Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

Two Sammies & a Cupcake – Green Line Cafe

March 22, 2013
Green Line Cafe, Philadelphia PA
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Cucumber Cake Cupcake with Vegan Lime Cream Cheese Frosting
Spicy Meatloaf Sandwich
Sweet Potato Burrito

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ImageOn a drizzling, dreary day, I love it when I can just sit back, relax, and spend an hour or so in a small, independent café. I am not a big drinker of coffee but I do love to try various sandwiches and treats, and bringing some back for dinner, of course. That’s how I ended up at Green Line Cafe.Image

The Cucumber Cake Cupcake with Vegan Lime Cream Cheese Frosting was actually quite bad, especially for $2.50. The cake had plenty of grated cucumber but the cake was dense and hard, sticking to the cup. It had air bubbles and was not moist and soft at all. The flavour was at least light. I did like the vegan frosting, despite the lack of lime flavours. It was sweet and slightly dense.Image

The Spicy Meatloaf Sandwich was the special of the month and an absolute delight. It had a great meatloaf with Korean BBQ sauce and Asian slaw served on ciabatta. It had a lovely spicy kick to it, marrying with the juicy meatloaf nicely. The Asian slaw was crunchy, slightly too greasy, but with a nice sweet undertone. The ciabatta was nice once toasted. It was a great fusion sandwich.Image

The Sweet Potato Burrito was just okay. I did like the cubed sweet potato rather than mashed. It did not have extra sugar so it had the natural sweet potato flavours. There was plenty of brown rice and black bean and corn salsa but not enough flavours in every bite of the burrito. I could not really taste the chipotle vegan aioli so that’s probably why it was lacking in flavours. I do like the added spinach, though.Image

Service was great and just a heads up that this is a cash-only café. The atmosphere is just so relaxing and quaint – a neighbourhood gem!

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Oatmeal and Chocolate – Penn Bookstore Cafe

ImageMarch 18, 2013
Penn Bookstore Cafe, Philadelphia PA
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Toffee Nut Latte
Strawberries & Cream Cupcake
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
Heath Blondie
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It was National Oatmeal Cookie Day and American Chocolate Week so I decided to sit back and relax in the lovely Penn Bookstore Cafe. I love the smell of coffee, a delicious dessert, and newly printed pages.

The Toffee Nut Latte was decent enough, slightly nutty and sweet, although it was hard to tell that it was specifically toffee. It was smooth and warmed me up from the drizzle outside. It was not too sweet, just the right amount.Image

The Strawberries & Cream Cupcake looked irresistible and tasted just as wonderful. The strawberry flavour reminded me of my childhood and the buttercream was not too oily and rather, was nice and sweet. I loved the shaved white chocolate on top. The cake was also moist, a little dense but still airy.Image

Now onto the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie. It was huge but a little too crunchy for me, especially the edges. It was a little greasy and the raisins were rather hard and dry rather than plump and juicy. Image

Finally, the Heath Blondie was great. I wish there were more Heath pieces inside, but there were plenty of semi-sweet and white chocolate chunks. The blondie itself was dense but moist and soft.

This cafe is always so full that I was lucky to find a seat. A wonderful place to study, it also has a great view of Walnut Street with its floor to ceiling windows!

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Christmas Caramel and Cakes – Cupcakes

ImageDecember 26, 2012
McDonald’s, Surrey BC
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Gingerbread Cupcake
Caramella Cupcake
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It has been a very long time since I last had cupcakes from Cupcakes by Heather and Lori. That was way back when this store just opened with the opening of Morgan Crossing. Mom and Dad wanted to check out the new mall and I liked the cupcakes I got after MUN conferences in downtown. This time, we went for Boxing Day and was only my second time there. I just could not resist not dropping in to get some sweet treats.

