Bakery Review – Wicked Good Cupcakes

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I was recently contacted by the lovely ladies of Wicked Good Cupcakes and asked if I’d care to sample their cupcakes in jars.  Now I will be completely honest and admit that I had never heard of Wicked Good Cupcakes but OF COURSE I’d never pass up on opportunity to try cupcakes!  I will however admit that I had my reservations—cupcakes in jars??  Seemed slightly gimmicky to me and how fresh and delicious could these cupcakes possibly be?  Well, I was about to find out!

To start off, the jars came packaged neatly and securely in a box with four spoons.  They were adorable little mason jars which I was actually excited about because I realized after the cupcake is gone and they are thoroughly cleaned, they are reusable–yay!  So that was an immediate plus.  Now, on to the cupcakes!

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I was sent the three new spring flavors, Strawberry Lemon, Neapolitan, Tiramisu and a bonus flavor, Mr. Wonderful’s Cookie Butter.  I’m just going to get right to the main point–these cupcakes in jars were DELICIOUS.  Even my husband who is not a big cupcake person was loving them and my three year old daughter wouldn’t stop asking for bites!  An amazing combination of the most moist and flavorful cake and creamy, not-overly-sweet frosting in a tiny jar.  They actually tasted fresher than most cupcakes I’ve had from bakeries which was shocking to me!  These were really, really hard to not eat all of each and every jar.

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My absolute favorite was the Strawberry Lemon which is lemon and strawberry cake layered with strawberry jam and lemon buttercream frosting.  Tangy, sweet and just divine.  My second favorite was the Neapolitan which is chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cake layered with vanilla buttercream frosting and sprinkled with some cute chocolate jimmies on top.  Third favorite was Tiramisu which is vanilla cake with layers of coffee syrup, and tiramisu butter cream frosting.  And my least favorite (and my daughter’s new cake obsession haha!) was Mr. Wonderful’s Cookie Butter which was yummy cinnamon cake layered between homemade caramel and cookie butter buttercream frosting topped off with a dollop of Biscoff cookie butter in the center.  Don’t get me wrong, this one was super yummy just not my favorite.  If you love cinnamon it would probably be your top pick though!

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The only thing I noticed about the jars was that there was no description of each flavor like there is on the website and I think it would be nice to read what’s inside the jar when you open it up.  Kind of get your taste buds going before you have that first bite. 😉  As for price they are a tad pricey but you are getting the equivalent of two cupcakes in ONE jar plus a jar to keep!  In my mind totally worth the cost and they would make a fabulous gift for Mother’s Day or just about any special occasion…Valentine’s Day, birthdays, Christmas…or just treat yourself!  Don’t wait, order some today!

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Bakery Review – Grandma Ruth’s in Branson, MO

Cinnamon Roll

My friend Shana had raved many times about a little place in Branson, MO called Grandma Ruth’s that apparently has some of the BEST cinnamon rolls around.  So the first opportunity I got, I high-tailed it down to Branson and stopped into this little hole in the wall cinnamon roll shop!

CinnamonRollDough

Counter

The first thing I noticed was the music coming from the room that had the table and chairs where people were eating their treats…it was live music!  A guy with a guitar singing your typical country western tunes and he wasn’t bad!  And there is nothing fancy about this place, just basic tables and chairs in one room and then you enter the next room and it’s the “kitchen” and counter where you place your order.  It’s completely open so you can see all the baking happening and Grandma Ruth herself is sitting there making cinnamon rolls!  Adds a nice personal touch!

GrandmaRuth

Musician

Avery Music

The day we visited they had three kinds of rolls: Cinnamon, caramel and toffee.  We purchased two of each kind and made our way back to the tables and chairs area to eat them.  My favorite was the classic cinnamon followed by the caramel and then the toffee.  These rolls were HUGE, enough for two people to share!  And they were indeed delicious!  Tender, yeasty, not to sweet (ok the toffee was a tad too sweet for me!) and so good, just like you expect a classic cinnamon roll.  My daughter LOVED them and my hubby and I both enjoyed ours immensely.

Toffee Cinnamon Roll

Cinnamon Rolls

If you’re in Branson and looking for some sweet indulgence, these cinnamon rolls are just the thing!

Enjoy!

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Natasha’s Mulberry & Mott

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My friend Shawna had more than once told me how AWESOME Natasha’s on the Plaza in Kansas City was.  Especially their macarons, apparently the best and I LOVE macarons.  So, when Jeremy and I had a chance to go to a B&B in Excelsior Springs for a couple of days for our fifth anniversary (yay!), I knew that I would absolutely have Natasha’s on my agenda since KC was so close and I wanted to go shopping on the Plaza anyway.  Perfect!

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All I can say is from the time I walked into Natasha’s Mulberry & Mott until the time we left, I was absolutely mesmerized by everything about this little place.  I felt like I was in a little Parisian shop/cafe, surrounded by vintage furniture and picture frames, pristine white walls with pastel accents, gorgeous chandeliers and a little tea bar against one wall.  And the desserts…jars of cookies, bars and marshmallows,  assorted pastries, tarts and little cakes in the pastry case and the most impressive display of macarons I’ve ever seen!

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And the best part…because we were there on Saturday, they had a fresh batch of their massive brioche cinnamon rolls, covered in buttercream.  They apparently only make them on Friday and Saturday which is a shame because if I lived there, I’d buy one every. single. day.  They were TO DIE FOR.  We got one to share and then every flavor of macaron which was 14 different kinds in all.  We thought there was no way we’d be able to eat the whole cinnamon roll but oh my gosh, once we started, we couldn’t stop!  Best one I’ve ever had.  As for the macarons?  Also amazing and probably the best I’ve had.  I liked almost every one (except the maple bacon…I just can’t get into desserts with bacon ick) but Jeremy and I agreed our favorite was the margarita which I wasn’t expecting!

