Seeking sweetness in Sin City? Well, hold on to your cupcakes--here is a sweet roundup of Las Vegas cupcakes from Cake Gumshoe Nicole!
CakeSpy Note: This Cakewalk comes from Cake Gumshoe Nicole, commonly known as "Miss Dot" in the blogosphere, loves all things sweet and dotty. She and her husband, Will, constantly strive to maintain the delicate balance between eating all the cupcakes and goodies they want and fending off morbid obesity. You can read all about her everyday adventures on her blog, Saving the World One Cupcake at a Time!
Stop 1: Sugar's Bakery
It took us a bit to find this place--it's not on the strip and so we had to drive about 10-15 minutes to get there. Initially, we were bummed about the distance but we soon found out that there are at least two other cupcake places in the immediate vicinity (reviewed below!) so it was OK.
Our first impression came from their sign--how cute is this?
Inside, it gets even cuter! It has great display cases for their cupcakes and other baked goodies (like cookies and brownies!) plus fun seating and reading for kids and adults alike to enjoy while munching on their baked treasures. For flavors, we finally settled on Lemon Cream, Red Velvet, and German Chocolate (pictured at the top of the post).
The good: They had a nice variety of flavors to choose from, the decorations were thoughtful and creative, and we liked that they sold other baked goods though they advertised themselves as a cupcake shop. We loved their interior decorations, too. Everything was fun, whimsical, and made us want to stay forever.
The not-so-good: Their cupcakes were refrigerated--boo!--which tends to make the cake dry out. Sure enough, after tasting the Red Velvet, we thought both the cake and frosting were dry and unappealing.
Bottom Line: Of the 4 cupcake places we visited, we ranked this one #2. Definitely worth the drive!
Stop 2: Mad Hatter Cupcakes
This is the second cupcake place that we visited in the area that we came to term "Cupcake Alley" because of the (awesome) predominance of cupcake shops. Seriously, there were three all within a 2-mile radius. FANTASTICO. Here's the front of the cupcake shop. Seems pretty cool, right? Oh wait, it gets better. CHECK THIS OUT. WHAT?!?! Did I READ that correctly!? CREATE YOUR [my] OWN CUPCAKES??? OMC I'm sold. They let you choose your cake flavor, filling flavor, frosting flavor, and then your own candy to put on top. They even offer suggestions if you can't decide on your own! This place is like Coldstone for cupcakes. MAKE MY CUPCAKES!! (please!) Yummy cupcake supplies :D Taking in the glory of Mad Hatter Cupcakes. After much thought, we finally chose to make two cupcakes: •HIS: Peanut butter cake with chocolate ganache filling and white chocolate frosting •HERS: Chocolate cake with chocolate ganache filling and chocolate frosting with m&ms on top
The good: OMG can you say "MOIST"? The cake was so, so nice and moist. Mmm. The chocolate was so rich--in the words of my husband, "That's a d*mn good chocolate cake." The peanut butter cake was perfect, too. I feel like it can be difficult to capture a good peanut butter taste without creating an overwhelming flavor but Mad Hatter achieved it! Other things we liked: They sell shaved ice, too; they have a great seating area for enjoying your goodies; they provide mini cupcakes as samples (that day they had peanut butter cupcakes with white chocolate frosting); they have single cupcake holders in case you just want to take one for the road; and, of course, they have a punch card for frequent visitors.
The not-so-good: Um...
Bottom Line: Of the 4 cupcake places we visited, we ranked this one #1. Are you booking your trip to Vegas yet?
Third Stop: Cupcake Lane
First off, fantastic sign! No doubt about it -- this is a cupcake shop! The inside was cute and quaint with curtained windows into the back bakery area. This cupcake shop also had a great selection of cupcakes to choose from. With flavors that had names like Savannah Street (their version of red velvet) or Michigan Avenue (lemon cupcake with lemon frosting), they definitely won the award for more creative names. We chose three cupcakes here, too: (clockwise from left: Lombard Street (their "Hostess Cupcake"), Lake Tahoe Boulevard (their s'more cupcake), and Southfork Ranch (a German chocolate cupcake))
The good: Fun flavor names, creative decorations, and cute to-go boxes for single cupcakes (they used Chinese take-out containers). We also liked that they offered some sugar free cupcakes as well as cupcakes for canine companions.
The not-so-good: Their cupcakes were refrigerated. No no no no no! Pooey. Also, I really (really) hate to say this, but we were totally underwhelmed. We expected a lot given the nifty names and decorations but the cupcakes themselves were totally lacking. Lombard Street tasted like, well, a Hostess cupcake which isn't necessarily bad within itself but if I'm paying $3+ for a cupcake, it better taste amazing, not like something that usually comes wrapped in plastic in a pack of two. Lake Tahoe Boulevard also failed to deliver the nostalgic s'more flavor that I was hoping for.
Bottom Line: Of the 4 cupcake places we visited, we ranked this one #3. I'd be willing to go back and taste others (they do say that Savannah Street is their best-seller and we didn't taste that one) but I'm not holding my breath for our next visit. If you check out either of the first two you'll already be in the area to visit this one in which case, go ahead. I wouldn't block out time in my day specifically to make the trek, though
Fourth Stop: The Cupcakery
This cupcake shop has three Vegas locations: Two off the strip (which are listed on their site) and one on the strip on the Monte Carlo. We chose to visit the latter. This cupcake shop has a great staff who seems to love cupcakes as much as we do (which is a lot!) We were informed that the above case houses two different kind of cupcakes: on the left, cupcakes whose flavors come from the frosting; on the right, cupcakes whose flavors come from the cake (they had cream cheese frosting). I'm not going to lie, we were excited about these. Not only were they all pretty and sparkly but they had lots of fun colors and flavors and, well, since it was our last cupcake shop, we decided to go out with a bang. We got six. They're pictured below, from left to right, back to front: Southern Belle (Red Velvet), Gingerbread, Peanut Butter Chocolate, Boston Creme, Tickle-me-Pink (their signature flavor), and Strawberry Shortcake).
The good: Great staff, fun decorations for cupcakes and interior, and great location. We really enjoyed the Gingerbread Cupcake; not only was the cake good but the little decoration on top is really a gingerbread man and boy, is he tasty! Our favorite cupcake, though, was the Peanut Butter Chocolate one. Fantastic peanut butter flavor! Man, two great peanut butter cupcakes in one weekend. I'm in love!
The not-so-good: OK, I really hate to do this, but we were pretty disappointed by the other four. The Tickle-me-Pink (I'm almost positive this is what they called this flavor), their signature flavor, is just vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting. You can also get it as a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting. Here's my thinking: If you're going to do such a simple flavor combination as your signature cupcake, make it amazing! I want it to be the best vanilla (or chocolate) I've ever tasted! After tasting it, I want to feel like all the other vanilla (or chocolate!) cupcakes I've had before were made of deception and lies. Their Strawberry Shortcake cupcake was not made from real strawberries, either, but rather that stomach-churning, fake-me-out chemical strawberry flavor that probably comes from this rather than these. Finally, did you see the carrier we got? Our six little cupcakes were sadly squished into that contained with no separators to protect them from getting all mixed together! I feel like if you advertise selling your cupcakes in combinations of four, six, and twelve, you'd better have holders for each!
Bottom Line: Of the 4 cupcake places we visited, we ranked this one #4. We expected so much from this cupcake shop and were really disappointed by the end of the last cupcake. We were really sad to rank this place last, though, because we really did think we were going to get some yummy cupcakes. I'm not sure if the Monte Carlo location does its baking on-site, though, so maybe we'll chalk up the downfalls to the fact that they weren't fresh...?