I started with a Gingerbread Cupcake, mini-sized. It was so adorable! The gingerbread flavour was actually quite strong and lovely, perfectly sweetened and spiced with ginger. The frosting was a little buttery for me, but it did not taste too oily. Only the texture was a little bit on the ‘oily’ side. More icing sugar and less whipping would have been good. The cake was a delicate bite.Image

The Caramella Cupcake was filled with caramel, so you should definitely get the regular size as minis do not have fillings. The caramel filling was sticky and sweet. I wish there were more. The chocolate cake was decent, with a nice cocoa flavour and not too sweet. The caramel buttercream was again just slightly oily in texture for me and could have been a lot more sugary and sweet. The caramel flavour in general could have been stronger but it was not a bad cupcake.Image

I do not think it is the quality that is lacking. It is just that the buttercream and cake textures were not the most appealing to my palate. However, their stores are so pretty and their varieties so colourful and beautiful. It is a whole experience just being inside the pink, girly store alone!

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Almonds, Not Lemons – Metropolitan Bakery

December 15, 2012
Metropolitan Bakery, Philadelphia PA
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Almond Génoise Cake Cupcake with Coconut Butter Cream
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ImageOn my way back from lunch, I stopped by Metropolitan Bakery to see what they had to offer for the holidays. Already full, I opted to save the very tasty-sounding The Egg & Shroom breakfast sandwich on their weekend specials menu for the next day.12-12-15 - Almond Génoise Cake Cupcake with Coconut Butter Cream(2) - Metropolitan Bakery

However, since it was National Lemon Cupcake Day, I opted for an Almond Génoise Cake Cupcake with Coconut Butter Cream… just ignore the lemon part of the holiday! The cake itself was light with the slightest hint of a nutty, almond fragrance. It was filled with a delicious, semi-sweet chocolate center that made it that much richer. The coconut butter cream was not my favourite, though. It was too light and buttery, without enough sugar and density for a cupcake frosting. I like my icing to be more sugar than butter. It was a delightful bite, still, but a little expensive at $2.25 considering the small size.

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Sweet and Fresh – Artisserie Chocolate Café

ImageNovember 10, 2012
Artisserie Chocolate Café, Philadelphia PA
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Vanilla Cupcake
Turtle Cupcake
Marble Cupcake
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake
Tiramisu
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Still craving something sweet, I decided to call up a friend and split some desserts from Artisserie Chocolate Café. It was National Vanilla Cupcake Day after all. What better way to celebrate than to visit the overpriced dessert café on campus?

The Vanilla Cupcake was very simple but nice. The cake was dense but moist and lightly sweetened. It was actually quite good. The icing could be a little less buttery but it was by no means overly greasy. This simple cupcake would satisfy anyone’s craving for something sweet and light.Image

The Turtle Cupcake was their special Cupcake du Jour. It was actually very scrumptious, one of their best cupcakes. The vanilla cake was soft, dense, and sweet. Actually, the cake and icing is the same as the vanilla cupcake, which was good to begin with. What made it so much better are the chocolate and vanilla drizzle, crushed pecans, and the sticky caramel filling in the center. I love rich caramel; it goes well with everything.Image

The Marble Cupcake was also a decent one. The swirl of chocolate and vanilla cake and vanilla frosting was simple yet of decent quality. It was not too sweet but very light and soft. I loved the shaved chocolate and the mini stick on top of the frosting. They are always one of my favorite toppings on cakes.Image

The Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake was the most disappointing out of the four. The chocolate cake had great texture but the frosting was a little bland and greasy. It also did not taste very strongly of peanut butter. The mini peanut butter cup on top was nice and crunchy but not enough to make every bite better.Image

Finally, I decided to try a Tiramisu. It was cold and so the soaked cake and ladyfingers was a little hard. However, the flavor was great. There was that slight hint of coffee amidst the mascarpone, liqueur, and cocoa powder. It was finely made but I just wished it were fresher. The dollop of whip cream on top was not great but the chocolate straw was. Overall, it was at least somewhat justified dishing out $5.

Desserts at Artisserie are definitely hit and miss. I would definitely go back sometime soon to try their truffles and humongous cookies and biscotti. Or maybe it is the jars that magnify them to make them so huge. We shall see.

