Yummy Cupcakes – I’d Rather Eat Bananas Foster than a Cupcake

bananas foster cupcake, yummy cupcakes, santa monica, los angeles, ca

Yummy Cupcakes

313 Wilshire Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310.393.8283
www.yummycupcakes.com

If there is one word that deserves to be completely obliterated from the Foodish language, it is “yum-o” for quite obvious reasons.

However, since “yum-o” is not a real word in existence, and therefore is precluded from eradication because that would be like using white out on a blank sheet of paper, let’s just settle for “yummy.”

I hate the word “yummy.”

yummy cupcakes, santa monica, los angeles, ca - sign
quite a claim, “Yummy”

It’s quite a shame really, because if not for my utter hatred of the word “yummy,” I could have at least said that I like Yummy Cupcakes for its cute name. Unfortunately, having “Yummy” as its name leaves it with but one redeeming factor: proximity. Yummy Cupcakes is the closest cupcakery to my office, which is proof positive that the Hotelling Phenomenon is not just an economic model named after Mr. Hotelling, but a reality in Santa Monica where there are no less than three cupcake-only stores within a half-mile distance of one another. Unfortunately, Yummy’s advantage within this phenomenon that has nothing to do with hotels will be rendered irrelevant at the end of the month when my office moves from a loft space on 3rd Street Promenade to my living room. Yummy will be relegated to the rank of “yet another cupcakery to which I shan’t go again because it makes me recoil with tooth decayed disgust.”

Perhaps “recoil with tooth decayed disgust” is a bit of an exaggeration. However, disgusted exaggeration is what spews forth when you look back six months later, the silken blindfold of saccharin lust in a loose tangle around your ankles, and you finally, shamefully, have to ask yourself, “What the hell was I thinking? How could I have been so stupid?!?!”

When Yummy first opened, we were all a’twitter in our office, and by a’twitter, I mean that had I been the heavy user back then that I am now, I would have twittered. The cupcakery opened last Spring, but it took us several months before we finally crossed that great divide known as Arizona and made a hurried, though long, trek up to Wilshire. When we stepped inside Yummy, we were suprised by the rather plain interior, a slightly refreshing contrast to the precious pink polka dot retro-cutesy décor of every other cupcake retail store in LA. The space is narrow and deep, extending back to the partially exposed kitchen. A long counter behind glass lines one wall and a few flimsy tables and chairs are tossed up against the opposite wall for impatient customers who have to eat a cupcake before they leave the store. Yummy doesn’t hide the fact that it is, at its core, a bakery. Rolling racks with stacks of metal trays are right there in the front along with plastic-wrapped mixing bowls and gnarled pastry bags on the counter, abandoned when the baker has to tend to customers.

Like their somewhat simple surroundings, the cupcakes are not overstyled. Other than size that indicates that they were made for sale at a price that matches, Yummy’s cupcakes look quite lovable in their homemade-ness. There are no dainty sculpted sugar decorations, just sprinkles, light dustings of cocoa or cinnamon, and the occasional candy, all to suggest the cupcake’s flavor. Lopsided muffin-tops are allowed to bulge out from beneath layers of frosting. Some cupcakes stand taller with frosting-dos that are teased higher than the others. Others spread wider.
yummy cupcakes, santa monica, los angeles, ca - red velvet cupcake
What Yummy Cupcakes lacks in fashion both in its decor and its offering, it makes up in flavors. That’s not “flavor” as in “taste,” but the plural “flavors,” the sheer number and kinds of flavors they offer. They have classic cake flavors like chocolate, vanilla and red velvet with matching frosting permutations, but they also have more unusual flavors inspired by cocktails and other drinks, desserts, ice creams, and pies. Pink Lemonade, Fluffernutter, Creamsicle and the peanut butter cupcake with banana buttercream frosting called The Elvis aren’t necessarily exotic, but they are creative.

My first taste of a Yummy cupcake, red velvet, wasn’t bad. It wasn’t remarkably good either. The red velvet cupcake was bright, screaming red as it should be. It was denser and much drier than I would ever like in a cake, but in a disgraceful turn toward hypocrisy, I forgave all the cupcake’s shortcoming for the cream cheese frosting. Never do I come across a cream cheese frosting that I won’t enjoy to some degree, but rarely do I taste a cream cheese frosting that makes me, you know. It’s kind of like how I am about, you know, pizza. Yummy’s cream cheese frosting was, you know.
yummy cupcakes, santa monica, los angeles, ca - mini cupcakes
My second taste of Yummy Cupcakes was a mini cupcake at my sister’s baby shower. At one time, I would have taken punishment like
a saint
and actually baked a bazillion dozen itty bitty teeny tiny omg-they’re-so-cute-I-might-throw-up-cakes for my sister’s baby shower, but I can hardly cook a bowl of canned soup in the microwave oven for dinner, let alone bake cupcakes. Having been blinded by sweetened cream cheese lust (and suffering a severe case of utter laziness), I ordered mini cupcakes for my sister’s baby shower from Yummy.

