Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nashville Cupcake Challenge

This past weekend, I embarked on the ultimate cupcake challenge here in Nashville. Cupcakes have become such a trendy dessert in the past few years and new bakeries are sprouting up everywhere. With all the cupcake hoopla lately, I decided it was finally time to find out who has the best tasting cupcakes.

It all started with visiting five cupcake shops in Nashville: The Painted Cupcake, The Cupcake Collection, Whole Foods, Bread & Company, and Gigi's Cupcakes. To keep judging as uniform as possible, I purchased a chocolate cupcake at each store and based the results on frosting taste, cake taste, and overall taste.

Although I didn't take into account cost, packaging and store aesthetics I think it's important to note how each cupcake did in these categories in case your looking for the best bang for your buck or a fun atmosphere to take friends for a quick dessert.

Now, for the judging...

1. The Painted Cupcake

Cost: $2.66

Store: Funky feminine vibe decorated with black chandeliers and green and pink striped paint on the walls. Plenty of seating.

Packaging: The cupcake came in a clear plastic container with a pretty sticker on the top.

I thought this cupcake was a great size for one person. The frosting was extremely creamy and not too sweet. You could also taste that it wasn't made from a mix. The cake itself had a nice chocolate flavor and was very moist.

2. Whole Foods

Cost: $2.99

Store: Just your regular grocery store, however, the bakery where these cupcakes are housed looks amazing!

Packaging: The cupcake was packaged in a brown square box.

I really don't think the picture above shows just how massive this cupcake is. Although it's about 3 bucks, I would say it could feed 2-3 people. The frosting, although slightly tart, had a creamy texture and strong chocolate taste. If you like a lot of frosting this is definitely a cupcake for you. The cake was very moist and together with the frosting it was a truly delicious dessert.

3. Gigi's Cupcakes

Cost: $2.99

Store: Adorable little shop adorned with pink accents.

Packaging: I must say, Gigi does a fantastic job with her marketing. We received our cupcake in a bright pink box with a Gigi's sticker holding the top closed.

This is another big one. I mean, check out all that frosting. The frosting had a lovely cocoa taste, however the texture was slightly stiff. The cake was a little dry but still good. Overall, the frosting was definitely the best part.

4. The Cupcake Collection

Cost: $2.99

Store: Nothing to write home about. The store interior is maybe 100 square feet of standing space.

Packaging: I wasn't impressed with it at all. They just threw my cupcake in a paper bag with no support. By the time I got home, the frosting was smashed on one side.

I was a little surprised I didn't like this one more. The frosting had a nice consistency, but wasn't sweet enough in my opinion and the cake was really crumbly and dry.

5. Bread & Company

Cost: $2.99

Store: Busy

Packaging: Nothing too special

I was shocked at how much I didn't like this cupcake. And for the price, I felt like I got completely ripped off! I practically needed a knife to cut through the frosting and the cake was like cardboard. Need I say anymore?

The Results:


It's really hard to find a cupcake that doesn't satisfy your sweet tooth. I was picky in this contest, but it's all about what YOU like. If you want a ton of frosting Gigi's or Whole Foods is your best bet. If you want a well-balanced bite, go for The Painted Cupcake. In the end, anything involving a cupcake is a winner in my book.


  1. YAY I'm so excited to read this post! What fun research!

  2. this is soo cute!!! what a fun thing to do!!

  3. Yum, what a great excuse to eat cupcakes!

  4. OMG! I have been so craving cupcakes tonight!

  5. Really enjoyed this! I live in Nashville and LOVE cupcakes and have just always gone to Gigi's. I am making plans to check out The Painted Cupcake this weekend - it looks great! Thanks for the tasty research! Oh, and check out www.hyoungryman.com if you are ever if need of a middle tennessee food review/blog. Great stuff!

  6. i think gigi's r best