive scones, and bacon and thyme scones.  Okay, now the sweet stuff including cupcakes, gluten-free sweet muffins, sweet scones, chocolate and confectionery, and more:

  • mini chocolate cupcakes with mango and Nutella frosting and dried mango
  • mini chocolate cupcakes with mango buttercream frosting
  • mini chocolate cupcakes with mocha buttercream frosting
  • mini chocolate berry cheesecake cupcakes

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Adorable Tea Cups, Dishes, & Saucers and Enough Tea Sandwiches & Sweets to Last a Week! Afternoon Tea at Le Dolci!

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I always knew I enjoyed tea (I thank all those weekend dim sum brunch meals growing up for that!), but I never thought I’d love it and engage with it as much as I do now.  I drink tea every morning when I come into work (it’s such a delight rotating between my current 5 loose leaf packets from Steeped & Infused), I keep up with seasonal flavours, I read tea books, I love marrying cupcakes with a cup of hot tea, and I am absolutely amoured by tea time and afternoon teas!  The atmosphere, the food, the beautiful accessories, porcelain and china; the dining experience it affords is in a league of it own.  My dream would be to attend every imaginable afternoon tea in the land – I would be so happy!  I think my obsession with tea is definitely nearing its peak and I really don’t see it waning any time soon.

So I indulged my warm and fuzzy feelings for afternoon tea with a special Sunday afternoon tea at Le Dolci’s sweet studio!  Soft music floating in the background, adorable tea cups, saucers, and dishes, and over 5 different types of decadent desserts among other delectable eats – afternoon tea at Le Dolci is as sweet as it gets!  I was so, so excited when I found out Lisa and the team would be doing afternoon tea sessions at their new studio on Dundas West back in August.  I knew the experience would be really fun, different, and yummy, but I also knew that this was something really personal and special to Lisa.  After living and working in the UK for a decade, the tea bug is bound to bite you one way or another if you haven’t been bitten already!  Lisa, Miya, and I used to drink tea together all the time when I was interning at the studio and we’d always Ooo and ahh over sweet accessories we would find.  Aside from cupcakes and sweets, tea was a common love and it just made everything that much more mellow and relaxed when we took that time to savour it and enjoy it.

I was so excited to see what Lisa would have in store for this tea session.  Afternoon teas, held on Sundays (keep in mind that afternoon teas aren’t held every Sunday at this point though, they just happen to fall on Sundays when they are made available on the class schedule as opposed to Fridays or Saturdays for instance) from 12pm – 2pm, are non-instructional sessions that are open to anyone and everyone with a love for sweets and tea!  Non-instructional simply means that the afternoon tea is purely a “come in and stuff your face while having a lot of fun!” type of session.  There’s no workshop or seminar, no demo or crafting of anything ; it’s just pure enjoyment of food and drink.

Teas are priced at $35/person and spaces must be booked in advance, either by phone or through their website via the class schedule.  Now, I had a brain fart when I first booked my spot because I mixed myself up and thought the entire tea took 2 hours, but the 12pm-2pm tea time is completely flexible!  So long as you’ve booked your spot you’re welcome to start your tea at 12:30pm, 1pm, whatever floats your boat (within reason – obviously if you show up at a quarter to two, that’s not going to fly!) and subsequently, you can finish up any time within those 2 hours.  You simply need to book your spot in advance so Lisa and her team can plan out their tea menu and know exactly how much food to make so nothing goes to waste and so they can make sure everything is ready to go the morning of for the freshest baked goods and eats.

Beautiful sunlight streamed through the studio’s front display window and the big, long, stainless steel worktable was decked out in a white tablecloth with tea cups and saucers, milk and sugar, and small dishes to enjoy our nibbles!  The dishes and accessories were so darn gorgeous.  Enjoying the food on such pretty tableware was half the fun!  Some of these dishes were special antiques and works of art from the UK (that dish featured in the first photo?  Hand-painted!), while others were just nifty pick-ups around town.  The crazy tea accessory lover in me was lapping all this up like an eager puppy!

Okay, so what does afternoon tea at Le Dolci entail?  Hot loose leaf tea from Tealish (4 flavours on hand including Sweetie Pie, Earl Grey Classic, Sencha Organic green tea, and Peppermint!), 4 different kinds of tea sandwiches on multi-grain bread with the crusts cut off (but of course!), and literally enough sweets and baked goods to last you an entire week – no joke!  The awesome thing about the tea specifically is that you can try different kinds!  Lisa will brew a pot of whatever flavour you want at first, but if you decide that you want to try a different one middway through, she can brew another one.  Granted, I wouldn’t start asking for all 4 flavours, but it’s fine if you want to sip on another one later on in the tea.

