The Fall Harvest Series – Like a Stack of Fluffy, Golden Pancakes with Syrup! The Eh? Cupcake From The Cupcake Shoppe

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Hallowe’en is just a week and a half away, we’re in the thick of fall, and the Fall Harvest Series has been up and running for 3 weeks now!  Although the weather here hasn’t been co-operating (can you say doom and gloom and rain?  I thank my lucky stars that I started photographing the fall farmers’ markets at the end of September as oppsed to trying to do it now!), it’s been so much fun immersing myself up to my eyeballs in fall themed foods and scrapbooking.  I love scrapbooking seasonal stuff and as I mentioned on my Twitter, the very first 8×8 scrapbook album I did was a Christmas one that will always be a special favourite in my collection.

What’s also been amazing?  Eating through the seasons at some of my favourite places in the city!  Ate by Ate will be celebrating its first birthday at the end of November and we’ve almost come full circle with many of my frequent noshing spots, hitting the seasonal menus and special seasonal flavours.  I am THISCLOSE to going 360 at The Cupcake Shoppe by Yonge and Eglinton; all I need to do is hit them up during the Christmas holidays!  However, after all the visits I’ve made to The Cupcake Shoppe, there are still cupcakes I haven’t even seen, much less tried!  Their cupcake selection operates on a system of rotation where different flavours will make their appearances at different times.  The arrangement here doesn’t work quite the same way as Short & Sweet Cupcakes though.  At Short & Sweet, the flavour selection is fixed based on the days of the week whereas as at The Cupcake Shoppe, it’s much more random.

Depending on the luck of the draw, there may be cupcake flavours that you will never come across or eat.  I’ve never even seen Sleepless in Toronto (the coffee mocha one), nor have I seen Lime n’Licious or Candy Cane Lane, both pf which are seasonal flavours.  And up until this past September, I hadn’t even laid eyes on the maple Eh? cupcake.  But that all changed on a cloudy day during the first week of September.

I was SO excited when I went to the shop and saw shiny orange pumpkins, chocolate cupcakes with bright orange frosting with cherry red candies, and a giant acorn in the front window display.  Fall was here and the cupcake shops and bakeries were decorating to the nines.  My heart fluttered even faster when I went into the shop and saw the maple buttercream cupcake!  YES!  A flavour I had never seen or tried!  Granted, even though I know the name of the cupcake is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, it still makes me wrinkle my nose and grit my teeth.  For the record, as a Canadian, I do not say “eh” after all my sentences.  ANYWAY.  Both my brother and my boyfriend love maple things to pieces, so this was extra special.  And because I just love eating my way through all the flavours, there was no way I was passing up this baby!

This cupcake knocked it out of the park!  Remember how I ticked off my 3 favourite cupcakes from here awhile ago?  How I professed my undying love for the Lemon Drop, Cookie Dough, and Red Velvet cupcakes with the Naughty n’ Spice one hovering close by?  The maple Eh? cupcake kicked Little Miss Red Velvet out and is now happily occupying a spot in my Top 3.  This cupcake is SO.DAMN.DELICIOUS.  I say this often whenever I write up a post about The Cupcake Shoppe, but it’s worth repeating: I know so many people who have a love-hate relationship with the cupcake frosting here.  It’s either amazingly scrumptious or it flat-out misses the mark.  The Eh? cupcake doesn’t associate with those that miss the mark.  It hangs out with the “I-want-to-shove-this-entire-cupcake-in-my-mouth-because-it’s-so-yummy” crowd.

I opened the box to eat mine and as soon as I did, the smell of maple literally HIT me in the nose and face.  It wafted out and it was one of the most mouthwatering smells.  The frosting sits on a vanilla cupcake and it’s the frosting that makes this cuppycake a real winner.  It’s not the buttery, whippy buttercream that some have an issue with.  The maple frosting is thick and creamy and it makes you want to eat it by the spoonful and shudder in “mmm”ness.

