Skip to Content

Food Wars: Sprinkles v. Famous Cupcakes

A colorful display at Famous Cupcakes.
A colorful display at Famous Cupcakes.

While I was traveling around the world, a cupcake revolution was occurring in the United States. 

I didn't become aware of the new sugary movement until I returned home last Summer. 

By then, the Washington, DC area already boasted something crazy like 30 different shops dedicated to…cupcakes. Seriously.

Don't get me wrong. I love pastry and chocolate shops. 

They played a big part in why I visited Belgium, Switzerland, and France. But I grew up eating cupcakes. They were the norm. 

Mom would buy a box of six at the supermarket for a few bucks. Simple.

When I returned home, and the DC foodies on Twitter were all abuzz about their favorite local cupcakeries, well, I had to investigate first hand. 

Before the Rwanda trip, I went to Cupcakes Actually near my local REI store in Fairfax, VA. 

I picked out two, including Actually Dipped Peanut Butter, which was described as “ultra moist devil's food cupcake topped with our creamy peanut butter icing then dipped in our decadent chocolate fudge.”

One bite, and I knew these weren't the same mass-produced cupcakes I grew up with.

Chocolate coconut cupcake
Chocolate coconut cupcake

So when Stephanie (@AdventureGirl) was showing me around Beverly Hills last month and mentioned Kim Kardashian had a cupcake shop, I felt the need to compare the west coast offerings with the ones I'd had back home.

On a sunny Friday morning, just before heading to lunch, we stopped in Famous Cupcakes so I could sample the offerings. 

It was the most spacious interior I've seen yet for a cupcake shop. 

There was plenty of room for people to sit down and enjoy their cupcakes, though it was empty at the time. 

Given it wasn't even noon on a weekday, I can't hold that against them.

I opted for the Chocolate Coconut, missing the fact that there was whipped cream inside the cake portion, in addition to the frosting on the top. 

It was rich but a bit too much sugar for me. 

I realized then that I prefer a solid cake foundation in my cupcakes.  I washed it down with a cold cup of milk.

Total cost?  About $5 — entirely reasonable for a snack in Beverly Hills.

Sprinkles cupcakes: a few chocolate variations with red velvet in the middle.
Sprinkles cupcakes: a few chocolate variations with red velvet in the middle.

After lunch, Steph wanted to introduce me to the Beverly Hills cupcake institution known as Sprinkles

By now, it's probably a little after 2 pm. There was a 10-minute line extending outside the shop. 

Unlike Famous, this spot was tiny, with just a few stools inside for a few customers to sit down and consume their cupcakes on the premises.

I was still very full from my pre-lunch cupcake and lunch itself, but I felt the call of duty. 

We each had a chocolate cupcake and split the Red Velvet (my first). 

I liked them better than the Famous Cupcake, but it was like comparing apples to oranges. 

If I'm going to compare cupcake shops fairly, I”ll need to establish a common denominator, such as Red Velvet which seems to be an option at every shop.

After finishing my chocolate Sprinkles cupcake, I started to feel incredibly full. I felt ill. 

Did I mention I had a slice of cake after lunch too? 

Yea, I'd reached my limit, but I managed a forkful of the Red Velvet before tapping out altogether.

I took a nap before dinner.

Mini cupcakes for your dog.
Mini cupcakes for your dog

Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:

Terrilyn Wayland

Saturday 30th of October 2010

thanks for posting, its good

Chung Arvanitis

Friday 29th of October 2010

Thanks so much...

Albertine Ansley

Friday 29th of October 2010

Quite nice submit. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have actually enjoyed shopping your webpage posts. In any case I??ll be subscribing to your feed and that i hope you create once more soon!

John E.

Sunday 6th of June 2010

I was actually at a really cool event in Zurich just yesterday evening. The event is called Nacht Markt, which is a monthly market with boutiques selling secondhand and handmade ware. There was a girl selling cupcakes under the name of Oh! sweetest thing - She said it was her first public appearance so don't know if she'll be taking part regularly at the market, but her banana and sour cream cupcakes are well worth seeking out if you're in Zurich.


Friday 4th of June 2010

Yeah, it's always a bad choice but one I can never fully stop myself fromdoing when I'm faced with all of the flavors...must. have. all. :-)

Comments are closed.