Another absolute fave of my northern California cupcaking trip would have to be Sift Cupcakery (now known as Sift: A Cupcake & Dessert Bar). Mmm, Sift...(drool). I was lucky enough to be able to stop by two of Sift's three wine country locations. I saw the beautiful Santa Rosa store and the wee Napa shop (which shares its space with a dress shop!), but had to skip the Cotati store. Next trip, maybe?
The first thing I must mention is how wonderful all the people were at Sift. I pulled up with guest-taster Michael and I swear they treated us like visiting royalty. I'm almost embarrassed at how well they treated us, gifting us with more cupcakes that any two people could eat, and, possibly best CTTC gift ever: Replicas of our logo made into cupcakes!
Another thing that made Sift so wonderful would have to be the people.
Corey Fanfa (manager), Robert Gonzalez (manager), Jordan Keith (wedding coordinator), Andrea Ballus (owner), Kevin Hammon (decorator/baker), and Christina (decorator).
Andrea (owner), Miles (Mr. Cupcake), and Jeff (husband to Andrea and dad to Mr. Cupcake) Ballus.
I am pretty much head over cupcake heels in love with Miles.
I wanna marry him and am willing to wait until he's 18 (at a minimum).
Mr. Cupcake should be the face of Sift he's such a ham.
I was going to call this "the ladies of Sift" except it sounds too naughty calendar-ish, right?
The store (I'm going to refer to the Santa Rosa store for the rest of the review) is beautiful. Lush and pink and sparkly and very well-appointed. Whoever designed the space did an amazing job.
Modern-retro, if that is such a thing. If not, I am making it up now.
Michael said he thought it looked like an old timey ice cream shop, with modern colors, and we both noticed it was so squeaky-clean!
Even the coffee station was spotless!
But as I always say, all the other stuff is great but what about the cupcakes? It's really all about the cupcakes...so how did they taste?
Lucky for me, they tasted terrific!
Left to right, back row: The Sky Is Falling, Ooh La La, Key Lime Bliss, Pink Champagne.
Front row: Not So Humble Pie, Snickerdoodle, Limonata, Knock Your Sox Off.
Ooh La La (a red velvet with cream cheese frosting) is the bakery's best seller, along with that month's special/seasonal flavor, the Not So Humble Pie (vanilla cake, graham cracker pie crust, blackberry baked into the center, blackberry cream cheese frosting topped with mint leaf). Here's Robert with a fresh tray of 'em:
My favorite would have been the Knock Your Sox Off (Boston cream). So delicious! The pastry cream filling was spectacular and the cupcake was moist without being too moist. The chocolate ganache was nice and dark and not overly sweet, which is my preference. So simple and yet complex tasting. I thought it was a definite winner. Worth the drive, that's for sure!
Both Michael and I loved the Limonata (lemon cake) and Key Lime Bliss (vanilla with key lime filling). Both were light and refreshing, and since it was almost 90 degrees that day, that was much appreciated. The Key Lime Bliss had a key lime mousse frosting and the Limonata had a housemade vegan lemon curd inside. Yum!
I was so stuffed by this time (hey, cupcake tasting is hard work -- don't you feel sorry for me?) but in the interest of journalism I had to continue. The chocolate was calling to me...
It's calling to you too, right?
The Sky Is Falling is a chocolate cake with a white chocolate mousse filling and a darker chocolate frosting. A triple-hazard. So damn good. I can easily believe that people drive for 2 hours just to eat this. (No joke, people consider Sift a destination restaurant.) I would have loved a big ol' glass of ice-cold milk with this cupcake. If you are trying several cupcakes, make this the last one you try. It's very rich and potent.
I love that Sift is so playful with the names of the cupcakes. To wit:
I did it All for the Cookie.
And, Pinking of You!
I was told that the bakery held a contest to name the Boston cream cupcake, and the winner (and crowd favorite) was: Knock Your Sox Off! Hee! Get it? Boston? A runner-up "More Than a Feeling" from the band Boston.
Knock Your Sox Off (which I loved, even though I am a Yankees fan).
And at the end of the our visit, all that was left was the cupcake carnage:
Oh we were so stuffed! Michael almost had to roll me out of there. Worth every calorie and then some. Thank you Sift people for your hospitality and warm welcome and best of all, cupcakes. And Miles. Mr. Cupcake indeed.
404 Mendocino Avenue, Suite A
Santa Rosa, California 95401
1000 Main Street, Suite 100
Napa, California 94559
7582 Commerce Blvd.
Cotati, California 94931
Cupcakes approximately $30/dozen
$20/dozen for minis
Gluten-free available upon request
Contact the cupcakery for classes and schedules, hours of operation
All pictures by Stacie Joy for CTTC, see entire Sift set here.