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29 June 2012

La Creme Bakery Cupcakes Review

Location: Woodland Hills, California
Rating: 4 out of 5
Prices: $2.00-$3.00 (depending on the type of cupcake)

This lovely bakery is the is also the bakery that made my wedding cake- so I guess you could say that I have very fond feelings for La Creme. Similar to Juliette's Bakery- it makes not only cupcakes but a plethora of other desserts (cookies, bars, tarts, petit fours, and specialty cake of course! Well I had to stop by to make th final payment for my wedding cake and drop off some fresh flowers for the cake. After a long day of driving around Los Angeles with my sister and cousin doing random errands for the wedding, we were hungry and definitely in need of a happy treat. Being that they are all related to me- they of course enjoy cupcakes as much as I do! 

Red Velvet

So, I decided to pick some up so we could enjoy them on our way home. I got lemon for the hubster (though I do not have a pictures because he ate it before I had the chance ;) ), as well as Red Velvet (of course), German Chocolate and Double Chocolate. They had many more, but none that I were to keen to taste (but if you are a raspberry fan you may be interested to know that they have something for you). And much to my sister's happiness, La Creme has filled cupcakes! After finding out they were filled- we waited to eat them until we got home so I could cut them and take pictures for you all. Isn't my family so understanding?!

German Chocolate


I clearly rated La Creme Bakery very well. Its quite obvious by now that to get a 4 star rating from me or higher, requires some good cupcake making. Their cupcakes are moist, adorably decorated, have a wonderful cupcake to frosting ratio and they are filled (so bonus points to them). These cupcakes just melt in your mouth. And if I at the time my wedding wasn't the next day, I would have easily stuffed my face. The problem was I was getting married, so little pieces were all I had. So why a 4 and not a perfect score.

Double Chocolate


Well, the cupcakes are packed in simple plastic containers, so no creativity for them. I thought I would not care how they came as long as they were yummy and to the most part I have to say that is true, but after visiting a few, I like a little anticipation in feeling like I have this gift box to open and there awaits a delicious treat. The clear plastic box, gives that way. Also- though the German chocolate was beautiful and filled- the amount of frosting and the filling (which was the exact same as the frosting) was way too overpowering for my taste. I lost the taste of the cake- it just felt like eating a blob of frosting. If you like that, then hey that’s a plus! Bottom line: if you are in Woodland Hills and are craving something sweet (or even if you are not)- check out La Creme Bakery :) You will not be sorry!

Which my wedding cake not only looked amazing but tasted amazing. In fact out of four large tiers for 150 people- it was almost entirely gone. And for those of you who are curious: I got a butter cream frosted cake with a layer of chocolate filled with cookies and cream (taste as wonderful as it sounds), vanilla filled with strawberry, marble cake filled with fudge and vanilla filled with lemon (duh! the top tier was a hubster pick).

25 June 2012

Trader Joe's Cupcakes Review

Location: National
Price: $3.99/pack of four cupcakes
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

So I've listed Trader Joe's as national BUT I am fully aware that it isnt quite "national"- meaning that it is not located in every state. I know this first hand, since I moved from California, where there was an abundance of Trader Joe's to Houston, Texas (and College Station, Texas)- where there are none. It's an absolutely tragic thing because I just adore Trader Joe's. For those of you who have not been there, they have an amazing selection of international and non-international foods, as well as organic, healthy, interesting, (you name it) selection. Anywhoo...another cupcake place that I visited while in California, was Trader Joes. You see, the hubster had never been but has always heard me raving about them, so I decided to take him. While searching through all their wonderful selection of delicious goodies- I saw that since I last visited they have a Trader Joe's Cupcake Line! 

Well, I could not let that slip though my notice- so I grabbed a pack. Although they had Red Velvet, I chose not to take it because I've been a bit biased towards that flavor and I wanted to choose something different. Instead I grabbed the pack of Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes. For those of you who are curious- they sell Red Velvet, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Filled Cupcakes, and Carrot Cake Cupcakes (they may have more, but not at the location I was shopping in). So off I went with my pack of four cupcakes (and for the price of what I usually get one cupcake, I was ecstatic). As for the photo, I got it online, because my brother ate the cupcakes before i had a chance to photograph them. But they are packaged in a plastic container of four with a Trader Joe sticker keeping them sealed. And they are filled with peanut butter. 

