The great thing about cupcakes is that because they are relatively small, so you can try several in one day. With so many cupcake options, how do you know where to start? Why not start with a big cupcake brand as a general benchmark? Sprinkles and the Food Network both say that Sprinkles is the “first cupcake bakery” and with locations in Beverly Hills, New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., Houston, Dallas, Scottsdale and more, it certainly has one of the largest reaches. In fact, Sprinkles’ founder Candace Nelson is even a judge on the Food Networks’ show Cupcake Wars, so this is clearly a cupcake chain that knows cupcakes.
Being very excited to get such a widely renowned cupcakery in our own backyard of Palo Alto, we made the pilgrimage almost as soon as it opened in my favorite mall, Stanford. We tried a number of the flavors starting with banana and of course regular chocolate. The banana was clearly high-quality with a real banana flavor, but not quite sweet enough for a cupcake. It tasted more like banana bread with frosting, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but not what I look for from my standard cupcake. We also found this to be true later in the year, when we tried the seasonal Apple Caramel. While also clearly a good, very real apple flavor, it too tasted more like another type of pastry. Perhaps a muffin.
Sprinkles’ chocolate marshmallow is now a favorite as it reminds me of a ding dong as the marshmallow is under the chocolate ganache frosting as well as in the middle. Out of all those that we have tried, I feel like this is the standout cupcake that I would specifically go to Sprinkles to enjoy. It is definitely worth a trip, but stick to the more dessert-type flavors, unless you are looking for something a little less sweet. In which case, their fruit-based cupcakes may be just what you are looking for!
Overall Sprinkles has some of the best quality we have had, as well as a fairly large selection with an ongoing rotation of seasonal flavors. It is definitely worth a try, but if you are looking for the extremely sweet cupcakes you enjoyed as a child, the cupcakes here might be a little too refined. They also have gluten-free and vegan red velvet cupcakes, which makes Sprinkles a good option for people with different dietary needs.
General deliciousness: 4
Presentation/store-front cuteness: 4
Try: The chocolate marshmallow or gluten-free or vegan red velvet cupcakes. They also make dog cupcakes!
Avoid: Fruit based cupcake unless you are looking for something more refined