I don’t know who started the cupcake trend in Seattle (and I presume all over the country), but it seems like there’s a cupcake cafe on every corner. They even seem to have replaced the coffee shacks because one can buy both cupcake and cappucino at the cupcakeries I’ve been to lately. This is not to say that I’ve been to a lot, because ere I darkened the door of The Yellow Leaf Cupcake Co last Wednesday, I’d only frequented the Royale. And while I don’t frequently frequent, I’ve bought my share of cupcakes there. There’s even a new Royale in my neighborhood that I haven’t tried yet, but it’s on my list of urgent things to do.
What drew my attention to the Yellow Leaf was a photograph of their Pancakes’n Bacon cupcake. It was a beautiful photograph and the cupcake was yellow’ish with candied bacon sprinkled on top. How fun is that? It seems that many sweets are getting a side of bacon added to them these days, and I was curious about trying this. And so it was on St. Patrick’s Day afternoon that I found myself in Belltown with a little extra time on my hands and an image of a really pretty baconified cupcake floating in my brain.
Upon entering the store, the first thing I noticed is that places like Yellow Leaf have a reason to call themselves boutiques. They don’t look like bakeries at all, but more like a fancy accessory store a woman visits to find the correct gloves to accompany her evening gown to be worn at her function that will save the world. Everything is elegantly in its place and the cupcakes are displayed in cases like little gems. In fact, I was surprised when the cupcake sales lady (and she was the sales lady, not the baker, because I asked and she blushed and said no, she just sold the creative concoctions) picked up the very artfully decorated chocolate cupcake from its pedestal and placed it gently on a plate.
“Is that real? It looks too perfect to be real,” I said. She assured me it was and I felt a little trepidation settle because of the pretty food = questionable taste rule.
We tried three cupcakes. Strawberry, chocolate, and red velvet. The frosting at Yellow Leaf is essentially what stands them apart from other bakeries. It’s Italian buttercream, which translates to very light and fluffy frosting that doesn’t taste very sweet. All of the cupcakes have this frosting with the exception of the red velvet which has, of course, cream cheese frosting. And even that frosting is very light and not very sweet.
Unfortunately no Pancakes n’Bacon cupcakes were to be found, instead the Yellow Leaf were celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish Whiskey cupcake, which has a chocolatey ganache center and I believe whiskey in the Italian frosting.
Not a bad way to celebrate St. Patrick’s, although I’ve never cared for liquor in my dessert, just mostly instead of dessert.