Again, since I was so close to the wedding- I chose to have half of a cupcake. That way I could try the cake plus the peanut butter filling. And let me tell you I was glad I did! This was one of the best cupcakes I have ever tried! It was absolutely delicious and knowing that it was not from a cupcakery but a grocery store chain just blew me away. The cupcake was so moist (it almost melted in your mouth), the frosting was perfect (though if you like a lot of frosting you will be disappointed because these cupcakes err on the side of less is more), they were filled (so my sister would love them) and they looked cute and simple (just the way I like it). 

So why a 4.5 and not a 5? Well, although I like cute and simple, I do admire the cupcakeries that put a lot of effort in some awesome decorating. And although Trader Joe's is not a cupcakery- I gotta be fair- and take off a little for the simplicity. And, I had one other small change I would make. The dark chocolate was slightly overpowering (for me)- I am a bit of a milk chocolate fan. But if you like dark chocolate then you'll love these :) Bottom line: if you live near a Trader Joe's, it will do you great good to try these cupcakes. You will not be sorry. If you do not live near a Trader Joe's (dream of moving near one like I do ;) ). 

23 June 2012

The Original Yummy Cupcakes Review

Location: Burbank, California
Prices: 3.25 per cupcake (1.65 per mini cupcake)
Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

While in California planning for the wedding and meeting with vendors, my sister took me to one of her favorite cupcakeries- The Original Yummy Cupcakes. She shared that their Fudge Yummy cupcake was delicious and that my brother really enjoyed them. Well it happened to be Father's Day- so we decided to get a few types of cupcakes for ourselves, my brother, and my father to celebrate. Well when we went, they ran out of the Fudge Yummy cupcake. My sister was so bummed. I did not get to try the infamous cupcake. So we decided to get Red Velvet with Chocolate Cream Cheese Ice Cream, Chocolate Covered Macaroon, and Chocolate on Chocolate (I cannot remember the "Yummy Name").  I've been working really hard on taking well photographed pictures, however, I only had my iPhone while at my parents home- forgive me in advance.

Yummy Cupcake logo packed in cute brown cardboard boxes
I gave The Original Yummy's Cupcakes a 1 out of 5 stars. And given that my sister raved about it, I was surprised to give it the rating that I did. Also their website shares that they were voted one of the top cupcakeries in Los Angeles through City Search (and there are a lot of cupcakeries in Los Angeles- so again I was quite surprised). Though they did not have Fudge Yummy Cupcakes, I was still excited because they had some interesting things, especially the Red Velvet Cupcake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting. Sadly when I tried the cupcakes, a little piece of all of them- it was absolutely awful. I feel horrible for saying- but they were just gross (to be blunt).

Red Velvet with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Covered Macaroon

Mini- which we got for my niece so I did not try this one

The cupcakes were moist and the frosting to cupcake ratio was good (except for the chocolate chocolate. The look of the cupcakes were a hit and miss. Some were cute, like the Chocolate Covered Macaroon and some were sloppy like the Red Velvet. Also, the store does have a VAST array of flavors, so for those of you who like to try different things- this would be an interesting place to go. And it limits me in reviewing this cupcakery since I have not tried all of the flavors (but then again, I do not really have that chance at any of the cupcakeries I visit). But in the end- regardless of variety, frosting ratio and moistness- once you bite in you will be turned off immediately. Sorry to my sister but save your $3.25 and go to one of the many other places in Los Angeles- this place is a fail. Yelp reviewers rated Yummy Cupcakes a 3.5. So I guess I just did not feel the same way.

