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Baked Goods

Cupcakes Leaside

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on February 25, 2013

cupcakes leaside torontoCupcakes Leaside is the first foray into the Toronto market by the Vancouver-based Cupcakes chain. Most people would probably recognize the brand for its W Network series The Cupcake Girls, but this shop has its own (if subtle) Toronto features. One being — Greg's ice cream.

cupcakes leaside toronto"We had to have the Roasted Marshmallow," says franchise owner Tobie Killam as we chat in her sunny Leaside shop. "But Greg still has to come out here and show us how to scoop it properly."

cupcakes leaside torontoCupcakes Leaside is only in its third week, which explains why ice-cream-scooping is not yet in full swing. "It was sort of like the apocalypse when we first opened," Tobie says, referring back to opening day earlier this month. "We were swarmed. I think it was the anticipation; the sign was up for a while."

Tobie admits to several start-up hiccups, but says that the swathed-in-pink shop is beginning to find its footing. "I still basically live here," she says, pausing to answer her phone. It never really stops vibrating.

cupcakes leaside torontoTobie then tells me how she used to work in interior design, but a personal incident about a year and a half ago motivated her to change course. She doesn't want to discuss much about how she came to the franchise; just that she now considers herself and Cupcakes to be a perfect fit.

cupcakes leaside torontoWhile the "Sweet 16," (vanilla cake with pink vanilla buttercream and sprinkles) "Mint Condition" (chocolate cake with mint buttercream and chocolate chips), "24 Carrot" (carrot cake with cream cheese frosting) and other cupcake varieties are all prepared fresh onsite, the recipes are all straight from Cupcakes headquarters.

cupcakes leaside torontoThe shop offers a daily roster of rotating flavours, as well as fridge cakes, cookies, custom cakes, and more. And yes, there's plenty of "Cupcakes" branded items, too, not the least of which include t-shirts, aprons, and flavoured lip balm.

cupcakes leaside torontoBut never mind the branded gear, the cupcakes (regular and mini) are still the main attraction. There's no seating in the shop and the display is right by the door, meaning the indecisive cupcake-minded should probably have a good idea of what they want before they head inside. Staff here tell me that the Red Velvet has been a definite frontrunner, but I decide to opt for something seemingly lighter and go with the Lemon Drop (lemon cake with lemon buttercream) instead.

cupcakes leaside torontoThe buttercream hits it out of the park — smooth, creamy, and light, it has a subtle tartness that cuts through the sweetness that's definitely appealing to the adult palette. I'm less impressed with the cake, finding the lemon flavour a bit redundant and the texture a little more dense than I was expecting. Nevertheless, despite any franchise skepticism I might have had, these cakes definitely give impression of freshly made and homegrown. Only to be improved upon with a little Roasted Marshmallow on the side.

cupcakes leaside torontoPhotos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

42 Comments

lol / February 25, 2013 at 08:58 am
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$3.50 for a cupcake?
Ripoff
Mark / February 25, 2013 at 10:01 am
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Total rip, but the hipsters like being ripped off!
Leaside Represent / February 25, 2013 at 10:08 am
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Yeah, all those Leaside hipsters. I would hazard a guess that all Mercedes driving, Canada Goose and Ugg wearing Leaside moms will just love it.
joe / February 25, 2013 at 10:15 am
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Listen to all the poor people complain about the fancy food they can't afford.
G / February 25, 2013 at 10:24 am
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franchised cup cake shops? what a world we live in where the marketing of a reality tv show about cup cakes has gone so far it reproduces a business model. we are doomed.
cosmosuave replying to a comment from G / February 25, 2013 at 10:53 am
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G you summed it up nicely...
Christopher / February 25, 2013 at 11:03 am
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Definitely disappointed with the quality here. The Cupcake Shoppe on Yonge is still tops for me. This is maybe a close 3rd.
C / February 25, 2013 at 11:08 am
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"Hipsters" in Leaside? Clearly you don't know what a hipster is. A true hipseter would never venture to Leaside for cupcakes, nor would they ever deign to purchase cupcakes from a franchised cupcake shop.

