The Cupcake Connection, Vol.009 – New Places, Spaces & Faces Featuring Prairie Girl Bakery, Cupcakes Leaside & Le Dolci!

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Prairie Girl Bakery in Toronto on King Street East.

Welcome to Part II of this spring’s first Cupcake Connection where we’re talking new places, spaces, and faces!  *NEWS FLASH*: Prairie Girl Bakery is expanding – again!  That’s right folks, the cupcake queen of Toronto’s downtown core with its two existing locations, is opening its 3rd location further up north in YORKVILLE!  Set to open at the end of the month, Prairie Girl will be opening its doors and wafting out the sweet scents of golden buttermilk and dark cocoa cupcakes while rubbing elbows with Louis Vuitton, COACH, Burberry,  and others at BLOOR STREET WEST & AVENUE ROAD!  Can you tell I’m ecstatic?!  Prairie Girl Bakery.  With a 3rd location.  In Yorkville.  You guys know what this means.

I can stuff my face with cupcakes while shopping my heart out at MAC and Sephora and Williams Sonoma and Whole Foods and…and…*catches breath*

BREATHE, DEB.

Prairie Girl Bakery cupcakes, Black Forest and Cherry Cheesecake cupcakes and Treats of the Week

Black Forest on Dark Cocoa and Cherry Cheesecake on Golden Buttermilk. Both on Prairie Girl Bakery’s Treats of the Week menu!

Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcakes in Chocolate Peppermint and Cookies and Cream

Prairie Girl Bakery mini cupcake heaven – Chocolate Peppermint and Cookies and Cream.

This is so exciting!!  I got the news from Amy at Prairie Girl (thank you, Amy!) and almost started doing the Elaine dance from Seinfeld.  It’s just so perfect.  It’s within the heart of Yorkville, one of the best places to window shop and stroll in the summer, it’s walking distance from Queen’s Park (hello, perfect cupcake picnic area!), and close to so many of my favourite shopping, strolling, and eating destinations (I’m looking at you Annex, Kensington Market, Fresh, and Mela!).  I can’t wait to visit their new location and of course, I’ll report back with photos of the shop and of whichever delightful frosted confection I decide to sink my sweet teeth into on that particular day.  Keep your eyes on the cupcake for more details to come!

While Prairie Girl is set to open their new, 3rd location in the city, one cupcake shop has set up shop for the very first time in Toronto, this time on the east end in Leaside at 85 Laird Drive.  If you haven’t already, give a warm welcome to Cupcakes by Heather & Lori!  Known as The Cupcake Girls on their W network television show, Heather and Lori hail from Vancouver with 6 cupcake shops under their belt in BC alone!  I haven’t paid a visit to the shop yet but I’ve definitely given their site (www.cupcakesonline.com) more than one look-see and there are so many flavours I want to try: Lava Flow (raspberry chocolate with cream cheese frosting and raspberry dollop); Blue Hawaii (blue vanilla frosting and coconut); Raspberry Beret (raspberry filled lemon cake with lemon frosting and raspberry dollop); and Pecan Brownie (pecan brownie cake with caramel and chocolate chips inside and dolloped with cream cheese frosting).

Cupcakes Online. Leaside. website

Cupcakes Leaside and their adorable website!

I’m really looking forward to paying them my first visit not just because it’s a cupcake shop that looks adorable and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside but because Leaside is an area that I haven’t really explored yet.  With the exception of going to Rahier and Patisserie La Cigogne on Macaron Day, the area is practically unchartered territory for me so there will be so much to see and do when I do end up going.

And since we’re on the topic of brand spankin’ new, our dear Le Dolci has introduced a slew of new classes to their already fab selection!  New to their cupcake class line-up: Cupcake Bouquets!  This class is meant to unleash every ounce of creativity in you as you create edible works of art.  Completely floral-themed, the cupcake bouquet class with have you creating cupcake bouquets for centrepieces, sweet tables, gifts and more as you learn how to pipe floral patterns with buttercream.  If you were to take this class and Le Dolci’s Advanced Piping Techniques class where you practice piping roses, pansies, and daffodils, you’d be a whiz at piping flowers and basically creating cupcake floral arrangements!  The first Cupcake Bouquet Making and Arrangement class is set for May 12 from 12pm-2pm and is priced at $80 +HST/person. 

Flowers and cupcakes at Le Dolci on Dundas Street West in Toronto.