Another thing I really loved was the sheer volume of food!  All afternoon teas are based on a per person count, but holy bejeebus, after my boyfriend and I polished off our sandwich plate with 8 portions, Lisa came by and plopped another plate of 4 in front of us!  That’s 6 sandwiches in total, 3 per person (each portion is half a sandwich).  I don’t know about you, but I have never eaten 3 sandwiches plus sweets plus a bajillion cups of tea.  I knew there would be leftovers (gut intuition) so I came prepared and brought tupperware.  It came in handy!  That day, we were given an assortment of roast beef with mustard, smoked salmon, ham, and a fantastic egg salad with crunchy green onions!  You all know I love smoked salmon to pieces, but I have to say, I loved the ham and egg salad ones a lot too!  So simple yet so good.

And the sweets.  Oh, the sweets.  Full-size frosted cupcakes (vanilla with coffee frosting and chocolate with vanilla frosting), mini cupcakes (vanilla and coffee), biscotti, little scones (cheddar and dried fruit ones), brownie squares, lemon coconut squares, macarons (coconut and strawberry), and lamingtons, an Australian and New Zealand dessert made of sponge cake and coated in chocolate and rolled in shredded coconut!  Did you get all that?!  It was such a great varied assortment and there were so many different things to try!  I loved the variety and if I had to choose, my favourites would have to be the lemon coconut squares, the cupcakes with coffee frosting, and the macarons!

It was a really fun, sweet afternoon tea and I’m so happy Lisa decided to have it as part of her fun foodie line-up.  I genuinely enjoyed all the food we were given and it’s just nice being in the studio surrounded by yummy smells and great people.  I am no doubt coming back for more – the leftovers are just the icing on the cake!

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Le Dolci brand new studio is located at 1006 Dundas Street West, right at the corner of Dundas West and Montrose Ave. The studio is across the street from Trinity Bellwoods Park and are open for business 6 days a week.  Operating hours are from 10am-6pm from Tuesday to Saturday and 12pm-5pm on Sundays.

The Cupcake Connection, Vol. 004 – Short & Sweet Birthday Celebrations, Fashion’s Night Out & New Cupcakeries!

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Cupcakes like these would sweeten anybody’s back-to-school week!

New month, new school year, new season just around the corner, new Cupcake Connection!  I have to tell you, I am SO looking forward to fall and the end of the summer season.  Wearing summer dresses has been nice, but I’m ready to move on to fall flavours, clothes, and refreshing walks through colourful crunchy leaves with a warm cup of tea.  My mind and appetite have already shifted to pumpkin and squash meals, apple desserts, fall markets, and of course, seasonal delights at all the cupcake bakeries!  September is here and that means a whole slew of cupcake news to share to kick off the month and the beginning of the end of the hot and hazy days of summer, so let’s hop to it!

Short & Sweet Cupcakes is all over the cupake news circuit this month!  Not only are they official sponsors for Toronto’s very first Fashion’s Night Out this Thursday, September 6th, 2012 from 6pm-11pm (FNO, a global consumer initiative celebrating its 4th anniversary this year, is dedicated to making shopping an even bigger social and socializing event, creating excitement over fashion collections, designers, and the industry through different shopping events in different cities around the world, and aiming to restore consumer confidence in an economy drowning in recession woes), but they are also celebrating several different milestones of their own! 

This Saturday, September 8th, Short & Sweet will be raising a toast to their 1st birthday at their new location on Avenue Road, their 3rd birthday as a cupcake shop in Toronto, AND the birth of their soon-to-be 2nd store location opening later on this month, located in York Region!  Things have never been more exciting and hopeful for the team, so join in on the celebration and pop on by this Saturday for a cupcake party celebration!  You can view the photos from last year’s grand opening party HERE!

