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Cupcake Craze

Let Us Eat Cake!

Encased behind protective glass counters like diamonds in a jewelry store, displays of cupcakes may soon become not only a girl’s new best friend, but also everyone’s new guiltiest indulgence. Like diamonds, these baked creations come in different sizes. They glisten with buttercream and Italian meringue frosting. Colors and brilliancy range from vanilla white to pearly pink. Best of all, they come in their own version of Tiffany boxes without the Tiffany prices.

San Francisco jumps into the cupcake craze offering a kaleidoscope of flavors to satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth. Armed with a pack of Bikram Yoga classes to minimize the caloric intake, I charged into bakeries and patisseries to “research” as many edible treasures as I could find.

Citizen Cupcake
Elizabeth Falkner, celebrity chef and pastry artist, opened Citizen Cake in 1997 and Citizen Cupcake, its satellite, in 2004. Both display cupcake concoctions that feature combinations such as Moka Choka, a chocolate chiffon cake with espresso frosting and coffee buttercream filling. Other delights include Rocky Road, which is topped with folded chunks of homemade marshmallows and walnuts dipped in chocolate. Chocolate Chip Mania scores double home goodness with a mini chocolate chip cookie on top. Creations change daily. Thus there is always something new to try for each visit.

Miette Patisserie
Nestled on the north end of the Ferry Building, partners Megan Ray and Caitlin Williams showcase their cupcake selections, which include the year-round Old-Fashioned bittersweet cake fluffed with Italian meringue. I took home two in a powder pink box, which makes a great cupcake carrying case accessory. Other temptations include gingerbread with cream cheese buttercream frosting or chocolate with strawberry buttercream. Most selections are available only seasonally to feature the freshest ingredients possible.

Kara’s Cupcakes
In November 2006, Kara’s Cupcakes opened in the Marina. Kara sells only cupcakes and now has a second location in Ghiradelli Square to keep up with demand. Over a dozen types of flavors are lined up daily in a long glass counter. Banana Caramel and Fleur De Sel burst with caramel filling. Raspberry Dazzle mixes a chocolate cupcake with raspberry buttercream. Kara’s Karrot means an incredibly moist cupcake with silky soft cream cheese frosting. All cupcakes are baked on the premises and are so fresh that I am told to wait 15 minutes for the next batch of freshly frosted jewels. Virtually all the ingredients are locally sourced and come in mini or standard sizes.

DeLessio’s Market
Mini is the only size here. For a little more than a Muni ride, these bite size pleasures seem nearly harmless. On my last visit, a group of women stood transfixed at the display of miniature cupcakes that were crowned with meringue dollops, butterscotch chips and fresh mint buttercream. Who knew such a small bite could pack in the taste of creamsicle yellow cake, orange curd filling and vanilla buttercream frosting? And who would think that a mini chocolate brownie cake could be big enough to hold a generous pompadour of peanut butter mousse and meringue?

These delightful sweet treasures abound in San Francisco and they are not hidden on some lost map. Find your reward whatever your size or color preference and let yourself eat cake!

Citizen Cupcake
Sunday: 10am - 7pm
Monday: 10am - 7pm
Tuesday: 10am - 9pm
Wednesday: 10am - 9pm
Thursday: 10am - 9pm
Friday: 10am - 10pm
Saturday: 10am - 10pm
2 Stockton Street (between Market and Ellis)
415.399.1565

Citizen Cake
399 Grove Street (between Gough and Franklin)
http://www.citizencake.com
415.861.2228

DeLessio’s Market
1695 Market Street (between Gough and Valencia)
415.552.5559
Sunday: 9am - 5:30pm
Monday: 7am - 7:30pm
Tuesday: 7am - 7:30pm
Wednesday: 7am - 7:30pm
Thursday: 7am - 7:30pm
Friday: 7am - 7:30pm
Saturday: 9am - 5:30pm

302 Broderick Street (between Oak and Fell)
415.552.8077
http://www.delessiomarket.com
Sunday: 8am - 9pm
Monday: 8am - 9pm
Tuesday: 8am - 9pm
Wednesday: 8am - 9pm
Thursday: 8am - 9pm
Friday: 8am - 9pm
Saturday: 8am - 9pm

Kara’s Cupcakes
3249 Scott Street
http://www.karascupcakes.com
415.563.CAKE
Sunday: 10am - 6pm
Monday: 10am - 6pm
Tuesday: 10am - 6pm
Wednesday: 10am - 6pm
Thursday: 10am - 6pm
Friday: 10am - 6pm
Saturday: 10am - 6pm

Ghiradelli Square
Plaza Level
900 North Point
415.351.CAKE
Sunday: 10am - 6pm
Monday: 10am - 6pm
Tuesday: 10am - 6pm
Wednesday: 10am - 6pm
Thursday: 10am - 6pm
Friday: 10am - 6pm
Saturday: 10am - 6pm

Miette Organic Patisseire
Sunday: 11am - 5pm
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 10am - 6pm
Wednesday: 10am - 6pm
Thursday: 10am - 6pm
Friday: 10am - 6pm
Saturday: 9am - 6pm
Ferry Building Marketplace
Shop No 10
http://www.miettecakes.com
415.837.0300