:Le Dolci cupcake studio storefront on Dundas Street West in downtown Toronto.

And so concludes the first Cupcake Connection of the spring and summer seasons.  I can’t wait to see what the next several months bring!

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The Cupcake Connection, Vol. 008 – Scrumptious New Flavours, Giving Back to the Community & More! Part I

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spring cupcakes at Short & Sweet Cupcakes in Toronto

After a good month of macaron munching in March, we’re diving straight back into cupcake mode!  It’s been months since my last Cupcake Connection post and while I’ve continued eating cupcakes (c’mon, it’s ME we’re talking about here), I couldn’t take photos of a few of them (I know, foreshame.  It was late and dark when I was eating them and one of them even got squished!  Very delicious, but so not sexy) and I have a bit of backlog going on with the ones I did take photos of so bear with me while I sort everything out over the next month.

There’s a LOT to catch up on, so much so that it feels overwhelming at times.  So many cupcakes, so little time!  Luckily for me, I have the support of many of my favourite cupcake shops giving me the goods to pass along to all of you so we’ll never be at a loss for great cupcake news.  We have quite a bit to cover (this is Part I of II!) so let’s jump right in and get started!

You’ll Need a Wheelbarrow to Carry All of These – New Flavours and Flavours of the Month

mini cupcake box from Prairie Girl Bakery in Toronto

Just when I think I’ve made a little bit of headway in trying the many cupcakes and flavours in Toronto, I get whip-lashed with a whole truckload of new and exciting flavours!  Seriously, it’s 1 step forward, 5 steps back!  But tis the spice of life and I wouldn’t want it any other way because without new fun and creative flavour combinations, the cupcake scene would get boring real fast and that’s the last thing any of us want.  Let’s start with Prairie Girl Bakery.  Talk about busting out the sweet treats!  Prairie Girl has unleashed 7, count ’em, SEVEN new Treats of the Week flavours ($2.95 for regular size, $1.75 for minis) to their rotating menu!  HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL.  These 7 flavours include:

  • Blueberries & Cream (Golden Buttermilk Cupcake with a swirl of Real Blueberry Icing and a swirl of Classic Cream Cheese Icing, topped with a Chocolate Blueberry)
  • Chocolate Coconut (Dark Cocoa Cupcake with Vanilla Bean Icing topped with Toasted Coconut)
  • Chocolate Flake (Red Velvet Cake with Vanilla Bean Icing topped with Chocolate Flakes)
  • Grasshopper Pie (Dark Cocoa Cupcake with Green Mint Icing topped with Cookie Crumble)
  • Malted Milk (Dark Cocoa Cupcake with Malted Milk Icing topped with a Maltesar)
  • Neapolitan (Dark Cocoa Cupcake with a swirl of Real Strawberry Icing and a swirl of Vanilla Bean Icing)
  • Tiramisu (Golden Buttermilk Cupcake with Tiramisu Icing, Marsala Wine Syrup topped with Chocolate Flakes)

Treats of the Week web page at Prairie Girl Bakery in Toronto

I would inhale all of these, but the ones I am most excited about are the Blueberries & Cream, Grasshopper Pie, and Malted Milk.  Prairie Girl has rolled a few of these out already this month so if you’ve missed them, don’t fret – their Treats of the Week operate on a rotating menu so they’ll always come back and you can know in advance now on their website where they list their upcoming Treats of the Week 4 weeks in advance which I ABSOLUTELY LOVE!

Next on the list?  Yummy Stuff on Queen Street West.  Their April Flavour of the Month ($2.75) is an ultra cool, psychedelic Cherry Almond Cake!  And I do mean psychedelic.  We’re talking bright turquoise vanilla frosting topped with juicy red maraschino cherries on cherry-studded almond cake.  I could float up to cupcake heaven right now.  I LOVE almond baked goods and this sounds and looks amazing (you can check out the photo Yummy Stuff posted on their blog HERE).

For the Love of Cake cupcakes in Toronto in Liberty Village

Lemon Meringue cupcakes from For the Love of Cake cupcake bakery in Liberty Village in Toronto

Taken in 2009, well before the birth of Ate by Ate! For the Love of Cake’s amazing Lemon Meringue cupcakes.

