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Baked Goods

The Cupcake Outlet

Posted by Alexandra Grigorescu / Posted on April 5, 2012

Cupcake OutletThe Cupcake Outlet's window display is a welcome splash of colour on a nondescript brown-brick block on Brown's Line in Etobicoke. After an hour-long streetcar ride from downtown proper, I'm peckish, and the simple sight of sprinkle-freckled cake pops made my mouth water.

Inside, the space clearly shows it's only been open for 2 months. The striped paint job is glisteningly new, un-hung signs line the room's perimeter, and two of the shop's three cupcake counters are empty. But one of the counters is packed full of vivid hues - the electric blue frosting on the blue Hawaii cupcakes and the shock-pink sprinkles over vanilla raspberry's peaked white top. Their 22 (and constantly growing) flavors range from simple vanilla to cherry cheesecake to root beer, and the shop's smatter of color, combined with the heavy scent of fresh baking, reminds me of a carnival in the best possible way.

Cupcake Outlet TorontoThe shop is family owned and operated by siblings Peter and Mary Semchyshyn and their mother Sylvia. There are no bakers or cooks in the family tree to pass down tried-and-true recipes. Rather, the shop spawned mostly out of sheer business savvy - "cupcakes were trending," Mary tells me, and they avidly scour the Internet for new trends. Mary has previously worked in retail, where she picked up the tricks of presentation and marketing. She's also a dutiful student of TV cooking show, The Cupcake Girls.

The shop's prices are targeted towards bulk purchases: buy 1-5 cupcakes at $2.49 each, 6 for $12.99 or 12 for $24.99. Cake pops are $9 per 6-pack, and fondant cupcakes come in at $2.49. To my surprise, there's no coffee or drinks, but Mary points out that the neighbourhood's caffeine needs are already being served by other establishments. Also, the shop's set up for take-out with only a long leather bench against one wall as seating.

Cupcake Outlet Browns LineThe Cupcake Outlet accepts custom orders, although the minimum hasn't yet been worked out and you may need to provide instructions for outlandish or specialized requests. The Cupcake Outlet's regulars are a fount of inspiration for flavors, with neighborhood skaters prompting attempts to incorporate Red Bull into a new recipe.

Cupcake Outlet EtobicokeIn addition to their maple bacon cupcake, which is as indulgent as it sounds, they're planning corn dog cupcakes, complete with hot dog stuffing, as well as salmon and dill and broccoli. Mary has grand plans for the shop's direction: stay tuned for ice cream and cupcake milkshakes in the summer, as well as cupcakes for dogs. After all, why deprive your wee canine companion of tasty treats.

The Cupcake OutletMary stresses that the shop is nut-free and uses all natural ingredients, and they're currently researching how to make gluten-free and sugar-free cupcakes as delectable as the rest. Everything is hand-made: real cream cheese icing adorns each cupcake, to the sure chagrin of lactose intolerants, and when I peek into the back, there's bowls full of eggs, flour, and Sylvia is hand-kneading the dough.

The Cupcake Outlet TorontoSo how do they taste? I bring home blue Hawaii, lemon meringue, chocolate mint and maple bacon for an after-dinner taste test, and the sight of so much colored frosting has my stomach talking. Lemon meringue miraculously upholds its name, with a burst of tangy lemon filling, while the maple bacon delivers the near-impossible with a perfect marriage of sweet and savory.

The Cupcake Outlet EtobicokeWhat instantly appeals to me is the cake base: not too sugary, a neutral complement to the bold frosting, and somehow light enough that I'm not left thirsting for milk. Considering that without a car I couldn't justify the trip on a regular basis, I'm left pleased as punch with my 5 cupcake purchase. The tricky part is not polishing them off in one go.

Discussion

46 Comments

Not-impressed / April 5, 2012 at 10:27 pm
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From looking at the pictures of this place it looks very tacky.What I would like to know is who opens a cupcake bakery without having a chef/baker in the family? I'm sick and tired of all of these unskilled wanna-be's who think that they can just open a bakery. The cupcakes look like very sloppy and unprofessional, not appetizing at all. And lastly who kneads cupcake batter anyway? It's not a bread nor a dough!
impressed replying to a comment from Not-impressed / April 5, 2012 at 11:48 pm
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Ever heard the saying "looks can be deceiving"? Some of the best places to eat in Toronto look a little shady. Considering this place is new and their products taste delicious, there is little reason to complain. After all, when you go get a cupcake, it shouldn't matter if the bakery was opened by a chef or an amateur. What matters is the quality of the cupcake.
And the baker is their mama! Are you really going to distrust a cupcake made by someone's mom?
Gross / April 6, 2012 at 12:58 am
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I agree the place is tacky and with a name as that you have to wonder what the quality is like if there is any at all. Might as-well call your place the Cupcake Dollar Store cause it sure looks like it.
Laura / April 6, 2012 at 06:09 am
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I would take a homemade cupcake from this place over the "other guys" anyday. Natural ingredients and innovative flavours.

