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CakeSpy Undercover: Yellow Leaf Cupcake Company, Seattle

Tomato Soup Cupcake, The Yellow Leaf Cupcake Co., Seattle
After having conversed and emailed with Yellow Leaf Cupcake Company's co-owner Mike Hein for the DailyCandy article I wrote, I naturally had to hit them up on their opening day. I arrived at a little after 8 a.m., and was informed that I was their sixth customer--ever. Sweet!

Yellow Leaf has a sweet story--owners Mike Hein and Tony Portugal both quit their office jobs and set to visiting cupcake shops all across America before opening their own shop in Belltown. The shop itself is sweet, with warm yellow walls. Their menu is homey but still eclectic-- standout flavors include their signature, the Tomato Soup Cupcake with cocoa Italian buttercream.

I picked up three flavors: the Tomato Soup (natch), the Black Forest and (upon Mike's suggestion) the coconut. The cupcakes are a little spendy--$9.69 including tax for three--and are not overwhelmingly large, but have a satisfying weight. They package them in clear plastic containers, which may not be as pretty as a pink box, but they do keep the cupcakes safe.

So how were they? Here are my comments:
The Tomato Soup Cupcake (shown top) was a pleasant spice cake-y confection--if you didn't know it was made with tomato soup, you probably wouldn't know the source of its je ne sais quoi. The cake was pleasingly moist. I have to admit I think I would have preferred more of a flavor contrast with perhaps a cream cheese frosting (and I will note that Mike did mention on our first conversation that it may be served this way in the future).

Coconut, The Yellow Leaf Cupcake Co., Seattle
The Coconut was actually surprisingly light for what can sometimes be a very rich and heavy flavor--and the slightly crunch coconut gave a satisfying texture against the soft cake and buttercream. This was my favorite.

Black Forest Cupcake, The Yellow Leaf Cupcake Co., Seattle
The Black Forest The cake itself was gorgeous, exceedingly decadent and almost truffle-like. I did wish that the toppings had a little bit more muscle though--they were on the lighter side, and the flavor and textures weren't completely harmonious with the dense chocolate cake.
Now, I've only tried a small sampling of their products, but overall, it seemed to me that their flavors all had merits, and that it was a pretty impressive first-day showing. I think that Yellow Leaf shows potential, and I'm eager to see (and taste) more. 
Read more about them on my DailyCandy writeup!
Yellow Leaf Cupcake Company, online at theyellowleafcupcake.com.


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Reader Comments (10)

oh these cupcakes are making me drool :)

Thanks for the review! Even though I can't go to this place in Seattle at the moment (since I am in NY) it gave me inspiration, mainly the tomato soup cupcake. Black Forest anything in general is always more promise than delivery, but this place near me make the most delicious Black Forest Cake in the world. Its a tiny hole in the wall old french bakery called DuBois in what has now become an all Asian Community in Elmhurst, Queens NY. If you're ever there...

I have a fondness for the delightful homey comfort of the tomato soup cake, so I'm please to see that someone has transformed it into a cupcake!

I don't like the way they did the frosting on the tomato cupcake. WTH? You can't eat it properly... one big mouthful of frosting and then eat the cake part? 2nd thought... maybe that might be kinda cool.

May 16 | Unregistered CommenterRecipeGirl

I read your interview with yellow leaf several days ago. Being a Trophy and Cupcake Royal lover my girl friends and I planned an entire day downtown around a trip to yellow leaf. Imagine our surprise upon arriving at noon to find a note on the door saying sorry we sold out but will be open at 1:30 with more. Ok no problem, we wandered around a bit, returned at 1:30 to a line and the owner apologizing that he had just sold his entire second batch to the three first people in line (they had a "big"order he said). We were told to return at 3PM. Once again at 3 PM we returned to find a locked door, three ladies sitting inside eating cupcakes, a few dozen cupcakes displayed on the counter, and a new sign saying come back at 3:30. Nope. Third time is not the charm. I know you were not sure what to expect, but really. He told us that morning he they had baked 150 cupcakes for opening day. I think a little more research should have been done. I think trophy probably sells 150 cupcakes in the first 2 hours. Not even a rain check for all of us waiting in line? Why would you sell your entire afternoon batch to a big order and leave all the eager customers in line angry? Bad form yellow leaf, you left a bad taste in my mouth, and I didn't even get a crumb!!!

May 16 | Unregistered CommenterSara Davis

Pretty cupcakes and I enjoyed your Daily Candy article! ; )

That's too bad about them running out of cupcakes though. I feel bad for Sara. I would have been a bit upset myself.

May 16 | Unregistered CommenterAnali

Sara - I think I would have been sad about that too. I'm actually surprised that they only made 150, that seems awfully low to me too...but then again I am sure if I were opening a shop it would be a train wreck (and that's why I'll stick to pastry commentary!). Well they'd better fire up their ovens!! I'm interested in hearing your thoughts if you do finally score a cupcake.

May 16 | Unregistered CommenterCakespy

I was with Sara during the sold out cupcake situation. It was not pretty! Frankly I cannot believe there isn't more outrage posted from others that shared our experience yesterday. We saw the owner turning away a fair number of people.

I would like to say, we did head straight to Trophy to ease our sorrowed cupcake minds and had fantastic cupcakes and a great cup of coffee to go along.

May 16 | Unregistered CommenterHillary

Thanks for your review, CakeSpy! This place is right out my front door...not sure if that's good or bad? I'm looking forward to sampling everything.

May 21 | Unregistered CommenterSara

A Black Forest cupcake sounds like a great idea. (Like that Tiramisu one).

May 25 | Unregistered CommenterNurit
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