A Visit To Cupcake Royale

by moderndomestic on August 31, 2009

Cupcake Royale - Peppermint Cupcake

A perfect mint chocolate cupcake from Cupcake Royale, in Seattle.

It’s sad to say that I was a better cupcake consumer in the Northwest than I’ve been in DC. I still haven’t been to Baked and Wired or Buzz Bakery or Best Buns Company, but I managed to visit three cupcake shops on my West Coast jaunt. One of them, Tacoma’s “Hello, Cupcake,” was really delightful, and helped my coworkers and I muddle through the final days our convention. The second one, Cupcake Royale, was a must-do item on my Seattle to-do list. And the third . . . well, I won’t go there just yet.

Cupcake Royale - Sign

The sign outside the Capital Hill store.

I was very excited to visit Cupcake Royale during my two days in Seattle. Unlike many of the DC cupcake shops, which are recent transplants (Hello Cupcake just had its first birthday), Cupcake Royale opened before I left Seattle four years ago. It has four locations, including one in Ballard (the Nordic-inspired, trendy neighborhood that celebrates both vikings and boutiques), Madrona, West Seattle, and Capitol Hill (Seattle’s resident gay district – no relation to DC’s Capitol Hill). I visited the latter location, along with my friend Aiko, who unexpectedly had some time off from her teaching masters program.

Cupcake Royale - Interior 2

I heart the store's design.

First off, the store is delightful. The store opens with a large stained glass cupcake window, and has art pieces scattered throughout. The store’s clean white and pink color scheme and open floor plan makes the space feel both whimsical and modern – not an easy thing to accomplish. It’s also huge. There’s a large display case, counter, and huge seating area – theoretically, one could get a cupcake, a cup of coffee, and spend an hour reading a book or watching all the Capitol Hill types pass by the large windows. Try to do that in Georgetown Cupcake.

Cupcake Royale - Interior 1

I want that lamp! In another color . . .

Due to waistline considerations, I wasn’t able to sample all the cupcake flavors I wanted. So I tried to choose a representative sampling, and went with a chocolate cupcake with peppermint frosting, and a vanilla cupcake with lavender frosting. Both cupcakes were the generous “muffin top” style cupcakes – like the kind one gets at Cakelove, and both were covered in powdered-sugar based buttercream frosting.

Cupcake Royale - Case

The cupcake case . . . I wanted to try them all.

The peppermint cupcake was seriously perfect. I don’t think I could ask for anything more in a cupcake. The cake was really moist and fluffy, and had a melt in your mouth tender crumb. The frosting was very minty and incredibly smooth and soft and flavorful, without being too sweet. Really, this cupcake was spot -on in every way.

Of course, the lavender cupcake had a tough act to follow, and didn’t quite live up to its predecessor. The lavender frosting had the same great texture and sweetness, but I couldn’t help but think that it tasted a little soapy (this is the problem with lavender flavored desserts, I’ve found). The vanilla cake was lovely, however, with the same melting, fluffy texture as the chocolate cake.

Cupcake Royale - Lavender Cupcake

A lavender cupcake to go.

All in all, I left the experience vowing that I would figure out how the hell I could make that peppermint cupcake myself – and vowing to return to Cupcake Royale and Seattle before too long. But when I was proclaiming my cupcake Royale love at happy hour later that day at one of my old college haunts (Kai’s for anyone who’s interested), I found out that there was a cupcake controversy brewing in Seattle. One of my friends told me that the Cupcake Royale cupcakes out in the Ballard store are always dry, and that Trophy, an up-and-coming cupcake shop, made the best cupcake in the city.

Had I found this out before the night before my flight, I would have gone to investigate. But I think I’ll have to save Trophy for another trip. Seattle peeps, care to weigh in on this cupcake controversy? Is the Trophy vs. Cupcake Royale debate just a matter of personal taste, or does Cupcake Royale really have consistency problems? Now that I’m no longer a Seattleite, I can only speculate.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Olga September 3, 2009 at 10:39 am

hi!
it was great to meet you briefly last night at the HH.
did not realize you lived in Seattle: I spent 8 years there (high school and college–UW) and my family still lives there.
I’ll have to visit the cupcake place next time I visit.

Reply

moderndomestic September 3, 2009 at 10:41 am

Hi Olga,

I wish we had talked about Seattle – we’ll definitely need to do so at the next HH. What year did you graduate UW? I graduated in 2004, and moved to DC in 2005. It’s one of my favorite cities. It was nice meeting you too! And yes, Cupcake Royale is a must.

Jenna

Reply

kaydee September 5, 2009 at 9:20 pm

If you come up to NYC check out Crumbs bakery. The cake is moist and tasty and they have an awesome selection of flavors! A little spendy- but they have mini ones (and the big ones are BIG, better to share with your sweetie!)

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