Seems to me this place is joining the cupcake trend a little late, but then, Leaside is one of those places where trends go to die, so it's probably appropriate that they set up there.

MrsPotato / February 25, 2013 at 11:11 am
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this place looks like the mcdonald's of cupcake stores.

Sid / February 25, 2013 at 11:23 am
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Cupcakes should be over and done with. So unimaginative and boring.
Annoyed / February 25, 2013 at 12:01 pm
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People who claim to hate hipsters are only doing so because EVERYONE does it. This shop is in Leaside which literally houses the most generic looking people who wear Canada Goose jackets. So take your negativity elsewhere...
Cyril Sneer / February 25, 2013 at 12:52 pm
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Can't believe cupcakes are still A Thing, and that people will apparently pay $3.50 for one.
Sam / February 25, 2013 at 02:35 pm
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Apparently cupcakes are still AThing. People love cake, ice cream, hamburgers, etc...don't crap on people who follow a dream/passion and let people eat their cupcakes in joy. If they don't mind paying $3.50 for a cupcake, let them. They didn't ask you to flip the bill. Business is good. Good luck Cupcakes Leaside!
Judy / February 25, 2013 at 02:42 pm
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I actually ate them and they were not something i would venture to again. It all tasted the same no matter which flavor i choose. I was very disappointed and will just go to Prairie Girl for my fix.
M / February 25, 2013 at 02:47 pm
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Popped in for a minute and only a minute. Become overwhelmed by the smell. Fake smelling. Not like a normal cupcake bakery. The quality of the ingredients seems suspect. I'll stick with Sweet Bliss, Desmond and Beatrice and the like.
YUM / February 25, 2013 at 03:07 pm
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This store is awesome. Environment is fun and cupcakes are delicious. If you are looking to treat yourself, I say indulge away!!

- A 'hipster' from Leaside
Cyril Sneer / February 25, 2013 at 03:19 pm
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The direct exposure sunlight is going to have everything in that sore looking faded and bleak in no time.
Jose / February 25, 2013 at 06:28 pm
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$3.50, seriously? We're not all hipsters and hippies in T.O. - take that back to the West Coast, we're still in recession.
KNau / February 25, 2013 at 07:20 pm
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If you consider $3.50 to be expensive for *anything* then I've got bad news about your current career path.
charalique / February 25, 2013 at 07:30 pm
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got 6 minis for $9 just because i wanted to sample how they were. my fave was this lemon one with a little raspberry jam dolop on top. they were good, but i can't justify spending that much on such tiny bites.

....and while we were leaving i noticed a sign tucked into the corner of the shelf (right behind those mannequins) that had much more reasonable prices printed on it (ie. a dozen minis for $9). if i wasn't in such a rush i would've gone back in to ask about it.
Ugh / February 25, 2013 at 08:29 pm
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Why is there so much prejudice and bigotry on this comment page? Are we really judging people for where they live, what they wear, and when people started liking cupcakes? Jeez. No wonder the rest of Canada thinks we're so uptight.
Anna / February 25, 2013 at 09:04 pm
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I would just like to say, that I'm a mom of 2 young kids, I wear Uggs, I wear a North Face jacket, and I would most definetely buy a 3.50 cupcake if I really wanted it. BUT.....I don't live in Leaside, I live in Flemingdon Park, which is known as the ghetto. I work my ass off for the nice things i have, and I may not live in a million dollar home in Leaside, but my husband and I do own a beautiful condo in our area. So, don't give me that crap about "Hipsters" Some people work hard to buy what they want, even if it is a cupcake.
PS / February 25, 2013 at 09:40 pm
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are these baked on site?
and are they made from a mix?