And funny enough, since we’re talking about Short & Sweet, you’ll never guess the type of business that recently moved into their old location at 399 Old Orchard Grove!  Or maybe you will since I’ve made it kind of obvious.  That’s right, a brand spankin’ new cupcake bakery has set up shop in Short & Sweet’s old residence!  Small world, right?  Introducing, Pink Lemon Bake Shop!  As a sister cupcake and cake shop to York Region’s Crumbs & Co., Pink Lemon Bake Shop opened their doors in Toronto for the first time this past June.  I haven’t been to the shop yet (I will get there eventually!), but flavours like blueberry champagne, fudge sundae, brownie fudge, and pink lemon will draw me there soon enough! 

And if that’s not enough to get your heart fluttering, another cupcake bakery and patisserie has waltzed into Toronto this past year (also located in North York), at 3543 Bathurst St., south of Wilson Ave. and the 401.  Walk into Bo-Bon, an East Coast American import from New York and New Jersey, specializing in cupcakes, gourmet marshmallows, meringues, chocolates, and Parisian macarons – all Kosher-certified!  If you’re a fellow “Cupcake Crusader”, definitely check out both shops and check them off your list if you’re looking for more cupcake goodness in Toronto!  It’s only a matter of time before I hit both, so sit tight because posts on both of them will come!

September also means the return of TIFF, the Toronto International Film Festival, and in true glamourous, red-carpet ready style, Le Dolci is holding a special TIFF themed cupcake decorating class on Sunday, September 9th from 4pm-6pm!  I had just started my adventures at old icing sugar towers around the time this class had happened last year and I still remember seeing adorable cupcakes decorated with fondant to resemble movie reels, popcorn buckets, directors’ clapboards, and other cute movie and TIFF related things!  There’s space available, so if you love movies and cupcakes, this class is perfect for you! 

Finally, a new month and a new season just around the corner means new products at DuffletFor a limited time, enjoy two new giant cupcakes at all Dufflet bakeries and cafes: a filled Coconut Dulce de Leche and a filled Luscious Lemon!  Both sound amazing and both are two of my favourite flavours ever!  Not to mention they have fillings!  Dufflet cupcakes are $2.85 each.  Dufflet’s fall beginnings and back-to-school newsletter can be found HERE where a listing of new products and promotions await you!  That’s all for this post, but I’m already so super excited about scoping out fall flavours and seasonal treats for the next Cupcake Connection!

The Ooey Gooey Goodness of Marshmallows & Rocky Road – Cupcakes in Scarborough at So Into Cupcakes!

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Here’s a quickie, multiple choice quiz for all of you (not to worry; it’s fun and it’s not hard!).  Take a wild guess and answer the following question: how did I find out about one of Scarborough’s newest, hottest cupcake bakeries, So Into Cupcakes by Markham Rd. and Ellesmere?  A) through a friend, B) from a bus, C) from a magazine, or D) from a local cupcake fairy.  I’ll tell you right now that I wish it could have been D.  How awesome it would be to have cupcake fairies telling me where all the newest and yummiest cake and frosting creations are!  But alas, no cute fairies.  Nope, I discovered So Into Cupcakes from the window of a bus!

I don’t even know where to start with this one!  Cupcakes!  IN SCARBOROUGH!  OH MY LORDY!  I know I wrote about Sugarbuds Bakery & Cafe on Kingston Rd. last Christmas and was over the moon about having a place in Scarborough to get cupcakes.  But this is different.  So different.  We’re not talking about cupcakes within the parameters of an all-rounder bakery.  We’re talking cupcakes and ONLY cupcakes!  Cupcakes under a glass display case.  Sitting pretty like precious artifacts in a museum.  Housed in a cupcake exclusive shop.  Foodies and cupcake lovers – WE HAVE AN HONEST-TO-GOODNESS CUPCAKERY IN SCARBOROUGH!!!  This makes me so happy!  And I don’t even live in Scarborough anymore!  It’s happening everyone – cupcakes are slowly but surely making their way into suburbia and I, for one, am bouncing off the walls with jubilance over it.

I found out about So Into Cupcakes, located at 2060 Ellesmere Rd. at the corner of Dolly Varden Blvd. just west of Markham Rd., by a sheer stroke of luck.  Long story short, I was riding the bus on Ellesmere one afternoon when I dazedily looked out the window, saw the giant shop signage and cupcake imagery from its regal position in the plaza, and almost ran off the bus while it was still moving.  My mind started sputtering and my heart start thudding, “So…Into…Cupcakes…oh my…what the…cupcakes!  New cupcake shop!  When?!  CUPCAAAAKES!”  You get the picture.  When I reached my destination, I walked off the bus in daze, with this as my only thought: “I need to get home and look this place up!”  And I did.  And found out that So Into Cupcakes, as a shop, had only been around for about half a year.  Before setting up shop in Scarborough in a growing plaza with plenty of foodie treasures, So Into Cupcakes was actually an independent home business.  All I can say is that I’m so happy the business grew enough to occupy a lovely little cupcake boutique shop and I know for a fact I’m not the only one!