And kudos to them for admitting it's a business decision. By the looks of it, they seem to be nailing both the business and the baking just fine.

Congrats to this family! Looking forward to trying it.
Moi / April 6, 2012 at 12:56 pm
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Everyone should 'chillax'......the best finds are those that look deceiving
Who the hell cares if they are a Certified Baker....if the product tastes good, then Kudos to them
And yes, the store front signage etc does look low-ball, but you have to start somewhere
GOOD LUCK TO THEM:)
Sean / April 6, 2012 at 06:37 pm
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I agree with Moi. Just like the hot dog stand, those guys aren't chefs either.

I'll bet the cupcakes are fresher and the frosting richer too.

Can't wait to try one or two... or three!
Bonnie / April 8, 2012 at 02:24 pm
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It would be awesome if they offered vegan cupcakes, not just gluten-free. Cupcakes are the vegan dessert of choice. Hope they do well.
Picky / April 8, 2012 at 09:23 pm
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Hopefully as they grow, they'll move away from the day-glo food dyes for the frosting. Right now they look like Sobeys cupcakes, not particularly appealing. If I buy cupcakes, I go to Life is Sweet in the Beaches, or Dufflets, where I know it's a better quality product.
jane replying to a comment from impressed / April 9, 2012 at 05:07 pm
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I totally agree! Have you tried the red velvet...the cream cheese icing is finger lickin' delish. Not too sweet, just right! YUMMMMY!!

jane replying to a comment from Gross / April 9, 2012 at 05:17 pm
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Don't knock 'em, before you try them.
It's a hidden gem in Etobicoke.
rashnee / April 10, 2012 at 08:53 am
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They are simply the best! Every time I'm there, they treat you with respect and it's full of so many satisfied customers.

Everything is made in house and uses only the freshest and most natural ingredients.

Try them! You won't be disappointed!

Their phone # is: 416-201-9898.
Robert / April 18, 2012 at 03:28 am
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Their food colouring doesn't appear to be "natural"
Shannon / April 18, 2012 at 12:12 pm
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Had 3 wonderfully yummy and delicious cupcakes from The Cupcake Outlet on the weekend. Also had a great conversation with the baker! I never understand how people can visit this site and write reviews before they even check the place out. They are new to the business yes, their shop may not be downtown Toronto swank (if that's even a thing) but all in all, are you really that concerned with the ambiance when looking to stuff your face full of sinful goodness? Walk in, have a chat with the lady behind the counter and stick a bacon cupcake in your mouth!
I had the lemon meringue cupcake and it was amazing. The lemon curd inside made it all the more lovely. My daughter had an Oreo cookie cupcake and loved it (I took a bite of it and it was so oreo-y and delish) and my husband had a red velvet (I took a bite of that too and almost stole it from him).
I will definitely be back for more cupcakey goodness! It just so happens it's up the street from me!

The owners have big plans for this place! Look out for weddings, mothers day special cupcakes and birthday cupcakes!
cupcake tasters / April 22, 2012 at 06:45 pm
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After a long hunt to locating this store we finally tried the red velvet, vanilla and bluberry cupcakes. I must say they were quite delisioso. A bit disappointed at the fact there wasn't much of a selection by the time we arrived nor did they have any pictures from their previous work. Hope they had sold out most of the cupcakes but strongly recommend for an album of their masterpieces. As any new business, the kinks have to be ironed out. We wish them the best of luck and much success. P.s Enjoying your cupcake as I type.
Justine / April 23, 2012 at 03:00 pm
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Nothing professional about this place. I walked in and walked right out. People handling food without proper gloves is a big no-no. The floor looked like it hadn't seen a mop in over a week. As for the cupcakes.. the bright colored icing reminded me of cupcakes found at Sobey's. Don't waste you time and money.
jen / April 24, 2012 at 03:28 pm
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I'm a new mom and live in this neighbourhood. Visited The Cupcake Outlet numerous times, while taking walks with my infant son. This place is always clean, the service friendly and courteous.