This maple cupcake smells and tastes EXACTLY like maple syrup and pancakes.  Imagine a cold winter morning.  Imagine coming down the stairs of a lodge or cabin of some sort with the fire on and the warm, fragrant, sweet smell of fresh, fluffy, golden brown pancakes tickling your nose and rumbling that hungry stomach.  Now take that image and stick it into this sweet morsel of a cupcake.  Amazing.  The vanilla cake is like the pancake and the rich, maple frosting is the syrup dribbling down the stack and when you have a mouthful of this cake and frosting in your mouth, it’s heaven.

Now, I normally wouldn’t outright encourage everyone to start eating cupcakes for breakfast, but I have to tell you…if you want a sweet, delicous alternative, this works quite well.  And if you’re lucky, you’ll step into the shop with a whole cupcake stand of them waiting for you.

*****

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.

Scrapbooking materials used: chocolate brown, orange, burnt orange, red, cherry red, and goldenrod yellow cardstock (Recollections); gold foil alphabet stickers (Sticko); fall leaves stickers (Recollections); fall embellishment (K&Company); medium scallop circle paper punch (ek success); black finepoint Sharpie pen.

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Pumpkins, Squash, Apples, and Plenty of Fall Sweet Eats & Comfort Food – The Fall Harvest Series on Ate by Ate!

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Just like the seasons, our tastes and preferences change as we grow up.  I used to love summer, not just because of the summer-vacation-from-school angle, but because I genuinely enjoyed all the things I got to do during this time.  Things like going swimming every week and playing sports outside and wearing shorts.  However, I’m 26 now and over the past few years I’ve done a complete 18o, for many reasons!  The humidity started wreaking havoc on my skin, I had to start wearing a hat nearly every day I was out because heat and sun exposure would give me migraines, and all in all, my enthusiasm for the sunshiney, beachy season just wasn’t where it used to be.  I longed for the crisp, cool air of the fall season to brush against my cheeks, to simaltaneously take photos and kick up the gorgeous fallen leaves, and to completely delve into fall comfort food, markets, and activities. 

Fall is my favourite season now and I know I’m not the only one super excited about it!  I know fall officially started last Friday, but here in Toronto the temperatures have still been seasonably warm and on some days, hot, hot, hot – there was a humidex this past Monday!  Temperatures aside, my giddiness over fall is still very much intact and I cannot wait to wear chunky sweater knits, scarves, boots, fuzzy shoes (I have a very cute pair of flats with fuzzies around the collars!), and long-sleeved cardigans.  My camera is waiting with baited breath for all the leaves to change colour and because I’ve been looking forward to fall so much, I’ve already gotten a head start on the fall harvest and comfort food noshing 😉

Since I started Ate by Ate on the last day of November last year, I didn’t get a chance to do anything fall-related for the blog or to show you all some of my favourite fall photos so here’s some to get the ball rolling!  The first three were taken from Main Street Unionville on a gorgeous fall day several years ago with the obligatory feet in leaves shot 😀  I am BEYOND excited to start my Fall Harvest series now, and to show off some amazing fall foods and meals around the city.  I have so many ideas and so many things I want to do – go to an apple orchard, attend as many farmers’ markets as possible before the seasonal ones close up show for the year, and of course, indulge in some special fall eats and treats.  There are some amazing fall menus being put out by a number of places and so many shops are creating their own special versions of some classic sweets and desserts.  I started brainstorming fall food over a month ago to prepare for this series – think pumpkin, squash, apples, maple, chilies, stews, soups, and LOTS of fall inspired drinks and desserts!

This Fall Harvest series is one that I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time so I hope you all enjoy it as I embark on a week-long journey of posts leading straight up to Thanksgving!  I’m hoping I can extend it to make this into a 2-week series, but it’s really going to depend on the amount of baking I can do and the number of markets I can get to.  The Fall Harvest series starts first thing tomorrow and you’re going to looooove it (well, at least I hope so!) because it’s yummy and baking related!  In the meantime, here are some of my favourite fall photos.