Cupcakes are possibly the prettiest little self-contained desserts available (and the fact that you can order them by the dozen isn't bad either). In honor of National Cupcake Day this week, here are 10 bakeries that every cupcake lover should visit.
1. SPRINKLES // BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA
Sprinkles Cupcakes—described on their website as the world’s first cupcake bakery—originated in Beverly Hills in 2005, but their bakeries soon spread to 22 locations across the country. Owner Candace Nelson is a fan of firsts: Sprinkles is also known for inventing the world’s first cupcake ATM so patrons can get their fix even after the stores have closed. If you don’t live near enough to Sprinkles, fear not: You can purchase their cupcake mix in a variety of popular flavors at Williams-Sonoma stores across the U.S. and Canada and make them yourself at home.
2. JILLY'S CUPCAKE BAR AND CAFE // ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI
The elaborate cupcakes at Jilly's come in two sizes: mini or jumbo (meaning that they can weigh half a pound each!). Choose from their daily or rotating monthly flavors and see for yourself why Jilly's has been named the best cupcakes in Missouri and was twice named champion of Food Network's Cupcake Wars.
3. KARA’S CUPCAKES // SAN FRANCISCO
The San Francisco flagship bakery for Kara's Cupcakes opened after Kara Haspel Lind's successful cupcake catering business grew too large for her to keep up with the demand. The adorable shop has now expanded further to include nine locations across Northern California that feature gluten-free options as well as monthly seasonal flavors like Peppermint Twist (available through the end of December) and favorites like Kara's Karrot or Banana Carmel.
4. BACK IN THE DAY BAKERY // SAVANNAH, GEORGIA
Back in the Day Bakery's Cheryl and Griffith Day were nominated for a 2015 James Beard award in the Outstanding Bakers category—their adorable Savannah bakery also serves coffee and lunch, as well as a wide variety of baked goods from pies and pastries to fresh bread and scones. But their cupcakes, particularly the vanilla old-fashioned, were good enough to top Southern Living's "The South's Best Cupcakes" list.
5. SWIRLZ CUPCAKES // CHICAGO
Since opening in 2006, Chicago's Swirlz Cupcakes have created 1500 unique flavors using fresh ingredients to create their cakes, brownies and regular, gluten-free, and vegan gluten-free cupcakes. Flavors range from Churro and Apple Coffee Cake to Chocolate Caramel Popcorn, and you can even buy pupcakes ($3) to share their treats with your four-legged friends.
6. PINK CAKE BOX // DENVILLE, NEW JERSEY
Founder Anne Heap's Pink Cake Box is a full cake studio known widely for the designs on their gorgeous and artistic wedding cakes. Their designs are even more impressive when found on their smaller specialty cupcakes that can be made for any occasion. And, if you'd like a professional tutorial on how to create your own, Pink Cake Box University exists in-person and online to help make sure you never have another Pinterest Fail on your hands again.
7. MAGNOLIA BAKERY // NEW YORK CITY
COURTESY MAGNOLIA BAKERY
Though this cozy bakery has been a West Village staple since 1996, it gained popularity when the ladies of Sex and the City enjoyed their now-famous cupcakes in an episode and helped impact the cupcake craze in the city. Since then Magnolia has opened bakeries worldwide with locations in Tokyo, Beirut, and Mexico City. Try their classic vanilla or red velvet cupcakes.
8. PINKITZEL CUPCAKES & CANDY // TULSA AND OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA
Pinkitzel's two Oklahoma shops feature a bakery, cafe, candy, and a gift shop, and draw inspiration from such colorful lovers of whimsy as Willy Wonka and Alice in Wonderland. The unusual name roughly translates as "tickled pink"—kitzel is Yiddish for "tickled." They are known for their gourmet cupcakes in flavors like Pink Lemonade, Peanut Butter Nutella, or Strawberry Shortcake, and all come topped with buttercream or cream cheese icings.
9. TROPHY CUPCAKES & PARTY // SEATTLE
Trophy Cupcakes & Party, a 1940s-inspired cupcakery in Seattle, was listed as one of Martha Stewart's own favorite cupcake bakeries. The shop sells countless themed cupcakes—from tiaras to jungle animals—or you can select flavors like Snowball (covered in a coconut buttercream) or Gluten-Free Almond Joy (which is coated in a Belgian chocolate ganache).
10. GEORGETOWN CUPCAKE // WASHINGTON, D.C.
For designer cupcakes in the capital, head directly to the sister-owned Georgetown Cupcake. Inspired by their grandmother, Katherine Kallinis Berman and Sophie Kallinis LaMontagne decided to pursue their passion for baking by the opening the shop in 2008. They've since expanded to locations in New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, where they serve their everyday classics (like Milk Chocolate Birthday and Red Velvet) alongside daily and seasonal specials (like Vegan Apple Cinnamon and White Chocolate Peppermint) and decorated holiday assortments.