A personal note: Jessie Oleson is a food blogging, cupcake tasting, Cuppie art creating dynamo. If you don't know who she is, get on over to Cakespy as soon as you're done reading her post. She's also on duty as a "Bakery & Dessert Sleuth" at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and you can buy her amazing artwork on Etsy. Make sure you add her as a friend on Flickr. You can also read our Q&A with her.
I had the pleasure of meeting her earlier this year at the Renegade Craft Fair (see video interview) and buying my very own Cuppie/Diet Coke artwork. You can WIN, totally free, her original artwork as well as one of 2 card sets, at our party this Thursday! (You can see the raffle prizes on Flickr, but we're still adding to it and will post everything you can win soon, but trust us, there's a LOT of prizes!)
And now on to Jessie's post:
One of the most common questions I get asked by people coming to visit Seattle is "Where should I go for the best cupcakes?". This question makes me want to pop a Xanax or ten, because it's a fraught question for a people-pleaser like me. How could I possibly know what you'll like? *Heaves into paper bag*
Alaska Junction in West Seattle: This is a cool little shopping area, but it's definitely a drive from downtown Seattle (at 6 or so miles, it would be an awfully healthy walk). But it's worth the drive because there you'll find Cupcake Royale and Sugar Rush Bakery, and just a bit down the road, a PCC, all of which have cupcakes. Yes, worth the trip. Archie McPhee:
Do you love kitschy, cool little impulse buy items? Of course you do, so you'll want to visit the Ballard neighborhood, home of Archie McPhee, which is the company that brought the world such gems as the Jesus Action Figure (c'mon, you've seen it at Hot Topic, don't lie). Just down the block, you can get your cupcake on at Cupcake Royale's flagship location, which features an amazing Cupcake art piece above the entrance.
The Houseboat from Sleepless in Seattle: Contrary to popular belief, not everyone in Seattle lives in a houseboat (sorry). However, you can get a Tom and Meg spark--at least for a few minutes--by visiting the houseboat where the magical film was made. It's kind of in no-man's land, but we'd say your best bet close by is Whole Foods Westlake, which has a good variety of cupcakes which are made in-house. I have to be honest though, I have never had one from this location--but I have had their house-made cheesecake and that was good! Fremont Troll:
I can't even begin to understand why someone made this, but I like it. Nearby, you can get your vegan cupcake fix at Flying Apron Bakery, which specializes in gluten-free, vegan baking. Some swear by their cake, but personally I think their cookies are better. PCC also has cupcakes (vegan and non), and you can sometimes-but-not-always get cupcakes at Simply Desserts (they mainly specialize in layer cakes and cakes-by-the-slice).
Pike Place Market: You may be surprised to hear this, but there are very few cupcakes at the market itself (though of course there are a lot of other great baked goods and food). They sometimes have them at Pike Place Bakery or at Michou, but in my opinion you'd be better off walking up a few blocks from the Market and checking out Macrina Bakery (read the Cupcakes Take the Cake review here) or Dahlia Bakery. Pioneer Square / Underground Tour: The Underground Tour is cheesy, but I love it. There's a whole city beneath the city of Seattle! Like, whoa! And nearby, you can get your sweet fix at Grand Central Baking. OK, truthfully, they do not offer cupcakes. But, they offer mini bundt cakes, and they're super cute, so we're going to say they're a suitable stand-in. Seattle Art Museum: Refer to Pioneer Square or the Seattle Public Library; it's sort of in-between the two. Oddly, your pet might have the best chance of scoring a "pupcake" in the immediate vicinity, at Three Dog Bakery. Seattle Public Library: I love the SPL. Seriously, I go there like 3 times a week at least to research various cake and baked good related things. I even designed a postcard (image above) that they sell in their store! If you choose to visit, you'll want to trek just a few more blocks up the hill to Sugar Bakery + Cafe, where the cake is sweet and they sell my artwork. Yes, there were two plugs for my artwork in this paragraph. Also, though they don't sell cupcakes, the nearby Belle Epicurean does sell (very good) small cakes.
This place is really cool--you get to see a real live glassblowing studio! It's hot, literally. And nearby, sweetness can be found at the adorable (and well-loved--they've been featured in Seattle Magazine and Sunset Magazine!) hello, cupcake, where the cupcakes are dainty-looking, but pack a dense, tasty punch when you take a bite (see above picture for an indication of how happy they made my husband, the dear Mr. Cakespy).