I finally had a chance to try out Big City Cupcakes in Edmonton City Centre (East) Mall as I had a conference this weekend. During a break, we passed by the shop and decided to take a look at the cupcakes. I can't say my intention was to purchase one as I was simply perusing at first. Pictured below are a variety of their cupcakes.
As you can see, they have some pretty hefty toppings and yes, those cupcakes although priced the same as other cupcake shops ($2.95) are much bigger (sorry the picture doesn't do them much justice)! While browsing, I asked, "What made their cupcakes different" from the other stores. Turns out I had the perfect people to ask, as the owners of this particular store, Sonia & Garry were in that day! Sonia & Garry were quick to give me a nice overview of their cupcakes. While they sell "regular" cupcakes their premium cupcakes are bigger in size, and some have cupcakes that are filled. All the ingredients in these cupcakes are from large brand-name baking supplies - such as Philadelphia cream cheese and are made with real whipping cream (i.e. for the ganache). I also asked Sonia & Garry, what they thought of the 'moistness factor' in these cupcakes. They were optimistic that we would not be disappointed. Clearly, Dan & I were eager to try it out as you can see Dan making a purchase in the picture below!
Sonia & Garry were also eager to show us some of the ice cream flavours that were now available in their store. Now you may wonder, how come they serve ice cream in a cupcake store? Well, each of the ice cream flavours correspond with most of their cupcakes. We tried a sample of the strawberry cheesecake (as this was one of the cupcakes we had purchased), a sample of peanut butter cup, another peanut-flavoured one and coconut. By far, the coconut ice cream was the winner as its smooth flavour tasted like real coconuts (I'm sure there was some measure of real coconut shavings in as well!).
With regards to the two peanut-flavoured ice creams: One was really interesting since Dan said it tasted exactly like peanuts (though he really liked the coconut ice cream Note: Dan isn't a normal fan of coconut-flavoured food). The peanut butter cup was a tad sweet, but I enjoyed the creamy texture of the strawberry cream cheese ice cream. This one also matched nicely with its cupcake contemporary. Another interesting fact is that all of the ice creams they get are hand mixed so real peanuts are mixed into the ice cream, strawberries, coconut etc..
Now, if you've been to Big City Cupcakes downtown, you'll notice that they don't have room for a kitchen. That's because they have a bakery in town where all the cupcakes are made (for both locations - Kingsway & Downtown). In fact, Big City Cupcakes is originally from Vancouver. The bakery they have in Edmonton makes as many cupcakes that each location believes they need for the day and they arrive at their respective locations super fresh and moist in the early hours of the morning. Sonia & Garry also try to keep the moistness of their cupcakes to a maximum by using a closed display case - which is not often seen in most cupcake stores. Big City Cupcakes also makes cupcakes for those with Gluten Sensitive or Egg & Dairy Sensitive Diets - though I believe those are only available on certain days of the week.
Oh and I must not forget about the cupcakes we had that day! Below, in the foreground is the Red Velvet Cheesecake with a baked in cheesecake filling topped with cream cheese icing. In the background, is the Strawberry Cheesecake with a cheese cake filling topped with strawberry cream cheese icing. In terms of moistness and density these cupcakes had it! I did find the strawberry cream cheese icing a tad sweet, though Dan enjoyed it. I liked the velvet cupcake topped with its cream cheese icing and didn't find that one too sweet. There is no crust on these cupcakes, but I don't think that was the driving point behind them. The unique aspect to these cupcakes is that they had cheesecake baked into the cupcake. Not only was this unique, but it gave the cupcakes more texture and body.
I know that most people are saying that cupcakes are out and pies are in. However, the next time it's someone's birthday, I'm thinking it'll be more likely that I purchase some cupcakes or a cake for a friend instead of a pie. Not sure how aesthetically pleasing candles in a pie would look? Either way, I didn't get to try a cupcake with their butter cream topping, so I'm definitely slated to go to Big City Cupcakes for one of their chocolate cupcakes with some sort of butter cream topping!
Big City Cupcakes - Edmonton City Centre (East food court)
Suite 21, 10205 101 NW St.