It’s Like Eating a Chocolate Pillow: Creamy, Fluffy Cupcakes from The Sweet Escape Pâtisserie – Part II

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It’s time to haul out the cupcakes and have ourselves a party!  I hope you all liked the scrapbook layout and pictures from yesterday because I’m uber excited to share lots of yummy cupcake photos and musings from my trips to The Sweet Escape.  I’m going to be bold and declare The Sweet Escape as my one of my favourite cupcake places in Toronto.  I have mad love for The Cupcake Shoppe, Blue Banana, and For The Love of Cake off of King St. West in Liberty Village, but I have to say that The Sweet Escape gives me everything I want in a cupcake eating experience.  I mean, sure, the artistry is just as important as the taste (because heck, who wants to eat a cupcake that looks stale and drippy and like it was sat on by an elephant?), but it’s the culmination of the appearance, the taste, and the atmosphere and environment of the cupcakery (or bakery/café) that does it for me.

First off, the cupcakes at The Sweet Escape are the perfect size.  They’re not the size of a thimble and they also don’t look like they’ve been injected with steroids.  They’re beautifully frosted, and nice and neat and pretty.  That covers appearance.  On to price.  These are $2.50 a pop, which puts them on the lowest rung on the price ladder of cupcakeries in Toronto, which is absolutely fantastic.  I have no issues paying a bit more for quality, but seriously, if you could get something that looks great and tastes great (not to mentioned baked and served by lovely people), why wouldn’t you?  And when I’m referring to cupcakeries, I’m talking about the places that specifically serve baked goods specializing in cupcakes.  Yes, Starbucks has some great cupcakes too for $2.25, but they’re not a cupcakery.  They’re a coffee empire and that’s a big difference.

And The Sweet Escape has something that several other places don’t have: seating!  I know, something as simple as a table and chair can tip my love in favour of another place, but it makes sense.  Some people may place orders for cupcakes for parties or take them to go during their lunch hour or break and thus not care about this, but I love having a place to sit to enjoy my cupcake.  Especially since I take a bazillion photos!  I look like a nut otherwise, running around the streets looking for a spot to get a decent shot!  The Sweet Escape has plenty of seating just outside their café and you get a nice little plate and fork to devour your sweet treat. 

And here’s the kicker: their tables are decorated with vintage magazine clippings of baked goods, kitchen goodies, and 50s housewife inspired articles *squeals*!  I absolutely ADORE that about this place.  On the surface (quite literally; these clippings and collages sit right underneath the glass of the table), they’re pretty pictures of cakes and sprinkles and all that jazz.  But underneath this facade is an homage to the connection between food and home, the historical (and even current) socialization of women as wives and mothers, and the artistry and pride of baking.  Just think, you literally eat, read, and learn all at the same time and I LOVE IT!  Okay, so you’re all anxiously awaiting for the cupcake photos and reading about delicious they are, so here we go 😀

So far I’ve tried 4 of their cupcakes: Raspberry Chocolate, Gingerbread (a holiday seasonal), Red Velvet, and Black Velvet.  The Raspberry Chocolate was sweet and subtle with fruity raspberry flavour coming out in the frosting (you got that great raspberry pit flavour and texture without the pits, ha!) with dark chocolate chips sprinkled on top, and the gingerbread was subtly spiced with a tangy cream cheese frosting.  I loved them all, but if you want to know which one knocked my socks off, the Black Velvet (pictured above and below beside her Red Velvet sister) is just amazing, oh my goodness!  The frosting is quite possibly the creamiest, smoothest frosting I have ever had and the chocolate cake…oh man.  When I was eating this cupcake, I felt like I was eating moist, soft, fluffy chocolate pillow.  The cake and frosting melded together in the perfect way and this cupcake is an A+ in every way.  A sweet, chocolatey, creamy mouthful of happiness!  They change up their selection of cupcakes daily, so you may not see all the ones I  mentioned when you go, but if I’m going to recommend any, the Black Velvet, hands down.  Happy salivating, y’all 😉 

*****

The Sweet Escape Pâtisserie is located at 55 Mill St., Building 47 in The Distillery District.  The Distillery District is east of The St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood, sitting south of Front St.E, and sandwiched between Parliament and Cherry St.  The café also sells cute merchandise.  I’m a freak for postcards so I picked one up for $1, yay.

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Sweet Notions Right at Your Neighbourhood Supermarket – Pistachio and Raspberry Chocolate Macarons

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Imagine my delight when I found giant sweet macarons in the bakery desserts case at Metro supermarket!  I had always wanted to try macarons.  They always looked so pretty and colourful and cute whenever I saw pictures of them or whenever I happened to see them in a spiffy dessert café.  But I never got around to trying them because the prices for them always seemed a bit steep: $3 for a dessert the size of a toonie?!  It’s ironic when you think about it.  So I sadly walked away each time. 

When I discovered them at Metro last October though, I gasped with glee when I saw a dessert display case chock full of perfectly round, fluffy, cloud-like pistachio and raspberry chocolate macarons for only $1.59 a pop.  And just think, these babies are about an inch and a half in height and fit perfectly in your palm.  An inch and a half of crispy goodness with a chewy, airy, and light meringue centre that melts in your mouth and fudgy chocolate filling *insert Homer-like “Hmmm…” here*

Now I know these aren’t the honest-to-goodness, 100% authentic Parisian macarons.  Authentic ones are not the size of hockey pucks!  But they are macarons in composition, taste, and texture and they’re great for those who want a macaron fix but need a more budget-friendly option.  Because of their size, it’s a little like eating a meringue sandwich with sweet filling.  Similar to an icecream sandwich but without all the messy melting and stickiness.  I love both flavours, but I was surprised to realize how much I enjoyed the pistachio one!  I’ve never been too keen on nuts but the bright green hue of the pistachio macaron totally sold me when I first saw it and it has this amazing sweet almond taste to it.  And the raspberry chocolate one?  Let’s just say the chocolate fudge filling is lip smackin’ good 😀

Now, like all sweet notions that I come across, I hesitate to get too attached to things sometimes.  It seems like everything is limited edition these days and it’s heartbreaking finding a wonderful sweet treat that you love only to have it taken away several months later *cough*Starbuckscupcakes* cough*.  But rest assured, these sweet morsels of meringue are here to stay, at least a little while longer.  They were sitting pretty in their case just this past month when I showed them off to my mum and brother during a recent browse through Metro at the Yonge-Eglinton Centre.  And as a true sweet tooth, I helped myself to a raspberry chocolate one.

*****

Metro supermarket is located in and around the GTA with 11 stores serving Toronto.  Click here for a full listing of locations and addresses.  As a side note, I first discovered these macarons at the Metro located in the College Park mall right at the intersection of College and Yonge St. (444 Yonge St.) and have seen them at numerous other locations.

Scrapbooking materials used: mint green cardstock (Recollections); raspberry and white lace patterned cardstock (DCWV, The Sweet Stack); string of adhesive pearls (Recollections); silver alphabet stickers (Sticko); patterned fabric brads (Amy Butler for K&Company); flower embellishments (K&Company); cardboard heart embellishment (Winners); paper doilies (Wilton).