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Our overall rating:  5 out of 5 stars!  This place is a MUST if you are anywhere near the Plaza in Kansas City.  You will be in French pastry heaven!

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Bakery Review – The Sweet Tooth in Blue Springs, MO

The Sweet Tooth

The Sweet Tooth Inside

The Sweet Tooth Bakery Case

Recently the hubby and I went to a B&B in Excelsior Springs for our fifth anniversary and came across this little cupcake shop in Blue Springs, MO called The Sweet Tooth.  When we were there they happened to be remodeling so the place was in a bit of disarray but their cupcakes still looked fabulous and that’s all that matters, right?!  I had read online that their cheesecake was good and cupcakes were REALLY good so I was excited to try both!

Silly Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Cupcakse

I chose a plain, mini New York style cheesecake and four different kinds of cupcakes:  Lemon cake with lemon filling and frosting, white cake with white chocolate filling and raspberry buttercream, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and white cake with chocolate frosting.  I will be totally honest and say….that I loved them all!  I don’t know what it was about their cupcakes but they were just soooooooo good.  I can usually take one or two bites of a cupcake and be done but I wanted to eat all of each and every  one of these!

Pina Colada Cupcakes

Double Chocolate Cupcakes

The cakes were super moist and the frosting wasn’t overly sweet and the fillings were perfect.  I will say they were some of the best cupcakes I’ve had which I definitely was not expecting!  The cheesecake was also very good.  Highly, highly recommend this little shop!  A must if you are wanting some really delicious cupcakes.

Chocolate Mint Cupcake

 

Black and White Cupcakes

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Bakery Review – Hurts Donut in Springfield, MO

Hurts Donut Outside

Hurts Donut Sign

Hurts Donut Window

A few weeks ago a new donut (doughnut?  I never really know) shop opened in downtown Springfield, MO and people went NUTS.  I mean, NUTS.  It was lines out the door, front page news, donut PANDEMONIUM.  So of course I had to check it out and see what all the fuss was about.  We ventured downtown late one Saturday morning with stinker butt (that would be our daughter, Avery) and to our surprise there was no line out the door and hardly anyone inside.  Apparently we had just missed the rush.  Yay!  So we got to swagger right up to the counter where we were greeted with a plethora of brightly decorated, candy and cereal crusted donuts.

Hurts Donut Inside

 

Hurts Donut Menu

Hurts Donut Case

The variety was pretty big….from your basic glazed yeast donut to maple bacon long johns and cake donuts dipped in frosting and covered with cereal, candy bars, sprinkles and almost anything else you could imagine.  It reminded me of a place I had seen on Food Network years ago called VooDoo Doughnut in Portland, Oregon.

Fruity Pebble Donut

Cinnamon Crunch Donut

Captain Crunch Donut

Butterfinger Donut

So how were the donuts?  Pretty tasty.  I wasn’t a fan of the cake donuts with all the crazy toppings (cereal and candy on a donut just isn’t my thing) but the streusel yeast donut and glazed maple long john we had were quite delicious.  I can definitely understand the appeal to so many people with all the variety they have.  You’re bound to find something you like!  At this point, they are open 24 hours a day so check them out if you are in the area.  Hopefully this place will be around for awhile!

Animal Cookie and Coconut Donut

 

Box of Donuts

 

Streusel Donut

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Bakery Review: Elle’s Patisserie in Springfield, MO

Elle's Patisserie Outside

Elle's Patisserie Front Door

There’s a teeny little shop in our town that sells the most delicious treats.  And when I say delicious treats I’m talking legit truffles, ice cream and serious baked goods.  I had the pleasure of visiting Elle’s Patisserie a couple of weekends ago and was in love with the quaint little shop the moment we stepped inside.  From the cute purple exterior to the lovely little patio outside, everything about Elle’s is perfection.  The interior is relaxed and French inspired and tiny but the perfect size to display everything that comes out of the kitchen.

Elle's Patisserie Menus

Elle's Patisserie Menu

Elle's Patisserie Display Case

Elle's Patisserie Chairs

Elle's Patisserie Banner

Per usual, I wanted to try one of everything and was in a sort of daze just looking at all the truffles.  We sampled some ice cream (totally yummy) and then proceeded with the difficult task of deciding what we wanted to buy.  We finally narrowed it down to a piece of Chocolate Covered Bacon, a Salted Caramel Coffee Macaron, a Dark Ganache Truffle with Cocoa Nibs, a Peanut Butter Ball and a Peanut Butter Ganache Brownie.

Elle's Patisserie Ice Cream

Elle's Patisserie Macarons and Truffles

Elle's Patisserie Brownie

I won’t go into tons of detail about each one because they were all equally divine and if I wasn’t watching my girlish, post-pregnancy figure, I would have promptly bought one of each of everything else.  My favorite thing was probably the macaron.  Or maybe the dark ganache truffle.  Definitely a toss-up. Suffice it to say, Elle knows what she’s doing in the kitchen.

Elle's Patisserie Truffles

Elle's Patisserie Macaron

Elle's Patisserie Brownie and Treats

My only regret is that we didn’t get there a little earlier in the day.  By the time we arrived they were completely sold out of pastries.  Bummer!  But we’ll be back.  Elle’s is definitely a must-visit little chocolate shop so be sure and check them out if you are in Springfield, MO!

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Sugarjones in Rockford, IL

Alright, third sweet stop on our whirlwind trip to Illinois is Sugarjones in Rockford!  Now if you’ll recall we already got our chocolate and pie fix so naturally it was time for some CUPCAKES.  Honestly I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it to this place or not since we had to be at a wedding fairly early that day but lucky for us Sugarjones opened at 10 a.m. so after we got in our free out-of-towner workout on at the local YMCA, we headed over to Sugarjones to get ummmm…breakfast (I mean really, how many degrees of separation are there between a muffin and a cupcake?!  Yeah, not many.)

