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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.



Christa / May 23, 2012 at 04:31 pm
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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