This place is very kid friendly/kid oriented (NUT FREE),maybe that's why they have bright, vibrant colours. Busy with kids, moms and families.

My faves: Filled Vanilla Raspberry and Cherry Cheesecake....little bites of heaven!
gentleman 88 / April 25, 2012 at 11:02 am
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Some weeks ago, I had a party to go to, came in, ordered 2 dozen mini vanilla cupcakes for the next day. The cupcakes were amazing, fresh, delicious and nicely decorated. Honestly, they looked too good to eat. I brought them to a family function, they were a hit. I came back again to reorder these tiny, tasty treats. Wonderful service, will be back for all family events/parties.
I'm a fan / April 25, 2012 at 01:05 pm
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tried the bacon maple. exceptional, eh!
missy / April 25, 2012 at 04:32 pm
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When i first tried the red velvet cupcake
i had to sit down on the bench
i was speechless
it was orgasmic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Gina / April 25, 2012 at 05:35 pm
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Gross, bad, ugly is how I describe the cupcakes at this place. My 7 year old can decorate a better cupcake. And who ever said the place was dirty is right.
star replying to a comment from Gina / April 26, 2012 at 12:23 pm
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I've been there countless times, its ALWAYS clean. I cant stand these haters. Have you even tried these marvelous cupcakes? Obviously, you havent. Go in there, try them. These cupcakes make me happy everytime i have them.
todd / April 26, 2012 at 02:28 pm
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I go here to buy cupcakes every weekend with my girlfriend, every week there's something new to try, hear the website's coming soon. Can't wait to see the new crazy flavours. It's nice to know that people take the time to talk to you, it shows they really care about their customers. I get a six pack every week gotta try lemon meringue, black forest, chocolate caramel, chocolate mint, cherry cheesecake, root beer and triple chocolate. love the filled cupcakes.
My girlfriend recommends red velvet, vanilla and choco orange.
tasty delicious cupcakes
rashid / April 26, 2012 at 04:50 pm
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I was driving and found The Cupcake Outlet on my GPS. I used to go to Swirls, but one taste of these cupcakes, this is definatley my new cupcake joint.
susan / April 26, 2012 at 06:09 pm
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We are SO thrilled to have this cupcake shop down the street. A great place for nut free goodies. I recently ordered cake pops for my son's bday at school. Perfect for kids. I wish them lots of success!
Gina / April 27, 2012 at 01:18 am
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i drive down Browns Line all the time i just noticed the colourful Cupcake Outlet sign. i literally did a u-turn when i saw this place. so glad i did, fabulous flavours. i'll be back.
Carmen / April 27, 2012 at 07:47 pm
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The Cupcake Outlet is much more of a Cupcake Boutique or Delicatessen.
My kids love popping in here after gymnastics!
The owner is lovely and always welcoming. My kids
enjoy choosing from the countless flavours and devour
their selections! I am happy supporting
an independent neighborhood store as opposed to Tim
Hortons or Starbucks. Although ... I do wish flavoured
coffee was available for the mom of the group. That would
make the stroll home perfect!
kathy / April 28, 2012 at 03:25 pm
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I go there to satisfy my sweet tooth, mango cheesecake is the bomb! The owners always remember my name. It's such a nice personal touch. That is so rare to find these days. Great people! Great product!
big boi / April 28, 2012 at 04:22 pm
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TOTALLY ADDICTIVE! can't just have one, so bought a dozen. I DAMAGED those cupcakes
Juanita / April 30, 2012 at 06:38 pm
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Pig fat on cupcakes? I'll pass. Everything here looks like a its from a school bake sale. I would not bring this as a hostess gift.
Mary replying to a comment from Juanita / May 1, 2012 at 11:10 pm
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You sound like quite the smart ass Juanita, I guess your cupcakes would look and taste so much better.
Christa / May 23, 2012 at 04:31 pm
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They have the best cream cheese frosting! I have to put in a good word for them because they are ALWAYS friendly and their cupcakes are amazing. Don't know why some people get so nasty with their opinions. I could understand if you had a terrible experience, but there's really no reason to call it "tacky" or that it looks like "a school bake sale." It's a cupcake shop for crying out loud, not someone touting to be the next French Laundry or Alinea.
Pamela / May 27, 2012 at 09:44 am
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The cupcakes are fresh delicious and my favourite next to my own....Congrats to your family and new business...we will for sure stop in when in your area again..YUMMY
Nick / May 27, 2012 at 02:46 pm
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I went to the cupcake outlet yesterday for the first time and I got a black forest cupcake it was so good the cupcake was so moist !! My family is gunna be opening our own cupcake business so we've been going to different cupcake stores and trying there cucakes and the cupcake outlet hands down is one of the best ! Wasn't too crazy bout the icing they use but still very good ! The owners were there working and we met them and talked and told them we were gunna be opening a cupcake business such nice people ! They gave us a free red velvet cupcake ! Very nice ! Go there ! Worth it to crave your cupcake craving !!
Dee Dee Newell / May 29, 2012 at 06:06 pm
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My clients (I'm a wedding planner), came across this place 3 weeks ago and arranged a tasting. I went along and I have to say their cupcakes are fabulous. My favorite was the Chocolate Caramel. So moist and delicious.