So we got there and the place was hoppin’!  They obviously had a ton of special orders that day…boxes were flying out the door!  The place was really cute and I loved how the kitchen was open and you could see everyone working away.  The owner herself was there and I actually got to meet her and tell her that I had a blog and would be doing a review on her place.  Fun!

The cupcakes themselves looked beautiful.  So simple and elegant.  I was sooo excited to try them.  We bought three different kinds:  Churro, Black & White and a Chocolate cupcake.  So how did they taste?   To sum it up in one word:  PHENOMENAL.  I am not joking when I say these are possibly the best cupcakes I’ve ever had  (aside from Red’s Cupcakes, of course!).  The cake was perfect, moist and tender and just divine.

The frosting was another thing altogether…I LOVED It.  The moment I tasted it, I was in heaven!  It was silky smooth and not at all sugary or greasy.  It reminded me of a Swiss or Italian buttercream but not quite the same.  I couldn’t put my finger on it so of course I had to ask the owner what it was!  Sure enough she said it was her version of a Swiss buttercream but without the egg whites.  So, her own recipe.  I TOTALLY wanted to ask her for it, but refrained.  But I still might.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, we did rank the cupcakes.  Honestly, it was almost a three-way tie because they were all soooo good that it was hard to choose but for me, my favorite was the Churro.  It had swirls of cinnamon and sugar in the cake and a dreamy vanilla frosting…it was beyond scrumptious.   The Black & White was my second favorite and then Chocolate was third.  But like I said, ALL were excellent.  I’m only sad that they are 8 hours away.

If you are in the area, I highly, HIGHLY recommend checking this place out.  Or if you have already, I’d love to hear your feedback!

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Hoosier Mama Pie Company

Ok, I’ve already covered stop #1 at The Chocolatier, Inc. on our Illinois getaway trip.  Now we come to our next sweet destination…Hoosier Mama Pie Company in Chicago.  I was SO excited about this bakery because it was the first pie place I have ever had the opportunity to go to–yay!  Usually it’s chocolate or cupcakes, but not this time!

Since my recent obsession with pies developed, I knew that when planning this trip, I HAD to find a pie place in Chicago for us to go to.  And believe it or not there were several that seemed good but this one really stood out and had awesome reviews.

First, I have to say that this place literally is a hole in the wall.  We drove by it the first time and I swore up and down that I didn’t see it…I mean, I was looking.  So, we did another circle, this time going as slow as possible with traffic all around and sure enough, there it was!  Luckily, there was a spot open almost right in front of it.

So we got in and immediately found ourselves in the teeny, tiniest space…like hard to move and not bump into people.  There were a total of three tables and one just happened to be opening up so we grabbed it.  And it was chaos from that moment on.  People did not stop coming in the door and it was a little overwhelming trying to choose the pies I wanted with a line forming.  But I managed to narrow it down to five (at $4 a slice it was not cheap!).  Here’s a little pic of the ones we got.  And yes, people DID look at our table like we were crazy.

Least favorite, I won’t lie, was the Chocolate Chess Pie.  I had been dying to try a chess pie because it was such an old-fashioned thing and I’d never had one.  But it was just..odd.  Kind of cake/brownie-like and you could definitely tell there was vinegar in it so I wasn’t really a fan.  Kind of non-descript to me.

Next least favorite was the Coconut Cream Pie.  I just tasted like vanilla bean to me (and I’m not a huge fan of vanilla bean–tragic, I know) with coconut mixed in.  So nothing special in my book.

However, things got a LOT better with the fruit pies.  The Apple Pie was scrumptious.  It was like apple cider in pie form.  We liked it alot.

Next the Peach & Cherry Pie was also delicious.  It had a pecan streusel topping that was sooooo good.  I loved it.

Finally, the Chocolate Cream Pie.  It was divine.  You could tell it was made with high-quality chocolate and was silky smooth.  Jeremy and I both thought it was the best of all of them.

We loved this little pie place and highly recommend it if you are ever in the Chicago area!

 

 

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The Chocolatier, Inc.

A couple of weeks ago Jeremy and I went on a little getaway to Illinois.  Illinois?  Yes, Illinois.  A friend of ours who lives in Rockford, IL was getting married the same week of our anniversary so we thought we’d make a it little anniversary celebration trip too.  We actually stayed in Bloomington, IL the first couple of days of our trip at a little B&B called the Vrooman Mansion (see pic above).  Except there is nothing little about this place…it has 18 rooms, a massive outdoor patio, several parlors and is just gorgeous!  I highly recommend this place if you are travelling through Illinois.  Oh, and the breakfast is divine!

We did lots of antiquating and some other mansion tours (one being the David Davis Mansion–who knew there were so many in Illinois?) and even hit up a winery that had live music one night.  Oh, and found a couple of totally fabulous restaurants.  We LOVED every minute in Bloomington.

Of course part of our trek through Illinois included some carefully researched sweet stops.  The first being this very unassuming chocolate shop in Bloomington, The Chocolatier, Inc.  It’s located in their downtown area and when we drove up I kind of thought it didn’t look too legit.  The outside was meh and inside there were ZERO frills…we’re talking bakery cases for the chocolates and then jars of bulk candy.  No gimmicks, no aesthetic niceties…nothing.

But guess what?  I was WRONG.  This place was more then legit.  It was crazy good.  I didn’t get any of the bulk candy, because I wanted to focus on the chocolate that was made there.  I can honestly say the chocolates at this place were perhaps the best I have ever had.  I’m talking melt in your mouth, nothing artificial, amazing, deliciousness.

Here’s what we got.  It was so hard to choose but I narrowed it down to six.  A Coffee Buttercream, Chocolate Covered Marshmallow, Marzipan Truffle, Amaretto Truffle, a Peanut Butter Cup and a Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle.

