20 Aug 2014
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Bites Nearby: Be Happy, Eat a Cupcake

A full review of the sweetest new addition to Santee, the Cupcake Store.

"Be happy, eat a cupcake."--Yvette

The is the sweetest new addition to Santee. On the way home from school or the , swing into "Your One Stop Cupcake Shop" inside and pick up some delicious gourmet cupcakes.  This shop is family friendly and family run. 

Anne has been a professional baker for 35 years. Throughout her catering career she specialized in cakes, often wedding cakes and other events, and in her spare time was an accomplished seamstress. The shop sells many adorable and unique aprons and kids clothes Anne creates herself.

Yvette, Anne's daughter, is the face of the operation.  She will greet you at the counter with a big smile and help you choose from the many salivating options. She also manages the business and is in charge of sales. Yvette's motto is "Be happy, eat a cupcake." 

Yvette and Anne credit their bakers, Josh and Emily, in helping to create the cupcakes from Anne's traditional recipes.

"You can't just take a cake recipe and put it in a muffin tin," Anne explains, "there is a lot of chemistry behind it."

Part of the chemistry involves use of a convection oven. Convection ovens have a fan circulating the hot air so there is less humidity which takes less time and less heat, producing a more evenly baked product. They get to the bakery at 6am daily and bake everything fresh from scratch. Josh has the culinary school training to take her recipes and change them into cupcakes, and mini cupcakes, as well as helping to create new flavors. Emily specializes in frosting and decor. 

I have always said you eat with your eyes first and I start salivating as soon as I see them!

When I asked Anne how she developed her famous recipes she has made for decades, she starts to tear up, looks at her daughter and says "you tell her."  Yvette explains that many of her mother's recipes were her grandmother's original recipes and Anne misses her mom dearly since she's passed. It is wonderful how Anne's mother still lives on in this cupcake shop through these cakes.  Other recipes she has collected over the years from family and friends, though she is constantly creating new flavors with Josh and Emily's help. 

"We experiment a lot and sometimes it ends up in the trash," Yvette explained, "it's part of the creative process."

The shop's signature cupcake is "German Chocolate Fusion." Anne has been making this cake for 20 years but had to make some changes to adapt it to a cupcake recipe.  The chocolate frosting is top secret and cannot be duplicated!  They would not elaborate further but whatever the secret ingredient is, it isn't used in any other frosting recipes.  I am quite intrigued with the German Chocolate Fusion Frosting Mystery and hope to one day solve it! 

The Fusion part is that the coconut and nuts are mixed right into the cake batter, rather than traditional German Chocolate made with a coconut and nut frosting.  An interesting twist on the original, and I love it.

The Cupcake Store has the standard flavors they offer daily on the menu, most in mini form also, with a daily special flavor that is always changing.  Mondays are the "Mancake" which I have yet to try but am oh-so-excited! It is chocolate cake with maple frosting topped with--wait for it--a piece of chocolate dipped bacon!  I'll be sure to start my diet on Tuesday.  Friday they offer a vegan cupcake made without any animal products what-so-ever.  The flavor of the day when we visited was Oreo Cheesecake.  They put a whole oreo at the bottom of the liner, filled with oreo cheesecake, topped with whipped cream and another oreo on top!  This one really is a cheesecake shrunk to cupcake size.  It was absolutely divine and so full of Oreo goodness. 

I have sampled many of their flavors (not yet the Mancake unfortunately) and my top three flavors are German Chocolate Fusion, Peanut Butter-Chocolate-Marshmallow, and Carrot Cake.  I thought my Carrot Cake recipe was the best ever and this one is strikingly similar with the addition of toasted coconut. A mound of cream cheese frosting with toasted coconut on top = Carrot Cake heaven.  A mini is plenty, it is a perfect three-bite treat that really satisfies.  The Margarita is like a lime cupcake but with something else, bright and colorful with lime zest on top.  Delicious and refreshing, the lemon and lime cupcakes are also zesty and bright, though the foodie in me finds fault with them not being tart enough (any more tart and the kiddos wouldn't eat them though). 

The Strawberry makes you feel like a little kid again.  Pretty and pink, the pastel pearl sprinkles are a must for any princess birthday; in fact I almost want to have a princess themed birthday so I can feature these cupcakes but I'm turning 27 this year so it may not be age-appropriate. The Strawberry (and normally I would never order strawberry being a self-proclaimed chocoholic) is the perfect cake: bouncy, soft and moist with a depth of flavor that really takes it to the next level.  One of the best strawberry desserts I've ever had, period.

I was thoroughly impressed with the sugar-free and gluten-free varieties.  Though they haven't even had their , already they have a regular who is enamored with their gluten-free cake, claiming "the best gluten-free cupcakes ever!"  They use gluten-free flour and I was surprised that I almost liked them better than the regular chocolate because they have a very deep and rich chocolate flavor, a bit denser but still moist. Dark chocolate.  The texture was great, you would not know they were gluten-free.  The sugar free was a little more obvious but still delicious.  Less rich than their gluten-free counterparts, the cupcake itself would be a delightful treat to anyone who cannot allow sugar in their diet.

Picky eaters are welcomed at the Cupcake Store.  They offer sugar-free and gluten-free chocolate cupcakes daily and will customize your order.  For instance, their Red Velvet Raspberry cupcake has raspberry butter-cream frosting, but they will make one with cream cheese frosting for the traditionalists, just ask.

To order ahead they require 48-72 hours notice.  For a vary large order such as the wedding they did recently with 20 dozen they request you order at least 1 week ahead.  Most cupcakes are available in mini and regular sizes, though I recommend getting there before school lets out to make sure they still have your favorite flavor in stock!  Anne recommends you do not refrigerate the cakes as it dries them out (except for the cheesecake) and the cupcakes will stay fresh for about 2-3 days, if you can keep them around that long.

Large Cupcakes cost $2.75 each or $31.00 a dozen.  Minis run $1.50 each or $15.00 a dozen. Coffee, milk, soda, water, and juice are also available for purchase.

Hours: 10am-6pm

Find the Cupcake Store on Facebook

See their segment on CBS 8 news

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