Kara's Cupcakes, Strawberry Cream
Kara’s Cupcakes, Strawberry Cream

I never really got caught up in the whole “cupcake craze.” Magnolia? Sprinkles? Meh. I’ve always been more of a cookie gal myself. Or cheesecake. Yeah, cut me a fatty slice of cheesecake any day.

But that’s just me. I knew my guests visiting from out of town would go ga-ga over Kara’s Cupcakes, and it would be the perfect pick-me-up as our sightseeing brought us to Ghirardelli Square.

Kara's Cupcakes
Because who can choose just one?

Jennifer proceeded to purchase a dozen cupcakes…because who could choose just one? I was pretty blasé about it all…until the Strawberry Cream filled cupcake rocked my world.

Kara's Cupcakes, Strawberry Cream
Strawberry Cream Dream

The Strawberry Cream is one of Kara’s seasonal flavors, and is only available until August (So go get one now! Seriously, go. Now.). It is a vanilla cupcake filled with organic local strawberries and cream, and topped with a cream cheese frosting. Yom!

So what about this particular cupcake converted this disbeliever?

1. The cake was surprisingly moist, and incredibly light. Like sweet, delicious fluffy clouds. Maybe that’s the key. This cupcake is baked by angels.
2. The filling. Real strawberries and cream. It was like biting into a bit of unexpected sunshine.
3. Cream cheese frosting. Always a win in my book, and in this case, even more so. Not too dense, but still appropriately decadent, and a great play on the classic strawberry jam/cream cheese combo.
4. Apparently, if you slice it in half, the revealed filling and fondant decoration looks like a strawberry! How precious is that?

This cupcake was unreal. Like grandma’s strawberry shortcake, but better, and in adorable cupcake form.

Other cupcakes of note: Sweet S’mores, a chocolate cupcake with graham cracker crust and toasted marshmallow frosting; Fleur De Sel, a chocolate cupcake with caramel filling, dark ganache frosting and fleur de sel; and Chocolate Velvet, a chocolate cupcake with a mound of velvety bittersweet chocolate buttercream.

Kara’s proudly states that they continue baking throughout the day so they can offer cupcakes that have been baked within hours, if not minutes, for your enjoyment. I believe it. They are amazingly fresh and absurdly delicious. I see why they have such a following in all five of their Bay Area locations.

So, am I about to go on a cupcake bender? Probably not. (Besides, from what my pilates instructor tells me, Kara’s reigns supreme. She holds a horizontal cupcake tasting of all the cupcake shops in the area, and she says Kara’s wins hands down every year. It’s not even a contest anymore.) I do, however, have a whole new respect for the Cupcake, and Kara’s will be seeing me again, at least once, before the Strawberry Cream goes out of season.

Kara's Cupcakes, Ghirardelli Square
Kara’s Cupcakes, Ghirardelli Square

Kara’s Cupcakes

Ghirardelli Square — San Francisco, CA
Plaza Level
900 North Point
San Francisco, California 94109
415-351-CAKE (2253)

Marina — San Francisco, CA
3249 Scott Street (at Chestnut)
San Francisco, California 94123
415-563-CAKE (2253)

Town & Country Village — Palo Alto, CA
855 El Camino Real, Suite 50
Palo Alto, California 94301
650-326-CAKE (2253)

Santana Row — San Jose, CA
3055 Olin Avenue, Suite 1010
San Jose, California 95128

Oxbow Market — Napa, CA
610 First Street, Suite 19
Napa, California 94559
707-258-CAKE (2253)

Kara’s Cupcakes Converts a Nonbeliever 29 June,2010Stephanie Hua

  • Karen

    The Strawberry Dream cupcake is adorable and mouth watering. I can’t wait to go on lunch to get one! I truly can’t find any place comparable to Kara’s. The carrot cake has been my favorite for a long time. Have you tried any dessert & wine pairings? There’s one coming up at Sally’s After Dark in SF on July 13, hosted by Battledish. They’re matching seasonal desserts with port & madeira. Here’s the details: http://dessertdishcrawl.eventbrite.com/ Cheers!

  • I like Kara’s but the best cubcakes in the bay area by far are Sibby’s! I have tried a host of others…Kara’s, Teacakes, Sprinkles, etc. Sibby’s rules!!

  • Karen: thanks for the heads up! mmm dessert and wine – can’t go wrong with that!

    Deacon: I’ll have to check them out, thanks! Any favorite flavors in particular?


Stephanie Hua

Stephanie Hua is the creator of Lick My Spoon, a place for all things delicious. So far she has learned that she very much enjoys salted caramel anything, a good soup dumpling is worth a scalded tongue, and there is no room in life for non-fat cheese and crappy chocolate. Also, a barrel of cheese balls never ends well.

Stephanie has been known to choose her company based on how much they can pack it down. Ability to endure cramped quarters, sketchy back alleys, and uncharted paths to seek out that special dish is also a plus in her book. If you fit the criteria, drop a note. You’ll probably get along just fine.

Stephanie’s writing and photography have been featured in Fodor’s Travel, Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Serious Eats, and Sundance Channel. Follow her on Facebook and @lickmyspoon.

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