Oh My Tasty: Church of Cupcakes, Denver CO

Church of Cupcakes

I tell you, sometimes fact is stranger than fiction. And so here is a tale that involves not only delicious cupcakes, but my big burly dad, a tricycle, and maybe a little sweet gosel. Yep: here is the tale of how my big burly dad found himself fixing the cupcake trike at Church of Cupcakes in Denver.

I was in Denver, among other reasons, to visit the Craftsy HQ. I have written a number of scintillating articles on important subjects such as How to Make Nanaimo Bars and How to Make Crumb Cake and How to Make Butter at Home for these people, and I wanted to meet them. It was a great experience! Here I am with the editorial staff I usually work with. Cute, right?

My dad was with me in Denver, and since we were a little early for my appointment with Craftsy, we decided to get our cupcake on. Naturally, we headed over to Church of Cupcakes. Don't you already love them based on the name?

We knew we'd found the place when we saw this outside.

Church of Cupcakes

Well, technically I've already been here, but it had a different name the last time I went: Lovely Confections. That name was sweet, this one is cheeky. I love them regardless of the name. 

As we got there, we saw proprietress Porsche fiddling with the cupcake tricycle, their mobile cupcake delivery system.

Church of Cupcakes

Immediately, my manly-man dad stepped in to see what he could do.

Dad at Church of Cupcakes

My dad is a tinkerer. When we were little, he was a garbageman--wait, I think you're supposed to use the word sanitation worker now?--and he loved to collect...well, junk. But he'd turn the junk he collected into treasures, such as the coolest bikes ever, which he pieced together from a wheel found here, handlebars found there. Seriously, they were the coolest bikes on the block, as well as the next block over. 

While he tinkered, Porche met Porkchop the pug for the first time (she's long admired him on facebook), and I ogled the cupcakes. 


Oh, what cupcakes. We picked up a box of four: vanilla-vanilla, pumpkin ("Oh my Gourd!"), chocolate-salted caramel, and honey. Not long after, me and daddio busted into the box. He had the salty caramel frosted chocolate; I had the lavender-infused cake with honey-lemon frosting. 

I should also pause to tell you how funny and cute everything is in Church of Cupcakes. Cute tees, glitter everywhere, funny puns. I am in love!

Church of Cupcakes

Tees Church of Cupcakes

Listen. I'll be straight up with you, and I would say the same to my dad: he's not what one might call a "mindful" taster. This puppy was gone in 2 bites.

But from his expression, and the fact that he said "that was very good" or something to that tone, it must have been great. The taste I was gifted was awesome: dark chocolate. Light, buttery sweetness. And yummy salt. Perfection.

Church of Cupcakes

And listen. The lavender-honey-lemon variety. Believe it or not, I had without thinking about it chosen the exact thing I had chosen last time. And it was still so, so good.

It had a soupcon of lavender, but it wasn't perfumey by any means. It was delicate. But gawd, was it buttery. The honey-lemon made it taste slightly fancy, but it still had the simple appeal of vanilla. It was a cupcake that made me smile. 

Church of cupcakes

The other two varieties were devoured by my sweetest guy (not Porkchop). He ate both in about 2 bites (so like my dad!) but proclaimed them beautifully done.

Here I am with the owner.

Church of Cupcakes

I think that if you are in Denver, you need to visit. It's sweet and cute there! Perfect.

Church of Cupcakes, 1489 Steele Street, Denver; online here.

CakeSpy Undercover: Omonoia Greek Bakery, Denver CO

My appetite for Greek pastries was largely formed during my college years, when my BFF, James Papadopoulos, introduced me to the bakeries of Astoria, Queens, where there were cookies that shared his last name and so many other delicious treats to be discovered. 

So naturally, when I came across Omonaia Bakery in Denver, CO, I had to at least walk in and check out the wares. 

What might you expect, walking into this place? For one thing, owners or family (maybe both?) sitting at a table drinking coffee and talking animatedly. For some reason, this always seems to be happening at old-school bakeries, no matter what the ethnicity of the owners. 

