Before we lwent to L.A., I asked friends for bakery recommendations. Two trusted sources said Susie Cakes in Brentwood and another mentioned Crumbs in Beverly Hills. The third recommendation was Vanilla Bake Shop in Santa Monica.
We tried to go to all three. On Sunday we cruised through Brentwood, but Susie Cakes was closed. Sunday night, after an excellent sushi dinner, we drove around looking for Crumbs, but accidentally passed it and settled for an ice cream cone from McDonald’s. On Monday I was most determined to hit one of these fancy bakeshops, so after a morning at the beach, we drove over to Vanilla Bake Shop. It was open. Victory!
Wow, what a cute place. The counter staff made Fuzz feel welcome by greeting her, asking her how school was going and guiding her through the cupcake selection. It occurred to me that this kind of sweet service was as important as the cupcake itself. And Fuzz, well, she asked if we could come back before we’d even left. Naturally, I said yes because we had to try more cupcakes. Vanilla makes cupcakes in different sizes and flavors which they rotate throughout the week. Mondays’s flavors were Spicy Carrot, Chocolate Raspberry, Mint Chocolate, Toasted Coconut, Banana Chocolate Chip. Red Velvet and Black and White. We bought a Mint, Red Velvet and Black and White Minis and ate them on the way back to the hotel. We tried to save one, but it didn’t make it back. Vanilla’s cupcakes are rather fragile and the packaging is cute, but not highly functional. But that was a minor detail. Next time we’ll stay at a hotel next to Vanilla so we can eat cupcakes every day and not have to worry about transporting them.
Anyhow, today’s cupcakes were inspired by Vanilla Bake Shop, who make theirs soft and tender with super rich and creamy icing. Since I’ve been reading the Spago Desserts cookbook, I decided to use Spago’s Chocolate Chiffon Cake recipe for the base and top it with their Rich Chocolate Frosting. The cakes were very light and while they were moist, they weren’t too rich. The cake was a good contrast to the frosting which lives up to its name. It has so much butter and chocolate that when you chill the cupcakes, the frosting firms up. It was so good and definitely not very sweet. In fact, you may want to taste as you go and add more sugar.
I linked to both recipes. If you make cupcakes like I did, bake times is about 20 minutes and you’ll get exactly 24 cupcakes.