Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Waco Cupcake Tour

Visiting Waco, Texas?  Or perhaps you live here?  You want a sweet treat, but you don't want to bake and you don't want to bring home the whole cake?  A cupcake is what you need.  Come take the Waco Cupcake Tour and find your dream come true cupcake.

Magnolia Bakery ($$$$, $3.50 and up per cupcake)

I must admit, my family's bakery tour began because of Magnolia Bakery.  My mother-in-law was visiting our family here in good ol' Waco, Texas, and she wanted to go see the Magnolia Silos just like every other red blooded American woman.  She also happens to love spoiling her grandchildren.  Thus, cupcakes.

As I sat on the faux, grassy quad at the Magnolia Silos, in downtown Waco, soaking up sun and watching my children play, my mother-in-law disappeared.  She came trotting back a while later with expensive perfume and a gloriously mysterious, black box filled with six enticing cupcakes.

At home, we decided to split them up into slivers so that everyone in the family could taste each flavor. We tried lemon lavender, chocolate espresso, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, and verbena.

Magnolia's cupcakes are large and have artisan flavors.  I appreciated the sophisticated Magnolia flavors.   As an adult eating cupcakes, I have grown beyond the typical flavors one might choose for a birthday party (flavors that please everyone).  Give me something special.  Magnolia delivered.  Their most unique, delicious, artisan cupcake is the lemon lavender cupcake.  We also greatly enjoyed a chocolate espresso cupcake.  

If you are just in town for the Magnolia experience, you will not be disappointed with Magnolia Bakery cupcakes.  But, if you are a local and you want a great cupcake, and not pay an arm and a leg, keep reading!

HEB Bakery ($$$, $2.75)

The very next day while grocery shopping, my mother-in-law exclaimed that the kids enjoyed the cupcake tasting so much she wanted to try it again.  She bought six, big, fancy cupcakes from HEB, and the tour continued from there. When my mother-in-law wanted to get cupcakes two nights in a row, I was a little perturbed.  My husband and I are always trying to watch our weight.  It was fun and cute for one night, but two?  Certainly, I was not willing to fall off the wagon for a commercial joint like HEB.  But I was pleasantly, surprised.  HEB also delivered a quality cupcake in flavors that packed a punch. 

These cupcakes were the ones individually sold in the case, which are nicer than the pre-packaged cupcakes.  Honestly, I did not even know these cupcakes existed at my local grocer.  They were jumbo cupcakes, big enough for two people to share.  

We tried red velvet, coconut, carrot cake, chocolate, birthday cake, and oreo.  The best cupcake at HEB is birthday cake.  It had that overly-sweet, vanilla custard flavored cake that signifies "birthday cake."  It was a cupcake dream come true.  The rest of the flavors were pretty standard in flavor, but the quality was above average.  They had fluffy cake, smooth frosting and balanced flavor.  

If you are bedraggled and cannot find time to make a bakery order and pick them up, or are on a budget, but still want to make some occasion special, do not shy away from the fancier cupcakes at the HEB bakery.  You will not regret the experience.

What About Cupcakes? ($$, $2.50)

They claim to be the original cupcake bakery in Waco, and they will tell you so as you shop their store.  The woman who tended the store front seemed to equate being around the longest with being the best.  However, that was not my experience.  In fact, this was my least enjoyable experience on the tour.  Sadly, their cupcakes were no better than cake mix out of a box.  I was disappointed we wasted cash and calories on this experience.  What About a Cupcake? has limited inventory and little imagination when it came to flavor.  We tried chocolate, reeses, oreo, strawberry, vanilla, and lemon-raspberry.  I tried to decide a "best in bakery" for each bakery so I could recommend something about each place.  What About a Cupcake? did have a good solid vanilla cupcake.  They were cute little cupcakes too.

Simply Delicious ($$$, $3.00)

Simply Delicious has an unorthodox location amidst industrial distribution warehouses.  Even though this bakery is somewhat hidden it has a big reputation making Waco’s people’s choice list.  When we stopped by around the lunch hour, the parking lot was packed and it seemed folks were spending their lunch breaks consuming sweet treats.  

We tried vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, champagne, chocolate chip, and carrot cake.  They were good cupcakes, but I found the price tag a bit much.  They were not any bigger than an average cupcake, unlike Magnolia and HEB where they were more expensive, but also jumbo.

My favorite cupcake at Simply Delicious was the champagne.  Not only was it a lovely, delicate flavor I had never tried, but was also salted in such a way that enhanced the subtle champagne flavor.

Delightful Hearts Sweet Treats ($, $1 - $2.25)

Delightful Hearts is a perfect name for this bakery.  I found these cupcakes delightful!  But what is most delightful about Delightful Hearts is the baker/owner/shop keep, Tiffany Kosel.  She is a mom of four following her dreams.  I have made repeat visits to this shop in the last few months for several reasons: 1.) The cupcakes are exceptional.  I am guaranteed show stopping cupcakes every time I visit.  They taste great and are beautiful. 2.)  $1.00 Thursday cupcakes after 12:00 p.m. Thank you for this special!!! Our family lives on one income.  We rarely enjoy luxuries such as bakery confections.  This special makes it possible to celebrate the little things.  3.) Tiffany is a delight.  She always welcomes guests with joy.  This is a MUST visit bakery.

