Nobody ever needs to be convinced to eat cupcakes, do they? Well in the health-conscious, low-carb, sugar-free Southern California, sometimes you do need that extra push to remember the basics in life—“Oh yeah! Cupcakes are the greatest thing in the world!” And when in San Diego, never has that aha! moment ever been more real.
San Diego cupcakes are not only delicious, but their cupcake spots are cute and paired with all the other wonders of this coastal city. Think Seaworld, Balboa Park, the Gaslamp Quarter. Then imagine each of those places topped with a swirl of cream cheese frosting. Mmm.
Ready for a San Diego tour of the best cupcakes this city offers? Read ahead to learn about the best cupcakes in San Diego, and quickly be convinced to hop off your chair and bite into one of these sweet treats.
#1 Cupcakes Squared
To start off this list is a cupcake bakery that reshapes the way people think of cupcakes. No, literally, they form their cupcakes into a square shape. Clever, huh?
Cupcakes Squared is located just a hop, skip, and a jump west of San Diego’s International Airport, so if anybody is flying in with a sweet tooth, you know where to go. A craft cupcake shop that offers different flavors each day of the week and a menu that changes with the season, this place is sure to delight cupcake fanatics everywhere.
- Their Convincer: They have a stacked menu to choose from if you want to order a specialty box. And 32 of their 33 flavors can be made vegan or gluten-free by request. The only one left out? The Salted Caramel.
Fan Favorite Flavor
While many of their flavors have been given special notice, the standout is:
- Lilikoi – A delicate, fluffy vanilla cupcake topped with all the fruity flavors you want in a cupcake: passionfruit buttercream and zesty lime.
#2 Pure Cupcakes
Do you have fond memories of baking cupcakes with your best friend? Remember the fun of purchasing all the ingredients, combining different flavored frostings, and putting the blood, sweat, and tears—okay, maybe too dramatic—into your cupcakes, only to create the most amazing desserts. Well… that magic is captured at Pure Cupcakes.
Co-owners Mary Sarain and Nikki Black have been friends since they were sixteen, and they bake their cupcakes together every morning. Beautifully decorated, scrumptiously moist, and creamily creamy cupcakes will have you off your couch and hailing the nearest taxi: “Take me to Garnet Ave and step on it!”
- Their Convincer: Have you ever heard of a show called Cupcake Wars? Well, Mary and Nikki were on that show. Oh… And they won! Can you really sit there and say that you don’t want to try the winner of Cupcake War’s cupcakes? That’s what we thought.
Fan Favorite Flavors
Choosing which cupcake to be your first will not be easy. Here are some fan-favorite flavors to consider:
- Salted Caramel – Dark chocolate cake with caramel cream, caramel drizzle, and sea salt to boot. Delightfully classic; delightfully delicious.
- Sweet Potato Chip – Cake made of sweet potato and chocolate chips, topped with meringue. Gimme gimme!
- Bacon Baby – Haven’t had breakfast yet? Bacon Baby has maple cream cheese and candied bacon all wrapped up in one delicious cake.
#3 Frost Me
While the topic of Cupcake Wars is here, how about a cupcakery that’s not only competed on the show, but competed twice, and won. Frost Me is the other celebrity bakery on this list, with the cupcake repertoire to match. You’re probably starting to see why cupcakes in San Diego hold such a high reputation.
Led by pastry chef and co-owner, Audrey Hermes, Frost Me has continued to be a standout dessert place in Downtown San Diego.
- Their Convincer: Located in the heart of Little Italy and Seaport Village, enjoy fluffy cupcakes in some of the most scenic areas San Diego has to offer.
Fan Favorite Flavor
There’s only one flavor that has to be given the honorable mention here:
- Double Chocolate Ganache – Baked fresh and available daily, this chocolate cupcake with chocolate ganache, chocolate frosting, and a dash of sea salt will have your mouth watering and your taste buds begging for more.
Starting to gain an almost cult-like following is the cupcake chain, Sprinkles. Although it’s hard to imagine it’s a chain… The way people speak about Sprinkles feels closer to talking to a friend who makes some of the most wonderful cupcakes and asking them to move closer to you—because you really value their friendship, of course.
Taking a gander through their social media and you’ll see comment after comment, “Come to New Jersey!” “Open a shop in Charlotte, please!” “Deliver to me in Denver!”
- Their Convincer: It’s the sort of crazed fan feeling that makes you wonder if their cupcakes are really that good. Spoiler alert: They are. An added bonus? They also serve ice cream that you can couple with your favorite cupcake!
Fan Favorite Flavors
No matter what flavor is put here, Sprinkles fans are sure to revolt and argue why their favorite should be on the list. Regardless, here are some of the top treats:
- Red Velvet – Beginning with the cupcake that made them famous. Their red velvet cupcake might only be topped by their follow-up creation the Black Red Velvet.
- Samoa – Dark chocolate cake with caramel, chocolate, and toasted coconut. Girl Scouts, who!?
- Pumpkin – Starbucks has a run for their money as to who does pumpkin spice better. This pumpkin cupcake has nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and clove, topped with cinnamon frosting.
#5 Coronado Cupcakery
This cute cupcake shop sits right on the water in Coronado, home of the famous Hotel Del Coronado. It’s a family-run cupcakery owned and operated by Rosalina, Monica, Lorena, and Giovanna—the Ascolani sisters.
Coronado Cupcakery smells like coming home from a long day to the aroma of fresh chocolate chip cookies. They’ve been asked—more than once—to sell the smell of their shop. Their answer: We’re working on it. Regardless, we surely can say that this cupcake shop is amongst the best that Coronado has to offer.
- Their Convincer: Come here for that homey baking smell, the dangerously delicious cupcakes, and the serene setting of Coronado.
Fan Favorite Flavors
Each of their cupcakes is named after a friend, family member, or inside joke. Their most popular cupcakes include:
- Black Bottom Betty – A chocolate and cheesecake cupcake with cream cheese frosting. Elegant and tasty.
- Sassy Jackie – This strawberry yogurt cupcake with vanilla frosting will be sure to hit all the right parts of your sweet tooth.
If you’re looking for the best cupcakes in San Diego CA, then any shops listed above will be sure to satisfy your taste buds and fulfill all your cravings. And for those of you who need that extra bit of convincing to get out of the house and eat cupcakes, we’ll leave you with this—cupcakes are good for the soul. And you want to satisfy your soul, don’t you? Seeing that San Diego is clearly home to some delicious treats, you can imagine what the food must be like.
Forbes. The Craziest Secrets Of Hotel del Coronado. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jordilippemcgraw/2018/02/28/secrets-hotel-del-coronado/#cde38119bcc6