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In honour of National Cupcake Day, Kristina Matisic gives us a taste of the city's cupcake scene
February 23rd is National Cupcake Day, the perfect time to bake a difference for animal in need. Proceeds go to your local SPCA or participating humane society to help fight cruelty against animals.
Here’s how it works: you bake cupcakes, get your friends and family to donate and in thanks for their donation, you give them a cupcake. Talk about a guilt-free treat.
If you’re baking skills are sub par or you’re swamped, I’m all for cutting corners and buying your cupcakes. (I won’t tell anyone.) For that, click through for a few of my favourite cupcake shops in Vancouver.
There are few sweeter locations for a treat and a cup of coffee than Butter Bakery in Kerrisdale. Come here for some more traditional cupcake flavours, where frosting choices include chocolate, vanilla, raspberry, mint, lemon and pistachio, depending on the cake base (vanilla or chocolate.) I’m partial to the vanilla/lemon combination, as the acidity of the fruit cuts through some of that sweetness. You can also find the recipe for Butter’s famous cupcakes in the eponymous cookbook, a number one bestseller in Canada.
Rivaling Butter in adorableness, this little bakery in Yaletown has some Goldilocks worthy cupcakes – not too big, not too small, not too light, not too heavy and not too sweet. Yup, nailed it. My favourite here is the red velvet cupcake with a cream cheese-style frosting, perfect for those who find buttercream a bit too cloying. The chocolate cupcake with a light raspberry frosting is a close second. For a full sugar high, try the “French” cupcake, which is topped with a macaron. Mais oui!
In a backlash against ubiquitous cutesy cupcakes, enter ManCakes, where you’ll find unique flavor combinations like bacon, chili and chocolate or “buffalo wing,” with a blue cheese cheesecake mousse, a hot sauce buttercream and topped with crispy chicken crumble. Each cupcake here is filled with a dollop of something delicious. If your tastes veer to the more traditional, try the Apple Brie. Simply divine. Those plagued by indecision can opt for the sampler of minis, which includes every cupcake they make.
For the gluten-free donors to your cupcake party, Lemonade Bakery on Cambie Street makes the most beautiful breads, cakes, cookies and cupcakes. They feature three flavours of the latter, including my favourite, “Campfire,” – a cupcake inspired by one of my go-to camping treats, the s’more. The cake is a rich dark chocolate, topped with a light and delicious meringue. Good enough to please any dietary palate.
I had visited this tiny bakery tucked away on West Broadway for gluten-free treats for a while before realizing that the whole operation is also vegan. That’s how good everything tastes! Cupcakes flavours vary by day here, so be sure to check back regularly to find the right flavour combination for your party. (No one said being a cupcake tester was going to be easy.)
Cupcake Day shouldn’t be all about us humans. It seems only fair that your furry friends get a special treat that day too. After all, we’re holding the event in their honour! If you don’t want to bake your own pupcakes, you can find some beautiful dog friendly ones at this dog bakery on Main Street. I can’t say I’ve tried them myself, but my dog Ruby devours them in about two seconds.
For more to register or for information on National Cupcake Day this February 23rd, go to www.nationalcupcakeday.ca