We tried strawberry, butterfinger, oreo, nutterbutter, boston cream pie, vanilla, chocolate fudge, cherry cordial, animal cookie, coconut, snickerdoodle and carrot cake.  We were able to try a lot due to $1 Thursday.  It was hard to pick a favorite.  They were all so good.  But if I were only allowed to have one, I would pick the cherry cordial.  My girls could not get enough of the coconut.  This bakery also makes gluten free cupcakes!

Lollipop's Sweet Treats ($, $1.75 - $2.25)

Located in Robinson, on Hwy 77, minutes from Baylor University.  Honestly, the quality of this bakery is comparable to Delightful Hearts.  I appreciated the interesting flavors at this shop.  In particular, we tried a Dr. Pepper cupcake, which is a nostalgic, signature of Waco.  I have made repeat trips to this bakery as well.  The price is also right.

We tried chocolate, vanilla, Dr. Pepper, banana cream pie, almond joy, and red velvet.  The standout was the aforementioned Dr. Pepper.  

My one complaint of Lollipop's is that I wish they were prettier.  They were the most plain looking cupcakes on the tour aside from Magnolia.  The way they looked did not get me excited to eat a cupcake.  But when I took a bite, I did not care what they looked like (get in my face cupcake)!

Sweetness Desserts ($$, $2.25 - $2.50)

This is Waco's finest--a cut above the rest--ambiance, presentation, flavor.  I died and went to heaven which was a patisserie in France.  

One word people, syrup! The cake has a light layer of flavored syrup on the top, between the cake and the frosting.  Omg! The intensity of cake flavor is an ultra-reality.  There is not a subtle flavor in all the store.  They all reach out and excite every taste bud.

The vanilla tastes like the way vanilla smells, except not overpowering, except totally overpowering, like I cannot control the groans of ecstasy as I eat it.  The chocolate fudge was a similar experience.  It was the most intense chocolate I have ever tasted.  

After trying each cupcake I sat there scraping the plate with my fork, hoping that I could get just one more crumb to taste.  Then I ate another cupcake even though I was already far too full.  I would skip meals all week if I knew that I would be rewarded with a cupcake from this bakery in the end.

We tried carrot cake, strawberry, coconut, vanilla, chocolate fudge, celebration, coffee toffee caramel crunch, and lemonade raspberry.  There was not a disappointing cupcake in the bunch.  

The best cupcake at Sweetness Desserts was definitely the coffee toffee caramel crunch.  We were about to leave the store without this cupcake when the kind, exuberant baker/attendant insisted we take one.  We are so glad she did.  

These cupcakes inspired me to write up our cupcake tour experience.  I decided then that everyone had to know about these cupcakes.  

Final Word

We have some great bakeries in Waco of which most people are not aware.  Go try some cupcakes when it's not someone's birthday.  Live like there is no tomorrow.

-Definitely visit Tiffany at Delightful Hearts Sweet Treats. 
-Sweetness Desserts is my pick of all Waco.  The experience is worth every calorie and every penny.
-Or just visit the bakery nearest to you and support someone local.  It's good for your neighborhood.

Lastly, my favorite cake flavor is carrot cake.   I did not get to experience a lot of good carrot cake on our tour.  There were some contenders though.  People don't care about the carrot cake and do not put a lot of effort into making it--or maybe carrot cake is just hard to master.  When the right carrot cake comes a long it's like time stops as the shock and awe of all the complex spices, textures and flavors dance upon your senses.  It's a moment to remember.  I remember all the times I have had good carrot cake as though they were significant moments in my life.  Carrot cake is just my personality--a little healthy with that carrot, spicey, unusual, all topped with a heavy, creamy, vanilla cream cheese frosting; people underestimate the carrot cake.

Happy Cupcake Touring.  

P.S.  I want to thank my mother-in-law for starting us off, buying us a lot of cupcakes, spoiling us with her love and generosity.

May God grant you many more blessed years. 


Unknown said...

I love this post! Thank you for doing it. I look forward to trying some more of these. I've been to 3 already and we are frequent visitors to Delightful Hearts for the same reasons you mentioned - delicious treats and the sweetest owner ever. Going there is such a pick me up. I craved her blueberry scones when I was pregnant.

Unknown said...
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Jinon Nane' said...

Our favorite is all sugar' up out on 19th St. towards China Spring. Great little shop! We love their cupcakes and it's great for us because it is 3 minutes from our house and on our way home from school.

Wacoan said...

You should have gone to What About Cupcakes? not What About A Cupcake? Great cupcakes! They've made Wacos Best multiple years. They have a variety of cupcakes that change each day and season. We love the Hummingbird, strawberry margarita, and banana split cupcakes! Their fall cupcakes are amazing! The best part is that their sister own Lollipops cupcakes and they share in this special talent they have! You missed out!

Unknown said...

Dear Wacoan, It must be a typo. I will edit that. As you can see the link is to What About Cupcakes. I am aware that Lollipops and What About Cupcakes are sister businesses. It simply was my least favorite experience. I cannot change the fact that the day I went there was little variety and they were poorly executed. The attendant was not any better any and put down the sister that left to start a rival business. When I go into a business to pay $3-$4 for a cupcake I expect to be treated with sugar and kindness and not hear about bitterness that anyone else in Waco dare make cupcakes. Everyone is going to have their favorite places for various reasons. But, if you're in town for a day and can only go to one place, my recommendation is still Sweetness desserts. I also chose not to go to Cuppiecakes because I would have had to drive 20 mins. to McGregor. I chose not to drive out of my way to West. I did not go to places that do other things like breakfast and lunch, because they may not have cupcakes everyday. But, I think this is a good overview of some very fine Waco area establishments.