Backstory: my boyfriend and one of his coworkers were having a fun discussion about the things they’d want to see in Scarborough – services, retail, anything and everything.  My boyfriend cried, “cupcake shops!” to which his coworker replied, “I don’t think there’s a market in Scarborough for cupcakes”.  My response?  “Wanna bet?”  As crazy as it sounds, apparently I was not the only one who found out about So Into Cupcakes from a bus.  While I was stuffing my face with two cupcakes in the shop (one regular-sized, one mini) and taking photos, customers trickled in and one of them mentioned how they had seen the signage from the bus and decided to drop in.  Public transportation sight-seeing works!

And on top of that, So Into Cupcakes sold 30 cupcakes during the brief time I was there.  I know I take my time taking photos and savouring my food (according to my mother, I chew 21 times before I swallow. Go figure.), but still!  30 cupcakes purchased by multiple customers without even the slightest bit of coaxing during the lull period in the afternoon is mighty impressive!  No market by tooshie!  I could go on and discuss the broader context of the socioeconomic status of residents and its relation to luxury goods, but I’ll save that for another day.

Right now we’re going to delve into the world of cupcake flavours, prices, and online connections.  Let me just say that if any of you are interested in checking them out, ditch the main website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter, if you have either account.  Their website is lovely with beautiful photos, but I’m telling you, if you want to get the full monty, you have to keep up with their Facebook page because you get such a better feel for what they have to offer.  Their cupcakes ($2.50 for regular-sized, $1.50 for minis) come in 12 different regular flavours that rotate on a daily basis: vanilla, chocolate, salted caramel, strawberry, lemon, cookies n’ cream, coconut, s’mores, rocky road, red velvet, mocha, and peanut butter.  What makes their selection extra exciting is their constant introduction of monthly flavours which they announce on their Facebook page and Twitter.  We’re talking Boston Cream, maple, spicy chocolate, chocolate cheesecake, pink lemonade, key lime, root beer, blueberry, mint chocolate, and SO MUCH MORE.

For my first foray into the So Into Cupcakes’ goodies, I picked out a strawberry mini and a rocky road regular.  So cute, so yummy, so creamy, so fun!  Remember how I said the strawberry cupcake from Flour Studio tasted just like strawberry Pocky?  I didn’t think I could find one that tasted more like it, but I did!  The strawberry cupcake is strawberry Pocky in cupcake form, bang on!  It’s so creamy and candy sweet.  The strawberry frosting sits on a vanilla cupcake with little sugar sprinkles on top.

And the rocky road?  Oh my gosh.  One of the cutest, funnest cupcakes EVER!  And FINALLY a cupcake that does marshmallow justice!  Their rocky road cupcake is literally ooey, gooey, soft marshmallow “frosting” on top of a chocolate cupcake with chocolate chunks and nuts bits sprinkled on top.  REAL MARSHMALLOW!  I’ve had cupcakes that were supposed to taste like marshmallow but sadly enough, just tasted like vanilla cream, like the kind of filling you’d find in a Hostess cupcake.  Which is fun!  For a Hostess cupcake.  NOT for a cupcake claiming to be marshmallow!  This cupcake is truly one of the funnest things I’ve ever eaten.  The chocolate chunks and nut bits complement the marshmallow topping so well, and while the chocolate cupcake is what you’d expect of any decent chocolate cupcake, I still think it’s mega special simply because it’s moist and fudgy and most importantly, not dry!

I’m so happy this new cupcake bakery is here in Scarborough and I think all the flavours that they’ve been coming out with are so fun and exciting!  And while the bus isn’t the most glamourous or ideal mode of transportation sometimes, it earns brownie points in my book just for allowing me to make this sweet discovery.

*****

So Into Cupcakes is located at 2060 Ellesmere Rd. in Scarborough, at the corner of Ellesmere Rd. and Dolly Varden Blvd. (by Ellesmere and Markham Rd.).  You can follow them on Facebook HERE and on Twitter @sointocupcakes HERE.