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Baked Goods

Prairie Girl Bakery

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on April 10, 2011

Prairie Girl BakeryPrairie Girl Bakery only does cupcakes. No coffee, no tea, no other light bites. Just cupcakes--two sizes, and a variety of flavours. And it's just as well, since its vanilla/vanilla cupcake was probably the best I've tasted in Toronto.

Prairie Girl BakeryWhen you walk into the pale green shop on Victoria Street off of King, you feel like you're in a quaint jewellery boutique. Rows of dark cocoa and golden buttermilk cupcakes are lined neatly in custom-made roll-out drawers, each swirled with butter or cream cheese icing and laid out perfectly for all customers to see.

Prairie Girl BakeryJust two days in, and business is already booming. "I always loved to bake," owner Jean Blacklock tells me, "but until about two years ago, having a place like this was always just a 'never never' dream." Blacklock had spent 25 years at the Bank of Montreal before deciding to open Prairie Girl. "My husband, who worked there also, was getting a promotion and he would've been my boss. It was just the right time to move on."

Prairie Girl BakerySo Blacklock took her cupcake recipes, which stemmed from her mother and grandmother, and developed them for large-scale baking. Now the baking team starts at 4:30 a.m. every day, preparing fresh cupcakes from scratch using natural ingredients and no preservatives. Whatever doesn't get sold (though that hasn't been a problem yet) will be donated to Second Harvest.

Prairie Girl BakeryThere's an impressive assortment of icing varieties, available on cocoa or golden buttermilk cake. There are also signature cupcakes, including red velvet with cream cheese icing, banana with peanut butter icing, and carrot with cream cheese. The cupcakes are available in regular sizes ($2.95/each, $16.95/½ doz, $31.95/doz) and mini ($1.75/each, $9.95/½ doz, $18.95/doz). Gluten-free cupcakes are also available for order, as well as one or more gluten-free flavours for purchase each day.

Prairie Girl BakeryThough the peppermint butter, strawberry butter, and lemon butter icings each looked tempting, I decided on a good old golden buttermilk cupcake with vanilla bean butter icing. It was packed in a paper box (with a cardboard insert to keep it in place) and I headed down the street to find a coffee.

While I might have minded two stops in any other case, the cupcake more than made up for my tacked-on coffee trip. The butter icing was heavenly--almost as light as whipped cream with specks of vanilla bean and a smooth, buttery taste. The cake was fresh and fluffy, with a bit of substance to it, which I appreciated. And it tasted just like it was baked at home.

If you're going to offer just one thing on your menu, you better do it right. Prairie Girl Bakery has done exactly that.

Prairie Girl BakeryPhotos by Dennis Marciniak

Discussion

55 Comments

Hector / April 11, 2011 at 01:56 pm
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I will tell you why this bakery will make a difference: It's the only one on the Yonge line. Every other bakery in Toronto is either on Queen East (out by Leslieville or the Beaches) or Queen West (almost near Ossington). For people living and working more centrally, this bakery is the best option. Am I going to take a 45 minute streetcar ride to get a cupcake? Hell no.

If you guys are so sick of cupcakeries in Toronto, bad news: Sprinkles (the Beverly Hills cupcakery that started this whole craze) is listing Toronto as its newest location on the website. Check it out: www.sprinkles.com
KT / April 11, 2011 at 07:16 pm
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yeah, lots of flavoured icing, but they look so simple. No sprinkles or chocolate or anything on top?
AN / April 12, 2011 at 07:20 pm
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The cupcakes are excellent, the icing is just right.
Rita / April 13, 2011 at 11:50 am
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Somebody brought a box of those mini cupcakes to work yesterday and I tried it without expecting much... OH MY GOD they were so good. Especially that white mini cupcake with chocolate frosting in the fourth picture from the top. I suffered at the gym after, but they were worth it.
Sara / April 14, 2011 at 01:01 pm
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Just had the mini ($1.75)Vanilla Strawberry....BEST......ICING....EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Lauren / April 17, 2011 at 02:57 pm
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The strawberry icing and the peanut butter/banana cupcakes are soooo good! Just tried them this week and these cupcakes were some of the most moist and fresh I've had yet. Seriously, try em before you judge em people.
Kat23 / April 18, 2011 at 08:58 pm
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I'm from the Prairies. I'm a girl. I like bakeries. This place was MADE for me!

It sounds like they're following the Magnolia Bakery formula of keeping the menu simple, and sticking to what they know: insanely delicious cupcakes.
nomnomnom / April 20, 2011 at 04:55 pm
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oh man, those look so good! must... eat..now.
Stephanie / April 21, 2011 at 03:58 pm
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BEST CUPCAKES I HAVE EVER HAD! The red velvet with cream cheese icing is to die for. I do not even normally like cupcakes but I can't get enough of them! I wish I could eat one everyday:) I am already planning to use Prarie Girl Cupcakes for my sister wedding showers this summer.

