Stephen Jacob (mavjop) wrote,
Stephen Jacob

Kara's Cupcakes: Disappointing.

I decided to try out cupcakes from Kara's Cupcakes in Palo Alto's Town and Country Mall. We love Sprinkles' cupcakes, but thought we ought to at least try the competition.

My first impression upon reaching the store was "everything about this store screams 'we want to be Sprinkles'". The windows and counters were all derivative.

My second impression was "whoah, they are charging the same price as Sprinkles -- $3.25/cupcake? They must think they're pretty good."

I picked up a vanilla, a fleur de sel (chocolate, caramel, fleur de sel), and a "java". They were giving away "samples" of their gluten-free cupcakes: whole cupcakes. So I took a "sweet chocolate" gluten free cupcake as well.

Their cupcakes are noticeably smaller than Sprinkles'. Actually, they're probably about half the size (by volume)... and yet the same price? Seriously?

We tried the cupcakes and had the following reactions:
  • gluten-free sweet chocolate: Surprisingly good for gluten-free. Quite tasty. In fact, I would say the best gluten-free cake I have had. Ignoring the gluten-free aspect, though, nothing special. Note that we have not yet tried Sprinkles' gluten-free cupcakes, so we do not know if they would be much better, the same, or less good.

  • vanilla: Quite good ... but not amazing like Sprinkles' vanilla, so skip it. Go to Sprinkles.

  • fleur de sel: They swung ... and they missed. I normally love chocolate/caramel and salt combinations, but while they jumped on the gourmet band-wagon, they really didn't succeed in making it work. Least favourite salt and chocolate/caramel combination ever.

  • "java": Bad. Just bad. The "espresso" buttercream icing tasted like weak coffee, not espresso, and much more strongly of butter, in the way that bad buttercream frosting/icing does. Yuck. I normally love any dessert with coffee/espresso involved. Not this one. We actually threw this one away ... normally a sacrilegious thing to do to a cupcake.
So, overall review: If you have a Sprinkles nearby, for the love of all that is tasty please don't bother with Kara's Cupcakes. If you don't, well, maybe try their vanilla or chocolate cupcakes, but skip the awful "java" and don't whatever you do let their fleur de sel be what you judge the use of salt with chocolate/caramel by.

Short-short review: Stupidly expensive. Not good.
Tags: food, life, review

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