We immediately ordered 8 dozen for their cocktail wedding reception this Saturday which they will come and set up for them.

For those that are being so negative, there are a ton of cupcake shops around, no doubt, but I can tell you that from my experience (and believe, I've tried cupcakes from almost everywhere), they are delicious and super moist. Don't knock 'em it 'til you try 'em:)
Daniela Palazzo replying to a comment from Not-impressed / June 3, 2012 at 08:04 am
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The cupcakes are by far the best I have EVER tasted. I happened to stumble across the cupcake outlet accidentally and am so pleased. Basing an opinion on pictures is ridiculous. I will be a repeat customer for sure!!!!!!
Daniela Palazzo / June 3, 2012 at 08:07 am
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AND we had one left over in our fridge for 4 days..... it was still the best cupcake I have ever had! My guests LOVED them too. Keep up the good work!
Janine / June 3, 2012 at 05:00 pm
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I bought a dozen cupcakes and it was a big waste of money. Half went into the garbage. They were so dry. I'm sure they were not baked that day.
sandra / June 14, 2012 at 10:12 am
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I just love this place, friendly customer service, cupcakes are always moist and delicious. Any time I have a party, I go to The Cupcake Outlet. Keep up the great work!
Rita / June 25, 2012 at 12:38 pm
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This place was an awesome 'cupcake experience' the staff was extremely friendly and the quality of cupcakes was excellent. I've tried almost every cupcake now and they are all delicious. I'm impressed with their gluten-free cupcakes and they are planning on accommodating other food allergies/intolerance. Come and support these small entrepreneurs in Etobicoke and don't buy your cup cakes anywhere else.
Patrick / June 25, 2012 at 01:12 pm
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awesome cupcakes and very nice people. I loved the cupcakes and they were fresh not like some of the other ones I have tried from other places...
Anita / June 26, 2012 at 12:44 am
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I love this place! The cupcakes are delicious and very moist. I go there at least twice a week to buy their cupcakes. The staff is very friendly and the owners always make an effort to talk to each customer.


Jonelle / June 30, 2012 at 12:14 am
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This place is a joke. Cupcakes look cheap and taste nothing better than what you can buy at Sobey's.

Most of the "positive" posts here are clearly fake.
Armelle / July 4, 2012 at 11:41 pm
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You people with your negative comments just have no life. I went to the Cupcake Outlet today, and I found it to be very clean and charming. The cupcakes were delicious, and looked very nice as well. You can tell they are home-made, and that is part of the charm. They are not trying to be high-end or trendy, just tastey and not too expensive - all positives in my book. And the staff are very friendly - something that should not be overlooked in this day and age. Best of luck to the Cupcake Outlet.
Sierra / September 14, 2012 at 12:16 pm
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The cupcakes are very dry, and the flavours remind me of the cupcakes you get at a supermarket for very cheap. yeah the service is friendly but I'm just really disappointed in the thing I went there for.. a delicious cupcake. The fam didn't like them either.
Anya replying to a comment from Jonelle / September 21, 2012 at 06:07 pm
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I totally disagree, their cupcakes are delicious.

And most of the "negative" posts here are clearly fake, including yours.
Katherine / October 4, 2012 at 05:49 pm
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The cupcakes were nothing special -- just not my type. I will stick to my family's go-to cupcake shop, Swirls -- they are nut-free too and they have locations in Etobicoke and Mississauga.

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