First of all, none of these were bad.  They were all delicious.  But of course we had to rank our favorites.  The Coffee Buttercream came in last only because I thought it could have used a tad more coffee flavor.  Next, was the Chocolate Covered Marshmallow which was actually really, really good and I have never found a homemade marshmallow I like better than mine (sorry, it’s true!).   After that the Marzipan came in fourth, only because the top three were soooo good.  So third was the Amaretto Truffle…amazing amaretto flavored ganache covered with a milk chocolate shell.  Yum.

Second was the Peanut Butter Cup.  Oh my gosh…I’ve always loved my homemade peanut butter balls but I thought this thing was way better.  So good.

And lastly the star of the show was the Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle.  Holy cow.  Amazing dark chocolate ganache middle infused with raspberry puree and covered in a dark chocolate shell.  It. Was. Divine.  Not to mention gorgeous.

So yeah.  This place is the real deal when it comes to chocolate.  Definitely go if you are ever there.  Our next stop was in Chicago at a teeny, tiny pie place…can’t wait to share with you next week!

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Bakery Review – Pinkitzel in Oklahoma City

Warning:  This post contains many pictures.  I apologize in advance.  However, I originally had 50 and managed to narrow it down to 20.  And yes, I know you’re dying to see ALL 50 so I have a slideshow at the very end of this post with every. single. photo.

Ok, so I’ve talked about the little trip Jeremy and I took to Oklahoma City and the bakeries we visited, here and here.  But I have saved the best for last.  Pinkitzel is the sole reason I wanted to go to Oklahoma City.  Ever since finding them online a few months ago, I have been absolutely DYING to visit.  And I finally got to!  Since I have ambitions of opening my own candy shop one day, Pinkitzel is a MAJOR inspiration in my book.  I was so excited to go.  Probably too excited.

From the moment we walked in, I tried to contain myself but it was hard!  I’m sure the employees thought we were nuts…Jeremy taking pictures, me jotting down notes…yeah, we looked crazy.  At least I felt like I did.  But I didn’t care!  I was in candy heaven and no one was raining on my parade.  First off, the decor is AMAZING.  Totally my style and pretty dang close to what I’d choose for a store of my own.  It was black, white and hot pink with a rococo/baroque feel to it.  The party rooms were out. of. this. world.  There is a black and white one that could be accented with the colors of the person’s party/event they are having.  I believe the room was set up for an engagement party when we were visiting that day.

And then you have a red/pink room that is very girly and a little smaller, probably more for a young girl’s birthday party or even a bridal or baby shower.  Both of the rooms were so neat and over the top, pretty much like everything in the store.

There were also tons of fun merchandise and nicknacks and novelty gifts.

And the candy.  Oh, the candy.  So much to choose from.  I tried to be really picky but still get a good variety–at $3.75 for 1/4lb, this stuff wasn’t cheap!  But I can honestly say, it was totally worth the price.  A million times better quality than the stuff you’d get somewhere else (like our local shop in Springfield, Mr. Bulky’s) and the selection was just phenomenal.

My only regret about this place was spending $9 on three, yes THREE, cupcakes that were horrible, instead of using it on more candy.  Yes, you are doing the math correctly…$3 each.  I had read reviews that people posted online saying the cupcakes were from somewhere like Sam’s Club and just frosted different colors and sure enough…that’s what they were.  Except I like the cupcakes from Sam’s Club (shocker, I know) and I definitely did NOT like these.  They were even smaller than a regular size cupcake (if you can imagine that) and so loaded with artificially flavored frosting they were nearly inedible.  Let’s just say it was a good thing we were sitting right next to a trash can.  They also had a selection of chocolate truffles that were decent.  Not the best, but definitely ok.

BUT, the candy more than made up for the cupcakes and truffles.  I think it’s clear that the main product focus is the candy and it’s worth every penny.  I truly wish I’d just stuck with candy but I have no doubt I’ll be back to this place.  It’s sensory overload in every way and I love it!  Definitely make sure you stop in if you’re ever in the area!

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Bakery Review – CocoFlow and Bricktown Candy Co. in Oklahoma City

Pretty waterway on our short stroll from CocoFlow to Bricktown Candy Co.

A couple weeks ago I posted about a trip Jeremy and I took to Oklahoma City to visit a few bakeries and cupcake shops, all in the name of research, of course!  We started out our day bright and early with Sara Sara Cupcakes and from there hit up CocoFlow and Bricktown Candy Co.  I won’t go into many details because either of these places because I honestly wasn’t blown away by them.  But here’s a quick rundown with lots of pictures!

Patio outside of CocoFlow.
One of the bakery cases at CocoFlow and a shot of the interior.

I choose CocoFlow because I thought it would be neat to go to a place that wasn’t cupcakes and instead focused on chocolate truffles.  I was actually really excited to visit this little shop right in the heart of Bricktown.  It was a very unassuming, cafe type space.  When we got there, there was actually a chocolate making class in full-swing which I thought was SO cool and wanted so badly to join but we would have had to have previously signed up so it was a no-go.  They had a pretty good variety of chocolate truffles to choose from, a few jars of HUGE cookies and some other miscellaneous baked goods.  I choose a Chili Truffle, Marzipan Truffle, Peanut Butter Cup and Coconut Macaroon.  Jeremy got a lemon bar.

Truffles at CocoFlow.
Peanut Butter Cup at CocoFlow.

My first indication of the quality of this place was when employee waiting on us unwrapped the previously made (who knows when?) lemon bar right in front of us and plopped it on the plate and then proceeded to ask if we wanted powdered sugar on it or not.  Umm, sure.  She then proceeded to ring up our treats (unsuccessfully) and after five or six attempts we were finally able to pay and headed outside to sit on the deck, in the lovely late morning weather.

Lemon Bar from CocoFlow.

