Cupcake Final Results: And the Winner Is…

Flickr Shot by dotsara

Flickr Shot by dotsara

Finally! The end. When I first thought up this contest, it sounded like a fun thing to do. I created special evaluation sheets for each store and each cupcake, rating frosting flavor, cupcake attractiveness, cake flavor and moistness, price and size, and even customer service and display at the store. I created a list of select cupcake stores from all over L.A. (Auntie Em’s, Buttercake, Hotcakes, Lucky Devils, Sprinkles and SusieCakes) which my friends could choose from, and told them to bring back two each of red velvet, chocolate and a wild card flavor (i.e. the most exotic, unique flavor in the store).

But I failed to take other things into consideration. For example, I didn’t even realize that it would be good to serve something salty between each category to “cleanse our palates” or to provide drinks other than water. And how could we possibly make it through 18 cupcakes?

After the first category, which was the red velvets, we had to take a mini break and snacked on lovely salty tortilla chips. Since the girls felt too sugared out to dive into the next category, chocolate, we tested the wild card flavors instead. After barely making it through that one, we had to take a break.

Unfortunately, Emilia had to leave for a baby shower and so wasn’t able to complete the test. The rest of us had to take a long walk. So we strolled to Starbucks down the street for some much needed bitter coffee. I felt a strange lightheadedness and had the irrational fear that this would kickstart the diabetes that runs in my family.

After an hour break, we resumed the contest. Not as enthusiastic as when we first started but ever the troopers. (Beth started drawing in happy faces in the place of numbered ratings.) For the last category our samples were smaller in proportion as I split one cupcake into six pieces instead of four pieces. However, we scribbled our notes, guessed which of our favorites would win, I tallied the results and here are the rankings.

Flickr Shot by dotsaraFINAL RANKINGS:

Red Velvet:

  1. Sprinkles*
  2. SusieCakes
  3. Lucky Devils
  4. Auntie Em’s
  5. Buttercake
  6. Hotcakes

Flickr Shot by dotsaraChocolate:

  1. Auntie Em’s
  2. Lucky Devils
  3. Buttercake
  4. SusieCakes
  5. Sprinkles
  6. Hotcakes

Wild Card:Flickr Shot by dotsara

  1. SusieCakes’ Chocolate Mint
  2. Auntie Em’s Coconut
  3. Buttercake’s Coconut Chocolate
  4. Sprinkles’ Chocolate Coconut
  5. Lucky Devils’ Beet
  6. Hotcakes’ Vanilla

Voted Sexiest Cupcake: Auntie Em’s Coconut

Voted Best Everyman Chocolate Cupcake: Buttercake

BTW, special thanks to my sisters in cupcakehood (Beth, Donna D., dotsara, Emilia and Valerie). I definitely couldn’t have done this without your help and feel like we share a special bond now as we survived this grueling project.

* Oddly enough, before I tallied the scores we had taken an informal vote of which red velvets we thought were the best. SusieCakes and Auntie Em’s were a tie.

32 Responses to Cupcake Final Results: And the Winner Is…
  1. […] Click here for the final results. […]

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  7. Viranda
    March 20, 2007 | 10:14 am

    I hate you – now i am uber craving red velvet cake.

    – V

  8. emilia
    March 20, 2007 | 12:26 pm

    it took me 2 weeks before i could eat sweets again.

  9. Cupcake Junkie
    March 20, 2007 | 12:28 pm

    I have to say, I’ve had cupcakes at almost all these joints and not a one even coms close to Magnolia Bakery in New York. I dunno, maybe there are regional differences in cupcake tastes, but I find LA cupcakes to be consistently too dry. Blech. I like them moist and tasty myself, not flaky-crumbly. am I wrong? Would a little more butter in the batter kill us?

  10. emilia
    March 20, 2007 | 12:34 pm

    okay, this is not a cupcake comment, but how the funk do i add you to my myspace page?


  11. Chris
    March 20, 2007 | 12:44 pm

    I don’t get all the hoo-ha over Sprinkles. Nothing can sway my devotion to Toast’s red velvet (cup)cake.

  12. Caroline
    March 20, 2007 | 12:53 pm

    V — don’t deny the craving.

    CJ, I’m sure you’re right about Magnolia as I’ve heard it’s the best.

    Emilia, give me the link to your page and I’ll add you.

    Chris, Toast’s red velvet cupcake is pretty good. And cheap. But here, Sprinkles actually surprised me by living up to the hype. Notice though, that red velvet is the only one that they excelled in.

  13. mar
    March 20, 2007 | 3:22 pm

    have you tried magnolia’s cupcakes- the store in manhattan that started the craze?


    i was never a sprinkles fan until i ate magnolia’s…then i really knew that i was taking my city’s cupcakes for granted.

    my cupcakes brings all the boys to the yard.

