Before cupcake pans, personalized dessert portions were made by baking full-sized cakes and shrinking them in the dryer. Skip extra steps with today's Groupon: for $5, you get $10 worth of cupcakes and desserts at Violet's Cakes in Pasadena.
The creative bakemasters at Violet's Cakes concoct more than 40 fruity, sweet, and savory cupcake flavors, which helped the store become one of Martha Stewart's top 10 bakeries in the country. Each day sees a rotating menu of freshly baked offerings awaken from floury slumber, all crafted without artificial ingredients ($2.75 for a regular cupcake, $1.75 for a mini). Violet's open kitchen also whips up tasty cookies, brownies, oatmeal-raisin bars, and coffee ($1–$2.50). Shake your hips and jaw muscles as you sample an Elvis cupcake, made with moist banana cake and peanut-butter frosting, or nosh on a french-toast and maple-buttercream-flavored cupcake to evoke memories of waking up on Saturday morning and placing an irritable rooster beside a neighbor’s bed.
The bakers of this modern cake shop—named 1 of Martha Stewart's 10 favorite cupcake bakeries—decorate elaborate cakes, cupcakes, and cake pops with bright icing. In their open-air kitchen, they weave together quality ingredients, such as Callebaut chocolates, Valrhona cocoa, Madagascar bourbon vanilla, and sugar imported from Gum Drop Mountain. They schedule a set number of flavors for each day, juxtaposing classic flavors with eclectic concoctions, such as french toast, peach cobbler, and Martha Stewart's favorite, cherry pie.
After baking tasty canvases, bakers decorate the cakes with swirls of delicious buttercream or cream-cheese frosting. They can also transform pastry and frosting into custom designs, such as a turntable, piles of books, or a Barbie doll to celebrate a special occasion or conceal sweets from greedy party guests. The rich, smooth icing is so photogenic that no wedding cake ever needs to wear fondant cover-up.