Hello from Los Angeles, where the Baking Sisters have once again reunited for a brief time, during which we have been baking (and eating) up a storm! One of our long-simmering plans for this vacation was to try out different kosher cupcake eateries in LA and see how they stacked up against one another. We picked the famous Sprinkles Cupcakes and the slightly less famous Famous Cupcakes, as well as our New York favorite Crumbs, and picked out one or two special flavors from each. Here are our impressions.
Sprinkles Cupcakes can be summed up in one word: overrated. We got a Chocolate Peppermint cupcake (a chocolate cupcake with chocolate peppermint frosting and peppermint bits sprinkled on top), which I assume is a seasonal flavor but looked like one of the most interesting that they offered. Our first impression was that cake tastes like nothing. The texture was fine, nothing special, but it was overwhelmed by the lack of taste. The frosting had a good sugar-to-butter ratio with pleasing amounts of peppermint but it couldn't disguise the fundamental weakness in the cake. Sprinkles may be the first known bakery to specialize in cupcakes, but we can't understand the lines out the door, and frankly, everything in the store from the $2.50 dog cupcakes to the sign on the door asking customers to keep it closed because it "preserves the freshness" of the cupcakes gives off an air of pretentiousness that no one needs in a cupcake shop. I'd say give Sprinkles a miss.
Crumbs is an Upper West Side transplant that is one of our favorites (shhh, don't tell our parents, they think Crumbs is evil because of the customer service, but I found the LA Crumbs people to be helpful and friendly). We got a German Chocolate cupcake, which was Sarah's mistake. She didn't remember the many many times we apparently made German chocolate cake for our dad (this is Sarah writing on Rachel's account in case you didn't get that) and didn't realize that German chocolate cake has coconut in it! Oh no! Anyway, this cupcake should probably be automatically disqualified for having coconut in it, but despite this glaring defect, Crumbs' frosting is always quality and their cake is very fluffy. At $3.75, the Crumbs cupcake costs 50 cents more than the others and is very large, so be sure to share it with friends or sisters.
Famous Cupcakes definitely has the chic cupcake shop look downpat, plus they had a bathroom when Sarah really really needed to pee, so major points for them. However, they are also owned by the vile Kardashians, whose faces are all over the shop, so those points get cancelled out. Guess we'll have to rely on old-fashioned metrics like flavor. Famous had lots of interesting choices and so we got two: the "Good Morning" cupcake (vanilla with brown sugar, cinnamon and graham cracker topping) and "Hot Chocolate" (chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting). The former was light and delicious, more like a muffin or a coffee cake (maybe that's why it's called Good Morning?), and it had a super-yummy cream cheese swirl on top, although said swirl and the accompanying raspberry were not interested in staying on the cupcake and kept sliding down the side The latter had the best flavor of any of the cupcakes we tried but the frosting was disappointingly buttery. Next time, I would get a cupcake with cream cheese frosting because the bit that we had was so tasty.
So in conclusion, we will not be weeping because Sprinkles and Famous are not in New York. (Menchie's frozen yogurt, on the other hand...) We had a lot of fun sampling them, though. If you have tried them, or any other local cupcake eatery, and you have your own opinions, let us know! What's the best cupcake that you've had recently?