Keep up the amazing work !!!!!!
prima / April 22, 2011 at 01:19 pm
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It doesn't sound like they're following the Magnolia Bakery Formula, since Magnolia sells a lot more than cupcakes. Magnolia sells layer cakes, pies, cookies, banana pudding, and more. I'm not a fan of Magnolia's cupcakes, but I've heard good thinks about their banana pudding.
http://www.magnoliabakery.com/pdf/magnoliabakery_menu.pdf
Stephanie / May 10, 2011 at 01:41 pm
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Awesome cupcakes, even better employee's. LOVE YOU JENN!!!!
Terri / May 13, 2011 at 12:23 pm
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there are cupcakes and then--there are CUPCAKES!!! These are to die for...keep 'em coming. congratulations.
Huda / June 5, 2011 at 11:13 pm
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I was expecting a lot more for the price of these. The icing is good, nothing I can't make at home though and the cupcake itself is really mediocre. Not impressed.
szetolf / June 15, 2011 at 02:01 pm
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just bought one to try... average cupcake...frosting isn't too overwhelming..not too sweet..

I got a regular chocolate cream cheese on chocolate cupcake

Is it worth it for 2.95 + tax? not really
Anything Special? not really...
zainab / June 24, 2011 at 04:59 pm
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got a dark cocoa cupcake with coconut frosting. YUMMY!

also a butter milk cupcake with lemon butter frosting. Also delicious.

Frosting was spectacular!
Reeree / July 2, 2011 at 11:07 pm
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Cupcakes are cakes, and that's a bubble that will never burst. People love cake. Look at Hostess with their cupcakes and twinkies, there's not a store in town without them. I see doughnut shops all over town; but I've never seen one close. Cupcakes are here to stay just like regular cakes. They are a simple convenient indulgence.
Kat / July 4, 2011 at 04:09 pm
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Got a set of cupcakes for my birthday and absolutely LOVED them! Very tasty, very moist and just the right combination of frosting and cupcake. My fave of course is the red velvet :) This shop has to be one of my fave that I've tried so far!
Cameron / July 15, 2011 at 12:11 am
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I tried part of a golden cupcake with lemon butter frosting since work colleagues brought in a box to the lunchroom.
It was dry like the prairies and the icing sucked.
Not a fan.
Denise / August 14, 2011 at 04:27 pm
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The cupcakes are good and the location is central, but $3.00 for a cupcake is expensive. The cupcake shops in Yorkville don't event sell there cupcakes for that price.

They need to consider changing their pricing...
Ana / August 17, 2011 at 05:20 pm
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Finally tried this place and was not impressed. It was basically the same cake (which looked like a muffin) with a different icing. The cake wasn't very good either, it lacked flavor and was very dense, not light or fluffy.
Sophia / September 29, 2011 at 10:34 pm
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Oh these cupcakes were bad. My vanilla was undercooked, when I brought this to the staff's attention. The girl rolled her eyes and didn't say sorry. Don't waste your time or money. You'll get better service and a properly baked donut at Tim Horton's next door!
Rosanna / October 19, 2011 at 05:30 pm
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This has to be the worse place in the city for cupcakes. The cakes were extremely dry and the frosting was very sweet and gritty. Maybe they were day old cupcakes? There was a dog in the shop when I visited, I thought there were bylaws re: live animals in food establishments?
Terry / October 21, 2011 at 11:15 am
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The cupcakes here are good if you are comparing to the kind you get at a grocery store.
Even The Cupcake Shop has better cupcakes and that not saying much.
If you want quality cupcakes that look and taste better there are much better places than
this place. And from the star rating on the top of the page, many people agree.
Maybell Dixon / November 9, 2011 at 06:41 pm
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Cupcakes at this place are of poor quality. My cupcake was dry and had no flavor what so ever.
Douglas / November 22, 2011 at 06:50 pm
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I didn't like the cupcakes here.
mary / December 12, 2011 at 12:55 pm
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The cupcakes are fresh, but so very very sweet and sugary. They hurt my teeth and stomach when I actually finish one. I don't want to feel like sh*t after I eat a cupcake. Thats not right.
katrina macdonald / December 12, 2011 at 08:35 pm
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the cupcakes at prairie girl are absolutely amazing, ive never tasted better cream cheese icing. i enjoy simple cupcakes so these are perfect.
tannah / January 6, 2012 at 06:50 pm
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i'm sorry to all of you who don't like prairie girl bakery, but my cousin's girlfriend works there, and their cupcakes are amazing. she brought a box to my christmas dinner, and i honestly think they are SOO worth it. :) love you taylor
jen replying to a comment from Wazoo / February 6, 2012 at 01:00 pm
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ummm . . .you should try one before you judge . . . the cupcakes are larger than usual with more than enough icing
No no no / February 16, 2012 at 12:52 pm
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I went with a friend to the one in FCP and we had the Pina Colada cupcake. The icing was a bit sweet but it had some nice flavours going.