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On the Need for Paninis: Part IV – Artisserie Chocolate Café

ImageOctober 18, 2012
Artisserie Chocolate Café, Philadelphia PA
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Grilled Vegetables Panini

Red Velvet Cupcake
Carrot Cupcake
Strawberry Cupcake
Chocolate Cupcake
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To celebrate National Chocolate Cupcake Day, as well as National Dessert Month, I decided to have a late lunch and also bring home a bunch of cupcakes from Artisserie Chocolate Café. It is the only gourmet bakery and chocolatier on campus besides Metropolitan Bakery, but it is so much more convenient. Thus, I am not surprised to always find it at least with a few customers.Image

The Grilled Vegetables Panini sounded delicious, and for only $4.95, I was excited. However, it was quite disappointing. The vegetables were good, especially the whole Portobello mushroom, which was flavorful, juicy, and quite savory. The yellow squash slices were slightly undercooked but the zucchini and red bell peppers were decent. What I was not happy with was that they heated up the ciabatta bun in the microwave first with a slice of provolone cheese on it. Clearly, they did not even have the patience to wait for it to heat up in the panini press. Once the bread was hot, it was assembled with the vegetables and put in the press for about a minute. It came out with not much of a panini press mark and the bread was hot but soggy and wimpy. The outside was supposed to be crispy and the inside soft but dry. Instead, it was almost floppy, which is just unacceptable. Also, there was alfalfa sprouts in the description but none on my plate.Image

The Red Velvet Cupcake was delicious, though. Despite being kept in the fridge, the cake was soft and moist while the cream cheese frosting was sweet. It was just slightly too greasy for me, though, so more cheese and less butter would have been appreciated. The cake itself was hardly sweet so that could have been sweeter as well.

The Carrot Cupcake was also very moist, with grated carrots, finely chopped walnuts, and raisins scattered throughout. The carrots really made the cake moist and the touch of cinnamon was lovely. The cream cheese frosting was again sweet enough but less butter would have been nice. I really appreciated the walnuts on the icing, which added a lovely crunch.Image

The Strawberry Cupcake had a very unique frosting. It was mostly an artificial strawberry flavor with sugar and a little butter. I found it interesting and not overly-sweetened; instead, it was light and refreshing. The vanilla cake had great flavor and not too sweet either, but it was a little dry and clearly not freshly baked.Image

Finally, the Chocolate Cupcake, decorated to celebrate Halloween, was supposed to be the star of the show. After all, it was National Chocolate Cupcake Day. However, it was the most disappointing. The chocolate frosting was not very sweet and slightly greasy. I could have used more frosting rather than so much cake as well. The cake was the most dry out of the four. It was crumbly and hardened on the side. The flavor was mediocre and for $2.50, it was decent but definitely not great.Image

I think Artisserie Chocolate Café definitely has potential. Their food would be so much better if they were made fresher. I am sure the ingredients are of high quality, but because they are over-priced, not enough customers come to require freshly made cupcakes and sandwiches everyday. Their desserts all look amazing but I would not be happy to spend $5 on a small slice of artfully decorated cake that has been sitting there for three days. 

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Monkeys Fly Too – Flying Monkey Bakery

ImageSeptember 25, 2012
Flying Monkey Bakery, Philadelphia PA
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Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcake
Butterscotch Cupcake
Pumpkin Chai Whoopie Pie
Espresso Whoopie Pie
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I needed to go to Center City so I decided it was a good time to visit Reading Terminal Market and get some delicious goodies from Flying Monkey Bakery. I loved the atmosphere inside, with endless food options, most of which was so appetizing that I know I will be back very soon. Sticking with my plan, though, I found my way amidst all the different vendors to the display cases filled with cupcakes, Whoopie pies, brownies, and a bunch of other delicious-looking treats. 