A little further south you’ll find For the Love of Cake, where they’ve brought back their classic S’mores and my beloved Lemon Meringue cupcakes ($2.65) for the month of April (and if demand is high, possibly for even longer!).  The Lemon Meringue was the very first flavour I tried at For the Love Cake back in 2009 (can you believe it’s been that long?!) and it remains, to this day, one of my favourite cupcakes.  Annnnd speaking of S’mores, my dear  Short & Sweet Cupcakes has added two mouthwatering flavours ($2.90) to their permanent menu on Fridays (Boston Cream!) and Sundays (S’mores!).  It pains me that I haven’t tried either of them yet so let’s hope that I can sink my sweet teeth into at least one of them in the coming months!

And then there’s Dessert Lady in the heart of Yorkville.  They’ve expanded their selection to include 3 NEW flavours ($3):

  • Double Chocolate Cupcake with Hazelnut Crunch Buttercream
  • Passionfruit Cupcake with Caramelized White Chocolate Buttercream
  • Sweet Corn Bacon Cupcake with Salted Caramel Popcorn Buttercream (SAY WHAT?!)

And here I am thinking maple bacon cupcakes were way out there – this 3rd flavour knocks it out of the park!  If you love wild and wacky flavours, especially sweet and savoury combinations, I think you’ve met your match and I dare you to try it and report back!

Community and Cupcake Shops – Giving Back

Second Harvest Logo

Cupcake shops are more than just lace and frills.  Many establishments are partnering with different organizations in and around the city to make a difference in their communities.  Prairie Girl Bakery and So Into Cupcakes in Scarborough have both formed relationships with charitable organizations and programs in an effort to help others and to further deepen their growing engagement within the food community.  Prairie Girl Bakery and Second Harvest are joined at the hip via ongoing donations, and are also affiliated with the following causes:

DSCN8565 (2)

And more recently, So Into Cupcakes has partnered with Toronto’s Fresh City Farms!  I found out about this through their Facebook page and it’s wonderful as more and more people are signing up to have fresh, local, organic produce delivered to their homes.  These memberships not only support our farmers, they provide ongoing support to local food co-ops and local food organizations.

Phew!  That was a lot to get through and we’re not even close to being finished.  Thankfully, there’s always room for Part II so stay tuned for more delicious cupcake news!

The Cupcake Connection, Vol. 007 – My Cup of Cupcake Tea! The Lemon Earl Grey at Desmond & Beatrice and Tea Cupcakes in the City

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Certainly my cup of “cupcake” tea!

What’s better than a cupcake with a steaming cup of yummy hot loose leaf tea?  A tea flavoured cupcake with a hot cup of tea!  Or in David’s Tea’s case, a tea modeled after the cupcake and cake (read: Red Velvet Cake, one of the most fantastical things you will ever drink during your lifetime).  The tea and cupcake love is truly reciprocal!  I’ve long dreamt about baking my own green tea white chocolate cupcakes and steeping tea to flavour frostings and cakes alongside pretty cups, pots, and saucers for my own afternoon tea parties.  And after reading Yummy Stuff’s November 1st blog post, I was over the moon: their November cupcake flavours of the month are Earl Grey and Chai latte!  That’s just love on top of more love.  I started mentally going through the month of November, figuring out which weekend I’d be free to swing by for the two cupcakes (that’s right, BOTH.  Go big or go home) and then I thought, “this would be a great time to do a Cupcake Connection on tea cupcakes!” because believe it or not, a number of cupcake bakeries around the city offer cupcakes infused with bold flavours straight out of a cuppa!

One of my favourite, FAVOURITE cupcakes is the lemon and Earl Grey cupcake from Desmond & Beatrice (pictured below).  Oh my goodness is it ever delicious and fantastic.  Their Earl Grey cupcake ($2.75) is tea flavoured in cake and topped with a honey lemon frosting and dusted with pink crystal sugar sprinkles.  It is beautiful and everything you could want in a scrumptious lemon cupcake (this will be going straight to my eventual Flavour Favourites post for lemon cupcakes) and in a tea cupcake.

It’s dainty, it’s sweet, it’s feminine, floral, bright, fresh, and the epitome of afternoon tea elegance.  The flavour and essence is like a cross between the classic floral notes of Earl Grey (even though I know the flavour is derived from the citrusy bergamot, I get more floral than I do citrus from it!) and the sweet lightness and freshness of a honey lemon poppy seed cake.  The cupcake doesn’t have a poppy seeds in it, but it makes me think of poppy seed cake just because.  So, grab a cuppa and sit back and relax as we list cupcakes around the city inspired by the soothing and delicious loose leaf beverage!

