Review - Vanilla Bake Shop - Happy Birthday Brandi!!

Today is my dear friend Brandi's birthday. I wish I could be celebrating with her but she's in the middle of the country... and I'm clear on the west coast... so we're "geographically undesirable" friends. But geography matters not. She's one of the bestest friends a girl could ever ask for and I'm so eternally grateful that she's mine :) So it may be Brandi's birthday but it's me who's eating cake!!! woohoo!!! yeah buddy!!! alright!!! yes siree ricky bobby I'm eatin cake!!!

Last night in my travels thru the blogosphere, I came across a post on Cupcakes Take The Cake about this bakery called Vanilla Bake Shop which was "featured" on Martha Stewart's TV show. I checked out their website discovered they're about a half-hour away and after reading their Meyer Lemon Raspberry cupcake is a specialty flavor on Saturday, I decided to give them a visit this morning :)

You can't be a cupcake lover without checking out all the various well-known and not-so-well-known bakeries in your area. I live in the suburbs of Los Angeles and let me tell you there are a boatload of bakeries... well-known and not so well known... and I've tried a whoooooooole lot of 'em! And if you've tried cupcakes from a boatload of different bakeries you'll quickly realize they're all different! Not just different varieties of cupcakes... but different cupcakes. Some cakes are dense... some are dry... some are moist... and some are light. Some icings are cloyingly sweet... some are crunchy... some are creamy... and some are gooey. Some have too much cake and not enough icing... and others have too much icing (most kids will disagree with this!!).

When I try a new bakery I usually go for at least the following flavors: Vanilla cake w/vanilla icing, vanilla cake w/chocolate icing and red velvet cake. And then any other specialty flavors they have that happen to strike my fancy. More often than not, I walk away disappointed but not today... Vanilla Bake Shop was fantastic!

Along with the Meyer Lemon Raspberry cupcake pictured above, I sampled the following flavors:

They're all babies (mini), not full sized cupcakes but yes indeed I did eat all 6 of these today. I had to... no choice... it was in the name of research so I could tell all of you how they are. It was reeeeeeeesearch ;-)

I'm not kidding... there wasn't a bad cake in the bunch... not even one that was "off" or "just okay". These babies were all fantastic - each and everyone of them! The icing was not cloyingly sweet... it wasn't crunchy... it wasn't gooey... it was jussssssst right :) Even the cream cheese icing was a wonderful balance of flavors with none overpowering another. The cake was delicately sweet, moist but sturdy enough to handle the "stuffings" :) The Red Velvet cake was noteworthy... cake with a hint of chocolate instead of how so many other bakeries want to make it as a red-colored chocolate cake which Red Velvet decidedly is not meant to be.

All in all... these cupcakes were fantastic. And the Harney & Son's Mint Verbena tea was good too :) If you're in the Los Angeles area... or planning a trip here... please do yourself a favor and check out Vanilla Bake Shop. At least check out their website :) And then go make some cupcakes.

Happy birthday, Brandi!!! Thanks for being born on this day... cuz it gave me an excuse to eat cake :)