The cake part of the cupcake was not to my liking. I do not like the Buttermilk base and found it dry, bland and heavy. I threw it out after a few bites.

That said, people are still lining up like crazy for it.
Gene / February 16, 2012 at 06:35 pm
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Their cupcakes are awful - dry cake and really nasty tasting icing (similar to the Betty Crocker)
Katina / February 27, 2012 at 05:03 pm
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Not impressed with prairie girl cupcakes and not worth $2.95. Safeway has the same looking and tasting cupcakes for half the price.
Sarah / March 25, 2012 at 09:31 am
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Wow, there are so many bad reviews for this place! I didn't think it was that bad! I actually quite like it here... The large cupcakes are around $3 and it is a large cupcake. They are very sweet though, but I like them. I just usually can't finish a large one without feeling sick. I have tried the chocolate cake with peanut butter icing, chocolate cake with strawberry icing, red velvet with cream cheese icing, and the plain vanilla. The peanut butter was definitely my fave, I loved it!

They have weekly special flavours that are really good usually. Once I went there and it was peanut butter and jelly. Another time it was Reese flavored.

The location is very convenient for me. I usually go here on my way to union station at the end of the day!
Danielle / June 22, 2012 at 10:22 pm
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This is by far the best cupcake place out of anywhere I've tried in Toronto. The Cupcake Shoppe and Bakes & Goods near Yonge & Eglinton are disgusting - oily, crumbly cake and sickeningly sweet icing that all taste the same regardless of flavour. Prairie Girl has delicious options - yummy peanut butter frosting, delicious red velvet with cream cheese frosting - every cupcake was perfect. And people - cupcakes aren't meant to be healthy. They are a treat. Everything is good in moderation.
Susan / August 3, 2012 at 06:37 pm
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Love the cupcakes.....very tasty and fresh :) I am from Scarborough and we don't have many cupcake stores around. When l am visiting a friend on King Street I always try and stop in the store for my cupcake treat and then some ( take home treats ) I know at my neck of the woods cake-pops are the thing but I will stick to my cupcakes from Praire.......oh yes l must mention " Friendly Staff ". :)
Janelle / August 24, 2012 at 09:52 pm
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My delivery was over an hour late and some of the cupcakes were damaged due to the poor transport by the delivery person. All that, and the cupcakes were not good either. The experience was stressful due to the delivery being very late for an office event and receiving damaged cupcakes. Will never order from them again.
Cee / October 23, 2012 at 01:18 pm
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I just devoured a gluten free carrot cupcake and it was absolutely amazing! I was kinda worried after reading all of these crappy reviews, that it wouldn't be worth it. It was soft and fluffy and delicious! I would be quite happy to keep all of the bad reviewers away, so that there are more cupcakes left for the rest of us :)
Carmine / November 4, 2012 at 05:15 pm
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Gritty, very sweet cupcakes with loads of sugary icing. Not good.
Rox / February 5, 2013 at 01:37 pm
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The problem with Prairie Girl cupcakes is that the cake itself is very bland especially the vanilla. Chocolate is decent. The only taste you get is from the frosting and it can sometimes be overwhelmingly sweet. The best cupcake they serve is the red velvet original. The s'mores cupcake is also very good but be prepared as it is sweet overload. Don't think I could handle the regular size - only go for the minis anyway. After a while these cupcakes get boring as the cake is just too plain. A friend of mine makes homemade cupcakes that are so fluffy and tasty she puts this shop to shame. If she had a shop herself she would make a killing. And she makes boozy frostings like baileys, irish cream - they're light and tasty as heck. I will try the other shops on this list as I'm sick of Prairie Girl. I tried the Wedding Shoppe but I found it overhyped and didn't live up to its praises. I want flavourful cake and flavourful but not overwhelming frosting.
Nav / March 5, 2013 at 11:26 am
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I really dislike their cupcakes. The cake itself is flavourless, and I've always found the icing too buttery and sweet. And no wonder with 700 calories and 30 grams of fat in their regular cupcakes. That is so disastrous and isn't acceptable in any way. 300 calories - ok. 700? Get lost Prarie Girl. This is not the age for it. I can honestly make far tastier and healthier cupcakes at home. There are places where they do it better but those are mostly boutique shops a little far from downtown (I loved the cupcakes at this place called Flour Studio on Eglinton West). Do not like Prarie Girl at all :(
Ted / March 6, 2013 at 10:08 pm
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Best cupcakes in Toronto, hands down. Really friendly people too.
Prav / March 8, 2013 at 11:31 am
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I can't get enough of the Chocolate with Chocalate. Absolutely delicious and they are way too close to my work.
torontodude / April 30, 2013 at 07:55 pm
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on my way to the passport office on Victoria, i happened by Prairie Girl so picked up a 12 pack of minis. certainly abit pricey at $22 but worth every penny! wow! am used to the dufflet cupcakes at loblaws-maple leaf gardens which are abit tasteless but these...i've never had such amazingly flavoured cupcakes and icing. usually icing is just a bunch of sugary gloop, here they pay attention to it too and give it the full flavour treatment. run don't walk to Prairie Girl and trust me on this one
John / June 10, 2013 at 11:30 pm
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They do the same cakes, vanilla, chocolate and carrot with different icing = big deal. The cake part is bland and they put lots of icing = sugar. They raised their prices $3.25 is not worth it. The quality of the ingredients are cheap.
Luke / June 19, 2013 at 02:17 am
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I'm not sure how accurate this article is. There is a company called Crave Cupcakes in Alberta with the exact same cupcakes (give or take a few flavors). I was told by the manager at one of the locations that as a result of "Prairie Girl"- all workers at Crave must sign a confidentiality agreement. Reportedly, Crave cupcakes is a family recipe that Prairie Girl stole. I'm not sure why they failed to mention that she formerly worked at a cupcake shop in the article.