  • Life is Sweet, 2328 Queen Street East: Earl Grey with Orange Coconut ($2.50) – exactly as the name says!  This sounds absolutely heavenly and I need to have this in my mouth NOW.  Permanent flavour on the menu.
  • So Into Cupcakes, 2060 Ellesmere Road: Chai Vanilla Latte ($2.50 for regular size, $1.50 for mini) – vanilla cake topped with chai buttercream frosting and whipped vanilla and sprinkled with cinnamon.  Seasonal flavour, available during the month of October.
  • The Wedding Cake Shoppe, 859 College Street: Green Tea ($2.65) – their signature vanilla bean cake topped with Japanese green tea buttercream frosting.  Cindy compares it to green tea ice cream on cake!  Daily rotation; call ahead to ask (416-916-2253) or keep up with their Facebook page for daily listings of flavours.
  • The Wedding Cake Shoppe, 859 College Street: Spicy Chai Latte ($2.65) –  Sprinkled with cinnamon, this chai spiced cupcake is made with fresh brewed chai tea and ground spices for the frosting on either vanilla bean or chocolate cake.  Daily rotation; call ahead to ask (416-916-2253) or keep up with their Facebook page for daily listings of flavours.
  •  Yummy Stuff, 1660 Queen Street West in Parkdale: Chai Latte ($2.75) – rich chocolate cupcake adorned with chai spice buttercream frosting full of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and more.  Seasonal flavour, available during the month of November.
  • Yummy Stuff, 1660 Queen Street West in Parkdale: Earl Grey ($2.75) – light and spongy bergamot cupcake with Earl Grey and orange zest buttercream frosting.  Seasonal flavour, available during the month of November.

The Cupcake Connection, Vol. 006 – The Fall Pumpkin Spice & Everything Nice Edition!

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October is truly the month of the pumpkin!  With pumpkin breads, pies, tarts (Dufflet owns this one with their famous pumpkin cream tarts!), roasted seeds, soups and the traditional Halloween carving of jack-o-lanterns, there’s no shortage of ways to use this friendly orange fall gourd and vegetable.  Cupcake bakeries across the city are very much in the thick of things, whipping up batches of pumpkin spice, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin and cream cheese frosted cupcakes to celebrate the pumpkin-loving month.
While I love the texture of pumpkin pie filling and the versatility of pumpkin in both sweet and savoury dishes, I really feel that pumpkin cupcakes are one of those love-it-or-hate-it, hit-or-miss type of confections.  It’s just hard to do well!  It’s not hard to give the impression of warmth and comfort or to mimic the flavour of pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice.  Rather, it’s difficult to get the texture of the cake just right.  Even though I haven’t come across a pumpkin cupcake I disliked or thought was incredibly awful per say, I will point out that some have been more forgettable than others.  The misses always seem to manifest themselves in the cake portion of the cupcake, either being too dry and crumbly or much too dense; I want to eat a yummy cupcake not feel like I’m holding a hockey puck!

Mmmm, yummy cinnamon frosting…

I’ve tried 4 pumpkin cupcakes from 4 different bakeries (Bunner’s Bake Shop, Flour Studio, Short & Sweet Cupcakes, and So Into Cupcakes) and my favourite so far has been the moist pumpkin spice cupcake with the soft cinnamon frosting from So Into Cupcakes.  The cake is the softest here and I love the texture of the frosting.  Anything with cinnamon in it and on it is fine by me!  In a close second would be Flour Studio’s pumpkin spice with cream cheese frosting just because I really felt like the cake captured that mild, earthy pumpkin flavour without being too spiced in flavour (you know, the type of flavour that screams, “I’m from a can!”  Even if it is, it shouldn’t be obvious!) and the cream cheese frosting was truly delicious.  I would definitely recommend taking a few bites of cupcake just on its own though to truly get the full effect as the cream cheese frosting can overwhelm the cake.

Pumpkin Spice from Flour Studio!

Decked out for Halloween: Pumpkin Spice at Short & Sweet Cupcakes!

And here I’m going to get on my soapbox: I’m never going to stop wishing for a cupcake that has pumpkin frosting!  Cake is wonderful, yes, but I also want to see (and taste!) a cupcake topped with pumpkin frosting, just to switch things up and to try something new and different since we’re pretty accustomed to pumpkin cakes with vanilla or cream cheese frosting.  Something like a pumpkin mousse frosting would be fabulous, or a thick, creamy pumpkin frosting swirled with vanilla and sprinkled with graham crumbs!  I can dream.

