Florida Fun, Relaxation, and Treats! Simply Cupcakes of Naples

After a week of sweet reviews from our recent trip to Florida, we have finally arrived at our last one, Simply Cupcakes of Naples. Before heading to Florida I would often stalk visit Simply Cupcakes’ Facebook page admiring all their cupcake photos, so I knew we had to stop in to sample their oversized cupcakes.

When we arrived at Simply Cupcakes the owners and staff were in the middle of a meeting, but that didn’t keep them from taking a break to show us all the flavors and talk a little bit about the company. We learned that the company was started in 2006 by selling cupcakes at a local farmers market and now there are many locations throughout Florida and the United States. We also learned that Simply Cupcakes offers a program to help bakers start up a Simply Cupcakes online company. It’s not a normal franchise opportunity, but rather, they go over things like legal requirements for at home baking, calculating your costs, marketing yourself, and even provide recipes. It’s everything you need to start up your own Simply Cupcakes!

After learning so much about Simply Cupcakes, we were ready to get some cupcakes! I immediately knew two of the flavors I would be getting: Funky Monkey and Key Lime (their signature flavor). When Simple Cupcakes posted about Funky Monkey on their Facebook page I couldn’t help but comment, and they happily told me they would make sure that flavor was there for us to try!

The remaining cupcakes we decided on were Carrot Cake, Red Velvet (for Crusader Elisa), Hint of Mint, and Raspberry Almond. We found out that they predominantly use an Italian meringue buttercream for their frosting which gives each cupcake a lightness that is greatly appreciated in the hot Florida air.

Funky Monkey:

The Funky Monkey cupcake was everything I dreamed it would be. Banana cake, chocolate ganache, peanut butter filling and a strongly flavored, yet light and airy, whipped peanut butter frosting. Crusader Jenn and I both agree that this is one of our all time favorite cupcakes.

Key Lime:

Made with a key lime curd filling, this cupcake was another crowd pleaser. Any one who has ever tasted a regular lime vs a key lime knows that the key lime packs more flavor and more tartness than the regular lime. It’s no wonder that this is the signature cupcake of a Florida cupcakery.

Carrot Cake:

I wish I could say that I tried this nicely decorated cupcake, but we purchased this for my Nana (one of the most wonderful grandmothers ever!). She loves carrot cake so when we saw that Simply Cupcakes had that option, we quickly added it to our growing list of flavors we would be purchasing that day.

Red Velvet:

This Red Velvet is another that I didn’t have a chance to try since it was for Crusader Elisa. I have to admit though, that with its tasteful, yet simple, decorations it traveled quite well from Fort Myers to Baltimore in my cupcake container.

Hint of Mint:

After reading the notes for this cupcake that Crusader Jenn took (yes, we often take actual notes…) I had to laugh because she wrote: “Stacy grunted twice: ‘ganache… mmmmm…'” I sure do enjoy my cupcakes. 😉 At first I thought the frosting could have used more mint flavor, but looking back it was the perfect amount for sitting by the pool on a warm day. I think if it had been any stronger it may have made the cupcake feel much heavier, which is not what you want on a hot day.

Raspberry Almond:

This cupcake was a great way to finish our tasting with. It had a fluffy almond flavored cake, raspberry preserves smeared on top, and was finished with a soft Italian meringue buttercream and almond shavings. It was light and refreshing. Another perfect treat when relaxing by the water.

I’ve always looked forward to visiting my family in Florida. I spent countless summers there growing up and it really is like a second home to me. Now that we have discovered some amazing cupcake places it will make our visits there even “sweeter.”

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (Baltimore, MD)

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Spotlight: Snickerdoodles Bakery and Coffeehouse, Part 1

Named after the common cookie, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Snickerdoodles Bakery and Coffeehouse (Hampstead, MD). Would it just be a take-out bakery that you stop in on your way to work for a quick cup of coffee and a muffin? When I finally went to their shop, I was surprised and pleased to find a sophisticated bakery and high-end coffeehouse, with plenty of room to bring friends and gather around one of their many tables, or just to come yourself and relax in their cozy surroundings. The mom in me loved seeing that they even have a miniature table with chairs, inviting guests to bring their kids with them.

After taking in the great atmosphere, I began investigating the goodies. My first thought? “WOW! Those cupcakes are HUGE!” My second thought? “How much are they?” With their size and the decoration and toppings on most of the cupcakes, I thought they would be pricey. However, they aren’t! At $3.00-4.00 for the large cupcakes, they are very reasonably priced. And the best part is that they are large enough to share (or to have more than one helping for yourself)!

On this day I was fortunate enough to leave with one of each flavor in the shop, making 12 cupcakes in total. Due to the grandness of these cupcakes, and the number we have to show you, we’ve decided to break our review into two parts, featuring 6 of the cupcakes in each post. Here are the first ones we’ve selected to show you:

Irish Car Bomb:
During the St. Patrick’s Day season, we see a lot of these cupcakes based on the popular drink (Guinness and Bailey’s Irish Cream) pop up. I’ve had a few takes on the idea, and this one is a clear stand out for me!

I usually see these cupcakes done with a chocolate cake, however Snickerdoodles has choosen to make this a true Guinness stout cake. None of the smooth Guinness flavor is lost and, just like an Irish Car Bomb, the Bailey’s Irish Cream filling and frosting complement the cake perfectly. It is so moist and flavorful!

Cannoli:
I think the best way to describe this next cupcake is with a photo.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that IS a whole (mini) cannoli on top! This cupcake has a chocolate chip cake that is moist and delicious, with a cannoli filling that I think even the toughest critic would appreciate, and is topped with a chocolate ganache frosting, American buttercream, and more chocolate chips.

Almond Raspberry:
For the Crusaders, this has become a classic combination. We love the pairing of almond and raspberry.

This cupcake has an almond cake, whipped raspberry filling and American buttercream frosting. I think the whipped raspberry filling is a nice change from the usual jam filling and also helps keep the cupcake light.

Red Velvet:
This Red Velvet cupcake has been taken to the next level.

I was really happy with the moistness of the cake! I’m always disappointed with red velvet cake, however this one is not only moist, but also has a great flavor. It’s paired with a cream cheese filling, American buttercream frosting, and topped with a chocolate shaving and toasted red velvet cake crumbs. The frosting makes this cupcake really sweet, but I enjoyed every bite!

Toasted Coconut:
This is another classic flavor. With the decoration, this cupcake needs no label.

All together the cupcake works, however it isn’t as “coconut-y” as I prefer. That being said, the moist poundcake-like cake, whipped filling, buttercream frosting, and generous toasted coconut shavings on top are still really tasty!

The Rainbow Cupcake:
This cupcake is a new one Snickerdoodles is working on and there’s only one way to describe it: Fun! Based on their “famous” Rainbow Cake, the Rainbow Cupcake is a miniature version.

I think it’s necessary to also show a photo of the inside of this cupcake, to really get a good idea.

As you can see, this cupcake has a rainbow cake, raspberry puree filling, chocolate buttercream frosting, dipped in chocolate, then piped with more chocolate buttercream, and topped with sprinkles. The cake is moist and the jam and chocolate combination is delicious!

If you have a chance to visit Snickerdoodles, please do! Whether you are looking for a special treat, a great beverage, or a place to just hang out, Snickerdoodles has it all! They also have beautiful full-size cakes, pastries, and cookies. I can’t wait to return! And, keep a look-out for Part 2 where we’ll be reviewing Strawberry White Chocolate, Carrot Cake, Boston Cream, Black Bottom, a fun, fancy, party cupcake and Death by Chocolate!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Jenn (Westminster, MD)