“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.

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A Tale of Two Lemon Cupcakes From The Cupcake Shoppe: Lov’n Lemon and Lemon Drop

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You all know how deeply I love cupcakes, right?  And how dearly I love lemon desserts?  It pains me to say that although I’ve had a scrumptious, “I-shoved-the-whole-thing-in-my-mouth” experience with a fantastic lemon cupcake from The Cupcake Shoppe, I’ve also had an “I-can’t-believe-this-comes-from-the-same-place” lackluster experience with a lemon cupcake from The Cupcake Shoppe.  How can that be?  Well, they have two kinds of lemon cupcakes.  And one of them makes me drool at the mere thought of it (can someone hand me a napkin?) while the other can only muster an “ehhh….” from my cupcake loving heart.  It’s true, folks.  There’s a cupcake out there that didn’t make me wiggle with glee and do a happy dance.  It’s the tale of two lemon cupcakes and the cupcakes couldn’t be more different.

There are two different kinds at The Cupcake Shoppe: Lovn’ Lemon and Lemon Drop.  Now, let me preface this by saying that I’ve featured cupcakes from here on a number of different occasions on the blog and although not every cupcake was my be-all and end-all favourite, I definitely loved three: the Red Velvet, the Cookie Dough, and the Naughty n’ Spice.  So why the drama with the lemon ones?  Because they’re polar opposites. 

The Lemon Drop is such a winner.  It’s everything you could want in a delicious cupcake.  And my boyfriend will attest to how much I enjoyed this cupcake.  On the day that I ate this, I was an absolute doofus and ended up going to two cupcakeries that were closed and walking for miles because I was too stubborn to go home without a cupcake.  When I finally had this cupcake in my little hands, I took one bite and then proceeded to SHOVE the remanining 3/4 in my mouth in one motion because it was that good.  My taste buds and heart cried out in happiness because not only did I get that sought after cupcake, but I got my hands on a sure as hell scrumptious one that satisfied.

The vanilla cake was moist, the top was golden brown and toasty (a feature of their vanilla cupcakes that I really like), and the frosting was FABULOUS.  You know how in my Daniel et Daniel post a week ago I was discussing the complexities of the lemon flavour in desserts?  And how it can either turn out lip-puckering, nasty sour or sickly, artificially sweet?  The Cupcake Shoppe’s Lemon Drop hits the nail on the head with the lemon flavour in their frosting.  It has that luscious full-bodied sweet and citrus balance that envelopes your tastes buds when you taste it.  It’s a frosting, but it manages to convey that juicy sweet lemon flavour in solid form.  It’s like drinking lemonade in a frosting.  And the frosting itself is a FROSTING in that sense of the word if you know what I mean, with that thick, sweet texture that fills your mouth.  It’s not the whippy, buttery topping that tops most of their cupcakes.

That light, whippy buttercream that they frost most of their cupcakes with isn’t necessarily a bad thing (I love the Cookie Dough and Naughty n’ Spice, don’t I?), although I know there are many who don’t prefer that style of frosting.  It is, however, the type of frosting they use on their other lemon cupcake, Lov’n Lemon.  And how I wish I could love it.  But I don’t.  The lemon flavour in the Lemon Drop cupcake was bang on.  In Lov’n Lemon?  WEAK.  It didn’t deliver because it was waaaaay too subtle.  The flavour was almost completely lost and there was no dimension to it.  Whereas the Lemon Drop had texture and multiple “notes” so to speak, the Lov’n Lemon was too flat.  Don’t get me wrong, the chocolate cake that the frosting was sitting on was great because it was moist and soft.  The cupcake just didn’t do the lemon flavour justice and it’s a shame because it’s so pretty!  But trust me on this, if I’m going to recommend a lemon cupcake to you, go for the Lemon Drop and avoid the Lov’n Lemon.

I know cupcakes are pretty and cute and froo-froo and all, but they’re a lot more complex than what people might think.  When a frosting misses the mark, the cupcake itself, as a whole, misses the mark.  When the cake is just so-so (and I mean so-so, I don’t mean awful!) but the frosting is fantastic, it can still be okay because the frosting can compensate for what the cake may lack.  Sigh.  So there you have it folks, a genuine look and taste at two lemon cupcakes from the same place that don’t hit all the same notes.  And that’s okay!  Not everything is going to be fireworks amazing all the time and I think the important thing to take away is the experience itself.  Not so great?  That’s okay.  Move on and keep learning.  I look on the bright side.  At least I got a pretty scrapbook layout out of it 😀

Previous Cupcake Shoppe blog entries:

*****

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.

Scrapbook materials used: violet cardstock (Recollections); lime green and bright pink patterned paper (Lime Garden by K&Company); white paper; lemon slice sticker (Sticko); violet and blue floral dimensional embellishments (Grand Adhesions by K&Company); alphabet stickers (K&Company); black Sharpie felt tip marker.