For another, lots and lots of sweet treats. Including baba au rhum-looking things:

...cookies of all sorts, like Kourabiedes and Melomacarona:

...and of course, Galaktobouriko:

I went for the honey cookies, and let me tell you, these were tasty little morsels. I actually gnawed on mine as a sort of belated-breakfast-not-quite-lunchtime treat, and it was lightly sweet, scented with honey, lightly but not distractingly crumbly, and perfect to tide me over til feeding time.

A very sweet spot to visit--if you find yourself in Denver, hit them up (they're not far away from Lovely Confections, either!).

Omonoia, 2813 E Colfax, Denver, CO. On Facebook here.

Omonia Bakery on Urbanspoon

CakeSpy Undercover: The Shoppe, Denver CO

Sometimes, work is hard.

But sometimes, it's not. Actually, work was quite easy on the day it involved visiting and tasting treats from The Shoppe in Denver, Colorado.

The Shoppe's decor reminded me of the short-lived but much loved Chaos Theory in Chicago; a little quirky, a lot fun, with the real showpiece being the sweet treats enclosed in their small but well-stocked baked goods case.

But what to go for?

Tres Leches cupcakes (pictured top) were a must--they looked to be absolutely oozing with sweet dairy deliciousness, and when put on a little plate, they left a little milky ring around the bottom, so saturated were they with the triple-threat of milky nom-ness. Choosing the mini size was a good idea though, because a little went a long way with these deliciously dense treats.

Second up? The Pezzimenti, because, well, that's one I hadn't seen before. Turns out, the Pezzimenti is a banana cupcake filled with Nutella, topped with peanut butter frosting--that is to say, how could it possibly be bad? The cake was quite pleasing but the real star was the double-nutty plus chocolate frosting, which was smooth and rich and I would totally eat it by the spoonful if given the opportunity.

Of course, there are many other tempting flavors, including seasonal specials--for instance, if you were to walk in today, you might find flavors like Peaches and Cream, Colorado Cherry, or the "Michael Jackson" -- described as "A Vanilla cupcake filled with decadent chocolate truffle and topped with both white and dark chocolate frosting".

And with that, I decree that you are in Denver, you should make an effort to visit The Shoppe. They are located at 3103 East Colfax, Denver; online here.

Shoppe on Urbanspoon

Biscuit Time: Biscuit Cinnamon Rolls Recipe for Serious Eats

What happens when you combine biscuits with cinnamon rolls?

A few things, as I discovered when I recently came across something called the Biscuit Cinnamon Roll at the Denver Biscuit Company. On a technical level, the combination yields a biscuity, dense and substantial roll with a deliciously crisped edge and gooey, sweet interior. But if you want to get poetic about it (and you just might), by melding these two twin titans of carbohydrate awesomeness, you've got a decadently delicious and addictive tour de force that just might change the way you look at morning sweets forever.

Here's my homemade re-creation of this Denver delicacy.

Note: The biscuit portion of the recipe is adapted from The New York Times.

Find the full entry and recipe on Serious Eats!

CakeSpy Undercover: Lovely Confections, Denver CO

I am absolutely enchanted by Lovely Confections in Denver, Colorado.

And it wasn't just the altitude getting to my head.

Owner Porsche Lovely (yep, her real name) has a charming little spot in the Mile-high city, and when I recently had the good fortune to visit, I found her not only friendly, but willing to dish tips on high-altitude baking as well. 

She's honed her art of high altitude baking through trial and error, finally finding the right balance to yield cakes that have a perfectly moist crumb and perfect dome (just a few of the things that can go wrong with high altitude baking? Collapsed domes from when the cake lacks structure, and dry, crumbly cake (unbalanced from baking too hot), too much spread (from the sugar, which needs to be slightly reduced in higher altitudes). And she's earned her degree in high-altitude baking; she's recipe-tested for Warren Brown, and writes a blog called The Elevated Kitchen. 

