I was ambitious and considered being there when the doors opened, but when I saw the clock in the morning... it seemed a little ridiculous to wake at such an hour in the summer - even for a cupcake. By 8:00am, I was feeling ready to greet the day and a brand new cupcakery.
Of course I'm the queen of wasting time while getting ready, so I didn't arrive at Cupcake Royale on Capitol Hill until close to 11:00am. I was happy with that time; at least I beat the lunch crowd. The bakery was super cute! From the stained glass cupcake, to the crisp white walls, to clear glass window that held row after row of cupcake goodness.
I was just going to get a couple of cupcakes, but when I got to the front of the line, "I'd like one of everything, please," popped out of my mouth. She said, "So, how many do you want?" I replied with, "However many you have." It sounds excessive, but it wasn't as bad as you're imagining right now. I asked her to replace any full sized with a "Babycake" when possible. I ended up with six full size cupcakes and two babycakes. You thought it would be worse, didn't you?
The boxes hold four cupcakes neatly in place with a clear cellophane window so you can see the pretty icing swirls. I gotta say, I like Cupcake Royale's personality. Underneath their logo on the box are the words, "Does a Booty Good." Who's booty? I'm guessing with eight cupcakes, not mine. All sorts of other clever cupcake tips and tidbits are printed along the box - great packaging!
I finally made it home with my cupcakes in tow, and I just couldn't wait for Dear Ben to get home. I needed a taste pronto. I've only ever loved the red velvet from Sprinkles so I felt I might as well get this test over with first. I cut only a sliver. The first bite was cake only. Initially, I felt it wasn't as moist as a Sprinkles Cupcake, but then the flavor took over. It was a perfect red velvet. Then I had a bite with some icing. The top of the cake had a bit of a crunchy texture, and I loved it. Yep, I'm in red velvet heaven! I really wanted to keep eating and tasting every single one of them, but I wanted Dear Ben to see how cute they were in their boxes.
After dinner at Phở Tic Tac (which you can read about in another post soon), I shared my cupcakes. The red velvet review from Dear Ben and Friend Jeff was consistent with mine. Dear Ben ate most of the carrot, but I had a bite too It was a very moist cupcake with shreds of carrot and perhaps bits of pineapple, but I didn't care for so many walnuts. Maybe you do, and if so, by all means go for it! The nice lady at the counter said the carrot was her favorite. It was Dear Ben's favorite too.
Other than a few speciality cupcakes, you will basically find a white cake and a chocolate cupcake base. The white cake was dense like a poundcake; they call it "buttercake." The chocolate cake was less dense, but you could definitely tell it was chocolate. The differences in the buttercream icing are what disguishes one cupcake flavor from another cupcake flavor - not the cake.
The strawberry is their cupcake of the month, and it's made with 66% local ingredients. They say it tastes like Strawberry Shortcake, but better. If you look at it from that perspective, then yes, but Dear Ben said with his half smile and a gulp that he liked the Sprinkle strawberry cupcake better. He said he liked the price better at Cupcake Royale, however.
Friend Jeff got to have the lemon cupcake all to himself. He made a special request for that one, so it was all his! He said it was sweet and not tart, and he enjoyed the white cake base. The bonus Lemonhead candy on top was a great touch!
The last two cupcakes to try were the lavender and the coconut. The menu says that they stir in "delicate little lavender buds" into the icing of the lavender cupcake. To me, it tasted like white cake with regular buttercream icing. While tasty, it didn't have a bold flavor of anything other than vanilla to me. The coconut cupcake had sweet coconut flakes on top. Tastes just like you think it would.
I won't say that Sprinkles has been beaten, but I won't say that they've won either. They are two very different cupcake entities.
Cupcake Royale, I'm actually surprised at how much I enjoyed your sweet treats. I'm already making my list for the next visit... Triple Threat, Salty Caramel, and the Peppermint Party to start. If reading this post causes a cupcake craving and you can't make it to Capitol Hill - don't fret - they have locations in Ballard, Madrona, and West Seattle!
...and those are my Notes from the Napkin!
Hey Napkin Readers!
Do you have a favorite cupcakery in the Seattle area? Let me know, and I'll do the dirty work for you. Somebody's gotta do it, right?
1111 E Pine Street
Seattle, Washington 98122