13 June 2012

Juliette's Bakery Cupcakes Review

Location: La Quinta, CA
Price: $2.00-$3.00 (depending on type of cupcake)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Only three weeks before my wedding- another conference took me to La Quinta, California. In my down time, I decided I must find a cupcakery and make a visit. Well sadly, there was just one cupcakery- Juliette's Bakery. Not so much a cupkaery as a general bakery but they did sell cupcakes. What can I say? I took what I could find and I am glad I did. It's a cute little bakery within a shopping center that appears to make an abundance of desserts- tarts, pies, bars, cakes (and special order cakes), and most importantly, cupcakes! While there I got a few cupcakes, bu tonly tried a small sliver of each cupcake so I would not pack on the pounds ;) Because, hey, how could I pass up cupcakes? I'm doing it for the good of my blog readers :) They do not have a "Juliette's Bakery" cupcake specialty. And sadly, they do not have any filled cupcakes- so it's a no go for my sister.

Juliette's Bakery Cupcakes are packed in simple clear plastic containers.

As you can see the cupcakes are boxed in a clear plastic, cupcake holders. However, they do place small, mailing label stickers with Juliette's Bakery information. The cupcakes are simple, beautifully frosted with a swirl and then topped with sprinkles or coconut flakes. As I've attempted to become a reviewer of cupcakeries, I have come to the realization that I am a huge Red Velvet fan. Accordingly, the first cupcake I wanted to try from Juliette's Baker was Red Velvet. As I bit into the cupcake, I just knew I'd be a fan of this bakery. The cupcake was moist, melted in your mouth and had a pretty good ratio of frosting to cupcake. Though I do have to say, I could have been more content with a little less frosting. However, I will not complain because that cupcake was delicious. One of the best red velvet cupcakes I've had! And to show for it- I did not stick to my wonderful bridal diet for this cupcake. I ate the whole thing!

Red Velvet

Double Chocolate

I bought the chocolate cupcake for my sister and dad but when I came home, she had taken a girl's trip with her friends (since she was visiting from Kansas City but came out early for my wedding too) and the other cupcake went faster than I could blink. I tasted just a sliver of the cupcake, and while it was moist and had a nice buttercream- it did not blow me away like the red velvet, and suffice it to say- it was just a normal cupcake. Similar was the carrot cake cupcake- though I thought it was a bit better. Mainly, the cream cheese frosting was delightful. The carrot cake: so-so and the cake slightly on the dry side, but not by too much. However, it could be that I did not eat these cupcakes the day I purchased them but the day after. But I have to say: I find it very important that cupcakes are able to stay moist beyond the day they were purchased. The coconut cupcake, I did not try becuse before I could try it- it was eaten up. My sister-in-law shared that it tasted "good" but I'm not sure what good entails- so I'll leave future visitors to Juliette's Bakery to judge for themselves.

Carrot Cupcake

Coconut Cupcake

So why the 3.5 rating? Well its clear that I adored the Red Velvet and if I based my entire rating on this one cupcake (which I've done for other cupcakeries and which I’m trying to change), Juliette's Bakery would have easily got a 5. And they do also have generally moist cupcakes, delightful buttercream frosting and a good ratio of frosting to cupcake (though the red velvet could have had a little less cream cheese frosting, but it was too much of an issue). However, with all this going for Juliette's, not all their buttercream frosting blew me away and although the cupcakes were moist- they did not stay this way for long. And although a good ratio of frosting to cupcake- I probably would have been happy with less. Looking at Yelp- Im pretty in line with the 12 reviewers, thus far, having a slightly lower rating BUT I do have to say that on my part, my review focused only on cupcakes, while the Yelp reviews focused on the bakery as a whole. Bottom line: if you happen to be in La Quinta, CA give Juliette's Bakery a try and if you can choose the Red Velvet!

11 June 2012

Cold Stone Creamery Cupcakes Review

Location: Available Across the U.S.
Prices: 12.99 per 6 pack of cupcakes (price may vary by location)
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

So my next stop while visiting La Quinta, CA was Cold Stone Creamery to try their ice cream cupcakes. My sister first tried these cupcakes and told me they were a must try. So to Cold Stone Creamery I went and I bought the 6 pack of cupcakes to share with the fellow graduate students in my lab. They are stored along with the ice cream cakes and in pack of one flavor or mixed flavor. The 6 pack included the following three flavors: chocolate devotion, cake batter deluxe, and sweet cream (the bottom pictures were taken from the Cold Stone Website, because I don’t think my pictures were as good and they show the filling).