The cupcakes were a-dooooooor-able. The shower guests cooed. I wanted to throw up.

I ate a mini chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting instead.
yummy cupcakes, santa monica, los angeles
Yummy Cupcakes had made me a baby shower dessert superheroine. I began to think perhaps Yummy could be the one to turn my closed-minded cupcake bitterness around and started rationalizing. “The cream cheese frosting on that first red velvet wasn’t bad. Hm, maybe it was actually good. Maybe the whole cupcake, not just the frosting, was good. Yes, I’m quite sure the red velvet cupcake was good!” Maybe this whole time I wasn’t being fair to cupcakes because my opinion was weighted by leaden sawdust lumps spread with sandy sugar.

Convinced that Yummy Cupcakes was – oh God, I have to say it – yummy, I went back to the store with a mind to try Yummy Cupcakes’ creative flavors, the quality that makes the cupcakerie unique, but something I wouldn’t normally try. In most things related to food, I am a traditionalist. I’m not saying innovation and creativity are bad (though Asian fusion is), but I tend to favor tastes, textures and presentations that are more classic. I like Caesar and Cobb salads, a simple sliver of ruby red tuna on rice for sushi, steak done medium rare with no defiling sauce, burritos made with flour tortillas, beans and cheese. When it comes to cake I like the basics like chocolate, vanilla, and only when it’s really special, red velvet. When it’s really really special, carrot.

There is a reason I have stuck to the classic cake flavors all this time. Some time before I ever tried the Fluffernutter cupcake at Yummy, I must have had an experience with a “flavored” cupcake that was so traumatic that I deleted the entire combination of neural transmissions out of my memory except for one tiny subconscious flash that would, in some sort of Darwinian survival of the tastest, instinctively keep me from touching a flavored cupcake. For some reason, that basic instinct was temporarily dormant when I decided to try the gleefully pink-frosted Happy Day, but came screaming back in a viciously primal way when I tasted the Bananas Foster.

Fluffernutter was too messy. Happy Day was unexpectedly depressing in a CareBears-on-Prozac way. Bananas Foster cupcake, which I excitedly bought as an introductory tribute to my trip to New Orleans, was dreadful. Vanilla rum buttercream was piped into an inviting swirl and softly dusted with cinnamon, but the sheer volume of frosting was far too much. A lighter hand on the pastry bag may have prevented the overpowering taste of alcohol and saccharin. Alcohol is not a bad thing when it tastes like a fruity tropical cocktail. Alcohol is not a good thing when it tastes like you could disinfect Hello Kitty’s operating room with it. The cake was so dry and heavy that it had the texture of week-old bread, but at the same time, it was crumbly rather than hard and chewy. The flavored cupcakes at Yummy, especially the Bananas Foster, were enough of a disappointment to color my opinion of Yummy overall.

I think I’ll just stick with enjoying Bananas Foster in New Orleans.

And for “homemade” cupcakes, well, I can get those at, you know, home.

What the Others Say:
~ Death by Frosting for Caroline on Crack (Mar 2007)
~ la.foodblogging thought Yummy was, well, yummy (May 2007)
~ Consumer Machine thinks Yummy is yummy, too (Jun 2007)
~ Yummy lives up to its name according to Tara (Sep 2007)

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  • Joanna

    LA has the trendiest, prettiest, healthiest, and most delicious food on this planet. Tell me anywhere else that has all these cuisines done SO well.

  • RT

    Yummy didn’t impress me too much; not bad, though. Vanilla Bake Shop across the street, though, is quite good, and crushes Sprinkles, in my opinion. Of course, Hostess cupcakes are better than Sprinkles, so maybe that doesn’t mean too much, but I think Vanilla is very good.

  • RT

    Yummy didn’t impress me too much; not bad, though. Vanilla Bake Shop across the street, though, is quite good, and crushes Sprinkles, in my opinion. Of course, Hostess cupcakes are better than Sprinkles, so maybe that doesn’t mean too much, but I think Vanilla is very good.

