June 30th, 2008

How ’bout ’em cupcakes

Cupcake Noveau cupcakes

Who would’ve known there’s so much love for cupcakes in Miami? On Saturday, 10 fortunate Chowhound readers/posters got together at one generous cupcake lover’s home to taste cupcakes from nine local “cupcakers” — as our host aptly called them. Now let me tell you these tasters were serious and they sure knew their cupcakes. I was more attracted to the event based on the concept: One host. Ten strangers. Many cupcakes. Food bringing people together, engaging in healthy discussion. Our host basically brought a Chowhound post to life.

Dots vanilla cupcakes

Tasters and cupcakers had a chance to mingle for about 45 minutes, at which point the cupcakers were required to leave so the tasters could speak candidly about their treats. Each cupcaker provided a chocolate, vanilla and signature cupcake and participants different “vintages” of milk to pair — you needed something to wash all that sugar down. What followed were two hours of overindulgence finished with a sugar coma.

2 Girls and a Cupcake - Chick Flick

So what makes a good cupcake? After hearing much back and forth among the tasters, I think I can safely say we were all looking for good flavor, a moist cake, a nice presentation and a frosting with flavor that complements, but doesn’t overpower the cake. All of the participating cupcakers (see full list at the end of this post) were new to me and all had their positives, but only some of their cupcakes captured my palate.

Misha’s Cupcakes

Here are my three favorites:

  1. “Oye Como Va” by 2 Girls and a Cupcake – A vanilla cupcake with guava filling and cream cheese frosting topped with a wafer. The cream cheese frosting was a refreshing change from the many super sweet sugary frostings. Plus who doesn’t like cheese and guava? The guava filling gave the cake additional moisture and was a nice little surprise in the middle of the cake. The wafer didn’t really add much to the mix. Bonus points for their cute cupcake names. The above pictured Chick Flick is also theirs.
  2. “Vanilla Elegance” by Cupcakes Noveau – A Madagascar vanilla bean cupcake with vanilla Swiss meringue frosting. I loved the creamy texture of the frosting and its intense vanilla flavor; you could even see vanilla bean speckles in it. The cake was moist and also had a wonderful flavor. Bonus points to the Cupcakes Noveau girls for the beautiful fondant flowers that top each of their cupcakes (see first picture). Tasters were impressed with the girls’ professionalism during mingling time.
  3. Buttercream’s Vanilla cupcake with chocolate frosting – No fancy name, nor fancy presentation, but a lovable cupcake nonetheless. Simply presented with a tiny pink sugar heart on top, what made me love this cupcake was its texture, which some described as spongy and others as custardy. Now that may be good or bad. To me it was good; there was something deeply satisfying about the cake’s texture and flavor.

Dots vanilla cupcakes with chocolate frosting

Honorable mentions:

  • Stella’s Cupcakes were beautifully presented and I loved the chocolate frosting on their vanilla cupcake. However, the consensus was that there was too much frosting on the cupcake, which really overpowered the cake.
  • Dots also had a cute presentation for their vanilla cupcake. Someone said it looked like a sundae (see picture above). It was playful and the frosting was creamy and richly chocolate.

Little Miss Cupcakes

After that morning, I’ll be staying away from cupcakes for some time, but for you cupcake lovers, here’s a list of the participating bakers:

Buttercream Cupcakes & Coffee
1411 Sunset Drive, Coral Gables

Cupcakes Noveau
305.978.1058 or 305.336.4629

Dots Treats

Little Miss Cupcake

Misha’s Cupcakes
7344 SW 48th St., Miami

Stella’s Sweet Shoppe

Sugar Girl Bakeshop

Sweetcakes Cupcakes
8425 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 102

Two Girls and a Cupcake
305.582.6962 or 786.285.8587

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15 Responses to “How ’bout ’em cupcakes”

  1. Wow! What an event. Miami has needed a few good cupcake shops. One of the search terms that I often see linked to my blog is “miami cupcake,” so the demand is definitely out there. Thanks for your roundup and reviews.

  2. wow awesome cupcakes by “Two Girls and a Cupcake” they were amazing, rich in flavor.
    keep it up girls..

  3. I’m surprised you didn’t vote for Sugar Girl’s Havana Nights. Those are truly divine!!!!!!!

  4. Jenny – Unfortunately, I didn’t try the Havana Nights cupcakes. But I’ll make sure to give them a try.

  5. Hi Paula! It was fun sharing cupcakes with you & your fiance at the event. Great blog post, I could not have summed it up better. Did you take one of Sugar Girl’s pina colada cupcakes home? It was so yummy!

    I agree with your ratings!

    xoxo, Kat

  6. Buttercream, yum!

  7. Hi! I loved the tasting. I think we should pick another food item and do another tasting! Anyway, my favorites were 2 Girls and a Cupcake (Chic Flic and Oye Como Va) and Cupcakes Nouveau (chocolate with vanilla buttercream). I thought Cupcakes Nouveau’s cupcakes were both delicious AND pretty, a somewhat difficult balance. Buttercream came in at a very close 3rd place. I didn’t even bother trying Misha’s because I already know how much I like her cupcakes!

  8. Fantastic! I recently discovered Buttercream Cupcakes and Coffee and I am now a huge fan. I’m bookmarking this for my own Miami cupcake research!

    Wish I was there!

  9. Hey Paula, great meeting you at the tasting. I think I’ve finally recovered from the sugar coma!

  10. Where does one find out about these tastings to attend? I never heard anything about this. Was it a private event for the host’s friends?

  11. Lila – I found out about it on Chowhound.com. I don’t think the host knew any of the people who signed up. He did, however, limit the event to 10 people since he was hosting it at his private home. You might want to also try localwineevents.com for calendar listings, though theirs focus more on wine and spirits tastings.

  12. I have tried the Cupcakes Nouveau cupcakes on one occasion and found them to be very good. I went to their grand opening on Friday and was not able to try any of the cupcakes because they did not have any out when I went, but I went this week and I tried the Vanilla Elegance, the Romeo and Juliet and their Chocolate Decadence. The cake on all three of them were hard. Maybe theyr’e working out some kinks so I’m going to try them again in a couple of months.

  13. I went to cupcakes nouveau grand opening and had passed by on my way to the invitation store and i had a sampler. They are no big deal, the cake is dry and more muffin-like than cupcake. 14 something dollars not well spent!

  14. In case you are looking for another local cupcakery in Miami, try http://www.Sweetkups.com. They were recently featured in Daily Candy’s weekend guide. Their cupcakes are made-to-order which means they are always fresh. They don’t have a brick-and-mortar shop, but they do offer free delivery. I’ve tried several flavors of theirs and the strawberry is delicious- made with fresh strawberries. The guava, however, has been my absolute favorite. The icing melts in your mouth and is not repugnant at all. Try them out!

  15. […] Eileen and Evelyn during a cupcake tasting I attended last year, where their “Oye Como Va” cupcake — vanilla cupcake with […]

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