Remember when selecting a cake was as simple as choosing chocolate or vanilla? Nowadays the word cake–and cupcake in particular–brings to mind a truly extraordinary confection experience. The gourmet cupcake has changed the dessert game, turning our kiddos from sugar craving shorties to expert little foodies. Simply put, the uninspired, boxed cake just doesn’t cut it any more. And with gourmet bakeries spreading like wildfire, a big question arises — Whose cupcakes really take the cake? We’ve asked and you’ve answered which of America’s cupcakeries are the cream of the crop. From north to south and east to west, here are the best American cupcake bakeries.
Ready, set, drool…
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Baked by Melissa – New York, New York
Why we love them: Not only are their mini-cupcakes perfect for little hands, the cupcake creator unleashes the mad baker in all of us. They even have mini-cupcakes dipped in chocolate!
Baked By Melissa
New York, Ny 10012
Magnolia Bakery – New York, New York
Why we love them: Sex and the City was their claim to fame, but Magnolia’s über yummy little cakes keep them in the spotlight. The “Hummingbird” cupcake (banana, pineapple, and pecan, oh my!) continues to be a favorite for grownups and the little ones.
401 Bleecker St
New York, Ny 10014
Queen City Cupcakes – Manchester, New Hampshire
Why we love them: Their truly inspired flavors range from the kiddo-friendly “Butterfinger” to the grownup-friendly “Margarita” with everything delicious and sometimes strange in between, like “Chocolate Covered Potato Chip”. And east coasters can agree that any establishment that offers “Cannoli” flavored cupcakes is a good find.
Queen City Cupcakes
790 Elm St
Manchester, Nh 03101
Cupcake Charlie’s – Newport, Rhode Island
Why we love them: Rotating their daily flavors from 130 unique recipes, you’re guaranteed to come across something new very often. The location is also perfectly placed in the beloved Brick Market Place. To spice things up even more, they have other unique ways to satisfy your sweet tooth like frosting shots and push pop cakes.
143 Swinburne Row
Newport, Ri 02840
Papa Ganache – Matawan, New Jersey
Why we love them: This vegan and gluten-free bakery offers up the goods without all the bad stuff. A fabulous find for kiddos with food intolerances or for families that live a vegan lifestyle. And although their delicious flavors like “Drenched Elvis” sound sinful, they’re actually heart healthy and cholesterol free. Nice!
106 Main St
Matawan, Nj 07747
Georgetown Cupcake – Washington DC
Why we love them: This bakery has a hit series “DC Cupcakes” on TLC and it’s no mystery why. They’ve taken cupcakes to new heights with over-the-top, fantastical designs and displays. And for the casual cupcake encounter, their menu is also full of scrumptious, family favorites like “Honey Banana” and “PB Fudge”.
3301 M St NW
Washington, DC 20007
Nora Cupcake Co – Middletown, Connecticut
Why we love them: Nora Cupcake Co completely redefines cupcakery fare without sacrificing the traditional sweet combinations, so their menu is enormous. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, try something from their Savory Line, like “Monte Cristo” (bacon and cheddar cheese, anyone?). Nora also offers delicious Weight Watchers cupcakes for the visitor that doesn’t want to explode their points for the day–yay!
Nora Cupcake Co
700 Main St
Middletown, Ct 06457
Confections – Manassas, Virginia
Why we love them: Confections is a local favorite for their amazing “Kit Kat” cupcakes and now they also offer all the cupcake fixins for a kid’s birthday party. The party kit includes 4-6 cupcakes, apron, and (one) 1 dozen free cupcake Gift Card for the guest of honor.
12801 Galveston Court
Manassas, Va 20112
Cupcake A la Mode – Leawood, Kansas
Why we love them: If you want a classic cake that’s utterly scrumptious, this boutique style cafe is perfect. The cupcakes are larger than other bakeries (hence the name A la Mode) so grownups may want to share, but they do offer a smaller size for kiddos. Also, on Veteran’s Day, Cupcake A la Mode honors military families with free cupcakes.
