Ooh La La! The Ravishing Raspberry Red Velvet at Short & Sweet Cupcakes

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red velvet cupcake

For all ravenous red velvet lovers: this is for you!  No really, this is truly for you.  The folks who reserve red velvet cupcakes for super special occasions (think Penelope from Criminal Minds).  The folks who will clean out a cupcake bakery’s one-day supply and scrape and claw others for a bite of this vibrant hued confection (you know who you are).  And the folks who won’t eat any other dessert because everything else just pales in comparison (“c’mon, THERE’S CREAM CHEESE FROSTING, OH EM GEE!”).  I just had a coworker tell me this week that he doesn’t eat dessert (dude, do we even co-exist in the same universe?!) but that when he tried red velvet, it made him crazy and now he can’t get enough of the stuff!  I can’t relate.  I have a sweet tooth like nobody’s business but I can’t consider myself a part of this demographic.  Because I’m actually not the biggest fan of red velvet.

*cue crickets chirping*

Short & Sweet Cupcakes

red velvet cupcake

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Don’t all chuck things at me at once!  I know, I know, I’ve posted about red velvet cupcakes from The Cupcake Shoppe and Sweet Escape Patisserie.  And I admit, red velvet things are gorgeous and captivating to look at.  The cream cheese frosting makes me salivate too.  But between red velvet cake and lemon or vanilla, there’s just no contest.  I’d swipe a vanilla cupcake before I’d stick my face in a red velvet.  And it’s not because I hate it!  I just always felt red velvet, as a flavour, was a giveaway in the sense that some folks and places can get away with doing a crappy job knowing the popularity and novelty of it will sell itself.  And I think that’s shitty.  Because trust me when I say I’ve had bad, bland, flavourless red velvet before and experiences like those make you wonder why the heck  you even wasted the calories on it in the first place.

But!  There is always a bright side and for me, the red velvet bright side shines oh-so-bright from Short & Sweet Cupcakes’ side of the pond.  And I know you may think, “oh, well of course it would because you love Short & Sweet!”  Not necessarily.  Let it be known that their Lemon Drop is my least favourite out of their line-up and from my perspective, their weakest out of all the ones I’ve tried.  And this is coming from a person who could live off of lemon anything.  So you know that when I say something kicks ass or is not so hot, it’s coming from the bottom of my heart.

red velvet cupcake

red velvet cupcake

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Their “Ooh La La!” red velvet ($2.90 each) blows it out of the water.  We’re talking thick, creamy, rich cream cheese frosting on top of some of the moistest red velvet cake you’ll ever sink your teeth into and that is due, in part, to the RASPBERRY FILLING!  Raspberry filling.  In a red velvet cupcake.  With cream cheese frosting.  That is just pure fabulousness.  This cupcake hits every profile you could ever want.  Decadent, creamy, juicy, tart, sweet, you name it.  When you get a red velvet from here, you know you are getting a fan-freakin’-tastic cupcake, plain and simple.  They do its novelty and popularity justice 10 times over and it leaves you wanting so many more.  I went into it thinking I’d just give it a shot considering it was one of the ones I still hadn’t tried from Short & Sweet yet (it’s an everyday cupcake so you can get them any day from Tuesday to Sunday if you fancy) and I came out of it genuinely loving it to pieces.

So to all red velvet enthusiasts: you need these luscious confections in your life, pronto.

red velvet cupcake

*****

Short & Sweet Cupcakes serves 2 locations:

  • 1945 Avenue Rd., south of Wilson Ave.  They are open from 11am-6pm Tuesday-Saturday and 11am-5pm on Sundays.  They are closed on Mondays.
  • 1480 Major Mackenzie Dr. West at the corner of Major Mackenzie and Dufferin Street in Vaughan.  They are open from 12pm-7pm Tuesday-Saturday and 12pm-6pm on Sundays.  This location is also closed on Mondays.
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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.

Everyone, Meet James Brown & Little Miss Red Velvet From The Cupcake Shoppe!

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Aren’t they darling??  Don’t you just want to stick your face in them and feel the combination of frosting and moist cake melt in your mouth?  Yeah, I thought so.  Here’s the deal: not only am I fiend for sushi, I am also a fiend for cupcakes.  I love baking them and I sure as hell love eating them!  What we have here are two lovely cupcakes from The Cupcake Shoppe, located at 2417 Yonge St, near the intersection of Yonge & Eglinton, north of Eglinton.  They open at 10am from Monday to Saturday and at 11am on Sunday.  And yes, it’s only one subway stop from Haru Zushi, the lovely sushi place I wrote about 2 days ago.  When the weather is nice here is what I do:

  1. Hop off the subway at Eglinton and proceed to walk to The Cupcake Shoppe.
  2. Marvel at all the delicious treats and lament that I cannot eat half a dozen on my own.  I pick one out of the many they have baked for that day.
  3. I then carry my little cupcake in its baggy (when you buy 1, it’s in a paper baggy.  When you buy 2, they’re placed in those pink and white boxes you see up top.  When you buy half a dozen, they come in a plastic carrier) and then proceed to walk to Haru Zushi for lunch.
  4. Then I stuff my face.
  5. On another day, rinse and repeat.

It’s so enjoyable *bounces*.  Now, when it comes to cupcakes, everyone has their preference.  Some prefer frosting, some prefer buttercream, some like their cake a bit dense, and some like it fluffy.  But everyone who loves cupcakes will agree that the easiest way to kill a cupcake is to have them dry and crumbly.  It is so not sexy.  Depending on how you like your topping, these may not be for everyone as many of The Cupcake Shoppe’s cakes are topped with buttercream icing.  But nobody can say that these babies aren’t moist.  They are SO freakin’ soft and moist and they’re delicious.

The cupcakes themselves have adorable little names.  The chocolate one with chocolate buttercream is James Brown and the one on the right that still makes me whimper because of its deliciousness is simply Red Velvet.  The Red Velvet one was delicious.  Moist cake with tangy cream cheese frosting and a dainty edible pearl on top.  OH.MY.GOD.  Cupcakeries around the city vary by price, from $2.50 to about $3.50 and The Cupcake Shoppe is about average coming in at $2.65 per cupcake and the half dozen is priced at $14.50.  Yes, of course I can bake my own cupcakes and not go out and buy them.  But let me tell you, seeing the artistry that goes into each batch and display, and smelling the freshly baked cake as soon as you step inside?  Not bad to indulge every once in awhile.  And besides, cupcakes are just damn fun!  My only bummer about The Cupcake Shoppe as that they don’t allow pictures to be taken inside the shoppe.  It grates the photographer in me, but no biggie.  I find my ways around it 😉