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Nibbles and Bites – Cupcakes, Cupcakes, Cupcakes!

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It’s been over 10 years since Magnolia Bakery’s cupcakes got their 15 minutes of fame after debuting on an episode of Sex and the City. Shortly after that, cupcakes made their way onto the Oprah show the day she decided to elect Sprinkles Cupcakes as her crowned shop of choice. Even Martha Stewart got in on the action last year when she published her very own edition of Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes.

We have a nostalgic relationship with cupcakes because we remember the excitement they brought us as kids when mom made box-mix cupcakes for classroom birthday parties. But we’re not in Kansas anymore, because the cupcake of today is different. Its identity has evolved from the Betty Crocker variety to the upscale gourmet cake made with fresh local ingredients and exotic worldly spices. The modern cupcake has matured and now features flavors that are inspired by sugary cocktails and more outlandish pairings like french toast & maple bacon flavor.

Cupcakes are everywhere. They are making their way into gift bags at networking parties, they are the stars of baby showers and birthday parties, even the wedding industry had gotten in on the craze. The cupcake is easy to serve since it already comes packed as a single serving which gives the cupcake major brownie points. It provides just the perfect amount of confection to enjoy. Cupcakeries have been popping up all over neighborhoods near you, so we thought we’d give you a head start by scouting out locations throughout the East Bay. Which bakery holds the best cupcake? Well, that’s for you to decide, but we do know your sweet tooth will be satisfied.

Braxton’s Boxes, Berkeley, CA. – This family owned baking service combines creativity and great taste to deliver a show worthy cupcake that perfectly fits in with your desired party theme. Specializing in local ingredients and specialty orders including Vegan and gluten-free fare, Braxton’s cupcakes are always fresh tasting. braxtonsboxes.com

Kara’s Cupcakes, Walnut Creek CA. – A mischievous love of sweets brought this cupcakery to life, as Kara defied her dentist father’s order to stay away from sweets. Kara’s brings us an all green bakery focused on outsourcing local ingredients, compostable packaging and even a shop made from ecco friendly materials. Kara stands behind her ingredients and can tell you exactly where each one came from. karascupcakes.com

Miglet’s Cupcake Shop, Danville, CA. – Miglet’s was born out of a compassion for the gluten-free consumer. Katie, the owner, noticed there was a demand for variety when it comes to gluten-free goodies. All of the cakes baked by Miglet’s are baked with gluten-free ingredients without sacrificing, texture and taste, these are by far the best in the GF category. migletsgf.com

Hip 2 Be Squared Cupcakes, Dublin, CA. – This cupcakery takes traditional deserts and re-creates them into gourmet cupcakes with flair. While they carry traditional flavors like Red Velvet and chocolate, their pizzazz is found in their more popular flavors including Bacon Maple Bar Donut, Strawberry Shortcake and S’more flavor. hipcupcakes.com

James and the Giant Cupcake, Oakland, CA. – Eurydice Manning had a dream a few years ago when she was walking through the streets of New York, she was fascinated by the variety of cup cake shops. James & the Giant Cupcake was born in Oakland a few years later. With fun flavors like Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Birthday and Bubblegum, these cupcakes pack a moist bite. jamesandthegiantcupcake.com

Love at First Bite Cupcakery & Bakery, Berkeley, CA. – Tucked inside a small retail plaza within Berkeley’s gourmet ghetto you’ll find this shop that prides itself in baking from scratch using luxury ingredients like Madagascar bourbon, Mexican vanilla and Saigon cinnamon. Among the most popular is the Pretty in Pink cupcake featuring a vibrant strawberry taste that keeps folks coming back for more. loveatfirstbitebakery.com

Teacake Bake Shop, Emeryville, CA. – Teacake’s bake shop offers a wide variety of custom made sweets with an artsy edge. Find monograms, love themes and modern design cupcakes adorned with unique decals like a baby carriage, cherry blossoms or a Twitter Tweet design. Baked in small batches, Teacake’s guarantees freshness. teacakebakeshop.com

Sweet Dee Candies & Cupcakes, San Leandro, CA. – Sweet Dee’s brings back the concept of the old fashioned candy store with its pink décor and collection of candy ranging from vintage to modern. To top it all off Sweet Dee features a selection of gourmet cupcakes. A menu starring all the usual classics: chocolate, vanilla, coconut and strawberry, the tastiest bite is packed inside their lemon cake. sweetdeecandiesandcupcakes/facebook

Republic of Cake, Orinda, CA. – Republic of Cake is brought to you by a molecular biologist who quit science to pursue his passion for baking. What results is a cupcake bakery that uses local sustainable ingredients, but offered at below average prices. You get creativity at ROC and variety of cupcake flavors that change seasonally. republicofcake.com

Brown Betty Bakery, San Ramon, CA. – Presentation is key when it comes to Brown Betty’s cupcakes and they certainly are show worthy. This cupcake baking and delivery service is brought to you by a multi-tasking wife-mother and full-time college student. Based in the East Bay, but serving the entire Bay Area, these cupcakes are pretty to look at and delicious to eat. brownbettybakery.com

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