Crumbs Bake Shop, Beverly Hills – Stephanie Tanner of the Dessert World

Crumbs Bake Shop - Artie Lange Cupcake 2

Crumbs Bake Shop

9465 Little Santa Monica Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90291

Cupcakes are like the Stephanie Tanner of the dessert world.

You don’t know Stephanie Tanner? Of course you don’t. No one actually remembers her by name — the little girl with the golden rolled locks and the missing front teeth that resulted in a semisweet speech impediment every time she exclaimed “How rude!”

Now, it’s ringing a bell. We were in middle school. TV. Full House. And really, no one remembers any of the Tanner kids by name because Full House was all about…


Uncle Jesse.

*double sigh*

But! I digress.

Let’s take an unnecessary sprint down Memory Lane, then make that dreaded, exhausting crawl back up, shall we? There were three Tanner girls on the show. DJ was the oldest, but as the perpetually overlooked oldest daughter in my own family, I would never expect you to even remember that there was an oldest Tanner daughter, let alone that her name was the cruelly androgynous “DJ.” Trust me, my therapist and I know about the shame and blame of being a first-born non-son. However, as forgettable as DJ Tanner is to you, she was the enviable older sister to her younger sisters and in the eight-year duration of the show, never seemed to hit that awkward stage of pre-pubescence into which her dorky best friend Kimmy Gibbler was cursed for her entire life. Nowadays, you don’t hear much about the actress who played DJ, Candace Cameron, unless you’re active in the Christian community. Candace blossomed into a beautiful, blonde, soft core Jesus freak with an impossibly normal family. And a twitter account.

Michelle was the youngest Tanner. Many were utterly charmed by toddler Michelle, and while I never fell under that same spell, I can appreciate the appeal of teeny, tiny-ness. Baby Michelle was played by not one, but two tiny, adorable, attention-grabbing girls. Oh, who are those twins now? What are their names? Oh, right. Mary-Kate and Ashley, who are so retardedly rich and famous that God thought it only fair to split that kind of success between two people. (This metaphor of an older, overlooked daughter and younger spotlit twins is all too familiar now, isn’t it?!)

In the cases of both the oldest and youngest Tanners, the child actresses who played them grew up past their Full House history into normal adults with their own identities, or at least “normal” relative to their peer group of “Early ’90s Child Stars.”

Which brings us back again to Stephanie Tanner, Danny Tanner’s darling second daughter, played by Jodie Sweetin. Like MK+A, Jodie Sweetin as a little girl was her last name incarnate, totally adorable, especially playing up the mischievous middle child pout. Unfortunately, unlike her co-childstars, Jodie is one of those picture imperfect “Where are They Now” stories that, sadly, is not even interesting enough to be made into an actual episode, or at least not one that airs during any reasonably prime time. The doubly divorced, doubly D’d mess of a meth-addicted overgrown muffin is barely recognizable as the cute little cupcake she once was, and yet Jodie will always only ever be known as “used to be Stephanie Tanner.”

And such is the same, sad “growing up” story of cupcakes. Remember cupcakes? Remember how cute they were? It wasn’t that long ago when cupcakes were, in fact, teeny tiny versions of regular cakes, in ruffled little wrappers, frosted with only enough sticky sweetness to make you want more. Cupcakes could have gone the virtuous way of Candace Cameron, leaving that bit of childhood nostalgia, where it belongs, in the memory of your childhood. Cupcakes could have gone the way of MK+A, growing in fame and fortune, but remaining true to their physical definition of small and cute.

Instead, cupcakes StephanieTanner’d into the likes of Crumbs – cupcakes that have augmented in size to monstrously unnatural proportions that explode out of their wrappers, abusing all kinds of substances like ganache, frosting, candy, sprinkles, powder, meth, whatever-you-want-to-call-it to hide the rather dull, dry cake underneath.
Crumbs Bake Shop
I went to Crumbs without having done much research, only with the knowledge that the Beverly Hills store was just a few doors down from Sprinkles, the cupcakery that introduced me to the reincarnation of cupcakes as butterfat behemoth bowlcakes.

I didn’t know cupcakes could be, and Crumbs would be, even bigger.

The store itself is not remarkable – just your standard shallow store front that hints at a kitchen deep within. Whether there is actually any real baking going on back there is not of my concern. The cupcakes are lined up in a glass case just like any other bakery, but what was noticeably missing was a menu. Sure, there is a “menu” posted high up on the wall behind the counter, and there is a printed take-out-like “menu” in a neat little stack on the countertop, but there was nothing that listed out what each of the cupcakes were. You see, besides the very very basic cupcakes like chocolate and vanilla, Crumbs Cupcakes have non-literal, non-descriptive names like Artie Lange, Baba Booey, and Madison Avenue. Some of the cupcake trays in the case didn’t even have nametags so it was impossible to identify a cupcake to the counter staff to ask what kind of flavors lurk under layers of swirled frosting and other shaved, crumbed and sprinkled accessories. You just point and hope that the counter person can discern through the glare of the glass which direction you are pointing. Of course, in the end, it doesn’t matter because the acoustics of the store are such that every description mumbled over the nose-high-so-you-can’t read-lips glass case sounds like “choconilla cake with mumbled filling, muffled frosting, gurgled glaze and somekind of sprinkles on the sides.”
Crumbs Bake Shop - 4 Chocolate Cupcakes in To Go Box
I bought the “Artie Lange,” which I didn’t recognize in the case, but just ordered because I had heard of it, something that looked like a permutation of chocolate-vanilla, Madison Avenue (named after one of the store’s location in New York), a Hostess simply because I could guess what it was, and basic chocolate-chocolate. Crumbs occasionally does special edition cupcakes, and at the time, the NBA Finals were in full swing, so there were purple and yellow Lakers cupcakes on top of the case. I had already chosen four cupcakes, though. Why limit to four cupcakes? Because that’s how big the box is. And the cupcakes are upwards of $4 each.
Crumbs Bake Shop - 4 Chocolate Cupcakes in To Go Box
The Artie Lange, appropriately named for its creator, the overweight comedian on the Howard Stern Show, is vanilla sponge cake filled with chocolate buttercream, covered with a thick layer of vanilla cream cheese frosting that is additionally glazed over with chocolate fondant, the rolled in chocolate and vanilla sprinkles. It sounds decadent, looks pretty, but it, like Jodie and the other cupcakes, was too big to handle gracefully. The wrapper had to be peeled away, the cake cut with a knife on a plate, and eaten with a fork. Still, there were sprinkles and, um, well, crumbs in a mess all over the table.

