Something right happened in the world with the advent of cupcakes. They are portable, you don’t need a party to have one because they’re the perfect personal portion size and no utensils are necessary.
In addition to being downright delicious, numerous reasons are cited for the surge in cupcake popularity in the mid to late 2000s. Those reasons include the appearance of a Brooklyn-based bakery on HBO’s “Sex and the City,” the simple desire to affordably indulge during the recent economic downturn and the rise in popularity of food-centric reality shows like the Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars.”
Boutique cupcake bakeries popped up all over the United States, putting their own spin on the single-serve dessert. Critics say the cupcake craze may be on the decline thanks to a gourmet donut fad on its way. Here in Jacksonville there are several bakeshops unique to our city that continue to satisfy our sweet tooth.
Alley Cakes Dessert Company
$1.50 to $2.50 per cupcake
Having catered desserts for several years, 25-year-old Alison Webb opened a storefront in Neptune Beach last month. All of her cupcakes are locally-inspired, including the Lu Is cupcake, a jalapeno corn vanilla cake with cilantro lime buttercream and a sweet siracha piping made to honor Taco Lu. Green Room Brewery’s Count Shaka-U-La Oatmeal Stout is used in the batter for When Pigs Fly, a chocolate cupcake that is finished with fresh crispy bacon on top. Mmm, bacon.
Get Boozy: The best seller is Poppin’ Bottles, a champagne infused cupcake, and a major favorite is the tailgate-ready Jaguars-themed cupcake with Jameson whiskey in the chocolate buttercream frosting.
$2.75 to $3.25 per cupcake
Since 2008 this Avondale staple has been serving only cupcakes, and there is something to be said for doing one thing and doing it right. “Our goal is for them to look great and taste great,” said owner Alex Davis. “They’re not a novelty; they’re just delicious.” Sivada’s (which is A. Davis backward) offers all 16 flavors every day and adds seasonal specialties like key lime for summer and pumpkin in the fall.
Save some dough: Ask if any “Yestercakes” are available (four for $5) made the day before.
Sweet Theory Baking Co.
$3.25 to $3.50 per cupcake
Owner Katie Riehm was inspired by restaurants around the country that cater to people with dietary restrictions and food allergies. So she brought her inspiration back to Jacksonville in 2012 and opened Sweet Theory in Riverside. Since, this King Street standout has served cupcakes (and tons of other baked goods) that are free of gluten, egg, dairy, soy and peanuts and are made from all natural and organic ingredients. “We like to think you don’t get quite the hangover from eating one of our cupcakes versus one loaded with white flour, white sugar and butter,” said Riehm. Nobody likes a hangover.
Call it what it is: Top sellers include cupcakes named Stretchy Pants and So Fudging Good.
Le Petite Cherie Cupcakery
$1.00 to $3.00 per cupcake
After a corner taco or a happy grilled cheese, round out your mobile mealtime with a sweet finish from the bright pink food truck with script lettering reminiscent of decorative piped frosting. Le Petite Cherie Cupcakery is a family business, and owners Keith and Lisa Wheeler admit that Keith’s mom, Linda, is the creative genius. Heath bar, salted caramel, peanut butter banana and maple bacon are only a few of the flavors that come from this truck’s window. Oh, let’s not forget the Doritos flavored donut they made by special request.
There’s a formula: Le Petite Cherie shoots for a 70:30 ratio of cake to icing.