Our Five Faves

Best Cupcakes

Posted November 15, 2011
Updated November 16, 2011

Bring on the sugar!

Cupcakes are the latest craze to sweep the sweet treats category and the Triangle has some of the best shops around.

No, these aren’t the cupcakes your grandmother made. Today’s breed are covered in three times the icing, a cake so moist it melts in your mouth, and a range of flavors that is only limited by your imagination.

Here are our five faves, in no particular order:

The Cupcake Shoppe (Raleigh): Sara Coleman opened her shop on Glenwood Avenue nearly five years ago and hasn’t slowed down since. In addition to in-store dining, The Cupcake Shoppe offers catering options for all of your party needs. Give the Cookie Monster a try: vanilla cake with oreo buttercream.

Gigi's Cupcakes (Raleigh): Only a few short years ago Gigi was working as a maid, cleaning houses in Tennessee. Now she has nearly 50 cupcake shops around the county and we are fortunate enough to have one in Raleigh. If you go on Thursday you must try the Canadian Maple: Maple bacon cake topped with maple buttercream frosting and sprinkled with bacon crumbles.

Sugarland (Chapel Hill): Sugarland is located in the heart of historic Franklin Street and serves up some of the best desserts and locally roasted coffee around. Everything is made from scratch with locally-sourced ingredients. For Sugarland lovers living in Raleigh…we hear they may be opening a second location….

The Cupcake Brewery (Raleigh): So here’s an interesting concept: you like cupcakes, you like locally-brewed craft beer….why not put them together? Erin Austin and her husband of Raleigh have found a way to just that. The cake batter and icing are infused with craft beer and baked to perfection. Follow The Cupcake Brewery on Facebook and Twitter to see where they’ll be next.

Daisy Cakes (Durham): Born out of an “Airstream” food trick, Daisy Cakes has just moved into a brick-and-mortar space on Foster Street right next to the Durham Farmers Market. If you loved peanut butter & jelly sandwiches growing up, try the PB & J: vanilla bean cupcake filled with strawberry jam and swirled with peanut butter frosting.

We hope this list has your sweet tooth ready to explore. As always, we know there are a few more shops out there we couldn’t squeeze into our top 5, so tell us, what’d we miss?


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  • macy Nov 18, 2011

    This is a fad just like the "cookie bouquets" that were so hot back in the '90's.

  • snshine62d Nov 18, 2011

    Buy a box from the store and make them yourself. A $1.00 for the cake mix and $2.00 for frosting. That's $3.00 for 24 cupcakess.

  • barbaraperez Nov 16, 2011

    Freshberry Yogurt and Smallcakes has wonderful cupcakes. They are located at Six Forks & Strickland near the KMart. You can also get them at Rex's Chicken in Wakefield.

  • blahblahblah Nov 16, 2011

    I agree with jahoo. Cupcake Shoppe is highly over rated and over priced for the quality.

  • elliesmom Nov 16, 2011

    Love Gigi's, but was horrified to find that a single cupcake with icing is 750 calories (delicious calories, but still)! I agree with pmck, scrape off most of the icing and you're good to go!

  • Only-In-My-Opinion-NC Nov 16, 2011

    not impressed with any of these. who nominated them again?

  • jahoo42 Nov 16, 2011

    The Cupcake Shoppe has dry cakes and a gritty sugar icing...not worth $3 imo

  • pmck Nov 16, 2011

    Gigi's is hit or miss. If you get them when they're fresh and scrape of 1/2 the icing - golden!

  • jackedup Nov 16, 2011

    Sweet T has the best cupcakes.

  • snowl Nov 15, 2011

    Sorry, I'll stay with grandmother's cupcakes.