The first thing noticeable when walking into Vanilla Bakeshop (Santa Monica location) is not only do they bake regular sized cupcakes, they have mini versions of the exact cupcakes they make. So naturally to try the most number of cupcakes possible to most efficiently evaluate the Cupcakery, I purchased three mini cupcakes (disclaimer: mini cupcakes are much more dangerous than they initially appear). I ordered: Southern red velvet, Mom’s Birthday Cake, and Vanilla Vanilla Bean. I will clarify the names of these cupcakes, as I personally asked for clarification on all the names.
The Southern Red Velvet is apparently different from the common red velvet, but to tell the truth, there was no noticeable physical difference (other than being slightly less red) and the employee at the cupcakery couldn’t tell me the difference either. The only disparity I noticed taste-wise was a slightly stronger chocolatey taste than regular red velvet. Mom’s Birthday Cake is yellow cake with chocolate frosting (my personal favorite combination in case I haven’t mentioned that yet). The last, Vanilla Vanilla Bean was vanilla cake with vanilla bean frosting, as opposed to their chocolate vanilla bean, which is chocolate cake with vanilla bean frosting.
Atmosphere of the cupcake bakery/cupcakery – 2
This cupcakery is great – clean and cute on the inside, a few tables on the inside and right on one of the busy streets of Santa Monica so great for people watching. The walls are blue with white furniture; it’s definitely an adorable, slightly beachy cupcakery. It is a great place to grab a cupcake (mini or regular sized depending on how much cupcake are you are up to) and then head back to the beach or back to shopping. It isn’t super close to the beach or the 3rd street promenade, but definitely within the close area. I’m giving it a 2 due to lack of easy parking, and that it is not as close to the center of town as I would like.
Moistness of the cake in the cupcake – 1.5
Mom’s Birthday Cake and the Southern Red Velvet I have to say were a little dry for my taste. The Vanilla Vanilla Bean, however, was awesome. Perfectly moist (they clearly put the right number of eggs in that batter). I’m giving it a 1.5 because the first two were a little off, but the Vanilla Vanilla Bean absolutely made up for it.
Frosting – 1
These people really know how to do frosting. In every cupcake, the frosting out-shined the cake (as it always should be, but in this case, exceptionally). The Southern Red Velvet had GREAT cream cheese frosting that was smooth. The actual cupcake was a little more chocolatey than typical red velvet (apparently that’s how they do it in the South), so the frosting was kind of thrown off by the fact that I wasn’t expecting that chocolatey-ness. In Mom’s Birthday Cake, the chocolate frosting was lighter in color than most other chocolate frostings, so I assume it had a lot of sugar or a lot of egg whites. In any case, the Breast Cancer Awareness little decorations on the top definitely added to the experience, but the frosting itself made up for the slightly dry frosting (though I still noticed the dry cupcake…nice try). The Vanilla Vanilla Bean cupcake frosting takes the cake, however, with its smoothness and sweetness. While slightly on the too-sweet side, the cupcake as a whole works because the frosting has no other bold flavor to compete with. The vanilla frosting is by far the best frosting of the frostings I tried, and frosting is certainly the strong suit of this cupcakery. Full points here.
Packaging – 1
These cupcakes didn’t really come in anything special, just your typical wrappers and they sent the baby cupcakes home in a cute box, with cupcake holders so that my precious little cupcakes didn’t smack into each other on the journey home (which I definitely appreciated considering the roads of Los Angeles). My cupcakes arrived home safe and sound.
Feeling after eating the cupcake – 1
As they were three mini cupcakes, I considered it a calorie count victory, so I was pretty happy with myself. No food-coma feeling. The mini cupcakes are really the way to go — taste of a cupcake in 1-4 bites (depending on how much cupcake and frosting you allocate to each bite). Great feeling, the Vanilla especially leaving you feeling happy with your purchase.
Overall Grade: 1.3
This one is going to be pretty hard to beat!
512 Wilshire Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Westfield Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Floor 1 Space 1250
Cupcakes: $3.50 each
Stuffed Cupcakes: $3.50 each (I did not see these when I went!)
Cupcake Babies: 3 for $5.25