Cupcake A la Mode
11529 Ash St
Leawood, Ks 66211
Photo courtesy of goatling via flickr
Campbell’s Sweets Factory – Cleveland, Ohio
Why we love them: This place really is like a big candy store and amazing cupcake flavors aren’t the only thing on the menu. Their extensive popcorn selection is definitely something to be experienced. The sweets factory is also an ideal place to host a birthday party complete with beautifully decorated cupcakes, candy apples and gourmet popcorn bar.
Campbell’s Sweets Factory
2084 W 25th St
Cleveland, Oh 44113
Molly’s – Chicago, Illinois
Why we love them: Molly’s sprinkle station lets kiddos add a personal touch to their cupcakes. Also, a portion of all Molly’s profits go to schools in their community. Who’s got school spirit?
2536 N Clark St
Chicago, Il 60614
Franklin Street Bakery – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Why we love them: Their cakes and cupcakes are so drop dead gorgeous, you almost feel bad devouring them…almost. And you won’t break the bank taking the whole family here for a treat due to their affordable prices and daily specials.
Franklin Street Bakery
1020 E Franklin Ave
Minneapolis, Mn 55404
Lollycakes Cupcakes – Corpus Christi, Texas
Why we love them: This is the perfect place to swing by after dinner for a delicious, affordable dessert. From 7:00pm-9:00pm is Happy Hour and the cupcakes are half price! Local flavor faves are “Pineapple Express” and “Strawberry Fields”.
5425 S Padre Island Dr
Corpus Christi, Tx 78411
Pinkabella – Seattle, Washington
Why we love them: This super-philanthropic bakery has donated over 30,000 cupcakes to charities and schools. Also, being situated in the Redmond Town Center ensures some well-deserved shopping therapy.
16481 NE 74th St
Redmond, Wa 98052
Trophy Cupcakes – Seattle, Washington
Why we love them: Their flavor combinations are super yummy! Alongside classic flavors “Triple Chocolate” and “Vanilla Vanilla”, rotating specials like “Snickerdoodle” and “Elvis” are sure to be hits with the kids.
700 110th Ave NE, Suite 260,
The Divine Cupcake – Eugene, Oregon
Why we love them: Their organic and vegan cupcakes are truly divine. Expand your kiddo’s palette with interesting flavors like “Sweet Basil” or “Coconut Curry”.
The Divine Cupcake
1680 W 11th Ave
Eugene, Or 97402
Cupcake Jones – Portland, Oregon
Why we love them: Your pooch can enjoy one of their doggie cupcakes. They also donate all their amazing cupcake leftovers (like Root Beer Float and Chocolate Covered Pretzel) to Blanchet House, a Portland service agency for the homeless.
307 NW 10th Ave
Portland, Or 97209
American Cupcake – San Francisco, California
Why we love them: This extremely unique bakery has way more than cupcakes. Ever seen a PB&J Menu? They also host fabulous cupcake decorating parties for up to 25 kids so the next birthday is in the bag.
1919 Union St
San Francisco, Ca 94123
Just Cakin’ It – Vacaville, California
Why we love them: This inviting, whimsical bakery is kid-friendly with a caring, attentive staff. While you peruse the oodles of sweets in their jewel cases, the little ones can play with the toys in the play area or hang out on the comfy couch. They make delicious and beautiful special occasion cakes and cupcakes, but order in advance because spots fill up quickly.
Just Cakin’ It
179 Elmira Rd
Vacaville, Ca 95687
Sprinkles – Beverly Hills, California
Why we love them: The world’s first cupcake bakery is definitely something to boast about and their yummy cakes never go out of style. There’s something on the menu for everyone – gluten-free, vegan, and doggies included. And if you really need your sweets in a hurry, check out the Cupcake ATM.
9365 Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, Ca 90210
Did we miss your fave cupcake bakery? Let us know in the comment section below.
— Katie Garcia
Photos courtesy of Rachel via flickr, tawest64 via flickr, Georgetown Cupcake, and American Cupcake
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