I’m going to be honest here…the Chili Truffle was a huge bomb.  We wondered if we got the right thing because there was absolutely ZERO chili/heat to this thing and it was coated in granulated sugar which I just thought was weird.  The Peanut Butter Cup was actually a massive chocolate ganache truffle, dipped in chocolate and then topped with a dollop of peanut butter.  The Marzipan Truffle was again, a thick layer of ganache, a very thin, barely there layer of marzipan and it was dipped in chocolate.  The lemon bar was ok.  Lemon goo and a shortbread crust and almost too sweet.  My favorite (and the only thing I liked..actually I LOVED this thing) was the Coconut Macaroon.  It was decadent and chewy, had loads of almond flavor and was dipped in a dark chocolate.  It was divine.  Needless to say we won’t be back to that place…unless of course, to get a coconut macaroon.

Truffles and Coconut Macaroon from CocoFlow.

Bricktown Candy Co. was also nothing to write home about.  I was kind of shocked by the aesthetics of this place.  They have a prime location in the heart of a historic district but the inside is very rundown, warehouse like.  It’s pretty big and divided into one side which is primarily bulk candy and the other side is gelato and almost every bottled drink and soda known to mankind.

Bricktown Candy Co.

The candy was ok but pretty much the same thing I can get at our local Mr. Bulky’s.  Not the best or freshest but definitely not stale and gross.  Just good, standard candy.  I did try the gelato and it was actually really good…if it hadn’t been 11 in the morning I probably would have gotten some but it was just a little early for ice cream (But ya know not too early for chocolate, cupcakes and candy.  Ugh.).

A shot of the bulk candy side of Bricktown Candy Co.
Taffy and other miscellaneous candy at Bricktown Candy Co.

My biggest issue with this place?  The teenager girl that was working the cash register, smacking her gum and talking on a phone the WHOLE time we were there, including while we were checking out.  Gee, sorry are we interrupting your highly important conversation??  Don’t mind us, just customers wanting to GIVE YOU MONEY.  I mean, really?!  It was so rude.  To make matters worse, one of the managers was there and knew she was on the phone and apparently didn’t think anything of it.  We totally felt like we were an inconvenience to this girl’s phone call.  Yeah, not going back.

Ok maybe for gelato…maybe.

Gelato! It was good. The peppermint was my favorite.
Walls of Soda at Bricktown Candy Co.
This was the side of Bricktown Candy Co. that had the gelato, soda and other paraphernalia.

Ok, so not such great choices on my part but it was still fun to try some new places.  And the day definitely gets better!  Next review–Pinkitzel!

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Bakery Review – Sara Sara Cupcakes in Oklahoma City

Jeremy and I took a whirlwind trip to Oklahoma City this weekend.  The original purpose of the trip was to visit a little candy shop I have been eyeing online for what seems like forever called Pinkitzel.  From what I had seen of their website, this place seemed like a candy lovers dream and their decor was right up my alley–pink, white, black and Rococo everywhere!!  I was absolutely in love.  I had to go.  NOW.  So we decided to do it and after realizing it would take nearly 5 hours to make the drive, we booked a hotel.  Well, at least I thought we had booked a hotel. Jeremy surprised me by booking a B&B just outside of the Tulsa area.  It was so sweet…I think I’ll keep him. 😉

So knowing that we didn’t have to rush back and could just do whatever on Saturday, I immediately looked up other places around OKC we could get our sugar fix at.  I found a few cupcake places and narrowed it down to one and then also discovered another candy shop and a chocolate shop.  Fun!

We set out early (5:30!) Saturday morning and made it just in time for our first destination to open up.  Sara Sara Cupcakes is located in an old, historic party of Oklahoma City…and it is SO ADORABLE.  The house is quite aged, probably built in the early 1900’s which of course only adds to the charm.  They’ve painted the doors pink and the inside is totally white and clean/modern looking.  I loved it.

 As for the cupcakes, they were HUGE which made sense since they were $3.59 each.  I kind of freaked out about the price (however would I be able to try  my regular half dozen?!), but then I was informed that on that day they were 3 for $9…not bad!

So it was decision time…I hate this part!  I am HORRIBLE at making decisions, especially when it comes to dessert and I was struggling.  I can’t tell you how many times the employees at these places stare at me like I’m crazy while I stand in front of their bakery cases looking constipated and Jeremy is flitting around taking pictures.  Yeah…we probably look insane.  But oh well, all in the name of research!  So I managed to decide, with some input from Jeremy, and we came up with the following delightful cupcakes:  Coconut Cream, Crimson & Cream and Judge Joe Cannon.  I will say up front that these cupcakes are delicious and straightforward.  They were all homey and just good.  Nothing fancy or over the top.  Cake and frosting.  That being said, here’s the breakdown of each one.

Our least favorite was the Crimson & Cream.  And not because it was bad!  It definitely was not bad, it was just not our favorite.  The red velvet cake was the perfect buttermilk, red velvet cake…so moist and the cocoa was just barely noticeable.  Like red velvet should be.  Topped with a delicious, not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting and chocolate shavings.  We liked it a lot.

Our next favorite was the Judge Joe Cannon, a banana cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting and chunks of Snickers.  I personally LOVED this banana cupcake because it was actually a super thick and dense banana bread.  Oh, it was soooo good.  However, the frosting was totally a let down…it was not a buttercream but more like a whipped topping that was greasy and slightly grainy.  I was really bummed about it because I loved the cake part so much.

And our absolute favorite was the Coconut Cream.   A delicious and moist chocolate cake topped with a milk chocolate frosting and yummy toasted coconut.  Loved it.

 

 Such a great start to the weekend!  If you are in the area, definitely pick up some cupcakes from them!

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DC Bakery Review #4: Alexandria Cupcake

Ok, here it is, Alexandria Cupcake,  the last place we stopped at on our whirlwind DC cupcake tour!  And thank God it was the last one…I don’t think I could have taken much more.

