Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Kara's Cupcakes, San Francisco CA

Knowing that we would be getting an early start up to Muir Woods, Napa, Sonoma, and Yountville my family and I decided to grab breakfast-y treats the day prior. Items for this gluttonous smorgasbord included the left-over Devils Food Cake from Gary Danko, the Chocolate Pudding from Tartine, some Chocolate Figs from Sharffen Berger, and four cupcakes from Kara’s Cupcakes near Fisherman’s Wharf/Ghirardelli square.

Having sampled the famous cupcakes of Magnolia, Sprinkles, Yummy, Crumbs, Bleeding Heart, Mrs. Beasley’s, and Bouchon previously and planning to check out Love At First Bite, Kara’s, Vanilla, and Citizen Cake on this trip I have to say my expectations were high. Tucked away in Ghirardelli square, near the soon-to-open Danko Brasserie I must admit I was somewhat shocked by the prices at first, but after reading about the ingredients this shock soon passed. Selections were numerous and some quite unique – no Red Velvet was a bummer - and we decided on four options to be split and shared. My choice was the Fleur de Sel while my mother chose the Meyer Lemony Lemon and my Aunt picked the Banana and Kara’s Karrot.

Remember where I said share? Apparently my mother forgot about this and in the glee of “it was amazing” polished off the Lemony Lemon all on her own. Fortunately my Aunt was more giving, especially as she ate way too much of the rich Chocolate Pudding from Tartine, and I was able to sample the rest.

The Banana, in my opinion, was pretty standard fare and although the cupcake was moist and tasty it didn’t hold a candle to Tartine’s banana bread, Bouchon’s Banana Muffin, or the Banana Cupcakes at Yummy. The Karrot, on the other hand, was heavenly and probably the second best Carrot based dessert I’ve ever tasted (bested only by Keller’s Carrot Cookie at Bouchon) – the frosting especially was so impossibly light yet tangy and sweet.

The final option, and the best of the group by far, was the Fleur de Sel. A dense Ghirardelli chocolate cupcake with thick caramel filling, heavy and dense chocolate ganache frosting and a light sprinkling of fleur de sel was a perfect balance of sweet and salty, chocolate and caramel, light and heavy – possibly the best chocolate cupcake I’ve ever tasted. The small size was somewhat fortunate as I know I’d have overindulged had there been more.

All told, a good little cupcake place in an interesting location. Prices could be a little bit more approachable for the size, but certainly aren’t as absurd as Miette or Sprinkles. The quality is tops and you get what you pay for.

1 comment:

Ciona said...

Thanks for this review! I plan to go "cupcaking" when I visit San Francisco and am trying to decide where I want to go. This is the second positive review I've read about Kara's, and I'm excited about her natural ingredients.