  14. DonnaD
    March 20, 2007 | 4:10 pm

    I still can’t even look at a cupcake. Sprinkles were by far the prettiest, almost Art Deco. But there is something to be said for that homemade look too. I might be ready for sweets by next week.

  15. Mikey
    March 20, 2007 | 4:19 pm

    lol. that’s a lot of cupcakes.

  16. Jennifer
    March 20, 2007 | 4:41 pm

    Mar, I wonder if it’s a regional taste. As a West Coaster who now lives in New York, I have to agree with you. I just don’t get the raves about Magnolia’s cupcakes. I have to shrug my shoulders and assume it’s a New York thing.

  17. Caroline
    March 20, 2007 | 6:05 pm
  18. Cupcake lover
    March 21, 2007 | 10:53 am

    You forgot Yummy Cupcakes in Burbank. On LA channel 4 news they taste tested Sprinkles red velevet vs. Yummy red velvet and Yummy one hands down.

  19. Caroline
    March 21, 2007 | 12:38 pm

    Actually, Yummy was on my list of cupcake stores but since the test took place before the Santa Monica location opened, the Burbank store wasn’t convenient to any of my testers. I do wanna try the Elvis cupcake and the Old School one…eventually.

  20. carter
    March 21, 2007 | 1:14 pm

    You also left out Leda’s in Sherman Oaks, which many think beats all 6 of the ones you did select.
    Good reason for another tasting – maybe next week!!!

  21. Caroline
    March 21, 2007 | 5:30 pm

    Actually Leda’s was in the list, too, but again like Yummy, not enough testers. Ha! next testing will be NEXT year. 🙂

  22. Superfluous Juxtaposition
    March 22, 2007 | 6:29 am

    […] My new favorite find at Trader Joe’s: Mandarin Orange Chef’s Sauce. Yum yum yum, good stuff! – – – Did anyone else get the Target catalog in the mail? Like a real catalog, not the paper catalog in the Sunday newspaper. I love it, especially the coupon part. – – – Six Degrees comes back tomorrow. Random. – – – Rumor has it there’s a Tesco opening down the street from me. I love fun grocery stores. – – – Caroline on Crack reviewed a bunch of cupcakes in LA. Check out her posts! – – – Now it’s reader question time: […]

  23. Beth
    March 22, 2007 | 5:18 pm

    Since my friends are reading this article, and many of them have listened patiently (or was that zoning out?) to my anti-corporate rants, I’m making it perfectly clear that I did NOT partake of the corporate coffee:)

  24. Caroline
    March 22, 2007 | 5:59 pm

    Yes, let the record show that Beth sat patiently in the corner, eyes averted, as we lined up for Starbucks. 😀

  25. Nanette
    March 22, 2007 | 10:17 pm

    That’s awesome!!! (I love Susie Cakes myself.)

    What about Le Cupcake in Santa Monica?

  26. Cupcakin
    March 26, 2007 | 4:03 pm

    Why oh why did someone have to ruin this lovely and scrumdileeicious article with talk of new york? Was this an east-v-west cupcake article?
    Seriously…move there. Leave us with our dry flaky cupcakes.
    Just go.

  27. Jenny
    March 28, 2007 | 11:41 pm

    Doughboy’s on 3rd has a red velvet I wish you would have included in the testing.
    Chocolate Mint cupcakes?? Mmmmm….

  28. […] Although I haven’t quite recovered from that Cupcake Challenge earlier this month (and you’re probably sick of hearing me blab about cupcakes), I had to check out the new Santa Monica location of Yummy Cupcakes. Since the original store is all the way in Burbank, I had resigned myself to pining for the Elvis cupcakes long distance. Now with a new Westside location, I have another reason to up my cardio at the gym…once my cupcake craving returns, that is. Located just off the 3rd Street Promenade and next door to Sur La Table, Yummy doesn’t have a storefront sign yet but you can’t miss those cupcakes near the window. […]

  29. Ndelible
    April 2, 2007 | 11:37 am

    Not that all the bakeries mentioned aren’t good, but…. believe it or not, Mrs. Beasley’s (Miss Grace’s) has cupcakes and they are excellent – especially if you are a frosting ‘ho like me. I find Sprinkles cupcakes absolutely dry and over sweet while Joan’s are pretty good. Piece of advice: stay away from Sweet Lady Jane’s cupcakes; beautiful but absolutely horrid and to add insult to injury, expensive!

  30. […] Who makes the best cupcakes? See here. […]

  31. […] So, the next day I decided to ask three of my co-workers — one of whom had participated in my cupcake challenge — to go in on a little taste test with me. I had wrapped the bake shop box with Saran Wrap the night before in an effort to preserve the cupcakes’ freshness. It paid off as both cupcakes were still moist as we dug into them. […]

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