It's one thing to start your own company with a recipe that didn't have a proper clause, but another to say it's your own family recipe.
Gia replying to a comment from Luke / June 24, 2013 at 10:08 pm
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It's not the first time I've heard that this place was a rip-off of Crave in Calgary. Now it makes sense! Prairie Girl cupcakes are crap! Cheap tasting and no creativity, unless you call those tacky plastic decorations they put on their cupcakes artistic? And with 70grams of FAT in their chocolate cupcakes as exposed by The Toronto Star? Another reason to kick Prairie Girl to the curb.
Trish / August 2, 2013 at 04:38 am
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Low budget, ghetto cupcakes that's all I have to say.
Suzanne / August 22, 2013 at 10:10 pm
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They say they have 17 different flavours? That's a LIE. They have 17 different icing flavours but they use the same vanilla or chocolate cupcake. The red velvet I bought was dry, the icing was okay but I had to throw half of it away because it was very sweet and they put too much. Not a good first impression. Would think twice before I'd consider buying from them again.
DM / October 5, 2013 at 09:00 pm
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TWO WORDS: OVERPRICED AND OVERHYPED

I've had my fair share of cupcakes from around the city and Prairie Girl was a huge let down. The icing heavy and extremely sweet, and the cupcakes themselves were dry and basically flavourless. I ordered half a dozen and I stopped after red velvet and vanilla. Huge waste of money.
Dedria / October 8, 2013 at 02:49 pm
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My husband who eats anything with sugar told me never to bring home these cupcakes ever again. Horribly sweet with greasy frosting.
Sheree / October 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm
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Received a box of half a dozen mini cupcakes for my birthday. I love cupcakes and was looking forward to tasting them, since all cupcakes are good...not so though. I first tried the chocolate cupcake with peppermint icing, I ended up removing the icing and eating the cake, which was bland. Thought okay, that's just one flavour, so tried the golden buttermilk cupcake with strawberry icing, same situation, threw out the icing and ate just the bland cake. Tried one last cupcake, the carrot cake one, which was good, since it was essentially carrotcake and not a cupcake. I really wouldn't recommend buying cupcakes from here, since they were very dissapointing, you will find better cupcakes at the grocery store. I have another three cupcakes left still from the half dozen, I don't want to be wasteful but I'm going to throw them out. So sad, usually I look forward to eating cupcakes!
Nettie / December 5, 2013 at 10:38 pm
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This was absolutely the WORST cupcake ever!! I stopped in after a bit of shopping to get a cupcake. I got the red velvet cupcake, it was the driest cupcake ever. I think my daughter could have done better in an easy bake oven. I couldn't get past one bite, and the frosting was just as horrible. It tasted as if I had gotten it from the Dollar Store. Plus, the price for the cupcake was absurd. $3.25 for that cupcake was highway robbery. Honestly, I would not recommend this bakery to anyone....not even my enemies. Even they deserve better than what this bakery has to offer.
Chuck / December 11, 2013 at 10:11 pm
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Tried a peppermint candy cane and it was awful. Had a funny medicine taste.
Jacquie / December 20, 2013 at 09:02 pm
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My cupcake had hair in it!!! GROSS! I had high hopes after reading these fantastic reviews but besides the HAIR in my food, I also found the cupcakes on the sweet side. I much prefer subtle sweetness rather than piles and piles of sugar.
Maggie / January 23, 2014 at 11:36 am
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best cupcakes I have ever tasted - I had the vanilla and I have tried replicating this recipe - tried about 20 different recipes, but not as good - would love to get a hold of prairie girl's recipe.

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