But things ended on a high note because this place was AWESOME.  Located in Old Town Alexandria, it was in a super tiny little space that was very basic and no frills (as you can see from the pics) with only one tiny table and two tiny chairs, but it was by far our FAVORITE place we tried out of the four.  These people totally know how to do cupcakes…the cake was super moist and perfect texture and the buttercream was exactly that…BUTTERcream.  It was so silky smooth and delicious…holy cow, I could have just eaten the frosting.  And nothing artificial was used to flavor these cupcakes, which I could really appreciate!

Our box of cupcakes...should have gotten four. It just looks wrong with only three...

We chose 3 different kinds and somehow managed to eat every last bite of them.  You know a cupcake is good when after eating a dozen plus cupcakes, you somehow manage to find room for three more–thank God we were sharing!!

Stout Cupcake with Bailey's Cream Cheese Buttercream.
Vanilla Bean Cupcake with Raspberry Buttercream.
Almond Cupcake with Almond Buttercream (my personal favorite).

Well, that’s a wrap of my DC cupcake binge.  HAH.  Hope you all enjoyed reading and found some new cupcake places to visit next time your in the DC area.  And if you know of any I didn’t get to, I’d love to hear about them!

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DC Bakery Review #2: Georgetown Cupcake

Line outside Georgetown Cupcake. Thank goodness it wasn't too cold!

Disclaimer (again):  Pics taken with phone, at night.  In two different places.

After our adventure at Sprinkles, Joelle and I headed to Georgetown Cupcakes…to wait in a really long line.  If you’re not familiar, these gals have a show on TLC and therefore have lines out their door that wrap around the block!  It actually wasn’t too bad when we arrived and I believe we ended up waiting about 45 minutes before we got inside.

Tried to get a good shot of the action...it was a madhouse.
Says it all.

The inside of the store was very cramped and definitely not made for crowds of people/fans.  There were only a couple of tables so we knew right away we’d wouldn’t be able to stay.  We picked out four different kinds of cupcakes and headed to the next bakery to eat them, hoping there would be adequate tables at the next place.

We didn’t have high hopes for this place.  Joelle had tried them once before and had not been too impressed and I had heard from other people that had been there that they weren’t great.  So we started trying them and the moment of truth–they weren’t bad!  I was honestly surprised!  The cakes were all moist and the frosting was pretty good, not the best I’ve ever had but definitely yummy.

Georgetown cupcake boxes...doesn't quite show how cute the pink boxes were.

Here are the flavors we tried and the description of each from Georgetown’s website:

Vanilla Birthday: Classic madagascar bourbon vanilla cupcake topped with a traditional sweet vanilla buttercream frosting and rainbow sprinkles.

Chocolate Mint Crunch: Valrhona chocolate cupcake baked with mint cookie pieces, topped with mint-infused whipped Callebaut chocolate frosting and mint cookie crumble.

Lemon Blossom: Light lemon cupcake with a lemon cream cheese frosting topped with a candied lemon.

Chocolate PB Chip: Valrhona chocolate cupcake baked with peanut butter chips topped with a peanut butter frosting and a chocolate ganache drizzle.

Lemon and PB Chocolate Chip...the peanut butter frosting had a little frosting "landslide" issue on the way to our next stop.

Oh I should mention these cupcakes were UNDER $3 each which was nice!  And a total surprise.

Ok, so who has been to Georgetown Cupcake??  I want to hear your review!

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DC Bakery Review #1: Sprinkles Cupcakes

Yay! I'm at Sprinkles!

Disclaimer:  These pictures were taken with my phone.  At night.  Sorry.

I recently took a whirlwind trip to DC to visit one of my best friends, Joelle.  I had already visited once a few years ago and got the full tourist experience–we hit up all the landmarks and historic places.  It was awesome!  So this time we did something a little different than most people do who visit DC:  we had one HUGE girls weekend with shopping and eating 24/7.  It. Was. Awesome.

One of my stated goals while I was in DC was to hit up a few cupcake shops that we didn’t have in little ‘ole Springfield, MO; namely Sprinkles and Georgetown.  These two are probably a couple of the best known bakeries in the country thanks to TV and I had to see what all the hype is about.  We also got around to Alexandria Cupcake and a bonus bakery that a random lady at Sprinkles told us about called Baked and Wired, but for now I’ll start with our least favorite of the four:  Sprinkles.

Picture of Candace with the other judges, host and builders from Cupcake Wars on the wall at Sprinkles.
Bakery case at Sprinkles.

Yes, I know.  How could I?!  Everyone loves Candace Nelson on Cupcake Wars.  She’s the pretty judge, the cupcake queen, the “founder of the world’s first cupcake bakery”, etc, etc.  But I have to be honest…I simply was not impressed with her cupcakes like I thought I would be.  They weren’t horrible, just not exciting and amazing.  The flavors were very reserved and honestly kind of boring (much like the small, two-table storefront!).  We chose Vanilla, Chocolate Marshmallow, Chai Latte and Cinnamon Sugar.

Sprinkles box with some of our goodies.

Cinnamon Sugar was the least favorite…I guess we didn’t get the memo it was sans frosting and more close in likeness to a buttermilk cinnamon sugar muffin.

Cinnamon Sugar

Next, Chocolate Marshmallow…the cake was a good, mild chocolate cake but it just barely had a dollop of marshmallow creme in the middle and a thick layer of chocolate over the whole cupcake.  It was just ok also.

Chocolate Marshmallow

Next the Vanilla, which was pretty good.  It had a nice vanilla flavor and the frosting was not too sweet, but all the sprinkles covering the top of it kind of ruined it for me.  I mean, there were ALOT of sprinkles covering that thing.

Vanilla

Joelle and I agreed the Chai Latte was definitely the best one with a yummy chai flavor throughout the cupcake and frosting. Oh, and those little dot things on top?  Definitely NOT edible.

So Sprinkles was indeed a bit disappointing but things only got better from there.  I’ll have three more reviews of the other bakeries coming over the next three weeks so stay tuned!  But before you go I have to ask–have you ever been to Sprinkles and if so, what was your impression??  Did you like it?  The best you’ve ever had or have you had better??  I’m curious!