The first was the Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcake. These cupcakes was slightly frozen but still moist and soft. The cake was not particularly sweet but had rather a nice and light aroma. The peanut butter buttercream was slightly too buttery and light for me instead of sugary and dense. However, the savory taste made up for it so that it was not too oily. The strawberry jelly was cold, sticky, and sweet with strawberry pieces. The flavors blended fabulously and really resembled a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.Image

The Butterscotch Cupcake was disappointing. The buttercream was too greasy, light, and not sweet enough. The chocolate cake was nice but again not very sweet. I liked the few butterscotch chips on top but overall, there was not enough flavor to balance out the overwhelming butteriness of the frosting. The cupcake was good if you like greasy frosting and a semisweet dessert, but for me, I prefer my cupcakes to be not so bland.

The Pumpkin Chai Whoopie was out of this world. The cake shells were dense, soft, and very moist. They were also very sweet and with quite a decent pumpkin spice flavor. The chai icing in the middle was not greasy and very sweet and nicely spiced. It was sugary rather than buttery and the while treat was absolutely scrumptious! It was so warm, the flavors, perfect for the fall.Image

Finally, I had the Espresso Whoopie Pie. The chocolate cake shells were again only semisweet but moist and dense. The espresso frosting inside could have used a sweeter and stronger coffee flavor, although it was not unbearably oily. The flavors we’re there, just faint. Image

I am quite pleased with the Whoopie pies but not so much the cupcakes. At $2.50 each, I would definitely go back for the Whoopie pies and maybe a cake truffle! It is not too overpriced and the good was quite good quality wise. The frosting on the cupcakes were just not my style but for those who like it for what it is, Flying Monkey Bakery is a great bakery. 

Flying Monkey Patisserie on Urbanspoon

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Bucks for Box – Sweet Box Cupcakes

ImageSeptember 20, 2012
Sweet Box Cupcakes, Philadelphia PA
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Cookies & Cream Cupcake
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake
Pumpkin Spice Cupcake
Red Velvet Cupcake
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The last stop on the Dollar Stroll before I had to head back was at Sweet Box Cupcakes a cupcake truck not always around campus. Each small cupcake was $1 and the line was so long. They were good cupcakes, though!

The Cookies & Cream Cupcake had a nice and sweet buttercream with cookie crumbles in it. It did not taste particularly like a cookie, just something sweet. The chocolate cake was not too sweet either, and personally, I wanted more sweetness. The mini chocolate vanilla cream cookie sandwich on top was cute and crunchy.Image

The Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake was delicious. While the chocolate cake could have been moister and sweeter, the buttercream had a very strong peanut butter flavor. It was dense and sweet and savory at the same time, super creamy and rich. The chocolate bits on top made it quite pleasing for the eye as well.

The Pumpkin Spice Cupcake was another of my favorites. The cake and buttercream both had strong pumpkin spice flavors and was decently sweet. The buttercream was especially aromatic, smooth, and sweet. The cake could have been more moist, like all of the other cupcakes, but it was still airy and soft.Image

Finally, the Red Velvet Cupcake, while pretty with the little pink heart on top, was the most disappointing. The cake was a bit too dry for me and quite bland. It had no flavor and needed more sweetness. The buttercream seemed to have some cream cheese in it but not much. It was hard for me to tell. The texture was good but very generically sweet. I was certainly looking for a more identifying feature or flavor in this cupcake.

I would have loved to check out more vendors at thus event. $1 deals are hard to come by nowadays unless you are at McDonald’s. Perhaps next year, but at least I got my share of cupcakes!Image

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I Like It Sweeter – Cupcakes Like It Sweet

ImageAugust 18, 2012
Cupcakes Like It Sweet, Bellingham WA
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Chocolate Mint Mini Cupcake
The Mumsie Mini Cupcake
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Having realized a new cupcake store opened up in Bellingham when I was last there, I just could not resist the temptation to check it out. I love cupcakes way too much for my own good. After looking up the place on my phone – and seeing not only did it have decent prices at $2.50 for a regular or $1.50 for a mini, but also some good reviews – I just HAD to visit Cupcakes Like It Sweet. The store was new and thus looked really nice. The chairs and tables were cute but not exactly girly. I liked the blue walls and décor as well. It all made for a very upscale bakery and a casual, nice spot to chat over a sweet bite.

