Here at Short Order we strive to bring you lists you can't live without. For this particular roundup, we visited many, many places, trying both a standard vanilla (because if they can't do that right, what can they do?) as well as the shop's best-selling flavor. We checked moisture content, consistency, density, and icing-to-cupcake ratio. We scoured the streets and sampled many a treat, all to give you a certified guide to find Miami's best cupcakes.
10. Misha's Cupcakes
Many might gasp at the placement of this staple cupcake enterprise at the bottom of our list, but these cupcakes were a touch mediocre. The moisture content was through the roof -- in a bad way. We're all for richness, but when we bite into them, the last thing we want is for them to disintegrate before we can take a second bite. It was also a put-off that no employee we questioned could tell us what actually went into the cupcakes (i.e., natural versus artificial, local versus nonlocal ingredients, etc.). But hey, we didn't find out what went into Twinkies for ages.
9. Two Girls and a Cupcake
Don't let the name sour your taste buds -- these girls are baking some sweet treats. They are big on representing Miami in everything they do. They even have a whole menu of cupcakes named for streets and popular places in Miami, such as the Coconut Grove cupcake, featuring a double dose of coconut in both the cake and the icing. Keep it up, ladies.
8. Contenti Cupcakes
These guys have some crazy unique flavors such as banana bacon berry and spiced apple caramel. We like the fact that the cupcakes taste true to their names. If you wanna grab a few pink lemonade or chai tea cupcakes, you can find them at farmers' markets on the weekends. They also bake to order, so give 'em a ring and stock up. You'll be glad you did.
7. The Cupcake Diva
These cupcakes taste great, but the pillowy-soft frosting had us wondering what this diva's secret was. Danielle says it's all about the fat-to-sugar ratio. Her cupcakes are fluffy with a nice density and are topped with a cloud-like frosting, which although piled high is as light as cotton candy.
6. Burr's Berry Farm Strawberry Cupcakes
Way down in the Redland lies a farm known for its sweet strawberries. They bake them into the most delicious artisanal treats. Burr's makes shakes, cookies, breads, and -- best of all -- strawberry cupcakes. These sweets have a perfectly moist consistency and are jam-packed with fresh strawberry flavor.
5. Buttercream Cupcakes
Buttercream makes large cupcakes in simple flavors, and although that simplicity might turn some customers away, we believe this place is onto something. Each huge cupcake is lightly topped with icing, which to us is the perfect cupcake-to-icing ratio. No one likes to dig through a mountain of icing only to find a meager thimbleful of cake at the bottom. The friendly staff is willing to explain the details of the cupcake-making process, and the locally sourced ingredients shine in these flavorful cupcakes.
4. LA Sweets Cupcake Lounge
LA stands for Letty Alvarez, and she is the main baker at LA Sweets. She and the rest of the staff say they're "inspired by competition to create something new that people will like." They also say they were the first to come up with the guava cupcake and remain the only ones in Miami to incorporate guava into the batter itself and not just squeeze it in as filling. These small, delicately sweet cupcakes have just the right amount of icing.
3. Sugar Yummy Mama
This cute little dessert mobile can be found at food truck rallies. The bright pink van hosts a large array of cake pops and full-size cupcakes. They're rich, delicious, and obviously baked with care. The quality of ingredients is far superior to many of the aforementioned contenders. Sugar Yummy Mama knows whats she's doing in the kitchen, and her cakes sure do taste like Mama used to make.
2. Bunnie Cakes
These are some of the tastiest little cakes we've ever tried, and when we heard they're not only gluten-free but also vegan, we knew we found something special. Owner Mariana started the company because she couldn't find a half-decent vegan birthday cake for her son anywhere in the city. Not wanting to let him down, she baked something he and many others would never forget. Now, Bunnie Cakes are a vegan's dream come true. Fluffy and sweet, they boast icing that's creamy deliciousness. We dare you to eat just one.
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1. Sweetness Bake Shop
And it all comes down to numero uno. Sweetness makes the top of our list because its cupcakes are simply better than the rest. They have the perfect density, consistency, moisture, flavor, and icing-to-cupcake ratio. Beyond all of that, the menu is 275-plus flavors long, and we were hard-pressed to find one we didn't like. Sweetness passed the test with its delectable vanilla version (Thrilla-in-Vanilla), whose cake and icing were embedded with vanilla beans and heady vanilla flavor. It was damn hard not to eat them all. Sweetness is number one because it is without a doubt the best place to get cupcakes in Miami.
Honorable mention: SpecialTea Lounge, for defying the ugly cupcake = muffin myth with its scrumptious double chocolate muffins; SweetCakes Edibles; and Stella's Sweet Shoppe.