But enough ed-u-ma-cation, because I know that you're really here for the cake.

I picked up "the Bee's Knees", a honey-lavender confection. 

The cake was nice and dense but not leaden--a nice, buttery-dense, with a little hint of lavender (not too strong; subtle). But it was the frosting that really took the cake--a mellow, buttery, honey and lemon-scented cap on the cupcake that made me want to lick my fingers. Next time I visit, I simply must try the Chocolate Salted Caramel!

See for yourself; visit Lovely Confections at 1489 Steele Street, Denver CO; online here.

Sweetness on the Fly: Hope's Country Fresh Cookies, Denver Airport, Colorado

True: we were only in Denver for about an hour, on a flight layover on our way to the magical land otherwise known as New Jersey.

But we still found time for some sweetness.

It was delivered by way of a sprinkle-topped sugar cookie from Hope's Country Fresh Cookies, a sweet spot nestled in Concourse A. 

I am not going to lie to you. This wasn't a life-changing cookie. It was a solidly decent cookie, of the ilk of the sturdy sort you'd find at a deli or grocery store, but with a fuller, more buttery flavor. 

But on an airport layover, when time and food choices were at a premium, this cookie was just what we needed.

Hope's Country Fresh Cookies, Concourse A, Denver Airport.

Cakewalk: A Guest Blog Guide to Cupcakes in Denver, CO

Denver Cupcake Tasting!
CakeSpy Note: Curious about cupcakes in Denver, CO? Happily, CakeSpy buddy Laurel (who is not only a cupcake aficionado but an exceedingly talented handbag designer) was kind enough to do a cupcake run with some friends on a recent visit. Here's a roundup of the adventure:

Despite being located so close to cupcake-infused L.A., San Diego suffers from a disappointing lack of cupcake shops - only two! Depressing. On a recent trip to Denver, my awesome sister-in-law Miranda (of Three Things) and her awesome friend Rachel (of Rainy Morning) took me on a Denver cupcake tour to help me get my fix. Our plan was to visit five shops in one afternoon and pick out one cupcake from each shop to take back to Miranda's place so we could compare the cupcakes side-by-side. Not surprisingly, we deviated from the whole "one cupcake from each shop" plan by the second shop, buying at least two from the last four shops we visited. We had such a good time, we thought we'd invite you all to join us so next time you're in Denver you can complete the cupcake circuit yourself!

Big Fat Cupcake, Denver CO
Shop 1: Big Fat Cupcake

Impressions of shop: Big Fat Cupcakes is very cute. They had two big display cases (probably because their cupcakes are indeed big and fat!) and lots of adorable cupcake art on the walls. There wasn't a whole lot of seating, so it might be more of a take-it-to-go sort of place.
Big Fat Cupcake, Denver CO
Two adorable little girls in aprons were wiping down the front of the pastry case, and the guy behind the counter was very helpful (and patient!) while we decided which cupcake we wanted.

Cupcakes Tasted: Orange Creamsicle filled w/pastry cream


Miranda: They weren’t lying when they called their shop Big Fat Cupcakes. Of course this makes them a bit more expensive than the average cupcake which would foil my typical plans to buy several cupcakes so I can sample more flavors. Anyway, the cake flavor and consistency was great but I was not a fan of the frosting. I’m a thick buttercream lover and the frosting at Big Fat wasn’t tough enough to make an impact to me. I was also a little let down by the flavors. Instead of infusing the flavors into the cake or frosting, I felt like they just crumbled up different kinds of candy and put it on top of the frosting. HOWEVER, they did have a lot of options for cupcakes with filling…which I love. If you are very hungry and want a cream filled cupcake, you will want to check Big Fat’s out.

Laurel: Holy crap, this was a big cupcake. The flavors were good - the orange frosting went well with the vanilla cake and pastry cream. The pastry cream was very tasty and just the right consistency, and I liked the lightness of the cake, but the frosting was just too thin for my preferences. I like heavier buttercream and this was too light and airy. The flavors were really fantastic though. I think this was my 11 month old's favorite. If you like a more whipped consistency to your frosting, this is the place for you.