Crumbs cupcakes defeat the purpose of a cupcake.

Chocolate-chocolate was fine, but you almost need excess adornments to distract you from the dryness of the cake. I didn’t try the Hostess or the Madison Avenue cupcakes. Half each of Artie Lange and plain chocolate was enough bowlcake to last me until next year.

Or at least until Jodie Sweetin makes it onto TMZ again.
Crumbs Bake Shop Special Edition Lakers Cupcakes

Crumbs Bake Shop Elsewhere on the Web:

~ 3½ out of 5 stars based on 245 Yelp reviews
~ 4½ out of 5 stars based on 22 Citysearch reviews
~ New York Times said “vanilla was bland even for vanilla.” (ouch)
~ FoodInMouth had a Baba Booey (chocolate cupcake with peanut butter accessories) and “it’s AWESOME
~ Eater LA‘s up-to-date coverage of Crumbs Bake Shop locations in southern California
~ Caroline on Crack “found them too complicated” (Oct 2007)
~ The Cupcake Activist loved the Peanut Butter Cup Cupcake (May 2009)

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  • Anonymous

    wrong. you are wrong.

  • Sarah J. Gim

    about Jodie Sweetin? or Crumbs cupcakes?

  • Esi

    Umm, could “Anonymous #1” be more vague? I happen to like Crumbs…a hell of a lot more than Sprinkles. I enjoy the “complicated” flavors and the fact that that their cupcakes are more than just cardboard dry and plasticky tasting (*cough* Sprinkles), but I do see how they can be a bit much. I have never been able to eat one with anything less than a fork and knife.

    • Sarah J. Gim

      right? fork and knife, right? which makes me wonder – what is the point? why not just eat a slice of cake?

  • amy

    i agree. crumbs cupcakes arent even cupcakes. they are way too ginormous. i think sprinkles has cuter cupcakes, but crumbs is more creative.

  • flutterbyblue

    Lol! What a great article! I love your humor and the incredible descriptions. I don’t live in L.A., but if Sprinkles ever makes it to the East Coast I’ll give it a try! In Boston we have the over-priced Sweet cupcake shop – the cupcakes are just the right (small) size, but quite expensive!

  • samkimsamkim

    Crumbs started in the East Coast…

    and crumbs sucks. just a clusterfuck of sugar.

    • Sarah J. Gim

      i think i prefer your description of Crumbs to my analogy to Stephenie Tanner

  • jkru

    I think you forgot the most important part about DJ Tanner: she married a hockey player. And not just any hockey player, mind you, but a pretty one with whom she has come out with a line of wines aptly named “Bure Family Wines”.

  • Marc Vermut

    Totally agree re: Crumbs. They have made me consider how difficult it is to make a truly tasty cupcake. Sprinkles does live up to its reputation.

  • Sarah J. Gim

    amy: i will totally agree that sprinkles has the cuteness factor going for them. i do love that dot-on-dot motif

    flutterbyblue: how much are the cupcakes in boston? sprinkles, i think, are $3.25 and crumbs are $3.75. that is a lot, imho.

    jkru: did not know about DJ Tanner’s wines! i should do more research on that…wonder how they taste

    marc: really? sprinkles? we cant be friends anymore.

  • tara

    Best review of a cupcake shop ever. First because you called them out on their shortcomings in a specific and fair way, and second because you provided a thoughtful analogy based around Full House. You’re a brilliant woman, Sarah.

  • Dani

    That’s why I love Kiss My Bundt Bakery. You walk in and you can smell cakes baking. They frost to order. It’s always fresh. The owner and her staff do create flavors, but they also stick to clever plays on the basics. And finally, the mini bundt cake is what a cupcake was supposed to be before it got so big you had to unhinge your jaw to eat it. And it’s $2.50.

  • joanh

    LOL.. haven’t read your blog in awhile Sarah, but the writing and reviews are still spot on and hilarious. i feel the same way… underwhelmed and a bit grossed out by their overly sweet and dry cupcakes, but the whole loop around about Full House was awesome.

  • Anonymous

    I like Stephanie Tanner to eat my Cupcake.

  • Jaimie Mertz

    You’re cute. I wish I lived in California.

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