Full after lunch, I only ordered two minis. The first one was the Chocolate Mint Mini Cupcake. It had a chocolate cake base, mint buttercream, and a piece of mint filled chocolate. It was cute and decorated nicely. The cake was not as moist as I would like it but it was not exactly dry either. It was not too sweet and still very soft. The mint buttercream had hardened on the outside but the inside was still soft and smooth. The mint taste was quite strong and the amount of sugar in the frosting was also good and sweet. It was not oily or greasy so I loved the buttercream. The addition of the chocolate on top just added a nice crunchy bite.Image

The other one was The Mumsie Mini Cupcake. I adore the name! The Mumsie is a chocolate cake base, dipped in chocolate ganache, and topped with a cream cheese frosting and chocolate flake sprinkles. The cake was the same as the Chocolate Mint – not too sweet, moist, or dry but still soft and airy. The chocolate ganache had a good cocoa flavour but I could not taste much of the cream cheese in the frosting. It was still a good frosting, since it was smooth, sweet, dense, and not greasy. However, I found myself wishing for more cream cheese.

The regular cupcakes are certainly more worth it as they are more than double the size. I just could not handle it this time, and these two flavours only had minis left. The owner was very nice and I am sure I would be back again the next time I visit Bellingham. They have some rare flavours, such as White Chocolate Raspberry and Cinnamon Roll. For a small town and a privately owned small cupcake business, the place looks quite fancy and professional.

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Sweet and Savoury Specials – Bell’s Bake Shop

ImageAugust 16, 2012
Bell’s Bake Shop, Richmond BC
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Maple Bacon Cupcake
Raspberry Cupcake with Lemony-Goat Cheese Buttercream
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I love sharing. It certainly allows for more variety. Thankfully, my friend had not left for college yet, so we were both able to enjoy what may be two of my last cupcakes in Richmond this summer. Bell’s Bake Shop had three special flavours on this particular afternoon, including the apple one I had ate two days ago. Not knowing when I will be eating these again, I made sure to at least try the seasonal flavours.

The first, which they make every once in a while, is the Maple Bacon Cupcake. Not only were there maple-coated bacon bits on top of the maple buttercream, there were plenty of these chewy sweet pieces scattered throughout the maple cake. Neither the cake nor the buttercream were too sweet in this cupcake. Perhaps this was done on purpose to balance out the bacon, which, with the maple glaze, actually stood out in sweetness. Nonetheless, the buttercream was still sugary and good while the cake was soft. The bacon bits stole the show, though, with their incredible chewiness and sweet maple aroma, with just the slightest savoury undertone.Image

The second flavour is also a beautiful blend of sweet and savoury, the Raspberry Cupcake with Lemony-Goat Cheese Buttercream. This cupcake was a little too complicated in my opinion. The raspberry cake had a pretty pink shade and was soft, moist, and not too sweet. The raspberry flavour was rather light but the texture had raspberries and the seeds mixed into it. The buttercream was also light and refreshing with a strong lemon flavour. There was only the slightest goat cheese taste, making it barely savoury. Along with the pink sprinkles, it was certainly more sugary and tart than anything else. However, there were some goat cheese crumbles on top that gave the cupcake a little more of a cheesy kick. I actually enjoyed the cheese with lemon so a little more of the goat cheese would have been okay. While the buttercream was delicious, I do not think a raspberry cake was the best choice. Perhaps a simple vanilla or lemon cake would have been better.

I love how Bell’s Bake Shop is constantly coming up with seasonal flavours, many of which uses fresh, local fruits and ingredients. Especially in the summer when a wide array of fruits become ripe, finding out about special flavours and making the trip down there for a delicious sugary bite has been a memorable adventure this summer.

 

Bell's Bake Shop on Urbanspoon

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