My niece came to visit us for a long weekend. We did all kinds of fun things, including a tour of three of Charlottesville’s cupcake vendors: old family favorite Cappellino’s Crazy Cakes, Richmond import that’s new to Charlottesville Pearl’s Cupcake Shoppe, and birthday party and candy-lover favorite Sweethaus. Over the course of the past 4 days, we tried double chocolate and also mint chocolate varieties at all three (as well as a few other samples! 🙂 )

V. and her greatest cupcake love at Cappellino’s

My niece could not be swayed from her love of Cappellino’s mint chocolate, which is a moist chocolate cake with a very minty buttercream frosting, an Andes mint on top, and (the clincher, I think, for a nine-year-old) edible glitter. She didn’t think that Pearl’s mint cookie cupcake had minty enough frosting. I didn’t get to hear why she didn’t like the Sweethaus version as much as Cappellino’s. I got to have a bite of all three of hers as well as my own double chocolates, and I liked them all for different reasons. I thought the Cappellino’s was just a solid, classic mint chocolate flavor. Pearl’s version was like a mint Oreo in cupcake form – and is HUGE. Their cupcakes are seriously large! The Sweethaus version had frosting that tasted to me like those amazing old-fashioned molded butter mints you find so often at southern showers and weddings (and that I adore). So all of them were fantastic, in my opinion, but V. definitely remains loyal to Cappellino’s!

Giant cupcakes from Pearl’s – a macaron on the left, chocolate-covered strawberry cupcake in the middle (haven’t tried that one yet!), and mint chocolate cookie on the right.

For the double chocolate cupcakes, I also loved things about all three shops! Cappellino’s chocolate cake is just really tough to beat. It’s very moist and chocolatey – I think they make a Devil’s food chocolate cake recipe, and it’s awesome. Sweethaus has the richest, most amazing chocolate frosting. You can feel the sugar crystals mixing with the cocoa as you munch on it. Someday I might dissect a cupcake from each place and put the Sweethaus frosting on a Cappellino’s cupcake 🙂 Until then, however, Pearl’s double chocolate was the perfect balance of really good cake and really good frosting in a really good combination…and did I mention HUGE?!

Perusing the cupcake display at Sweethaus

Basically, any of the three shops will provide a very satisfactory experience. The folks at Cappellino’s are always delightful, and they make a reliably good cupcake – plus they sell buttercream shots for the frosting addicts. I’m looking forward to trying more of Pearl’s flavors – they have a crapton listed on their website, but they only carry 3 or 4 “special” flavors at a time in addition to the standard vanilla/chocolate variations, so it will take me a long time to try them all (though I’m particularly keen to try their couple of chocolate-orange varieties as that is probably my very favorite flavor combination). And Sweethaus is home to the cupcake that Dave and I have decided is The Very Best Cupcake of All Time – their cookie dough cupcake, which is yellow or vanilla cake with chocolate chips and an eggless chocolate chip cookie dough as the frosting – it’s FANTASTIC.

Charlottesville is definitely a foodie town, and our cupcake shops do not disappoint the foodie crowd! What is your favorite cupcake from your favorite cupcake shop (or from your kitchen or a loved one’s kitchen)?

In case it’s not abundantly obvious, I was not paid by any of these places in dollars or cupcakes or anything else to visit or to write about them on ye olde blogge.


One thought on “Cupcake-a-saurus

  1. Cappellino’s was my fave, but Pearl’s a close second. I love how Pearl’s has a cool assortment of other sweets too, like macarons.

    I wanted to like Sweethaus, cos the place was cute, but was just not impressed with the cupcakes – too dry!!

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