Sprinkles: The Cupcake Debate


Cupcakes have been a pretty big deal basically like the concept of sliced bread. However, no bakery ever exclusively specialized in them until the mid 2000’s.  In 2005, Sprinkles Cupcakes started a huge cupcake craze! The Oprah Winfrey Show had owner Candace Nelson on the show and bought out cupcakes for the entire audience.  The Oprah effect on this new cupcakery located in Beverly Hills shot Sprinkles Cupcakes into the spotlight because anything that Oprah likes, so does America. And a Star was Born! To think that this idea all started because she was pregnant and wanted a delicious cupcake is fascinating.  Since 2005, Sprinkles Cupcakes has expanded to over 17 locations throughout the US and internationally.   And just like Pinkberry took created the frozen yogurt craze, Sprinkles created the cupcakery craze.

Sprinkles offers over 30 flavors with certain flavors sold daily and others on specific days of the week.  They are also seasonal flavors that are offered for each month. In 2012, they opened the first Cupcake ATM that dispenses cupcakes and doggie cupcakes 24 hours a day and is continuously restocked thought the day holding up to 600 cupcakes at a time. In 2012, Sprinkles opened SP_Americana_Web_540x360_tenanttheir first ice cream shop next door to the Beverly Hills location and offers unique flavors that are denser, creamier, and more flavorful that traditional ice cream. They have also ventured into making cookies as well.  This place is unstoppable!


Though I am from Los Angeles, I never ventured to Sprinkles while I lived there. LA traffic is ridiculous, parking is insane, and I heard that was always a long line for the cupcakes.  However, when I moved to Maryland, I found my way to the Georgetown neighborhood in Washington DC one afternoon and had my first Sprinkles experience for $3.75 a cupcake. I loved it! I ordered the Red Velvet and Cinnamon Sugar cupcakes and found them to be wonderful, especially the red velvet. The cupcakes were moist and delicious and had just a simple decoration. I feel that they focus more on the taste than icing presentation. The coloring of the Red Velvet cupcake was not overly done, the cake itself had hints of cocoa, and the cream cheese icing was perfection! The Cinnamon Sugar cupcake was a lightly spiced buttermilk cake dusted with cinnamon sugar.  I wished it hand icing on it and I later found out about the Triple Cinnamon cupcake that is the same cake and includes the cream cheese icing and a dusting of cinnamon sugar.  It is a cinnamon lover’s dream and is perfection!  Only available on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday is the delicious Carrot cupcake that includes a walnut-studded carrot cake with cinnamon cream cheese icing. I guess you are seeing a pattern here right?

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While I have tried several different cupcakeries, no one seems to do it for me like Sprinkles Cupcakes! Some cakes are just too big and dry, some overdo it adding too much to the cake batter that does not make for pleasurable cupcake eating experience, and some use frosting in lieu of icing! While the Sprinkles cupcakes are all described as having frosting, they in fact use icing!  Icing is sugar based and when touched, is hard. This begins my debate on the difference between frosting and icing.

store_georgetownThere is a cupcakery that burst into the spotlight shortly after Sprinkles called Georgetown Cupcakes. After visiting Sprinkles, I made my way down M Street where they are both located, and stood in line to find out what the hype was all about. They have so many cupcake choices and cost $3.25 but I have a very limited sweets palate.  So, I ordered the Red Velvet, the Carrot, and the Cookies and Cream Cheesecake cupcake. What I first noticed is that they were a bit smaller than the Georgetown cupcake. My favorite cupcake was the Cookies and Cream Cheesecake cupcake! This was done to perfection and the bits of the cookies and the cream were wonderful! However, it is only available in January and April. The regular cookies and cream cupcake is not nearly as exciting as the cheesecake option.

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The cupcakes were nicely decorated but I did not enjoy the red velvet and the carrot nearly as much as I enjoyed them at Sprinkles.  The red velvet flavors were not as pronounced, there were shredded carrots in the carrot cupcake that took away from the overall experience, and more importantly, they use frosting! So the sugar content of the cupcake was not there. I tried to warm up one of the cupcakes for about 7 seconds, just like I do with the Sprinkles cupcake, and the frosting melted off the cupcake! In that moment, I realized that there is a big difference between frosting and icing and while it is used interchangeably, they are not the same. Consider the following and please remember this is a foodies opinion and not a baker’s opinion:

A quick Google search to define icing and frosting produced the following:

Icing is defined as a mixture of sugar with liquid or butter, typically flavored and colored, and used as a coating for cakes or cookies.

Frosting is defined as a sweet creamy mixture for coating or filling cakes, cookies, etc.

Consider from the definitions given above, that icing is made primarily of sugar, confectioner’s sugar to be exact. However, the frosting definition spoke to a creamy mixture. For example, you usually hear about a butter cream frosting, whipped cream frosting, or a cream cheese frosting. What do all of these have in common….CREAM! And to go one step further, consider when you cut into a cake. Typically baker use frosting for the inside layers of a cake and the outside layer would be icing.  Generally people make their frosting fresh while you can easily by a container of icing in the grocery store cooking aisle.

As a foodbloger, food/restaurant critic, food lover, and cook, I cannot render an opinion on who has the best cupcakes because ultimately, this is a matter of personal opinion. I love icing so Sprinkles is for me. They also have way of producing cupcakes rich in flavor but not overwhelming. My dislike of frosting on cupcake makes the Georgetown cupcakes not my favorite.  Frosting can often be too creamy and over power the cupcake whereas the icing is sweeter and adds an even sweeter accompaniment.  During my most recent visit, my friend ordered the Lemon Coconut and the Strawberry Shortcake and love them both exclaiming that they were the best cupcakes she ever had. The Strawberry Shortcake cupcake is a limited cupcake that was created by Drew Barrymore and includes a yellow cake filled with tart strawberry curd with a toasted marshmallow on top. I was not a fan of the yellow cake because of the lemon flavor added but the strawberry filing was pretty good.

Focusing specifically on cupcakes, it is very difficult to determine if one cupcakery is better than another because everyone has a personal preference, I, for one, am a huge icing lover.  That is the fundamental different in the styles at Sprinkles Cupcakes and Georgetown Cupcake. But you will just have to try out a few of your own to make your own decision. Let me know in the comments which is your favorite and if you prefer icing or frosting. Happy Cupcake Eating!

Please look out for my next series as I travel down to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for a long awaited vacation and share my dining experiences!   Also, you can find me on Instagram @finediningdiva and Twitter @moderndaybeauty. Also, if you would like to follow my blog to receive notification when a new blog is posted, please send your email to finediningdiva@gmail.com.

And remember: It’s a BIG world and we are going to eat our way through it!




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