As Stampede week in Calgary winds down, it’s a showdown between Bliss and Crave-2 of the premier cupcake shops in town.
This town ain’t big enough for the both of them…or is it?
Icing Vs. Cake
Crave Cupcakes specializes in buttercream icing, the star of the show while the cake acts as sidekick. Generally there are only 2 flavours available: chocolate and vanilla. From time to time the flavour of the month is a different cake base (gingerbread at Christmas and carrot in the spring).
Bliss, on the other hand, has a number of different cake flavours available daily: chocolate, vanilla, lemon, carrot, coconut and flour-less chocolate.
Crave has a peanut butter icing while Bliss proudly advertises that it’s a nut-free bakery.
Both Crave and Bliss have locations in central and south Calgary.
Mini donuts are a staple at Stampede time. I couldn’t believe that the donut cupcake at Crave tasted like an actual donut! The cinnamon sugary goodness satisfied without the oiliness and heaviness of their deep fried counterparts. Yum!
For the month of July Bliss provided a ‘french toast’ flavour -a play on the many free stampede breakfasts going on around town throughout the week. Unlike the breakfasts, this cupcake was not free. Though it was made with eggs, flour, milk, cinnamon and sugar this cupcake bore no resemblance to its namesake. A tasty cake nonetheless.
Never having been a lemon meringue pie fan, I have to say I fell in love with the flavours when I ate one of Crave’s lemon meringue cupcakes. The moist vanilla cake was infused with a tart lemon curd and topped with a sticky sweet meringue buttercream. The icing was even browned on the top – just like the real thing. Yum!
For Mothers’ Day Bliss had made-to-order pavlova. Out of nostalgia, a New Zealander connected with one of the staff wanted to provide this Kiwi meringue treat. Having been to New Zealand and sampled pavlova, I was impressed with the ‘authenticity’ of Bliss’s version – especially considering that heat, humidity and altitude makes this sensitive recipe hard to master.
Both Crave and Bliss have featured banana cupcakes. I found the Crave version to be more muffin like – a little more dense than cake should be. I liked the Bliss banana cupcake better. It was light and fluffy with a distinct real banana taste.
Carrot cupcakes at Crave and Bliss – which did I prefer?
Once again a point goes to Bliss for their moist “14 karrot gold” cupcake (available daily). The icing tasted like real cream cheese and the cake was almost as delicious as the carrot cake I love so much at Garden’s Grace coffee shop in Calgary. (See a list of my favourite foods.)
Crave only has carrot cupcakes a few times a year and recently changed their recipe. The cake now has pineapple in it (I love fresh pineapple and dried but in a cake with all the stringiness turns me off) and the icing tastes like a cream cheese wannabe.
And that’s not all…
There is also Buttercream Bake Shoppe with a few locations in Calgary.
If you’ll excuse me, I have more research to do…