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Bakery Review – TwentyOne Cakes in Nixa, MO

Cupcake places are popping up everywhere!  It’s madness I tell you!  Delicious, sweet (slightly sickening) madness!  Believe it or not, after Jeremy and I stopped at Stacey’s Sweets in Ozark, we hightailed it to Nixa to try ANOTHER new cupcake joint.  I have to be honest…this place was good but after trying several different kinds of cupcakes and a brownie at Stacey’s Sweets, I probably was a little sugared out at this point.  TwentyOne Cakes is in a house turned bakery right on Highway 14.  It’s a very straightforward, unassuming place.  I was surprised to walk in and see the cupcakes were actually mini cupcakes which I was VERY thankful for after gorging ourselves on EIGHT regular size ones not even an hour earlier.  There were also a couple of different kinds of cake pops, a HUGE peanut butter chocolate chip cookie and I believe there was a cake also that you could get by the slice.

My only criticism of this bakery was the lack of just a basic cupcake.  Most of the flavors were somewhat unique and different if not what some might consider “odd” and I really like to try at least a couple basic cupcakes when I go somewhere new.  Then again I might have just come on the wrong day.  I did however think her cakes were nice and moist (which is impressive for minis!) and the buttercreams were quite delicious.  And I wasn’t a fan of the cookie; it wasn’t quite as soft and chewy as I prefer.  But hey, that’s just me.  Overall, a delicious experience!  Here’s what we ended up choosing:

Maple Bacon

German Chocolate

Strawberry

Red Hot

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie

If you are in Nixa, check this place out for a sweet fix!  And if you’ve been there, let me know what you think!

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Bakery Review – My Daddy’s Cheesecake in Cape Girardeau

As I mentioned last week in my B&B Weekend post, we stopped in at a bakery called My Daddy’s Cheesecake while were out and about exploring Cape Girardeau and hitting up antique shops.  I did NOT expect the town to have a bakery, let alone one that offered all that this one did!  The building was very straightforward, nothing kitschy or frilly about it and kind of reminded me a of a Panera Bread or McCallister’s restaurant.  They did, in fact, have quite a menu of food other than dessert but that was NOT what I was there for–I had come to get a sugar high!

First of all, let’s just start with the selection.  They had not one, not two, not three, but FOUR bakery cases jam-packed with so many different, mouth-watering treats that I was immediately overwhelmed and thought “Holy crap, how am I going to decide!”.  We’re talking one whole case with only cheesecake (of course!), another with cupcakes, gooey butter cake slices, chocolate covered strawberries, cannoli, etc, another with muffins, cinnamon rolls, Italian pastries and yet another case pretty much devoted entirely to cookies…you name it, I’m pretty sure they had it!

So after a little (ok, a LOT of) deliberation, we made our choices!  So, here they are, in no particular order.  Ok, that’s a lie.  They are definitely in order, from least favorite to most favorite.  These are my selections, although Jeremy and I agreed on our top three.  Yay!   Ok, here we go!  (First, a picture of the spread!  I’m sure people thought we were absolute pigs!!)

First up in sixth place the Red Velvet Gooey Butter Cookie.  I chose this cookie because not only were there only two left (from a massive tray of them) the girl that was helping raved on and on about them.  I was excited.  And then I was sad.  These cookies were, in a word, horrible.  It was dry, crunchy and tasteless and I wanted so badly to spit it out but didn’t have a napkin.  I knew I should have gone with my gut and got the white chocolate macadamia nut cookie and I was *this close* to going back up to the counter and asking for a trade-in or something.  But I didn’t.  So here is the red velvet cookie, dead last.  Sigh.

Fifth, the baklava.  I love baklava.  LOVE.  But this just didn’t hit the spot for me.  It was ok, but a little dry and lacking some serious honey/gooey factor that is a necessary component of great baklava.  Not bad, just not outstanding.

Fourth, the Chocolate Raspberry Swirled Cheesecake.  It was decent but to be honest both the cheesecakes to me were more thick (solid?) and like a very firm ganache consistency than they were creamy.  The texture was just a bit off for me.

Third, the Amaretto Cheesecake.  Again, texture weird, but the Amaretto flavor redeemed it slightly for me–that was YUMMY.

Second, the Chocolate Ganache Cupcake.  I have to say this was a very good cupcake.  The cake was tender and fluffy, the chocolate frosting was delicious and the chocolate shavings on top were so yummy.  Only complaint was the massive tunnel of chocolate ganache inside the cupcake that had completely hardened.  A little awkward trying to cut into the cupcake but we managed!

And, drum roll please, first place goes to…the Cannoli!  Woo hoo!  This thing was deeeeeelicious.  I couldn’t stop eating it.  And I didn’t.  And I did not care.

So the desserts were a little less than stellar and seemed to be more style than substance but I’d really like to go back and try some other things, since they have such a variety!   And I heard people raving about the cinnamon rolls which were so huge and nearly sold out…I KNEW I should have tried one!  Oh well, next time.

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Bakery Review – Stacey’s Sweets in Ozark

 

This past weekend Jeremy and I went on a cupcake tasting roadtrip to some new bakeries in Ozark and Nixa.  I had been following Stacey’s Sweets on Facebook and every picture she would post looked sooo good and I was so excited to finally get a chance to taste everything!  Her shop is located in the corner of an older building on the square in Ozark and even though it was tiny, it was packed with cuteness.  She even had a couple of small tables and chairs to eat at, which we took full advantage of.

I went ahead and ordered one of each cupcake she had in the case (eight total!) because at $1.75 apiece they were VERY affordable (if not somewhat underpriced!) and also got a brownie because they looked delicious.  I passed on the cake pops, but they were covered in sparkly red, pink and purple sanding sugar and totally adorable…very tempting.  We started tasting with the brownie and wow, it was SO good.  Very fudgy, loaded with chocolate chips and had that nice thin crackle “crust” on the top.  We had a hard time not eating the whole thing.