Regardless, there are just as many pumpkin cupcakes that do taste great and it’ll be my mission to get to as many as possible before the season is over.  There are plenty of options (including vegan ones!) to choose from to figure out which one(s) take home the crown of most delectable pumpkin cupcake.

Bunners Bake Shop’s vegan pumpkin cupcake with their famous vanilla frosting!

Seasonal pumpkin cupcake goodies from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky!

  • Bobbette & Belle, 1121 Queen Street East: Pumpkin  ($2.95) – pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese buttercream frosting.  Seasonal flavour, daily rotation; call ahead to ask (416-466-8800).
  • Bunners Bake Shop, 3054 Dundas Street West in the Junction, just west of High Park Ave.: Pumpkin ($3.25) – vegan pumpkin cupcake topped with their premium vegan vanilla frosting and a pumpkin seed.  Seasonal flavour; daily rotation; call ahead and ask (647-352-2975).
  • Desmond & Beatrice, 750 Queen Street East: Pumpkin Spice ($2.75) – pumpkin spice cake swirled with a brown sugar cream cheese frosting.  Seasonal flavour, daily rotation; call ahead to ask (647-352-2257).
  • Flour Studio, 883 Eglinton Ave. West: Pumpkin Spice ($3) – pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting, sprinkled with nutmeg.  Seasonal flavour, daily rotation; call ahead to ask (416-789-0222).
  • For the Love of Cake, 171 East Liberty St. #117: Pumpkin Pie ($3) – pumpkin spice cupcake topped with fresh whipped cream sprinkled with nutmeg.  Seasonal flavour, daily flavour; call ahead to ask (416-306-6446)
  • Short & Sweet Cupcakes,1945 Avenue Road: Pumpkin Spice ($2.90) – pumpkin spice cupcake with cream cheese frosting.  Available during the month of October as their Flavour of the Month.
  • So Into Cupcakes, 2060 Ellesmere Road: Pumpkin Spice ($2.50 for regular size, $1.50 for mini) – pumpkin cupcake topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.  Seasonal flavour, available during the month of October.
  • The Wedding Cake Shoppe, 859 College Street: Pumpkin Pie ($2.65) – pumpkin pie with buttercream frosting and pumpkin candy garnish.  Seasonal flavour, daily rotation; call ahead to ask (416-916-2253).
  • Wanda’s Pie in the Sky, 287 Augusta Ave. in Kensington Market: Pumpkin – pumpkin cake with frosting and a pumpkin-shaped chocolate garnish sweet treat on top.  Seasonal flavour, call ahead to ask: (416-236-7585)
  • Yummy Stuff, 1660 Queen Street West in Parkdale: Pumpkin ($2.75) – pumpkin cupcake with brown butter frosting and candied nut topping.  Seasonal flavour, available during the month of October.

The Cupcake Connection, Vol. 005 – Apple Cupcakes Edition! The Beginnings of Fall & Apple Orchard Season

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You might be wondering why there was no mention of my delicious apple caramel cupcake from City Cider in my post yesterday.  After all, I certainly wiggled the bait a bit with my sneak peek photo Sunday night!  I didn’t forget and I swear I wasn’t trying to be a meanie by witholding scrumptious information (who posts a photo of a drool-worthy cupcake and then doesn’t say another word about it for 2 days?!  Er, me).  There’s a good reason for the wait: this delightful tender morsel of sweet cake and apple fruit, along with the apple cinnamon caramel cupcake from Yummy Stuff, was the inspiration behind this latest edition of The Cupcake Connection: Fall Apple Edition!  I am beyond giddy about this one!  A whole post dedicated to cupcakes and apples.  And apples in cupcakes.  And apples in cupcake frosting.  I LOVE APPLE CUPCAKES! 

It’s one of the ways I get to kick my apple allergy in the pants while still maintaining a healthy dose of cupcake in my life.  It wasn’t until I ate my apple caramel cupcake at City Cider that it dawned on me: there are so many different cupcake bakeries in and around the city that go full out on fall flavour using juicy, sweet apples come September.  Just think, there’s apple cinnamon, apple caramel, apple-pear, apple spice, apple and nuts, the list goes on.  And it’s beautifully represented in both cupcake and frosting form!

