Baking Research · Cupcakes

The Great Phoenix Cupcake Challenge, Part 1

During our visit to the states this summer, Max’s aunt (who knows my obsession for all things baking) had put together a list of recommended cupcake shops to visit. This soon developed into a full-scale cupcake competition, pitting shops and bakeries against each other in a ‘battle for cupcake domination!’ (Sorry…)

Disclaimer: All of these opinions are my own, and those of Max and his family. There were other shops we didn’t visit, so just because something is not listed here does not make it bad!

In order to fairly compare the cupcakes, we scored them out of 10 on the following categories:

  • Storefront
  • Packaging
  • Range of cupcakes
  • Decoration
  • Flavour/quantity of frosting
  • Flavour/texture of cake

We also then awarded a holistic mark and came up with some overall winners based on their marks in all categories. I won’t bore you with all the data (we had tables, statistics and  collaborative comments), but here are some of the highlights.

Best Storefront and Packaging – The Sweet Tooth Fairy


It seems right to start with one of our favourite contestants from the tasting, and this shop hit pretty much all the marks. We loved the pastel colours and English-tea-party decor, and the monogrammed furniture inside. Whilst still rather plain, the pretty stickers on the boxes pushed The Sweet Tooth Fairy’s packaging above the very plain packaging of most of the others, and we also liked the small display of baking decorations and other cake-based goodies as you walked in. The cafe area did not feel to crowded and we fitted six people around one table quite happily.

(Image taken from here)

If we were to be really picky, we felt that it would have been nice to have a better selection of drinks to eat with the delicious cupcakes, however, that would just be the cherry on top of a really delicious cake.

Biggest Cupcake/Most Random Location – Tom’s Thumb Fresh Market

An honourable mention for this diner, which presented us with the largest cupcake we had ever seen – it looked like it had eaten two of the other cakes. At $2.95 it was great value for money, and good quality food considering this was the one entry not from a dedicated cupcake business. And all for a restaurant in a gas station. Much respect.

(Image taken from here)

Best decoration – The Victorian Cake Company and Candyland Cupcakes

This bakery has already been mentioned with regard to their completely delicious cronuts, but also deserve a mention for the pretty delicate decoration featured on their cupcakes. This was one feature we felt disappointed with overall, that decoration was very plain, and often non-existent. The flowers and toppings on these cakes made them an easy winner of the decoration award, really making them stand out from the crowd.

(Image taken from here)

Best Range of Interesting Flavours – Sprinkles Cupcakes

Going around a lot of cupcake shops, you soon find that a lot of flavours are baked wherever you go, meaning that when you find new flavours, it becomes quite exciting. The range of flavours on display at Sprinkles really impressed me, and small menus on display showed many other flavours if we were to come back on a different day. We sampled the Chai Latte and Pumpkin flavours, but was also very excited about the ginger lemon and mocha. I could have happily eaten any of their flavours, but more importantly was intrigued by some of the combinations – a success.

(Image taken from here)

That’s the first part of the contest then! Tune in later to find out our favourite individual cupcakes and our favourite overall shop!

2 thoughts on “The Great Phoenix Cupcake Challenge, Part 1

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