Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Kara’s Cupcakes, San Francisco

I had 6 cupcakeries on the itinerary of my self-directed cupcake tour. A lofty goal for the short time I had in the city. I managed to squeeze in 3 of the cupcakeries (more squeezing is occurring in the weeks following this indulgent tour as I squeeze and squish my way into my pants) and now I never want to see another cupcake ever again. (Update: it is now 4 weeks since my San Francisco cupcake tour and I would like to strike that comment from the record. I do so wish to see, eat, and marry all cupcakes once again. It was a hurtful thing to say and I’m truly sorry. I was just made delirious by the toxic levels of sugar in my blood at the time. Let us never speak of this again.)

Our first cupcakery is Kara’s Cupcakes, y’all.


Located in Ghirardelli Square.


You know that giddy, high-flying feeling you get when you’re about to buy a bunch of clothes or some really cute boots or the best table lamp ever?

That’s how I felt right here, in Kara’s Cupcakes, standing in front of this glass case stuffed full of fluffy, spongy cakes sporting creamy caps and squatting in corrugated paper cups.


They’re little. They’re sweet. The word cute just won’t do here. No, not to describe these heavenly little dearlings. (Yes, dearlings. Not only are the darling, but they are dear. Oh so dear!)


Cute, my friends. Hear me when I say shockingly cute. In fact, this amount of cute borders on obscene.


I stood there before the obscene cupcake display, feeling my heart racing. I tried not to breathe too heavily on the glass. But I knew a choice of epic consequence lay before me. How could I choose between so many?


But choose I did.


Let me break it down, pastry style.

Meyer Lemony Lemon


This is a vanilla cupcake with a tart lemon filling and lemon buttercream. Yeah, that’s right, it’s filled! HA! Just when I thought cupcakes couldn’t get any better, they went and got filled! My word, is there no end to the genius of bakers?

And, it was the tart lemon filling that made this cupcake. The lemon buttercream was smooth and luscious, but it was weak tasting. It needed much more lemon flavor. Come on, if you’re going to call it “Lemony Lemon” you’ve got to pop me in the mouth with lemony flavor. So a bite of buttercream and vanilla cake alone was a step away from disappointing. But once I got to the lemon filling, things started to look up.

Raspberry Dazzle


Oh heck yeah! This is a chocolate cupcake with sweet raspberry buttercream and raspberry filling. The chocolate cake was moist, spongy, delectable. But again, with a name like Raspberry Dazzle, I kinda had my heart set on bedazzlement. The raspberry buttercream just needed more raspberry flavor. But once again, the filling was it’s saving grace. It had fabulous red berry flavor, and was not too sweet.


Fleur de Sel

How is it that I don’t have an individual picture of this one? I’ll tell you how: It’s a chocolate cupcake with caramel filling and ganache frosting. That’s how.

It’s chocolate beauty triggered the primal core of my hypothalamus and instinctual behavior took over. I ate it in a heartbeat, with no regard for my Fuji. And then I hung my head in shame.

The interesting thing about this cupcake is that it has a fleur de sel on the top (a flower of salt) and I must say, the flavor combination was quite interesting. Different, but good. And I liked the added crunch the large salt crystals provided.

Kara’s Karrot


This carrot cupcake had a silky soft cream cheese frosting and was the front-runner of the bunch. The cake was so moist and full to bursting with super-sized chunks of walnuts, raisins and carrots. Heavenly! The frosting had just the right amount of sweetness—not too sour like some.

This is the aftermath. You can see the unphotographed Fleur de Sel is devastated.


Oh. OH. Then there was this:


They sell Kara’s Cupcake onesies and t-shirts!

I only took a picture of it. I didn’t buy it.

Which is a lousy substitute, by the way.

The amount of self control it took to resist buying a case of these, in every size offered, for my little cupcakes at home was such that I thought my head might spontaneously combust.

Yes, I thought my head might burst into flames without a defined source of ignition.

