After teasing us seemingly forever with the “Coming Soon” sign, Cupcakin’ Bake Shop is finally open. It’s within close walking distance from campus, and it’s offering students its selection of delectable, little treats at last.
Owner Lila Owens says she’s been a cupcake connoisseur since she was little. She started out catering to friends for special events until she achieved her ultimate goal of opening a retail shop.
The high quality of her cupcakes definitely reflects the level of expertise and passion she has for cupcakes. The flavors available include classics such as vanilla, chocolate and carrot cake, and a few others on seasonal rotation. The flavor of the moment is Summer Berries, a vanilla cupcake with organic strawberries and topped with vanilla buttercream and fresh berries.
A definite must-try and best selling flavor is the Southern Red Velvet; its recipe has been perfected throughout the years. Unsurprisingly, the cupcake has a depth of flavor that is unparalleled by any other red velvet cupcake out there. The cake itself is not overwhelmingly sweet with subtle chocolate notes, and the cream cheese frosting has a rich, smooth texture that delivers the perfect balance of sweet and tangy.
Out of all the flavors I sampled, my personal favorite was the Chocolate Toffee, which featured a generous dollop of fluffy chocolate frosting on top of a heavenly chocolate base. The experience of eating this could only be described as pure bliss; the chocolate used was Valrhona cocoa from France, and its exceptional quality was obvious from the very first bite. The dark flavors all came together harmoniously, and the sprinkling of toffee pieces packed a delightful crunch.
If you are looking for something more delicate in flavor, I’d also highly recommend the Lemon Blackberry. There’s just the right amount of juicy blackberries in the batter and the lemon gives a refreshing kick that levels out the sweetness.
The shop is currently in the test kitchen for developing gluten-free and vegan options and hopes to have them ready by this fall.
“We don’t cut corners when it comes to what we put into our cupcakes and the process of making it,” says the owner. Considering how premium these cupcakes are, the $3 price tag for each cupcake is worth every penny. There are also day-old cupcakes on sale for $2 each.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this place turned out to be Berkeley’s next iconic dessert spot that everyone raves about. The cupcakes are perfect for every occasion: a roommate’s birthday, a well-earned reward to that challenging midterm, a special snack when family and friends from home come to visit. Honestly, I could make up countless excuses to enjoy these treats every single day. So, go ahead and get cupcakin’!
Location: 2435 Durant Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704
Hours of Operation: Mon-Sat 11:30am-8pm