The cupcakes you didn't know growing up

Los Angeles had made some impressions on me over the four years I have lived here, mostly just heightening the obscure things about me that were always there and just needed coaxing out: my inner yogi, vegan, foodie, outdoor enthusiast...  But nothing about Los Angeles has changed me more than its immense amount of cupcakeries.

These are NOT the cupcakes that you had at birthday parties during your childhood.  These are made to be savored, sought after, and eaten with a fork.  Yes.  A fork.

I thought of all this yesterday as I moseyed over to the (newish) Sprinkles downtown.  Sprinkles, for those of you don't know, claim to be the first cupcakery.  By that, I mean the first shop that not only specializes in cupcakes, but that is all they do.  Candace Nelson, the owner, had the right idea.  A cupcake is the perfect size and has an appropriate icing to cake ratio.  Cupcakes are hand held, can be made of any flavor combination, and cheaper/easier than a cake.  Cupcakes are genius.

My first year in LA, I became a cupcake connoisseur, and it all began when a vender brought a few boxes of cupcakes to my office for everyone.  That day I learned what Sprinkles was and sampled almost every flavor.  I learned the importance of a Black & White in my life, and that everyone in LA loves red velvet (although I don't really understand why....)  At the same time I was really getting into yelping and in doing so I learned of the many cupcake shops all over LA.  I won't say that I tried them all, because that would be too much of a challenge for me.  However, I did try enough to know that Sprinkles is not overrated like some people think, they are second best in my book to Frosted Cupcakery, which has the moistest cupcakes I have ever tasted.  There is also an annual "cupcake challenge," which I have attended twice, just to verify my connoisseurship.

Yesterday, for the first, I bought a doggy cupcake for Napoleon from Sprinkles.  I usually buy him pupcakes from Three Dog Bakery a few times a year.  The one from Sprinkles had a softer, more human-cupake-like cake and a harder frosting.  It seemed to be top heavy, causing Napoleon to have to save the best for last and eat the icing after the cake.

Some things to know if you live near a Sprinkles: Check their twitter before you step inside, there might just be a "secret" word of the day that will get you a free cupcake or a buy one get one free.  Get their app from ilovesprinkles.com to learn about upcoming flavors of the month like their current Margarita and Salted Caramel (one of my faves.)  And if ever in LA, go to the Bev Hills location if you want the "experience" of waiting in line at the flagship near Rodeo drive, or to use their cupcake "atm," which I have yet to do.  If you don't want to mess with all of that and you just want some delicious cupcakes, go downtown to their new 7th and Fig location and you will not be disappointed.

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