‘Tis the season for sweets and treats! Los Angeles is home to a number of gourmet bake shops, renowned for their cupcakes. If you’re looking to spice up your next holiday party or simply looking to satisfy your sweets craving, check out the following bakeries where you’ll find the best cupcakes in Los Angeles.
Started in Beverly Hills by Candace Nelson and her husband, Sprinkles is often described as the “original” cupcake bakery and was voted as America’s Best Cupcakes. Drawing inspiration from her grandmother, Sprinkles Cupcakes are handcrafted from only the finest ingredients like Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla, Sweet Cream Butter, Belgian Chocolate, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Many of the cupcakes are distinctly decorated with the company’s signature trademark modern dot. Candace is currently a judge on the Food Network’s popular Cupcake Wars. Tech savvy? Be sure to follow Sprinkles on Twitter for secret cupcake giveaways, or download their iPhone app for games, virtual cupcake gifting, and of course, free cupcakes. Through December 24th, you can order a box of their Holiday Cupcakes which include Chocolate Peppermint, Red Velvet Coconut, and Vanilla Peppermint.
Crumbs Bake Shop
With 5 other locations in LA County
Originally started in New York City by husband wife couple Mia and Jason Bauer, the bake shop is known for their Signature size cupcakes made by hand from the finest ingredients. If you have a chance to stop by one of their bake shops, you’ll notice the wood cases and marble counters, designed to resemble an old-time candy shop. Through the holiday season, you can order seasonal favorites like Gingerbread, Chocolate Holiday Sprinkle, Holiday Squiggle, Holiday Flurry Sprinkle, Peppermint Hot Cocoa, and White Hot Chocolate.
This all-American bakery prides itself on offering desserts that are made from scratch daily using the freshest, finest ingredients which include European-style butter, Scharfeen Berger Cocoa, Ghiradelli Chocolate, Guittard Chocolate, and Tahitian Bean Vanilla. The California-based bakery was started by Susie, who brought all of her grandmothers’ recipes to the West Coast where she eventually opened her first shop. Be sure to try one of their seasonal cupcakes which include Gingerbread Latte and Chocolate Candy Cane. See also Best Pumpkin Treats in LA.
Big Man Bakes
What started as a way to relieve the stress of studying for medical school is now a successful business in Los Angeles. William “Chip” Brown initially sold his cupcakes to colleagues, but these decadent cakes are now being sought out by locals and visitors in Los Angeles. Be sure to check out those uniquely individual flavors offered which include Mounds, Reese’s, Nutella, and Caramel Apple.
Big Sugar Bakeshop
This neighborhood, one-stop bake shop offers sweets and treats handcrafted and baked daily from scratch using the finest ingredients. What’s unique about the bake shop is their gift offerings which include imported platters and vintage finds. In addition to offering 12 cupcake varieties each day, the bake shop offers daily specials which can be found on their blog. Some of their more unique cupcake flavors include dulce de leche, boston cream pie, cinnamon with hot cocoa buttercream, and Meyer lemon.
Vanilla Bake Shop
512 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Inspired by her mother, Amy Berman and husband Jeremy started a dessert catering company which eventually led to the opening of Vanilla Bake Shop. Even the origin of the name is notable, as Vanilla is “the world’s most universally loved flavor.” Her assortment of cakes, cupcakes, and desserts are made from scratch daily using quality ingredients like madagascar bourbon vanilla beans, sweet cream butter, and cacao chocolate. Each day you’ll find a new assortment of cupcakes including their famous Southern Red Velvet. Speciality holiday cupcake varieties include Gingerbread Spice, Peppermint Chocolate, and Chocolate Vanilla Bean.
There is no shortage of gourmet cupcake shops in Los Angeles. But for those who suffer from food allergies and intolerances, the options are few. BabyCakes, which originated in New York City, offers natural, organic alternatives for those who are unable to eat wheat, gluten, dairy casein, and/or eggs. White sugar has been replaced with agave nectar and, on occasion, unprocessed, unrefined sugar. Be sure to follow them on Twitter for their latest cupcake offerings which can include pumpkin, red velvet, and brownie.
With its roots in New York City, Magnolia Bakery offers vintage American desserts in a cozy, old-fashioned shop. Their selection of baked goods are made in small batches from scratch each day using quality ingredients. December’s cupcake of the month is spiced gingerbread which is finished with a vanilla bean meringue buttercream.
In the heart of hipster Silver Lake, this sleekly attractive bakery offers updates on classic desserts in clever cupcake form. Stand-out cupcakes include the chocolate mousse, the Oreo-like old-fashioned icebox, and the adorable berry shortcake – a taste of summer-kissed sweetness with a fruit-infused base, filled with pastry cream and topped with a swirl of whipped icing.
Named for chef-owner Jamaica Vawter, not for the island nation, this intimate bakery offers a decadent retreat nonetheless. Favorites include red velvet, richly chocolatey black bottom, and vegan versions of many flavors, including the killer vegan carrot cupcake – packed with fruits, veggies, and nuts and topped with a dairy free cream cheese frosting that miraculously tastes like the real deal.
4817 E. 2nd st.
Long Beach, CA 90803
This Hollywood outpost of the Long Beach favorite provides one stop shopping for the cupcake connoisseur’s sugary fix. In addition to a menu of traditional flavors (including a knock-out red velvet), the bakery offers ice cream-filled varieties, cupcake sandwiches called Hi-Tops, and even “pupcakes,” cake-shaped meaty treats for Fido.
Caryn Bailey is a mother of two and an active blogger. See her work at Rockin’ Mama.