Hallowe’en Headquarters – A Frosted, Sprinkled Party of Orange, White, Purple & Black at Short & Sweet Cupcakes!

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Just in case your sweet tooth is begging for mercy (I’ve had my share of cookies, cupcakes, and other treats over the past several days; guilty as charged), today’s offering of treats is the last of the bunch in the Hallowe’en Headquarters series and I’m sad to see it end!  I’ve really warmed up to the cutesy header image, background colour, and colour scheme (I’m quite fond of lime green) and it’ll be bittersweet saying goodbye to it.  It was Ate by Ate’s first Hallowe’en and I’ve had so much fun being mummifying and spookifying the blog!  I wish I had another week to post more goodies (or rather, I wish I had just started earlier!), but I’m glad I got the chance to show you all at least a few yummies around the city.  If we’re bidding farewell to the haunted holiday, we’re going out with a bang – Short & Sweet cupcake style!  Like I would let Hallowe’en come and go without a visit to my favourite cupcake shop 😉

Hallowe’en was a big deal for Short & Sweet for a number of reasons.  First, it was the shop’s first major holiday celebration at the new location on Avenue Rd.  Second, Hallowe’en fell on a Monday this year and Short & Sweet doesn’t normally open for business on Mondays, so it was a crazy, whirlwind day on their part!  There are plenty of shops in the city that aren’t open 7 days a week and I can imagine what a pickle it becomes, as a business owner, when you’re faced with the dilemma of wanting to stay open for a specific holiday or occasion on the very day that you’re business is supposed to be closed.  It’s the desire for more business versus possibly being short-staffed, majorly overworked, or just not having enough resources to accomodate.

I’m biased, but I’m happy they decided to open this past Monday!  While I was drooling over Short & Sweet’s special Hallowe’en themed cupcakes and snapping away with my camera, people were picking up orders left and right and I had to tell at least 4 or 5 people who came in after me that I was not, in fact, ordering (yet) and that they were more than welcome to go ahead of me.  I was too busy gawking.  Their selection of cupcakes were all sporting a mixed flurry of frosted, sprinkled orange, white, purple, and black and everything looked so pretty and festive!  Some cupcakes had bright, rich, colourful frosting (Ice Ice Baby had a fiery orange vanilla frosting while Penguin Suit looked dapper in a gorgeous jeweltone purple with sprinkles) while others were dusted with orange, purple, black, and white sprinkles, pumpkin candy toppers, and Hallowe’en trinkets. 

I picked up one for myself (October’s Pumpkin Spice with pumpkin spice cake and cream cheese frosting) and one for my brother (the chocolate, fudgy Rich in Recession with a Hallowe’en appropriate pumpkin candy on top) and good god did my brother ever go to town with his cupcake when I brought it home for him!  Forget trick-or-treating, cupcakes are where it’s at!  My brother is a chocolate fiend and while he was stuffing his face, he managed to mumble out, “Mmm, chocolatey goodness, chocolate frosting is so good” in between mouthfuls of, well, chocolate.

And my cream cheese frosted pumpkin spice cupcake was a mixture of sweetness, tangyness, and thick creaminess, which is a defining feature of Short & Sweet’s cupcakes.  The frostings are thick and creamy and you’ll never find a frosting here that’s airy and whippy.  The cake itself had an earthy, pumpkin flavour and the nice thing about it was that it wasn’t overloaded with the spice component.  I enjoy spice combinations like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, 5-star, anise, etc. but too much makes the pumpkin flavour taste artificial. 

I don’t know what it is about pumpkin that makes the texture of cake so different, but pumpkin cupcakes are so different from the regular vanillas and chocolates.  They’re not fluffy per se, and they’re not like muffins because muffins have more of a crumbly texture to them.  The pumpkin spice cupcake was so full of body.  You feel like you’re eating a loaf cake with frosting and it’s the type of cake you can envision yourself having as a morning breakfast snack, or taking out of your oven in a loaf pan.  I don’t mind one way or another, but if you prefer the “pillow” type of texture, the pumpkin cake probably isn’t for you.  Even though the density of it takes some getting used to, I enjoy the flavour and I’m happy I got the chance to try it! 

Hallowe’en at Short & Sweet was super fun and this whole series was a blast to do.  I hope you all liked the series, as short as it was, and had fabulous Hallowe’ens!  November is now upon us and there’s so much to look forward to.  I’m excited to churn out more Fall Harvest posts and I have a few holiday ideas up my sleeve as well!  If you have any leftover Hallowe’en sweets, enjoy them!    

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Short & Sweet Cupcakes is now located at 1945 Avenue Rd., south of Wilson Ave.  If you take public transit like me, the easiest way to get here is to get off at Wilson subway station and take the 96 bus to Avenue Rd. and walk south.  You can also get here by getting off at York Mills subway station and taking the 165 Weston Rd. North bus to Wilson Ave. and Avenue Rd. and walking south, or getting off Yorks Mills subway station and walking west to Avenue Rd. from Yonge.

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Creamy, Rich Clouds of Cupcake Heaven – Short & Sweet Cupcakes!