Fall is the season, to me, that never lasts long enough.  Winter always drags on and on.  Spring can get a little too muddy and wet.  And summer?  Well, let’s just say this past season made me reconsider how much I truly adore those hazy days.  But fall?  I love dearly.  And the prominence of apples in sweets, baked goods, and in food in general at this time, makes me love it that much more.  Thanks to Savera’s Pretty Sweet: A Mobile Cupcakery food truck at City Cider, I was totally inspired to compile all the different apple cupcakes available in shops and on cupcake menus throughout the city! 

Let it be known though that I had no idea this adorable, super pretty cupcake truck existed until I went to City Cider on Sunday.  I was totally smitten!  Donning shades of pink, red, brown, white, and turquoise, it looked exactly like a fairy tale cupcake truck, ready to make the magic of cupcakes that much sweeter and yummier.  Because it’s a mobile, moving entity, the only way to really follow Pretty Sweet is via their Facebook page and Twitter where locations for the day or week are posted, flavours are listed, and events the truck will be at announced.  The Pretty Sweet Toronto website is still under construction, but you can still access contact info and some really beautiful photos through the original custom cake business website at Pretty Sweet Cakes HERE.

And we can’t have an apple cupcake discussion without gushing about the apple bourbon caramel cinnamon (say that 5 times fast!) cupcake from Yummy Stuff!  Both the apple caramel from Pretty Sweet and the apple bourbon caramel cinnamon are SO delicious and unique in their own ways.  The apple caramel from Pretty Sweet had much more of a sweet and sticky toffee pudding taste and feel to it with soft apple spice cake, creamy cream cheese frosting, and generous portion of caramel sauce on top.  This is the type of cupcake that doubles as a dessert in the sense that it doesn’t scream, “I’m a little cake with frosting on it!”, but rather, you can envision this as a non-cupcake dessert dish.  It’s fabulous!  

The apple cupcake from Yummy Stuff on the other hand was more like apple pie with mouthwatering frosting on top!  It was stuffed with apple chunks and a bourbon caramel sauce filling and topped with the most amazing sweet and creamy cinnamon frosting!  Oh man, THIS is cupcake frosting at its finest!  As a note though, it’s ideal if you eat theirs with a fork just because the apple chunks may fall out and get messy if you eat it straight out of the wrapper with your hands.  This cupcake at Yummy Stuff is the special September flavour, so definitely try your best to get your sweet teeth on one before the month is over!  I really do hope it stays around for the whole season though because it’s just so good.  We’ll see; they kept their S’mores cupcake for longer than a month so there’s hope!  

Look out for other apple cupcakes at these cupcake and sweet shops around the city!

  • Bobbette & Belle, 1121 Queen Street East: Apple Spice ($2.95) – apple spice cake with Canadian maple buttercream frosting.  Seasonal flavour, daily rotation; cal ahead to find out (416-466-8800).
  • Crumbs & Co./Pink Lemon Bakeshop, 10220 Yonge Street in Richmond Hill (as well as 2 other locations including their newest in North York at 399 Old Orchard Grove off of Avenue Road): Apple Pie ($3.00) – apple cupcake with honey and spice frosting.  Daily rotation; call ahead to find out (905-237-6406).
  • For the Love of Cake, 171 East Liberty Street: Caramel Apple ($3.00) – apple spice cupcake with caramel filling, caramel frosting, and topped with a caramel chew.  Daily rotation; call ahead to find out (416-306-6446) or check out their selectiom via Twitter @4theloveofcake 
  • Old Firehall Confectionery, 170 Main Street in Unionville, Markham: Apple Cinnamon ($2.89) – vanilla cupcake with apple cinnamon frosting and apple crisp and nut crumbles on top.  Seasonal, currently available.
  • Short & Sweet Cupcakes,1945 Avenue Road: Apple Cinnamon ($2.90) – apple cinnamon cupcake with caramel filling, vanilla frosting, and caramel drizzle.  Available during the month of September.
  • So Into Cupcakes, 2060 Ellesmere Road: Apple Cinnamon ($2.50) – cupcake stuffed with brown sugar apple filling and topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting and cinnamon sweet apples.  Available during the month of September.
  • The Social Cupcake, 129B Lakeshore Rd. East in Mississauga: Apple Cinnamon ($3.00) – apple cupcake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting.  Daily rotation, call ahead (905-271-7612) or follow them on Facebook and Twitter @social_cupcake

Feel free to leave a message here if you know of any other cupcake shops that are dishing out the luscious apples!

