Blast from the Past: Mad Hatter Cupcakes in Las Vegas

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We’ve come to my final Las Vegas cupcake adventure: Mad Hatter Cupcakes. This bakery popped up in my pre-vacation research so I knew ahead of time that they were located away from The Strip. Luckily my husband and I had rented a car and were heading to Virgin, Utah (home to Zion National Park) to visit a friend. Mad Hatter Cupcakes was on our way!

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One of the things that intrigued me most about Mad Hatter Cupcakes was their, “build-your-own” concept. It was the first time I’d come across it, so I was super excited about the opprotunity to get creative. Of course, when I walked in I was too overwhelmed by choices to use my own creativity! However, Mad Hatter Cupcakes has an organized display, showcasing possible creations, as well as a menu board with suggested flavors. The staff working there was also very helpful in letting us know what they liked and what (if any) alternatives to the menu they preferred.

Dan and I decided we would get six to take with us. I don’t think I could have chosen any less, and looking at the photo of the display case again makes me wish we’d gotten more!

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(Selected cupcakes: Mocha Latte, Night ‘n Day, White Chocolate Spice Cake, Strawberry Lemon, Wascally Wabbit, and Peanut Butter Explosion.)

We had many new adventures in Utah, including river rafting, rappelling, taking a dip in a natural hot spring, and hiking up some big elevations; and we ended each night with a cupcake adventure. I had to replace all the used up calories somehow, right?

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(Dan and I at Zion National Park, where we hiked up to Observation Point. I almost gave up, but I’m glad I didn’t! See that little valley below? Yeah, that’s where we started. It’s an 8 mile round-trip hike, estimated at 5 hours, and an elevation gain of 2,100 feet.)

I was excited by my friend Hannah’s enthusiasm over the cupcakes. If the great outdoors are her first passion, food is definitely a close second. After taking us out and showing us how much fun Utah can be, the least we could do was share our cupcakes with her. This might have been when our idea to cut up a single cupcake for multiple tasters was born, because none of us could choose a single flavor.

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(Mocha Latte: Coffee cake with chocolate ganache filling and java bean frosting.)

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(Night ‘n Day: Chocolate cake, filled with white chocolate frosting, and topped with white chocolate frosting and an Oreo cookie.)

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(Wascally Wabbit: Carrot Cake, with orange crème filling, and cream cheese frosting.)

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(Peanut Butter Fudge: Peanut butter cake, peanut butter filling, chocolate frosting, and topped with a mini Nutterbutter cookie.)

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(Strawberry Lemon: Strawberry cake with a lemon frosting. Unfortunantly I can’t remember the filling. I recall this was my least favorite of the group due to some of the fruit flavors seeming to be artificial.)

MadHatterCupcakesVegas_SpiceCake(Spice cake with a white chocolate filling and cream cheese frosting.)

I remember us all being very impressed with the majority of these cupcakes. As usual, the Mocha Latte and Peanut Butter Fudge (possibly named the Peanut Butter Explosion at the time) were standouts for me, as well as Dan and Hannah, since we all love coffee and peanut butter chocolate. The decorations were fun, but definitely not as high end as what you’d expect to find in the fancy hotel/casino. But that just makes their suburban shopping strip location perfect. If you are in Vegas and manage to pull yourself away from the allure of The Strip, I highly recommend giving Mad Hatter Cupcakes a try. And if you’ve been there more recently than us, let us know if they are still living up to our first impression.

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

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Blast from the Past: Sweet Surrender in Las Vegas

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(The Palazzo, home to Sweet Surrender.)

One of my favorite things to do in Vegas is just walk up and down the strip, stopping in casinos along the way for a quick slot game, a drink, some window shopping, or to grab a bite to eat. On this particular day (in August 2010) my husband and I started at the Monte Carlo and made our way up Las Vegas Blvd., ending at the Wynn. The whole time I was keeping an eye out for cupcakes. For those that don’t know, that’s a pretty long walk, so it seemed reasonable that we should stumble upon at least one bake shop.

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(Penny slots…that’s how I roll! This was in one of the not-so-high-end casinos.)

Fast forward to stepping onto the casino floor at The Palazzo. Just when I was starting to lose hope, I saw a pretty teal sign that looked very dessert-like from a distance. Getting closer I could barely contain my joy. For some reason Sweet Surrender did not come up in my pre-vacation research, so I was pleasantly surprised that my wandering eye paid off.

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(Shop decor and signature cupcake.)

I thought for sure the cupcakes would be more costly than what we’d purchased from The Cupcakery, based on the hotel-casino the shop was located in and the decadent decoration of the cupcakes. However the pricing was on par, if not less.

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(So many beautiful cupcakes!)

After being disappointed in The Cupcakery’s cupcakes, my husband and I decided to get only two cupcakes to share. As much as I wanted the “Sweet Surrender” with its gorgeous teal frosting and edible pearls, I opted for cupcakes with more flavor (I was a beginner then and didn’t realize that vanilla can pack a lot of punch).

Carrot Cake

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Selecting the Carrot Cake cupcake, with all the other amazing options to choose from, proves that I really must be the “Carrot-Cake-Crusader.” I remember being pleased that the cake and frosting weren’t overly sweet, unlike The Cupcakery’s cupcakes.

Chocolate Fudge

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Although I don’t remember much about the Carrot Cake cupcake, I recall being really pleased with the rich, Chocolate Fudge cupcake. The cake was moist, the frosting and ganach were smooth, and the cupcake wasn’t super sweet. I also liked the added texture from the candies on top. This cupcake alone has made me recommend Sweet Surrender to friends and fellow cupcake lovers.

While in the shop I discovered that Sweet Surrender was “Home of the $750 Cupcake,” the Decadence D’Or. Maybe the next time I’m in Vegas I’ll hit it big on the slots, and then we can splurge on the finest cupcake Las Vegas has to offer!

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