Happy cupcaking to all, and to all a good night,


PS. Dear Windows Live Writer, You complete me. Forever Yours, Elle

PPS. I’ll close the Girl Twin Giveaway this Saturday. If you haven’t already, please enter. It’s open to everyone! I’ve loved reading everyone’s comments and guesses.


More Than Words said...

Now I'm craving for cupcakes!!!

My husband works in the city, and I wonder how out of the way it will be for him to stop by here on the way home! LOL

Dandy said...

We were there! But we didn't eat any cupcakes. now if you would have kept wallking forward to the shop called Lola you would have seen the cupcake kits I just gave away :)

I love Fleur de sel. I love salt with chocolate or caramel or anything sweet. I need it in my life.

Meghan said...

Oh goodness, I love cupcakes. I feel like I need to find a cute a little cupcakery up here somewhere. What a fun "girls day out" that would be!

Buckeroomama said...

I love making cupcakes and marveling at beautiful and cute cupcakes, but I'm not too big on them myself.

Isn't Windows Live Writer so much neater? I do all my posts using that since somebody recommended that to me. :)

cherie said...

hahah! you got me a-wanting to run to the nearest cupcake store!~~~you are such a bee, elle! thank you for being so sweet! (now that has TWO meanings! ^_^)

Debbie said...

I must not read these kinds of posts before I have breakfast. Now I am thinking if I can manage to make cupcakes quickly. Rats. Meyer Lemon cupcakes sound VERY good about now.

Lois Christensen said...

If somebody has to do a tour of cupcake bakeries, glad it's you!! That raspberry one looks yummy!!!! Not sure if I entered your contest. Will head over there now! Enjoy your day!

CottageGirl said...

Those cupcakes are beautiful!

I love your writing, Elle ... Your phrase "squatting in corrugated paper cups" sends just the right picture!

More, More, More!

Yelena R. said...

All these posts from you and Dawn (Spontaneous Clapping) make me think that I'm missing out...since I've never been to San Francisco. Definitely adding it to my list of places to visit :)

p.s. Live Writer is my best friend

Unknown said...

Oh just kill me now!! I want one of each, lol! I love cuppycakes :) What a wonderful place! I want a t-shirt!

curegirl0421 said...

Mmmmm cupcakes. There's a place here in Boulder called Tea & Cakes, and they do a Bacon Chocolate cupcake.

Trust me. It's awesome.

Heart2Heart said...


This is such a neat idea for companies to make a cupcake shop! I mean I remember good old fashioned bakeries growing up but those are long gone now. I need to locate one near me, wait, what am I saying? Perhaps I should just look at your pictures a bit more, they are calorie free!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

monica said...

Those look good!! What a awesome place and wish I was closer so I can taste them also!! The carrots cupcake look delicious!!

Simply Colette said...

Oh my goodness! I have a pic of the Kara's cupcake sign too! I went there last year on my trip to SF. And you'll never guess what happened an hour ago, I went to the mall for lunch, stood next to the glass like a fish snacking on algae at Passion for Pastry about to give in to my 5 days gluten free for the Cotton Candy cupcake. The lady didn't acknowledge me right away, so I took it as a sign and walked away. Now I come back and I think you are trying to torment me! ;)

Flat Creek Farm said...

Filled cupcakes ~ oh my! If you.. should you.. say, wanna do a post on how to make filled cupcakes I will take a front row seat. Yum.
WLW rocks! -Tammy

golonghorns said...

I think I really need a cupcake now! Those look too fantastic and my carnivorous instinct would have kicked in with the fleur de sel too!

blushing rose said...

Here comes more 'junk in my trunk'! Good thing this isn't near where I live ... I gain # just looking at them. Chuckle!

Have a snuggly warm eve. TTFN ~Marydon


me too! i just ate something spicy and now i want something sweet! good job!

thanks for stopping by the crip - btw the skin tag removal was painless, nearly bloodless, and now you'd never even know it had been there. it's been a sheer delight, and thank you for asking

Muthering Heights said...

Oh my...those look delightful!!

Salitype said...

ahhh! now, you made me want to have one of those...lemme see where is the nearest delicatessen shop around, yummy!