I tried each of these cupcakes. Of course beginning with chocolate devotion, because how can you not start with chocolate! I let them thaw out a bit because I like my ice cream soft served and the cake moist. The chocolate devotion was good, at best. As for sweet cream and cake batter- well it only got worse. The frosting was overpowering. It was not a whipped cream frosting like I thought but actual buttercream which did not go well with the ice cream. The ice cream was good- typical Cold Stone's Ice Cream. The cake was not moist, but not dry and the flavors did not stand at all. Which was a disappointment because I just adore ice cream cake (ie. not cake made of ice cream but actual cake mixed with ice cream- my favorite being Baskin Robbins Ice Cream Cake). The fudge at the bottom would have been great, if I actually got to taste it! I mean- I love fudge- like the fudge you get at the bottom of drumstick ice cream cones but this...this was NOTHING...such a disappointment. I could not eat the Belgian cup. The chocolate was not rich and quite dull, so I was not going to waste my calories on that! :)

So with an overall crappy review, why even give them a two? Well, even though it’s not a factor in my review I had to give them points for a creative idea. I mean who would have think to have an ice cream cupcake. Also, the ice cream was good- which I guess is an ode to Cold Stones cupcakes. As for the frosting (which I wished there was none because it was so awful!), the cake and the cup-it was sooo bad. I’m not sure why my sister would like them but I thought there was such a waste of a great idea. My bottom line: if you are at Cold Stone's Creamery- sit down and enjoy yourself some ice cream. If you thinking of spending the $12.99 on ice cream cupcakes for yourself or your family- save the money and go to an actual cupcakery :) Sorry Cold Stone's- I enjoy your ice cream greatly but your cupcakes fall way short.

01 June 2012

Candy Bar Bouquet

So I did it again...but this time I did warn you...that I would probably be MIA. This pattern will continue at least till the end of June. I cannnot believe its June ...and to think that on June 30th- I am going to be MARRIED- blows my mind. But I am so excited!

I did a little crafty baking things this month. But this post requires no baking! Its more of a craft but its just too cute to not share. So for those of you who follow my blog more closely, know that I made a Cookie Bouquet and it was fun! Well, I was scanning the web one day and stumbled upon a candy bar bouquet and thought how awesome is that?

Well yesterday the department head of psychology retired after 32 years at Texas A&M University. Can you believe being somewhere for 32 years- that is just remarkable. Our department head was amazing- so caring towards graduate students, which is not always the case and I just thought he was great because one of his passions is....CHOCOLATE! I thought- what a perfect opportunity to make this candy bar bouquet. He's a guy, so he is not going to want flowers but he just may appreciate a candy bar bouquet. So I decided to go for it! Here it is (and I have to say, it was super fun making it and a big hit):

My first candy bar bouquet. Notice the vase is also candy bars.

Materials for the Candy Bar Bouquet

Adapted from Dollar Store Crafts

Vase (you could be creative and re-use things around the house). I chose to use a glass square shapped vace, to give better surface area for the giant Hershey bars to stick.
Flower foam block
Barbeque skewers (wooden)
Tissue paper
Paper shreds
4 large Hershey bars (may need to adjust amount based on size of vase)
6 packs of mini- candy bars (any type that is your favorite)
Wide ribbon


Tape each mini candy bar to the top of a wooden skewer (non-pointy side), make sure the tape is secure. Cut a piece of the flower foam block to nicely fit into your vase and place tissue paper above it (and decoratively adjust it). Arrange mini candy bars in the vase and plase paper shreds in the vase to cover the foam block. Glue (if you use hot glue, be sure not to put too much, because you do not want to melt the chocolate) the large Hershey bars to the sides of the vase. Tie ribbon around vase and make a bow :)