Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cupcake Hunting

This is Part I, (part II here)

To be honest, I've never really been a fan of cupcakes. When I learned that there were a few cupcake places in Atlanta, though, it piqued my interest. We set out to just try one cupcake place, but as we were on the way, we noticed online that there were a few cupcake places in the same vicinity.

Which one were we to try?
The simple solution was to try them all, of course. We decided to go on a cupcake hunt of sorts to figure out which one had the best Atlanta cupcake. We were on a mission, rain and all.

Matty Cakes: Since we were already close by, we started off our adventure at Matty Cakes, a store on Piedmont. I had always overlooked Matty Cakes, but had read some great reviews recently about this place. We walked right in, but discovered that it was closed. Actually, the place had been closed for an hour and a half, and they were cleaning up and preparing for the next day. The staff was incredibly nice and didn't even mention that they were closed until we noticed their store hours and asked. They replied that they were indeed closed but that we were welcome to purchase anything they had left.

There wasn't much left. One case had been completely cleaned out, and the other had only four cupcakes left crying out, "buy me!" Pretty impressive that they were this popular! This place also got bonus points for being so accommodating and welcoming. The remaining cupcakes were the gigantic sized. They normally have three sizes, a mini, a normal and the gigantic. We purchased the tirimisu flavor, had it packed up for later, and headed off to our next location.



Atlanta Cupcake Factory: Our second stop was in the highlands at a place called Atlanta Cupcake Factory. It was actually the place we first intended on visiting. It opened sometime in 2007 and the online pictures I had seen of their cupcakes looked pretty de-lish!

I'm not sure how many people are normally there, but it looked like a one man operation. The store was pretty cute and there seemed to be a steady stream of visitors. Even though it hasn't been open very long, the building it is in is an older Virginia Highlands retail space, giving it that homey feel. It is pretty small on the inside, but there are a couple places to sit outside.

I didn't take pictures inside, but I wish I did. Their cupcakes were cute. By their suggestion, we purchased a strawberry cupcake and a banana one as well. At $2.50 each, they were a bit pricier than Matty Cake's cupcake of similar size, $1.99. We packed up the two and headed for the next location, Sweet Pockets, which is located near the Rathbun restaurants.

Sweet Pockets: The skies had cleared up nicely by the time we arrived Sweet Pockets. The business shares a space with a few other vendors, including the famous Jake's Ice Cream. All the businesses share a common eating area as well as a living room set up as many Jake's Ice Creams have. Once inside, we discovered that Sweet Pockets was in the back. There was a girl behind the counter engrossed in a book. When we got to the counter, she popped up and was very helpful. The business is just a stand, but we were told they are looking for an additional location.

There were so many good looking cupcakes. Like, Matty Cakes, this place also carries miniature cupcakes, but we were told they run out first thing in the morning. The cute thing about this place were the little flags indicating the flavor. She suggested the Vegan Midnight cupcake, the Happy Monkey (a banana and peanut butter cupcake), Cookies and Cream, and the Key Lime. (the month special) After much back and forth, we settled on the Happy Monkey and the Vegan Midnight. We knew there were a few other cupcake places, but five were plenty to try for one sitting.



Somehow, we ended up taking our cupcakes to eat in front of the Highland's Bakery. There was a bench, and since the bakery was closed, we thought they wouldn't mind terribly much. We were so excited and set out all five cupcakes to admire before we dug in. I feel a little bad about eating our treats here, however. A few separate groups came up to the bakery thinking it was open since we enjoying our cupcakes outside. It was like false advertising.

Matty Cake's - Tirimisu - This was probably the most unfair one to judge because, being one of four remaining, it was clear that it was not going to be their top seller. It was good though. The icing was nice. The cake was a bit drier than I would have liked, but it was better towards the middle. I can't really review this one so it won't go on Yelp until we get to go again.

Atlanta Cupcake Factory
- We liked these. The strawberry cupcake was delicious. It was moist, not too sweet, but flavorful. The icing had a fruity tartness that was refreshing. The strawberry cupcake ended up being my top pick out of the bunch. I would definitely go back for this little bite of delight. The banana cupcake was good too, but there were portions of this cupcake that turned out to be a little doughy. I loved the icing on both cupcakes though! (I'm not even an icing fan) The icing here is light and very smooth. It isn't exactly what you think of when someone says icing, but I prefer this icing.

Sweet Pockets - Surprisingly, these cupcakes were good as well. I didn't care for the icing as much since it was a little bit more gritty. The Happy Monkey cupcake was a bit drier than any of the cupcakes we tried, but it worked really well with its icing. Combined with the peanut butter flavor, there was a very appropriate texture. I'm not sure if this was intended or if that is by accident, but it worked for me. The Vegan Midnight is a chocolate cupcake made with soy. On first bite, I found it too sweet and rich, but it grew on me. I'm not saying that I'd try it again, but it was not bad. It's also the staff favorite at Sweet Pockets and when we gave our friend a bite, it was is favorite cupcake as well.

***

All in all, it was a fun outing. I wasn't expecting much since I generally am not impressed with cupcakes, so it was surprising to find not one, but three decent cupcake stores in Atlanta. All three places were pretty good. I liked each place for different things, but when it comes down to which place I'm looking forward to going again, I'd have to say it would be Atlanta Cupcake Factory for the strawberry cupcake. I'll also be going back to Matty Cake's to try their most highly recommended items and for their incredible hospitality. Still, from what I can tell, Atlanta Cupcake Factory fits my taste the best.

This was pretty fun I think that we'll have to go around trying cupcakes at the places we didn't hit up. I had no idea that there were so many cupcake place in the ATL!
***
Matty Cakes: 1830 piedmont ave | atlanta ga 30324 | 404.917.cake (2253)
tues - fri: 8 - 6 | sat: 8 - 3 |sun and mon: closed

Atlanta Cupcake Factory
: 624 n highland ave ne| atlanta ga 30306| 678.358.9195
thurs 11-5 |fri 12-8:30 | sat 12-8:30 | sun 12-5:00

Sweet Pockets
: 660 irwin st se | atlanta, ga 30312 | 404.584.2826
tues-sun 11-6

4 comments:

Sean said...

Matty Cakes Tiramisu vs a strawberry Atlanta Cupcake factory is definitely an unfair comparison. You are judging one's worst vs one's best.

I didn't care for the Matty Cakes tira, it was kinda yuck. Now, a freshly iced carrot cupcake from Matty is a whole nother story.

And the strawberry from Atlanta cupcake, that is probably one of their best flavors.

So yah, you should give Matty another try. I personally prefer Matty and not just because of the bang for the buck.

Haven't tried the other.

Oh and keep yelpin it up. NKOTB foreva!!

Atlanta Blogger said...

I know, so I said I'd come back to Matty Cakes...I'm not done with my cupcake hunting...don't worry!

Sean said...

oh I'm not worried, you know what's up. I was just throwing my 2cents in.

ATLBrownGirl said...

Hi: Love your blog! Especially the pictures..and your reviews are right on target...I love to talk about things to do in the city also...Hit me up at www.atlbrowngirl.blogspot.com