Who takes the (cup)cake?

by Akshara Panchumarthi (’26) and Coco Rothenberg (’26) | March 31, 2023

Art by Myra Malhotra (’26)

What is better than a cake that is shaped like a cup? Literally nothing. Cupcakes are everywhere, from kindergarten birthday parties to graduation. They are the ultimate grab-and-go treat for any occasion, especially midnight snacks. But who makes the best cupcakes? We decided to get sugar high and find out, so you don’t have to. We taste-tested vanilla cupcakes from three popular local bakeries to identify the best cupcake shop in the Bay Area: our team of six cupcake connoisseurs selected Susie Cakes, Sprinkles, and Kara’s Cupcakes. Each cupcake was rated based on taste, frosting, dryness, presentation, and price.

#3 Kara’s Cupcakes                                                                                                                                

Kara’s Cupcakes has multiple locations throughout Northern California. The cake itself was moist, similar in texture to the vanilla cake from Susie Cakes, but the vanilla flavor was almost nonexistent. On the other hand, the frosting was tasty and had a pleasant vanilla flavor. With white frosting covered in white sprinkles, the vanilla cupcakes appeared visually identical to Sprinkles vanilla cupcakes. Each vanilla cupcake from Kara’s Cupcakes was priced at $4.25.

#2 Susie Cakes                                                                                                                                            

Susie Cakes has many stores across California and Texas. The base of the cupcake tasted delicious and had a nice vanilla flavor. The cake itself was neither too dry nor too moist. However, the icing was overwhelmingly sweet and left a sugary aftertaste in the mouth. The cupcakes had the most appealing appearance of the three, with pastel pink and teal frosting and rainbow sprinkles. The cupcakes also come with the option of customizable messages, such as “Happy Birthday.” Similar to Kara’s Cupcakes, each cupcake cost $4.25.

#1 Sprinkles                                                                                                                                                           

Sprinkles has locations from coast to coast and is the biggest chain out of the three. Sprinkles cupcakes took the cake and won our votes for the best vanilla cupcakes. Each cupcake had just the right amount of vanilla, not underwhelming but not overpowering either. The frosting was also the best out of the three, as it perfectly balanced out the cupcake. However, some might find it a little too rich a flavor. The cake itself was moist and light. Despite it being the most expensive at $5.25, the combination of its flavorsome cake and smooth frosting compensated for the extra dollar spent. The Sprinkles cupcake was obviously bigger than Kara’s Cupcakes or Susie Cupcakes.

Cupcakes, cupcakes, and more cupcakes. On this epic journey to find the best cupcake spot we definitely got sugar high, but the experience was well worth it. Overall, Sprinkles, Susie Cakes, and Kara’s Cupcakes are all amazing bakeries with fabulous cupcakes. However, Sprinkles came out on top with the best vanilla cupcake, with Susie Cakes second, and Kara’s Cupcakes in third. 

Thank you to Lizzy, Becky, Advait, and Naomi for helping us on our endeavor to find the best cupcake shop.

Categories: Food

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