Saturday, 11 May 2013

CUPCAKE SHOWDOWN

YOU SHOULD DO A CUPCAKE SHOWDOWN OF YOUR OWN....jus' saying, it was FUN!!!
 Here goes some good ol' sugar overload and some cupcake comparison from a few popular cupcakery joints in Hamilton.  I wasn't able to get to all of them of course, but I think this is a good selection.  There were three of us very qualified judges each with a different set of taste buds and expectations.  We rated each cupcake out of 5 stars and recorded an average of those ratings. We tried to compare apples to apples, in this case some form of chocolate cupcake against another, but we allowed there to be variation in the flavour so we weren't eating 6 peanut butter chocolate cupcakes.  Enjoy and happy cupcake eating after this!
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BITTEN
219 Locke Street South, Hamilton
 
I intended to only get 1 cupcake from here but we parked at the bottom of the scenic stairs and hiked it down here to Locke Street, not realizing there was gonna be a downpour of rain on our unprepared heads.  So needless to say as our first stop and in our soaked clothes, we didn't want this visit to be in vain so we got two.  The first choice was the Nutella, which confusingly has the piece of KitKat atop it so it lost a few points in appearance since this was kinda false advertising.  The Nutella had excellent icing that was smooth with no gritty sugar pieces.  The cake was dense and closer to a brownie consistency but very good.  I would've preferred a touch more moistness in this cake batter and definitely more nutella flavour and reference.  A hazelnut atop the cupcake would've been better than a kit kat.  Rated 3.8*
 
The second cupcake from Bitten was the Peanut Butter and it was the absolute best cupcake of the six we tasted and took the number 1 spot.  The brownie like cake was delicious (but a smidget drier than i'd like, like the other former) and the icing on this rated the best overall.  It was super peanut buttery and was the most intense in flavour, plus also very smooth and slightly fluffy.  Rated 4.8*
 
The Bitten store front is the most clean, fresh, enticing and funky in my opinion of all the cupcake places.  I always eat a bit more with my eyes there before i even start digging into the cake.  The selection is vast, the freshness is top notch and the addition of whoppie pies there add extra interest.  I always love coming to Bitten and this cupcake winner proves why.  Cost $2.75 per cupcake.
 







 

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CUPCAKES OF WESTDALE VILLAGE
1050 King Street West, Hamilton
www.westdalecupcakes.com

This is one of the first cupcake places I can remember popping up in the city well before cupcakes became the trendy dessert so kudos to them for being numero uno!  This cupcake is a Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake.  The icing was very good, not overly sweet and no sugary grit.  The cake was very moist and had a small cheesecake filling inside at the bottom.  It also had some cherry pie filling inside but this was scant and more of this would've been better.  It was probably the most unique of all the cupcakes, yet surprisingly we felt this store had the worst selection.  We picked the right one of the few we had to choose from i guess.  I would've liked a touch more cherry flavour just to reinforce the cherry cheesecake name- perhaps some reduced cherry syrup drizzled over the top?  Overall this one rated #2 of the 6 with a rating of 4.5*
 
The store front was mediocre and not as kitchy and fun as Bitten.  The display of cupcakes again was less impressive and besides the one we picked everything seemed slightly plain and ordinary.  But they obviously know how to make a good cupcake if this one scored so highly.  Cost $2.50 per cupcake.


 
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FROSTING CAKERY
436 Highway #8, Stoney Creek
 
We took a little trek to get out to this place which I've seen many times going to my grandparents house but have never made it in.  This was another Peanut Butter flavoured cupcake.  The cake was very moist and delicious and the icing had good peanut butter flavour, but slightly less intense than Bittens version.  The chocolate drizzle atop was ok, but i think a drizzle of melted peanut butter would've been better.  The icing did have a slightly grainy texture.  It came in at the middle of the pack in the number 3 spot with a rating of 4.3*.
 
The store front is quite cute and their front display cases are very enticing.  The owner was super bubbly and friendly and made you feel very welcome.  The selection was very good and the freshness was also excellent.  The cupcakes are quite large which is nice.  Cost $2.50 per cupcake.








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BEYOND THE BATTER
1791 Stonechurch Road, Stoney Creek
www.beyondthebatter.com

I have to admit this place had an uphill battle to climb with me as I've not been super impressed with their cupcakes in the past, but this time around my opinion changed.  Previously I've found their cakes to be dry, boring and small but things have changed since I've been there last apparently.  This was the S'more cupcake.  The cake actually had the best chocolaty flavour and was quite moist but a tad crumbly in texture for me.  The icing was moderate in smoothness but because it was combined with marshmallow it was way too sweet.  The flavours overall were very s'more like although a bigger dose of graham cracker would've elevated it a little bit more.  Maybe a big wedge of graham cracker coming right out the top?  Rating 4.0* and number 4 ranked.

The store is very nice, with bright blue walls, high ceilings, very nice light fixtures and a clean, simple display case.  The selection and flavour varieties were very good and much better than I remember the first couple times  I had been there.  I quite frequently go past this place since i live in the area and its always busy with people coming in and out at all different hours.  Cost $2.75 per cupcake.

 
 
 
 
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FORTINOS
Upper Centennial Parkway, Stoney Creek
 
I totally forgot to take pics of the store front and building, but I think most of you Hamiltonians will know what it looks like.  Fortino's has caught onto the cupcake craze and offer La Rocca cupcakes sold individually in their cake and pastry display case.  I had high hopes for this since I generally love La Rocca cakes but sadly this was the most disappointing and rated last in the 6 cakes.  We choose the Oreo cookie cupcake here.  It was the smallest cupcake of them all and the cake was very dry, not fresh and bland.  The icing tasted very processed and it had zero oreo cookie flavour.  Even the tiny little crumble of oreo cookie atop was barely detectable.  This tasted like the type of cupcake you get in the pre-packaged section in the grocery store and didn't earn itself the right to be sold individually let alone be in the big display case.  Rated 2.5*
 
Ditto on the store.  Its a grocery store and a chain so ya....whatever.  I guess the cupcake was so disappointing that its not worth saying much more. It was the cheapest of them all at $1.99 per cupcake but I guess this is a prime example of 'you get what you pay for'!
 

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What a wonderful afternoon of sugar overload.  I wish I could've gotten some from the Cupcake Diner and Sweetness Bakery (which i tried to get to on Locke Street, only to find out it was gone?) but I did my best to get a good variety and hopefully this entices you try some new cupcake joints around the city!
























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