The Cupcake Connection, Vol. 004 – Short & Sweet Birthday Celebrations, Fashion’s Night Out & New Cupcakeries!

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Cupcakes like these would sweeten anybody’s back-to-school week!

New month, new school year, new season just around the corner, new Cupcake Connection!  I have to tell you, I am SO looking forward to fall and the end of the summer season.  Wearing summer dresses has been nice, but I’m ready to move on to fall flavours, clothes, and refreshing walks through colourful crunchy leaves with a warm cup of tea.  My mind and appetite have already shifted to pumpkin and squash meals, apple desserts, fall markets, and of course, seasonal delights at all the cupcake bakeries!  September is here and that means a whole slew of cupcake news to share to kick off the month and the beginning of the end of the hot and hazy days of summer, so let’s hop to it!

Short & Sweet Cupcakes is all over the cupake news circuit this month!  Not only are they official sponsors for Toronto’s very first Fashion’s Night Out this Thursday, September 6th, 2012 from 6pm-11pm (FNO, a global consumer initiative celebrating its 4th anniversary this year, is dedicated to making shopping an even bigger social and socializing event, creating excitement over fashion collections, designers, and the industry through different shopping events in different cities around the world, and aiming to restore consumer confidence in an economy drowning in recession woes), but they are also celebrating several different milestones of their own! 

This Saturday, September 8th, Short & Sweet will be raising a toast to their 1st birthday at their new location on Avenue Road, their 3rd birthday as a cupcake shop in Toronto, AND the birth of their soon-to-be 2nd store location opening later on this month, located in York Region!  Things have never been more exciting and hopeful for the team, so join in on the celebration and pop on by this Saturday for a cupcake party celebration!  You can view the photos from last year’s grand opening party HERE!

And funny enough, since we’re talking about Short & Sweet, you’ll never guess the type of business that recently moved into their old location at 399 Old Orchard Grove!  Or maybe you will since I’ve made it kind of obvious.  That’s right, a brand spankin’ new cupcake bakery has set up shop in Short & Sweet’s old residence!  Small world, right?  Introducing, Pink Lemon Bake Shop!  As a sister cupcake and cake shop to York Region’s Crumbs & Co., Pink Lemon Bake Shop opened their doors in Toronto for the first time this past June.  I haven’t been to the shop yet (I will get there eventually!), but flavours like blueberry champagne, fudge sundae, brownie fudge, and pink lemon will draw me there soon enough! 

And if that’s not enough to get your heart fluttering, another cupcake bakery and patisserie has waltzed into Toronto this past year (also located in North York), at 3543 Bathurst St., south of Wilson Ave. and the 401.  Walk into Bo-Bon, an East Coast American import from New York and New Jersey, specializing in cupcakes, gourmet marshmallows, meringues, chocolates, and Parisian macarons – all Kosher-certified!  If you’re a fellow “Cupcake Crusader”, definitely check out both shops and check them off your list if you’re looking for more cupcake goodness in Toronto!  It’s only a matter of time before I hit both, so sit tight because posts on both of them will come!

September also means the return of TIFF, the Toronto International Film Festival, and in true glamourous, red-carpet ready style, Le Dolci is holding a special TIFF themed cupcake decorating class on Sunday, September 9th from 4pm-6pm!  I had just started my adventures at old icing sugar towers around the time this class had happened last year and I still remember seeing adorable cupcakes decorated with fondant to resemble movie reels, popcorn buckets, directors’ clapboards, and other cute movie and TIFF related things!  There’s space available, so if you love movies and cupcakes, this class is perfect for you! 

Finally, a new month and a new season just around the corner means new products at DuffletFor a limited time, enjoy two new giant cupcakes at all Dufflet bakeries and cafes: a filled Coconut Dulce de Leche and a filled Luscious Lemon!  Both sound amazing and both are two of my favourite flavours ever!  Not to mention they have fillings!  Dufflet cupcakes are $2.85 each.  Dufflet’s fall beginnings and back-to-school newsletter can be found HERE where a listing of new products and promotions await you!  That’s all for this post, but I’m already so super excited about scoping out fall flavours and seasonal treats for the next Cupcake Connection!

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!