Cake Pops
Fudge Brownie

Next up, cupcake tasting!  The flavors were Red Velvet, Wedding Cake, Cookie Dough, Pretty Princess Strawberry, Double Chocolate, Peanut Butter Cup, Honeybee and Cherry Bomb (see photo captions for descriptions).  I can honestly say that these cupcakes not only looked pretty but were so yummy!  Her cakes were light and fluffy and the frosting was not overly sweet but somewhat airy and not heavy or greasy, which was nice.  It’s one of the better cupcake tasting experiences I’ve had in a loooong time!  I could definitely see myself making a special trip to Ozark just for these cupcakes (or the brownie!) and would strongly advise you to do the same–you will NOT be disappointed!

Red Velvet--Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting topped with a Heart Gummy Candy
Pretty Princess Strawberry--Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Buttercream
Peanut Butter Cup--Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting and Mini Peanut Butter Cup
Honeybee--Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting, Honey Drizzle, Chopped Peanuts and Banana Chip
Double Chocolate--Dark Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream and Mini Chocolate Chips
Cookie Dough--Chocolate Chip Cake filled with Cookie Dough, topped with Brown Sugar Buttercream and Mini Chocolate Chips
Cherry Bomb--Cherry Cake with Cherry Filling, Cherry Buttercream, dipped in Ganache and topped with a Cherry
Wedding Cake--White Cake, Vanilla Buttercream, Candy Pearls
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Cupcakes…from Walgreens?

Yes, you read that right.  Walgreens now sells cupcakes under the name Good & Delish.  Jeremy and I were in this past weekend when we saw them and our curiosity was piqued.  I mean, isn’t buying a cupcake from Walgreens the equivalent of buying one at a gas station?  I mean, you just don’t do that!  It’s cupcake SIN.  But, we had to try these.  I was curious about the claim that they were “all natural” and was certain they would be just downright horrible.  So, I picked out three at $1.99 each and off we went to try them at home.

First up, Strawberry.  It was indeed all natural, deriving the strawberry flavor and pink color from beet juice.  My first impression of this cupcake was that it was HUGE.  Way bigger than a normal size cupcake.  My second thought was…”hmm, this isn’t bad”.  I mean, it was actually…gulp…good.  Yes, I know!  It’s cupcake sacrilege but the vanilla cake was actually VERY dense and moist and honestly good!!  The “strawberry” flavored frosting tasted more like cranberry or some other slightly indescribable berry, which wasn’t horrible, just not strawberry. And don’t be fooled by the little dollop of frosting on top; there is a tunnel of frosting down the middle.

On to the second one, Red Velvet.  Ummm, it was good too.  Not out of this world amazing, but in a pinch, it would curb that craving you have for something sweet and is far superior than something you’d pick up from Wal-mart.  Although this one was labeled “All Natural Flavors” due to the red dye in it.  Ah, details.

And last, Tuxedo.  Ok, get ready for this people…I really, REALLY liked this one.  Jeremy and I both agreed it was our favorite. It was a dark chocolate cake that was honestly soooo good.  Very rich and super moist (how do they do that?!?) and the cream cheese frosting was yummy as well.

Oh, and this is a Black Cherry drink under the same label, that Jeremy just had to try.  Again, very good.  Awesome cherry flavor and it was lightly carbonated.

Needless to say, we were impressed.  Seriously, I can’t believe I’m saying that!!  I totally expected these to be the WORST cupcakes ever but that was not the case at all.

So, if the urge ever hits you around 2 a.m. for a cupcake, now you know where to go!

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Dino’s 24 Karrot Cake Company

In case you don’t live in the Ozarks or anywhere near Branson, MO you might not be familiar with an entertainer named Dino but he is actually fairly well-known for his musical abilities in these neck of the woods.  He is also known for his carrot cake.  Yes, carrot cake.  Supposedly it’s an old family recipe that had been passed down and he decided to open up a bakery featuring the carrot cake as it’s star and of course added a few more tasty cake options.

I had been hearing about this carrot cake from family members who lived around that area but never made it in to Hollister, where his first bakery is located.  So a couple of weeks ago when Jeremy and I were in Branson, I discovered he had opened up a second location at The Landing.  I was so excited!  I’d finally get to try his famous carrot cake!

He didn’t have a ton of options on the menu (which is probably a good thing for me since I can be so indecisive) but what was available all looked so delicious it was hard to decide.  And it’s not like we could order 12 different things…these were cake slices, not little cupcakes, so it was all a bit more pricey.  I think the slices were around $5 and the cupcakes were $2.50.

I decided I wanted to try the 24Karrot Cake (obviously) along with a Pumpkin Cupcake.  The carrot cake, was really good and very rich.  It was super moist and had chunks of walnuts, coconut and pineapple all through it.  It didn’t have quite as much spice as I normally like in carrot cake and it actually tasted a bit buttery to me, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

The pumpkin cupcake was another story…it was absolutely horrible.  We both took one bite and had to throw it away.  The cake was very dry and hardly tasted like pumpkin and the icing was just bland and hardly had any cinnamon in it at all.  It was very odd and I honestly just wondered if something went wrong with that batch.

Jeremy chose the Chocolate Fudge Cake and I have to say it was both our favorite choice by far.  The chocolate cake was divine and it was filled with layers of light chocolate buttercream and the whole thing was covered in chocolate ganache.  It was awesome.   Somehow Jeremy’s choice always ends up being our favorite!

Oh and the cinnamon rolls looked AMAZING and I noticed lots of people buying those and I so wanted to get one but didn’t.  I will definitely try one next time.  If you’re down at The Landing to do some holiday shopping, be sure to stop in and try Dino’s bakery!

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