this look sooo commercialized, i'm shocked at the prices.
Carla / February 25, 2013 at 11:51 pm
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The quality of the cupcakes is bottom of the barrel. They use a mix where they just add water. $3.50 for a Loblaws quality cupcake? And I thought Prairie Girl was bad!
evan / February 26, 2013 at 01:44 pm
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possibly the most judgemental comment section of any review i've ever seen
eagle3 / February 27, 2013 at 09:29 am
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I am a cupcake fan but have yet to try this place. I was curious and was reading the flavors on their website BUT in all honesty a lot of them seemed quite heavy to me. I am also not a fan of cream cheese frosting, I am more partial to the buttercream. I really like Short and sweet cupcakes on Avenue, they were quite delicious! Anyway, I will try it once since I do pass by the area often.
bob loblaw / February 27, 2013 at 04:09 pm
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Leaside sux. That's about all you need to know.
Rob replying to a comment from C / February 28, 2013 at 09:51 am
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Basically my thoughts too. I live in Leaside and would never expect the following things to emerge from here: soul, originality, compassion, good taste.
Nancy replying to a comment from M / March 3, 2013 at 10:00 pm
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Totally agree that sweet Bliss is the best. Great quality ingredients, rich tasting a always fresh. The owners are super hard working and great neighbours. Yeah Leslieville!
RIPOFF / March 7, 2013 at 11:06 am
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RIP OFF!
Price is expensive!
Losers / March 22, 2013 at 12:58 pm
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There are two types of people. Those who live in Leaside and those who wish they did. The cupcakes are not worth the trip.
CONSTRUCTION ALL RISKS INSURANCE / March 30, 2013 at 02:24 pm
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chelsea hair salon / March 30, 2013 at 09:32 pm
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Keeley / May 16, 2013 at 03:40 pm
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I must say I'm not a Leaside native, nor am I rich by any means. I just happen to work by there. Stopped in to get a cake for a birthday and on another occasion got some cupcakes for a party on the way home. This place is all show and not much substance. The cake was gross, way too dense and dry. The cupcakes were just okay. Also never heard of Cupcake Girls so I went in with no clue about this place.
Lula / June 8, 2013 at 07:34 pm
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I had a mini cupcake and all I could taste was the icing and overly sweet it was. The texture was grainy not smooth. Don't waste you money here you are better off with a Tim Bit from Tim Horton's!
Liz / August 22, 2013 at 04:22 pm
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I have tried 6 different types of cupcakes from here and all were delicious! Far better than those from the other specialty cupcake shops in town. If you have had a better cupcake I would like to know where...
Cassie replying to a comment from Liz / August 22, 2013 at 10:14 pm
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Liz, in my opinion the two best places in the city for cupcakes are Dlish & Wedding Cake Shop. You couldn't pay me to eat the garbage at this place.
Luis / September 9, 2013 at 12:01 am
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Cupcakes tasted really bad I can make better cupcakes from a box mix.
Lulu / December 17, 2013 at 09:22 pm
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These cupcakes are an I sult to anyone who likes cake at all. Buttercream is not buttercream unless butter is used. There are topped with lard cream. Shame on this company.
Mel / December 24, 2013 at 08:56 pm
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The very worst cupcakes in the city followed next by Prairie Girl. Frosting was so dry it was flaking off and the cupcake had no taste.
Janice / June 10, 2014 at 12:15 pm
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WOW, I love this place, the product and service is great and there is a new owner in there since March, 2014, you owe to yourself to try it again, it exceeded my expectations
J Groh / October 19, 2014 at 11:11 am
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I can't understand why people just use comment forums for useless judgements & hate on a neighborhood. Honestly, we should all have better things to do.

Bravo to the cupcake shop. It's a great little shop, with great cucpcakes. Perfect amount of icing to cake ratio & yes, I'll spend 3.50 on a cupcake there & 3.50 on a coffee at starbucks. And I'll love it.

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