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(This post was completed for a web feature assignment in my Online Magazines course in the Book & Magazine Publishing program at Centennial College.)

Rainbow Cupcake(photo by bookgrl)

Once a popular sweet ending to a child’s birthday party, the standard Betty Crocker chocolate cupcake with rainbow sprinkles has recently undergone a massive makeover. Specialty cupcake shops now create beautiful (and delicious!) works of art with ingredients as exotic as lavender and matcha tea powder for celebrity customers such as Ringo Starr and Katie Holmes (and little Suri!).

As a self-proclaimed cupcake connoisseur, I perform taste tests at cupcake shops in every city I visit, I read cupcake blogs regularly, and I even bake my own cupcakes from scratch. The worldwide popularity of cupcakes has touched down in Toronto with more than a dozen “cupcakeries” in the downtown area alone. But where are the best places to go when you’re in need of a mini-cake fix? Read on for my four favourite cupcake spots in T.O.

Life Is Sweet (2328 Queen St E, 416.698.0555)

Subtitled “A Cupcake House”, this small east-end bakery offers a wide variety of delicious and unique flavours daily. For $2.25 per cupcake, you can choose from flavours such as Vanilla Bean, Chocolate, Mint Chocolate, Lemon Drop, Butterscotch, Earl Grey, Orange, Chocolate Chip, Coconut, and White Chocolate. On my visit I chose to try both a Chocolate and a Mint Chocolate Cupcake, and I couldn’t have been more satisfied. The cake was light, fluffy, and oh-so-chocolatey, and the lovely employees freshly piped the divine icing onto the cupcakes while I watched!

The Cupcake Shoppe (2417 Yonge St, 416.322.6648)

Peek-a-boo cupcakes from The Cupcake Shoppe!

Peek-a-boo cupcakes from The Cupcake Shoppe!

Offering a total of 17 nut-free flavours, with nine available in-store each and every day, The Cupcake Shoppe wins the award for having the most creative cupcake names. Some of my favourites include Yonge ‘n’ Eligible (vanilla or chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream), Sleepless in Toronto (vanilla or chocolate cake with coffee buttercream), Curious George (vanilla or chocolate cake with banana buttercream), and Eh? (vanilla cake with maple buttercream). At $2.50 a pop, these little cakes taste as amazing as they sound and more than worth the price.

Lollicakes (859 Mount Pleasant Rd, 416.482.2253)

While Lollicakes doesn’t offer a wide variety of flavours (vanilla or chocolate cake with vanilla or chocolate icing), they sure do make their cakes to be the very best they can! The cake is light, yet rich in flavour, and the icing is very sugary sweet. Best to pair these $3.00 cupcakes with a glass of milk! Like The Cupcake Shoppe, Lollicakes also offers nut-free cupcakes, but additionally they are certified Kosher. I tried a chocolate cupcake with pink vanilla icing on my first trip to this bakery, and they impressed me by freshly piping the icing to order! Sometimes the littlest touches make the biggest difference.

Miss Cora’s Kitchen (69 Kensington Ave, 416.593.2672)

This adorable Kensington Market bakery only sells mini-cupcakes, but they sure are mega-delicious! Available in chocolate, vanilla, lemon, and carrot cake (with amazingly rich cream cheese icing) for $1.50 a piece, they truly are heavenly little creations. And because they’re so small, you can eat more of them without feeling guilty! You’re definitely best to order yourself a whole dozen and try out every flavour!

Truly one of the best ways to perk up your day is to enjoy a perfect individual-sized cake just for you! The map below will help you find my favourite T.O. cupcakeries, but where are yours? Share your top spots in the comments, and happy cupcaking!