Fluttering Into the Thick of Summer – Juicy Lime Vanilla and Fairy Pink Cupcakes at Bakes & Goods

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Light and sweet and pretty – just as a cupcake should be!  Bakes & Goods has fluttered into the thick of summer with their soft and creamy cupcakes decked out in sweet flowers, ballerina pinks, and fruity summer flavours that taste even better than fruit juice.  With so many new cupcake shops cropping up, so many I need to make return visits to, and so many I still haven’t been, cupcake duty has turned into quite the triple threat!  Each season brings new and exciting flavours to try and decorations to admire; heck, some cupcake bakeries even dish out the shiny and new once every month so it’s dizzying and fun keeping up with everything that comes out. 

I made a return visit to Bakes & Goods in Yonge-Eglinton and my eyes lit up the second I walked into the little shop.  Fluffy pink flower lanterns!  Pink butterflies!  Pink flowers!  And…is that a lovely new white bench I can sit on to eat my cupcake over there?!  I want to take this moment to say that I love their newly added bench.  I buy single cupcakes all the time and more often than not, I just want to eat my cupcake right then and there.  It’s much easier to take photos, there’s waaay less room for handling catastrophes (did I tell you all about the time I knocked my cupcake box over in a shoe store at the mall and nearly burst into tears?  Well, now you know!), and it feels nice sitting in a happy place like a cupcake shop as opposed to a concrete slab by the side of the road.  And it’s also fun seeing people coming in and out of the shops, seeing what flavours they choose and demonstrating just how enjoyable the cupcakes are when people glance over and see me stuff my face.  With the combination of pretty decor and a seating arrangement, I felt jubilance coming out of my ears and everything inside was so pretty it made me momentarily forget how hot it was outside and that much more giddy over my afternoon cupcake break.         

In addition to the regulars such as cookie crumble, chocolate ganache, and lemon meringue, Bakes & Goods had a slew of new flavours on hand that day that screamed summer fun in the sun including a chocolate mango (come to mama!) and my pick for the day, a delightful fruity tutti lime on vanilla!  I don’t know what it is about sour citrus fruits that make me so happy, but I can’t get enough of lemon and lime desserts.  Any time I can get my hands on a lemon or lime cupcake, I’m on it like a bad rash, especially lime since lemon flavours and combinations are a little more common at cupcake shops than its green sister.  If my memory serves me right, aside from the Lime n’ Licious from The Cupcake Shoppe down the road, I think this is the only other time I’ve had a lime cupcake and I was beside myself when I saw that they had this one.  The cupcake ($2.75) was vanilla and lime in cake and lime buttercream in frosting adorned with Bakes & Goods signature flower candy on top, this time in sunny yellow.

The cupcake looked very cool since the cake was tinged with green from the lime and the buttercream was so bright and cheerful.  I know the texture of soft, whippy buttercream isn’t for everyone (my boyfriend doesn’t care for it but my mum loves it) and at times, it’s a hit or miss even for me, but luckily, this time was a hit and I really enjoyed it and thought it was delicious.  The lime flavour was fruity without being overpowering or too sour (or artificial for that matter) and it was SO soft and fluffy.  The part that really struck a chord with me was the combination of the lime buttercream and the very top of the cupcake.  I could have sworn I imagined it, but it was there and unmistakeable: a golden vanilla graham cracker texture and taste.  My tastebuds nearly did a double take.  The cake itself was light as air but when I bit into the top of the cupcake right where the buttercream met the cupcake, I was met with this warm, sweet slightly graham crumb texture and made the cupcake taste like a key lime pie!  I couldn’t believe it.  I don’t know if this was a lucky result or intentional, but either way, it made for one very fab cupcake that I happily scarfed down!

I hope all my fellow Canadians who have the Civic Holiday long weekend are enjoying their time off immensely and having a lot of fun!  I’m actually laying low and enjoying some much needed sleep, quiet scrapbook time, Olympics watching all day long (I’m so proud of Team Canada!), and working on a ton of blog housekeeping.  Happy weekend, everyone!         

*****

Bakes & Goods is located at 2523 Yonge Street in the Yonge & Eglinton neighbourhood.  The bake shop is situated on the east side of Yonge Street between Sherwood and Keewatin Ave., several blocks north of Eglinton Ave.  They have recently moved into this new home from their original Bathurst and Ranee location (around the Lawrence West area) and are open 6 days a week (Monday-Saturday) at 11am.

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The Cupcake Connection, Vol. 002 – Wedding Cupcake Decorating Classes, Summer Flavours, & Ice Cream Cupcakes!

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Ice cream flavours and cupcakes – how sweet it is

Welcome to the second installment of The Cupcake Connection, your humble resource to some of the sweet and tasty frosted happenings in Toronto’s cupcake world!  First up, new bake shop alert!  Some of you may already know this if you’re very tuned in to social media and its cupcake whispers, but for those of you who don’t and aren’t, I have some fantastic news for all vegans with a sweet tooth: Tori’s Bakeshop on Queen Street East! 

