Wednesday, March 10, 2010

In Search of Rochester's Best Cupcake: Day 8

Very Vanilla

Sinfully Chocolate

The final location on the Cupcake Challenge was in Rochester's Park Avenue neighborhood last night. Christine of Finding Abundance in Everyday Life and I went to Sugar Mountain Bake Shoppe inside La-Tea-Da! Tea Room & Parlour. We had a wonderful evening.

Located at the corner of Park Avenue and Alexander Street, Sugar Mountain Bake Shoppe offers well several dozen varieties offered on rotation each evening (they open at 5pm). Sugar Mountain Bake Shoppe has a very loyal and devoted following and I can understand why.

First of all, when you're surrounded by little boys running around with boundless energy zooming cars and acting like little wild things, a nice evening in a quiet and warm setting is so refreshing. Add to that china plates and tea cups and little decorations all around that you can enjoy without having to put them up high for fear of them getting knocked down, and it's even better.

Just relaxing and taking in the beauty of the tea room was a delight in itself. Add to that unintrusive, yet extremely friendly service and you have all the makings of a great girls' evening out.

Christine and I decided to each order a cupcake and cut it in half to share with the other. I chose the Sinfully Chocolate and she chose the Very Vanilla.

Sinfully Chocolate is a dark chocolate cake with a chocolate custard filling and chocolate cream cheese frosting. Neither of us loved this cupcake. It was a good cupcake, but not one we would order again. Christine wasn't in love with the flavor of the chocolate cake and I found the filling to be a bit too sweet for my tastes. We both agreed that the vanilla was the much better of the two we tried.

The review will be based on the Very Vanilla cupcake. It was a lovely cupcake. It is a French vanilla cake filled with vanilla custard and topped with an amazing vanilla bourbon buttercreme frosting. First of all, the vanilla buttercreme was fluffy and light with a subtle sweetness. The first thing we both commented on was the intensity of the Bourbon Vanilla. Have you ever tried a recipe using "vanilla flavor" or "imitation vanilla extract"? I think we all have at one point. This is the complete opposite of that. This is a rich, flavorful, and high quality vanilla. It was divine and made this frosting incredible tasting and packed with flavor.

The cake itself was good. You could detect the true flavor of vanilla bean throughout. It was moist and yummy--really tasty. I adored the custard filling.

I know I must sound like a broken record by now, but I want to reiterate how crucial a role the use of high quality, fresh ingredients has played throughout this challenge.

Sugar Mountain Bake Shoppe stresses how love is what is put into these cupcakes. You can tell that great pride has been taken to create each cupcake and the attention to high quality ingredients shows through.

Let's get to the score....this was a VERY good cupcake. I mentioned before not always wanting to order vanilla because it can be a bit ho-hum at times. This is not a plain old vanilla cupcake. The custard and the decadent frosting make this the best vanilla one I have tried during this challenge.

Do I believe this is the best tasting cupcake I have tried? No. I did discuss this one with my friend to be sure I wasn't being too critical and she shared similar feelings. That being said, this is definitely a top contender and I definitely recommend going to Sugar Mountain Bake Shoppe to try some of their other varieties very soon. The cupcakes there are really, really fantastic and between the outstanding, friendly customer service (thank you, Steve!) and the beautiful surroundings, I plan to head there again very soon for some more.


Overall Appearance: 9/10

Texture: 10/10

Flavor of Cake: 9/10

Flavor of Frosting/Toppings: 10/10

Creativity: 9/10

Total Score: 47/50

*For those new to our challenge, here are the "rules": Since I would grow very tired of eating cupcakes if I could only choose one flavor each time, I am not picking just 1 variety and comparing. I want to find Rochester's very best cupcake (to me) overall. I will score each cupcake based on 5 things: overall appearance,creativity, texture, flavor of the frosting/toppings, and flavor of the cake part of the cupcake.

Each category will be scored on a 10 point scale, 10 being the best. The highest overall score possible for each cupcake judged will be 50 points.

This challenge will go on for a while. Since my older son was nearing the end of preschool, I have now lost 48 pounds and I am still a bit shy of my goal, so I just cannot eat a cupcake every single day. I will hit two or three places a week, order mini cupcakes when possible, and share with friends on occasion.

I also want to say that taste is something very subjective. Just because I adore a certain cupcake doesn't mean you will agree with 100% of my review. The opposite will also be true. With those things said, enjoy the reviews !

Sugar Mountain Bake Shoppe on Urbanspoon


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit to SMBS!

    I agree that what sets them apart is their commitment to the BEST quality ingredients, as well as their very welcoming and friendly staff.

    It has been interesting to read your cupcake adventures. While I understand that you would be bored eating only vanilla cupcakes, I can't help but wonder if you would have a truer base to compare if you chose one chocolate and one vanilla from each bakery and perhaps one "specialty" flavor.

    Perhaps in the future, someone will host a "Best of Rochester" cupcake tasting - that would be fun!

    PS, I agree with you about Dolce cupcakes being on the dry side - I *wanted to love them as I love their location, I love supporting new local businesses and I love the idea of a young woman starting out in business.... but for me... I'll be sticking with the decadent indulgence and friendliness that is Sugar Mountain Bake Shoppe!

  2. I would LOVE to go to such a tasting :)

  3. It was a great evening and I had so much fun participating in your quest!

    This is not part of the cupcake review of course but the tea we had there was fabulous. I can't remember the name though. Can you?

    The owner was also super friendly!

    The cookies and cream cupcake that I ordered to go was my favorite one of all. The bottom had an Oreo crust and the overall chocolate cupcake was better than the one we tried. The filling was a sweet cream and the frosting tasted just like Oreo filling. To die for!

  4. And like always, we talked for 3 hours which seemed like 30 minutes!

  5. Christine--I forgot all of the title, but for readers, the "_______ Marzipan Rooibos" tea was out of this world!!!! Try it.

    I am happy to hear your thoughts on the cupcakes you got to go. That one sounds good. How was the other?

  6. ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh looks so yummy!!


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