Monday, January 20, 2014

Charlotte Cupcakes -- And the winner is...

A large part of my 2013 was going to 42 different cupcake shops in the greater Charlotte area, sampling over 60 different cupcakes and somehow preventing a sugar overload.

The result of all of that (besides a lot of exercise ahead for 2014) is an end to my search for Charlotte's best cupcake.

Actually, I got more than I bargained for.

9 different cupcake shops had cupcakes that I gave over 4-and-a-half cupcake star ratings to.

Cupcake Delerium’s Aunt Jemima cupcake (complete with bacon on top) was incredible! Big View Diner’s amazingly delicious chocolate cupcake is any chocolate lover’s dream come true. Cupcrazed has a lot of amazing cupcakes, but I enjoyed the maple bacon quite a bit.

Maddy’s Fatty’s cannoli cupcake brings a bit of New York City into the Queen City.

And then there’s The Polka Dot Bake Shop’s red velvet cupcake (pictured on the right), the cupcake that got my 2013 cupcake obsession going.

Of all the cupcakes I sampled, I think Granny Mac's cupcakes were probably the biggest. For that matter, they may give you the best deal for your buck.

As much as I wasn't a fan of the Kimberley's Bakeshoppe red velvet cupcakes that you can find in four-packs at various grocery stores, their cupcake was not the worst one I tried.

Unfortunately the bubblegum cupcake from Splat! Cakes n' Such, located in Gastonia, got the worst ranking with just one-and-a-half cupcake stars. They had a lot of very delicious cupcakes too though. Their strawberry cupcake got 4-and-a-half cupcake stars.

Strawberry was the flavor I tried more than any other. The strawberry cupcakes from Splat's and Decadent Design's Bakery were the two best.

Other cupcakes I didn't like too well included Earth Fare's vanilla cupcake (two cupcake stars) and Earth Fare's red velvet cupcake (two-and-a-half cupcake stars).

Also getting two-and-a-half cupcake stars were Cloud 9 Confections' vanilla/chocolate cupcake and Granny Mac's Peanut Butter cupcake. I appreciated the effort from Granny Mac's, but it didn't work.

Just like Splat!, Cloud 9 and Granny Mac's weren't all bad. Cloud 9 makes an incredible raspberry cupcake (four cupcake stars) and Granny Mac's had a really good (and enormous!) pumpkin cupcake.

Another cupcake shop to make note of is Bake Me A Cake. I bought cupcakes from their kiosk in Northlake Mall (though I'm not sure if they're still located there). They had a nice selection of cupcakes that I purchased for a birthday party. I gave every single one of their cupcakes four cupcake stars.

Bowtie Bakery probably had the most massive selection I encountered, with close to 20 different options. If you're in the Concord area, make sure to track this place down! It's located at 970 Branchview Drive NE in Concord. I didn't give each cupcake the best cupcake star rating, but I definitely appreciate the variety and the effort they put into making each cupcake different. They don't resort to serving up your traditional vanilla, chocolate or red velvet cupcakes. They spice things up in a variety of ways.

Perhaps the most unique cupcake I had was the blue velvet cupcake from Southern Cake Queen. It's a simple twist, yet very interesting.

As much as I would've liked to, I didn't get the chance to test out every bakery in the Charlotte area. When I started my search for the best cupcake in Charlotte, I knew there would be a few exclusions.

There are several custom bakers in Charlotte. Unfortunately I couldn’t include them in this year-long search because they typically require an order of at least a dozen. With each order is usually a delivery fee as well.

Those options didn’t work for me because A) I wasn’t about to spend that much money and B) that’s way too many cupcakes for me.

Nonetheless, there are other options besides the cupcakes I’ve reviewed. Tiffany’s Cupcakes, Cuppy Cakes Bakery and Queen City cupcakes were three I would've liked to have tried.

You can check out all of my previous cupcake reviews in the links below, but now it's time to talk about the winner --- I mean winners.

I tried to choose just one, but I couldn't narrow it down.

FuManChu's salted caramel cupcake and Cupcrazed's blueberry pancake cupcake get top honors in this blog.

Both earned 5-cupcake star ratings.

I can see why Cuprazed won on Cupcake Wars. I've had more than one cupcake there and they've all been very good. The best, however, has to be the blueberry pancake cupcake! It's unbelievable!

Meanwhile the salted caramel cupcake from FuManChu was equally as amazing. The salty, crispy bacon mixed with the sweet caramel and the butter cream frosting was a perfect combination.

The owner of FuManChu plans to open a physical location in Charlotte according to his website. Until that happens, you'll have to track them down the old fashioned way: by following him on Twitter. They're typically available Tuesdays and Thursdays in the NoDa area.

Thanks for reading along in my search for Charlotte's best cupcake. If you missed out on any of the reviews, they're all available at the links below:

Related Content:
Charlotte Cupcakes - Carswell Bakery
Charlotte Cupcakes - Southern Cake Queen
Charlotte Cupcakes – Pat-a-Cakes Bakery
Charlotte Cupcakes - Big View Diner
Charlotte Cupcakes - Savannah's Bakery
Charlotte Cupcakes - The Sweet Life
Charlotte Cupcakes - DOUGH Bakery
Charlotte Cupcakes – BW Sweets Bakery
Charlotte Cupcakes - Cake Makin' Sisters
Charlotte Cupcakes - Granny Mac's Bake Shop
Charlotte Cupcakes - Daphne’s Bakery
Charlotte Cupcakes - Earth Fare
Charlotte Cupcakes - Cloud 9 Confections
Charlotte Cupcakes - Novel Sweets
Charlotte Cupcakes - Jenn's Sugarlicious Bakery
Charlotte Cupcakes - Sweet Lorraine's Bakery
Charlotte Cupcakes - Maddy's Fatty's
Charlotte Cupcakes - Splat! Cakes n Such
Charlotte Cupcakes - Berry's Bakery
Charlotte Cupcakes - Polka Dot Bake Shop
Charlotte Cupcakes - Wow Factor Cakes
Charlotte Cupcakes - Cupcrazed
Charlotte Cupcakes - SAS Cupcakes
Charlotte Cupcakes - Decadent Designs Bakery
Charlotte Cupcakes - It's a Piece of Cake
Charlotte Cupcakes - Black Velvet Patisserie
Charlotte Cupcakes - Maggiemoos
Charlotte Cupcakes: Kai's Kookies and More
Charlotte Cupcakes: Two On Earth Bakery
Charlotte Cupcakes: FuManChu Cupcakes
Charlotte Cupcakes - The Bakery Shoppe
Charlotte Cupcakes - Jewell Treats
Charlotte Cupcakes - SweetCakes
Charlotte Cupcakes - Just Baked Cupcakes
Charlotte Cupcakes - La Bree's cupcakes
Charlotte Cupcakes - Bake Me A Cake
Charlotte Cupcakes - Tizzerts
Charlotte Cupcakes - Suarez Bakery
Charlotte Cupcakes - Cupcake Delirium
Charlotte Cupcakes - Sunflour Bakery
Charlotte Cupcakes – Kimberley’s Bakeshoppe Gourmet Cupcakes
Charlotte Cupcakes - Nona's Sweets

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