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Lift your jaw off the ground because, oh yes, this is real, and oh yes, they taste as good as they look.  You know how I said The Sweet Escape was my favourite place in Toronto for cupcakes?  I eat my words.  I have a dead tie for first place now.  Short & Sweet Cupcakes, located at 399 Old Orchard Grove in North York, is everything you envision a cupcake shop to be.  It’s beautiful on the inside and out (for all you pink-and-black fanatics out there, this is your holy sanctuary), it’s accessible by public transit (my boyfriend and I figured out an even faster way to get here from our university campus, ha!), it’s reasonably priced, the cupcakes themselves are a work of art, and most importantly: they taste like clouds of heaven.  You walk in and it’s like cupcake fairyland with cupcakes beautifully frosted and arranged on silver stands, a pretty menu board, and an adorable pink bookshelf by the workstation with jars of sprinkles and other sweet confections.  It’s a vision of beauty.

I can’t take all the credit for discovering Short & Sweet though.  Well, actually, the only credit I can take is locating the shop on a map, taking the subway, walking the rest of the way there, and eating a cupcake!  For this occasion, I thank my friend Cheryl who sent me the WagJag link with the special voucher for half a dozen cupcakes several months ago.  As an avid lover of all things cupcake related, I was so excited to find out about another cupcake shop in the city I hadn’t been to or known of yet, so I contemplated on buying the voucher for all of 3 seconds before pouncing!  I redeemed my WagJag voucher 2 weeks ago and got half a dozen beautiful, delicious, creamy, scrumptious cupcakes in the yummiest flavours!

The selection of flavours is amazing and it rotates on a regular basis.  The menu board up on the wall tells you all the flavours offered by the shop, as well as seasonal favourites.  10 flavours are offered on any given day and when you get half a dozen or more, they’re packaged in a large white box with their lovely pink-and-black signature shop sticker on top and cupcake “slots” in the box, ensuring your cupcakes are kept safe and sound while being carried in transit.  And single cupcake purchases are put in the most adorable takeout box with handle!  😀  I shared my cupcakes with my boyfriend, Richard, as well as a few friends, and indulged in rich flavourful frosting and soft cake.

Okay, I’m sure you’re all dying to know what flavours I chose and what flavours this delightful shop offers!  The pickings that day: Diamonds & Pearls (vanilla cake with white chocolate chunks and frosting); Penguin Suit (chocolate cake with vanilla frosting and blue frosted flower); Rich in Recession (chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and purple frosted flower); Short & Sweet (vanilla cake with pink frosting and rainbow sprinkles); Ice Ice Baby (vanilla cake with vanilla frosting and pink frosted flower); and their newest for this month, the Pierce Brosnan!  Vanilla cake soaked in tres leches (traditionally, sponge soaked in 3 kinds of milk and/or cream) with a creamy layer of light caramel, Irish cream frosting, and a light dusting of chocolate shavings.

These cupcakes have the perfect ratio of cake to frosting, have the perfect moistness in cake (not spongy but not crumbly), and the frosting is to die for.  If I can describe the taste and texture, it’s creamy and rich and sweet without being “whippy”, oily, or cavity inducing.  You know how some frostings are so sugary and sweet that it tastes gritty?  Their frosting is not like that AT ALL.  It’s truly delicious and what I also love about it is how easy it is to actually hold the cupcake and eat it without having it crumble and fall apart midway through.  Some cupcakes have the tendency to fall over by the time you eat half of it and its because the cake isn’t dense enough to support the weight of the frosting.  The cupcakes are just…amazing.  Let’s put it this way.  When I was indulging in my Irish cream and Richard was noming on his chocolate, fudgy Rich in Recession, he let out a big “mmm…” and I looked over at him and wryly replied, “better than sex, huh?”   

They’re $2.80 each, $14 for half a dozen, $26 for a dozen, and $18 for a dozen minis.  At $2.80 each, they’re right in the middle compared to other cupcakeries in the city and worth every penny because you’re paying for terrific quality.  I had a great experience being served by a very sweet lady (who has given us mini cupcake samples!) and the shop just embodies what cupcake dreams are made of ❤

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Short & Sweet Cupcakes is located at 399 Old Orchard Grove, right off of Avenue Rd. south of Wilson Ave. and north of Lawrence Ave. West.  It’s actually a little closer to Wilson than it is to Lawrence, and if you’re taking public transit (like me) the easiest way to get here is to get off at Wilson subway station and take the 96 bus to Avenue Rd. and walk south.  Old Orchard Grove is on the east side of Avenue Rd.  You can also get here by getting off at York Mills subway station and walking west to Avenue Rd. from Yonge.

Scrapbooking materials used: white textured cardstock; magenta cardstock (Best Occasions); black and white floral print patterned paper; scalloped flower shaped die cut patterned paper (Colorbök); rhinestone adhesive stickers (Crafts Dollarama); lime green daisy vine felt borders (Forever in Time Scrapbook Collection); “black tie” black and gray floral epoxy stickers (atd by momenta); magenta, lime green, black-and-white pattened circle epoxy stickers (Recollections).