While the macaron craze is beginning to run its course, cupcakes are here to stay. Check out this roundup of sweet shops from coast to coast that are doing this nostalgic treat proud.
Cake-ology (Winnipeg, MB)
Stroll into the Exchange District in downtown Winnipeg and follow the scent of freshly baked goods until your nose leads you to Cake-ology (you can’t miss the big cake jutting out from the building’s exterior either). Of course you’ll find a variety of cakes including “cakettes” (think stickless cake pop) and cookies. Like any good bake shop, they can customize too, so ask ahead and your flavour-combination wish is their command.
Crave Cookies and Cupcakes (Calgary, Edmonton, AB and Saskatoon, SK)
One of the original upscale cupcake shops in Canada, Crave just turned 10 years old earlier this year and has significantly updated their concept since it first opened. Now, instead of simply rows and rows of cupcakes, you’ll find all sorts of delicious treats like red velvet sugar cookies, amazing cakes (try the ice box cake right now — summer-approved!) and pies.
The Cupcake Conspiracy (Saskatoon, SK)
Saskatoon’s first gourmet cupcake shop keeps things concise but tasty with their offerings here, baking up a short list of sweets that include chocolate banana, vanilla and rum buttercream, vanilla and coconut, and more.
The Cupcake Lounge (Ottawa, ON)
There’s a lot of eating and drinking to be done in the ByWard Market in the heart of Ottawa. But what about dessert? This sweet little cupcake shop offers the regular suspects, seven days a week as well as daily specials like ginger lemon on Thursdays, butterscotch bourbon on Saturdays and banana peanut butter on Sundays.
The Cupcake Shoppe (Toronto, ON)
This popular sweet spot was arguably the first upscale cupcake shop in the country (opened in 2003) and always aims to impress. As many cupcake options as there are colours in the rainbow, expect a vast selection of flavours from the popular carrot cake, to margarita and many more.
Jenna Rae Cakes (Winnipeg, MB)
When you’re noted by Martha Stewart as a place that makes beautiful cakes and cupcakes, you know you’re in for a spike in business, which is exactly what happened to Jenna Rae’s shop in Winnipeg. People line up out the door to get their hands on the pretty baked goods inside.
ManCakes (Vancouver, BC)
This bake shop aims to turn dainty cupcakes into a manly three-bite dessert. Look beyond the “masculine” design of the shop and you’ll find some impressive out-of-the-box flavours including red wine and chocolate, whiskey lime — or perhaps the most intriguing, a buffalo wing-inspired cupcake with blue cheese cheesecake mousse, spicy buttercream and crispy chicken crumble.
Susie’s Shortbreads (Halifax, NS)
The name may be slightly misleading, but Susie dishes out an array of gourmet cupcakes in addition to her famous cookies. Bite into a dulce de leche or cookies and cream cupcake and pair it with a melt-in-your-mouth shortbread for a truly satisfying dessert.
Thimblecakes (Ottawa, ON)
Don’t let the name fool you, Thimblecakes bakes up anything but tiny, bite-size cakes. Custom cakes and cupcakes can be ordered ahead, but pop in during the week to get a mix of cupcakes with flavours ranging from red velvet and chocolate chip cookie dough to salted caramel tiramisu.
Dan Clapson is a food writer and culinary instructor based out of Calgary. He is constantly creating new recipes and striving to expand his culinary horizons. He thinks yam fries are overrated.