Tori’s Bakeshop, located at 2188 Queen Street East, is a vegan, organic, all-natural bakery that just recently opened and boy does it ever boast a boatload of treats!  Cinnamon buns, pies, tarts, scones, muffins, cookies, biscotti, and of course, cupcakes!  Much like Bunner’s Bake Shop, Tori’s Bakeshop offers a huuuuge selection of egg-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and gluten-free products.  Since I’m still planning my first visit to this great new shop in the east end, I decided to give them a call to ask them about their cupcakes and while it completely slipped mind to ask about prices (whoops!), I did get all the informatin on their flavours and selection.  On any given day (they’re open from Wednesday to Sunday during the week), they have 6 cupcake flavours to choose from: cherry, coconut, lemon, strawbery, peanut butter, cookes and cream, mint, and the classic chocolate and vanilla.  I absolutely can’t wait to come here and try their lemon, coconut, and cherry cupcakes especially.

Lime – perfect for summer!

Now, onto summer flavours!  We know how much fun it is using seasonal fruits and treats as inspiraton for our cooking, baking, and artistic endeavours and cupcakes are right in the thick of it all!  There are so many juicy, delicious summery flavours on hand right now at many of the city’s cupcake bakeries.  Short & Sweet Cupcakes is currently busting out their June flavour of the month, Tropic Thunder, a fruity mix of pineapple, banana, and coconut frosting and cake, The Cupcake Shoppe goes citrus this season with their summer seasonal Lime n’ licious cupcake, and Liberty Village’s For the Love of Cake has JUST doled out their special summer cupcake flavour, key lime pie!  I’ve been meaning to go back to For the Love the Cake for ages and this just gives me an even more delicious incentive – I see both the key lime pie cupcake and my beloved lemon meringue cupcake in my future this season! 

And of course, what’s a summer without ice cream?  Yummy Stuff is enticing our summer cravings with their June flavour of the month: the vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry Neapolitan cupcake!   This was exactly what I was referring to in Friday’s Yummy Stuff post when I was gushing about art imitating food imitating more food.  Not only did I take advantage of their Neapolitan decorated sugar cookie, I also snatched up their ice cream flavour inspired cupcake. 

With moist, fluffy, soft-as-a-pillow strawberry cake and thick creamy vanila and chocolate swirled frosting, the cupcake tasted EXACTLY like Neapolitan ice cream – without the freezer burn!  The cupcake was literally oozing with baked strawberries (no joke, I had to catch some of the strawberries as I bit into it to keep them from falling on my pants!) and their vanilla and chocolate frosting were bang on.  Yummy Stuff seriously makes some of the best chocolate frosting in the city and it was such a fun, summery cupcake to have for the month of June.

Since we’re on the topic of ice cream and cupcakes, why not have real ice cream together with cupcakes?  That’s right, folks, Cold Stone Creamery isn’t the only spot in town that makes these decadent treats!  The Cupcakery on St. Clair West has 6 different ice cream cupcake flavours to choose from including, each for $2.50 for 6 for $13:

  1. Ice Queen – vanilla cake topped with vanilla ice cream and pink vanilla buttercream
  2. Chocolate Sundae – chocolate cake layered with caramel sauce and Skor toffee bits, topped with chocolate ice cream and chocolate buttercream
  3. Cookies and Cream – vanilla cake layered with crushed Oreo cookies topped with vanilla ice cream and vanilla buttercream
  4. Chocolate Mint – chocolate cake topped with chocolate ice cream and mint buttercream
  5. Creamsicle – vanilla cake topped with vanilla ice cream and orange buttercream
  6. Banana Rama – chocolate cake topped with chocolate ice cream and banana buttercream

Learn how to make your cupcakes look as beautiful as this wedding cake at one of Le Dolci’s decorating classes!

Okay, so we’ve covered the new bake shop alert, slammin’ summer cupcake flavours, and ice cream cupcakes that are perfect for summer.  What’s that I hear?  Dum-da-dum-dum-dum-dum.  Ooo, wedding bells!  We can’t talk about summer without mentioning the bustling, topsy-turvy wedding season and Le Dolci has every sweet tooth covered with two very special Introduction to Wedding Cupcakes decorating classes this summer!  The first one will be held on Friday, July 6th from 2pm-4pm and the second one will be held in August on Sunday, August 5th from 2pm-4pm.  Each class is priced at $80 +HST/person and at the end of the class you get to take home a dozen awesomely yummy vanilla cupcakes beautifully decorated by you!  The wedding cupcakes decorating classes will focus on intricate fondant design – think bridal magazine! 

Aside from being creative and getting to indulge in sweet cupcake fun, I think these classes are perfect if you have a friend who’s getting married and you want to give them something truly personal and unique to congratulate them.  And you’ll get to enjoy the class at their brand new studio on Dundas Street West just across the street from Trinity Bellwoods Park – win-win.  That’s all for now, so grab a ice cold drink and enjoy the fruity, summery treats and cupcakes while you can!