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Taking the (Cup)cake 

We try all of the cupcakes in the Inland Northwest so you don't have to. (Isn’t that nice of us?)

click to enlarge Not your daddy's disco dust: a chocolate-maple cupcake at Celebrations, sprinkled with edible glitter. - DANIKA PARISEAU
  • Danika Pariseau
  • Not your daddy's disco dust: a chocolate-maple cupcake at Celebrations, sprinkled with edible glitter.

Cupcakes have been getting huge, both literally and figuratively, for years. Celebrated in Saturday Night Live’s famous “Lazy Sunday” video in 2005, they now star in their own television reality show, the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. And now that the cupcake trend has (finally) hit our neck of the woods, we’re getting the scoop on all the area purveyors of these little indulgences.

CELEBRATIONS

It’s called “Disco Dust” — an edible glitter that dusts select cupcakes at Celebrations, making them appear too fantastic to be real. Celebrations boasts literally hundreds of cupcake options. Like the Peanut Butter Cup ($2 single/$20 per dozen), which features chocolate cake with chocolate ganache filling, peanut butter buttercream frosting (which Mrs. Levinson spent six weeks refining) and a mini peanut butter cup on top. Or the French Toast and Maple Bacon, in which a strip of bacon protrudes from the heap of frosting atop the cupcake. Celebrations is definitely a cupcakery for frosting lovers: Most feature swirls of buttercream, cream cheese and whipped cream frostings piled so high they make each cupcake nearly double in size. (TH) Celebrations • 713 W. Garland Ave. • Mon-Sat from 9:30 am until cupcakes sell out • 327 3471 • celebrationssweetboutique.com

CUPCAKE CREAMERY

If you’re more of a cake-and-ice cream fan, Hayden’s Cupcake Creamery has you covered. Located inside The Country’s Best Yogurt (TCBY), Cupcake Creamery offers supersized cupcakes in up to eight standard-but-stunning flavors, like Red Velvet Dress with cream cheese frosting, Banana Rama or Peanut Butter Fudge ($2.79 each).

Owner Marla Hill hopes to add seasonal flavors like huckleberry and blueberry, but for now, according to store employee Katilin Bellomy, the most popular flavors are still Vanilla Princess, Chocolate Knight and Strawberry Delight. They do, however, create custom cupcakes, such as the zebra-striped ones they made for one client’s birthday party, and their overall custom-order business is picking up. (CS) Cupcake Creamery (inside TCBY) • 105 W. Prairie Ave., Coeur d’Alene • Open Mon-Thu 11:30 am–9 pm, Fri-Sat 11:30 am-9:30 pm, Sun 11:30 am-8 pm • (208) 762-3300.

BRUTTLES

Known for its gourmet candies, Bruttles recently started baking cupcakes in the same Spokane Valley shop where they make their peanut brittle and selling them at their downtown Spokane location. Any of the ones made with chocolate cake ($2.95 each) are fantastic — they are gooey, not bland and spongy as other varieties of chocolate cake tend to be. Bruttles’ cupcakes are also beautifully decorated. These people know their sweets. (TH) Bruttles • 828 W. Sprague Ave. • Mon-Fri, 8 am-4:30 pm • 1-888- 4-BRUTTLES • bruttles.com

LOVE CUPCAKES BY ESTHER

You can find Esther Thomason’s cupcakes at a few locations, including the Monterey Café and Chairs Coffee, but Thomason is relatively new on the cupcake scene. She rents a kitchen space in Spokane Valley, where she whips up sweetly decorated treats with swirled frosting and sprinkles. Her cupcakes come in two sizes — standard ($15/dozen) and large ($15/ half-dozen), which is more like a small cake. She can cater to any requests, but her classic flavors are fantastic, too. The red velvet cupcake is moist, with a cream cheese frosting that isn’t too heavy, but Thomason says her lemon cupcake is her favorite. (TH) LOVE Cupcakes by Esther • Available at Monterey Café • 9 N. Washington St. • Daily, 11 am-2 am • To place orders, call 475-5952

FROSTED CUPCAKES

Frosted Cupcakes’ classy, chic interior is ideally suited to downtown Coeur d’Alene’s resort persona: turquoise walls, a black-and-white checkered floor, photos of Audrey Hepburn and Parisian scenes on the walls.

And, of course, cases full of perfect little cupcakes ($2.99/standard, $1.25/mini).

The daily dozen includes Cherry Cordial; chocolate-dipped, custard-filled Boston Cream Pie; and Carrotismo, with cream cheese frosting and candied carrots. TiramiSuper — a moist, pale cake with coffeemarsala syrup and topped with whipped mascarpone frosting — lived up to its name. There are several dozen specials, too, like the Irish Car Bomb, which is a Guinness and Irish whiskey cake. (CS) Frosted Cupcakes • 424 E. Sherman, Coeur d’Alene • Open Thu-Sun 4:30–9 pm, Fri- Sat 4:30-10 pm, Sun 10 am-2 pm • yummyfrostedcupcakes.com • (208) 292-4444.

BATCH BAKESHOP

Although the beloved Morning After closed down, you can still get Mika Maloney’s delightful baked goods through her new endeavor, Batch Bakeshop. She bakes a variety of goods, but her cupcakes are especially fantastic. She makes classic flavors and more uncommon ones like the Root Beer Float, which is a sweet-but-not-too-sweet gooey cupcake with strong tones of vanilla. Maloney is also well-known for her vegan options, such as her vegan coconut cupcake with coconut frosting, which tastes just like the real thing. Find her stuff at Atticus, the Scoop or Neato Burrito, or order by phone or Facebook. (TH) Batch Bakeshop • 413-3759 • batchbakeshop.weebly.com

SWEETWATER BAKERY

Custom orders and seasonal styles are the cornerstone of Sweetwater Bakery’s cupcake business, which owners Sandy and Tom VasDias sell retail ($12/ six-pack) in their Post Falls storefront along with bagels, muffins, brownies, cookies, croissants and other typical bakery fare (sorry, no apple pie).

Notably less expensive than their competitor’s, Sweetwater’s cupcakes — vanilla, chocolate, red velvet, carrot cake — are transfat free. Like ladies at the Kentucky Derby, however, they are elaborately topped according to season: pastel-colored chicks in a chocolate nest decorate Easter cupcakes. (CS) Sweetwater Bakery • 119 E. 3rd, Post Falls, Idaho • Open Sun-Thu 7 am-4 pm, Fri 7 am-1 pm. • sweetwaterbakery. com • (208) 262-4249 or (509) 326-0806

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