  • Anonymous

    wait… until the end of the month? what happened to today being your last day?

    is there even a cupcake spot that is truly worth it? i am not a dessert person but all the cupcakes i tasted are definitely not worth it… and i don’t mind spending money on food. they need to get rid of this cupcake craze and serve cakes by the slice. in comparison to cupcakes, an actual slice of cake is moist. if its out of convenience, i never thought a “good” cupcake was ever that convenient to eat anyway.

  • akatsukira

    I thought their frosting was pretty, but the cupcakes within left my mouth feeling dry. And they weren’t cheap… So, haven’t been back either.

  • SteamyKitchen

    hey! where have I been? I just read that you’re going on your own.

    congrats sarah! may the force be with you.

  • sorina

    I’ll have to make a new rule for myself. Don’t come to your blog when I am hungry! Everything looks so delicious!

  • TaraMetBlog

    Yummy is great, I hope you try Crumbs and Susiecakes next. Great photos. Thanks for the link!

  • condiment

    There used to be a Taiwanese restaurant in San Gabriel named Yummy Yummy. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.

  • Doowite

    Well, NOW you’ve done it!!!
    Maybe you’ll be mailing cookies to your most needy readers, eh?
    Oh, is that Apple One calling me?

    D’waight

  • Opra

    Mmmmm… These cakes seem delicious:) I’m fond of different cakes and like to taste new ones…

  • Opra

    Mmmmm… These cakes seem delicious:) I’m fond of different cakes and like to taste new ones…

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  • david hong

    My friend Krystina Castella has a great book called CRAZY ABOUT CUPCAKES. Please check it out on Amazon or BN.

  • Kate

    I am with you in your loathing of the word “yum-o.” UGH!! Somebody please kill it. And take out E-V-O-O while you’re at it…

    sigh. I thing i need a cupcake.

  • Karen

    I’m with you on deleting all derivations of “yummy” from the lexicon. Although once in a while I do sigh the word “yum” when eating a big bowl of pasta carbonara. Must be the bacon.

  • Sakai

    Yummy Cupcakes – I’d Rather Eat Bananas Foster than a Cupcake
    SAme sentiments here

  • globetrotteri

    I just dropped by for a visit from Twitter and had to leave a comment to express my delight. I’m living vicariously through you for the rest of my time in Taiwan. We don’t have cupcakes here. :-( That mini cupcake (third one down) should have my name written on it.

  • Anonymous

    It seems that you alredy had your opinion made up about the cakes before you tried them. Funny yet you had to waste hours of peoples lives bad mouthing something you cant even do, and i quote “but I can hardly cook a bowl of canned soup in the microwave oven for dinner, let alone bake cupcakes.” I have visited vanilla bake shop, crumbs, and sprinkles and out of all of them (eventhough the service isnt prompt) yummy has the best tasting cakes. If you want a bananas foster go to a bar, dont judge a bakery on that. Don’t be a hippocrite

  • Anonymous

    It seems that you alredy had your opinion made up about the cakes before you tried them. Funny yet you had to waste hours of peoples lives bad mouthing something you cant even do, and i quote “but I can hardly cook a bowl of canned soup in the microwave oven for dinner, let alone bake cupcakes.” I have visited vanilla bake shop, crumbs, and sprinkles and out of all of them (eventhough the service isnt prompt) yummy has the best tasting cakes. If you want a bananas foster go to a bar, dont judge a bakery on that. Don’t be a hippocrite

  • Anonymous

    Your pitiful…honestly…i don’t understand how you make up such random bs and try to act like all of this isn’t just because your out to get Yummy Cupcakes. The beginning of your article just really makes me mad “yum-o”..? Face it, your high maintenced and you exaggerate. The cupcakes at Yummy Cupcakes taste fine and i love how they have a cupcake for anyone. Btw i love how you talk about how you suck at cooking than go and say i’ll just be getting homemade cupcakes from home. Your article is not cute nor is it interesting. Stick to what is most “traditional” to you, hotel business, and stop trying to be a writer.

    You Disappoint Me. Get a life.

    Sincerley,

    Loyal Yummy Customer

  • Anonymous

    Lets be honest. The cupcakes taste like crap and the people who work there are very rude.
    If you like an overly sweet pile of frosting on top of a dry cake with no flavor than this place is just for you!

  • perry

    sifting your archives.

    have you been to Auntie Em’s? the red-velvet, and the coconut–yeah!

    they are huge, and they are sweet–but they are moist, and the frosting is… well… just ridiculously good. Esp. the cream cheese…

    … it’s on the East Side–but I can assure you that Arizona doesn’t *actually* begin until the (818).

    • http://www.thedeliciouslife.com Sarah J. Gim

      have not been to auntie em’s…though i do know it is must-try. and i’ll give you the 818 ;)

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