Sugar Sightings: Cupcakes & Castles in SF

November 29, 2009

I almost left my post-Thanksgiving shopping trip empty handed, but with my exceptional eye for anything sweet, I happily carried a bag with cupcakes back to my car.  I made a trip to San Francisco and after 4 hours of browsing I was bagless and was ready to give up.  While maneuvering out of the insanely busy Union Square, I spotted… cupcakes!

A girl was holding the most beautifully browned swirled S’more cupcake.  I walked 10 steps before turning around and asking where to get them.  That’s how I discovered Cako cupcakes.

I love the window display.  Very boutique looking with all the cupcakes lined up in rows.  Unfortunately the rest of the shop is a bit disappointing.  They had a pink and brown balloon arch in front so maybe it was a grand opening and thus explains the lack of decor and design on the inside.  But what really matters is how the cupcakes taste, so onto the selection.

They had the usual vanilla and chocolate but they have a lot more creative ones like the Apple Pie that I was drawn to when I walked in.  The cupcakes come in three sizes- small, medium, and large.  Apple Pie was only available in large that day and it seemed to rich to finish so I passed, especially when I still had my eye on the S’more.

Pumpkin cheesecake.. so tempting but again only in large.

They even had Banana Split.  To the right is the Andes Mint Chocolate cupcake.

Finally settled on a S’more- large, Red Velvet- medium (the standard cupcake size), and Lemon Raspberry- small

Lemon Raspberry was so tiny it didn’t last more than a minute after getting into the car.

The Red Velvet design looks a bit like Kara’s Cupcakes.

A deep red on the inside.  It was not bad.  The cake was light and moist.  The cream cheese frosting was a lot lighter than what I’m used to, which is okay, but at the same time the thick cream cheese frosting gives it that Southern feel that makes the cupcake so good.  If you want a lite version of the Red Velvet, then you’ll like this one.

Onto the S’more.  I love trying S’more cupcakes mainly because of the marshmallow frosting which is so different from buttercream.  I also like the graham crust.  This is by far the best marshmallow cupcake ever.

Kind of looks like a Baked Alaska.  The crust was just thick enough that when you cut into it, it still holds together.  The chocolate cake was moist and light.  Best of all, the marshmallow frosting was thick and fluffy.  This one should have come in XLarge.

Though not able to eat, this Sugar Castle was amazing to see.  It was unveiled in the main lobby at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in Union Square the day after Thanksgiving.  It is one of the largest sugar castles in the country and has gotten bigger every year since the first creation in 2005. I thought there would be some Styrofoam or cardboard in some of the cake but it is all edible.

Sugar Castle by Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Francois Houdre

The 12 foot tall castle rotates and has a moving train circling around it.

To see the Sugar Castle…
Westin St. Francis
335 Powell Street
San Francisco, CA

For cupcakes…
Cako Bakery
211 O’Farrell Street
San Francisco, CA 94102




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