Rachel: Hmm, probably my least favorite. Not much flavor to the cake, and the frosting was too oily, like others have said. At least they have a cute seating area where you could enjoy your cupcake!
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Lovely Confections, Denver CO
Shop 2: Lovely Confections

Impressions of shop: Lovely Confections looks like a swanky little coffee shop. It would be a nice, relaxing place to hang out and do your Sunday crossword puzzle. We were all totally smitten with the huge jars of sprinkles displayed off to the side of the register.
Lovely Confections, Denver CO
The owner was really friendly and talked with us about her flavors and a recent cupcake tour she did in New York.

Cupcakes Tasted: Strawberries & Cream (eaten in store), Raspberry Lemonade, Chocolate/Chocolate


Miranda: These were some fantastic cupcakes. While eating the cupcake, I got the impression that the baker knew what she was doing by making a solid cake and equally solid frosting. The strawberries and cream cupcake had frosting full of flavor and cake that could stand up to the fork. I would have liked the raspberry lemonade frosting to have more flavor, and I was disappointed in the chocolate cake. I feel like I should explain that I have a nearly insatiable sweet tooth, and I’ve rarely had a dessert that is too rich. Therefore, while the chocolate cupcake was really good, the cake wasn’t as rich as I wanted it to be. The frosting was spot on and thick like I like it to be. I’m reading Laurel’s review as I write this and I see that the chocolate cupcake was too rich for her…I guess you can’t please everybody. Lovely confections is a definite hit with their fruit flavored cupcakes and perfect if you enjoy dense frosting.

Laurel: The vanilla cake here is amazing. It's light and had a strong vanilla flavor. I'm a huge frosting fiend, but I'd happily eat this cake by itself. Of course, that would be a sin, since the the fruit-flavored frostings we tried were fantastic too. As I said earlier, I like thicker frosting, and the frosting here is thick, generously applied, and delicious. The raspberry lemonade cupcake was yummy as well, with the raspberry frosting standing out to me over the lemon cake, but both complimented each other well. I think if you're a chocolate lover you'd really like the chocolate cupcake, but alas, I'm only a chocolate liker, so it was a little overwhelming. The frosting was thick and almost fudgy, and the cake a little denser than the non-chocolate cakes we had. I appreciated that neither were super sweet so the darker chocolate flavors shined through, but it was just too rich for me.

Rachel: Oh no! I just realized that I’m not eating one of these right now, and that made me sad. I completely agree with Laurel and Miranda here, hands down the best cake. Moist, with substance, and solid flavor. Good frosting too – nice and creamy and piled high. I loved their sprinkles, each had a mix of colors and shapes, some with glittery bits. A very girly experience. Although they had ample seating for eating, I didn’t want to stay very long. It felt like I should be showing the proprietor my wedding portfolio while we discuss guest numbers. Formal, is the word.

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The Shoppe, c/o Laurel
Shop 3: The Shoppe

Impressions of shop: The Shoppe is the place we'd most like to hang out. We loved the variety of fun cupcake flavors, we loved the decor (the art in particular), we loved that they're open super late on the weekends. It's also a cereal bar! It's just a fun, happy place to be. If we hadn't been in a hurry to hit all the cupcake bakeries before they closed, we would have spent more time here. The staff was super friendly too, which is always a plus. Also, they had a cupcake with a toy surprise in the middle. How awesome would that be for a little kid?
The Shoppe, c/o LaurelThe Shoppe, c/o Laurel

Cupcakes Tasted: Nutella, Lemon Blueberry, S'mores (mini)(eaten in store), Death By Chocolate


Miranda: I was beside myself trying to pick which cupcake to get from The Shoppe. They have so many fun combinations and they’re all so beautiful it’s hard to not try to stick your finger into all of them. The Nutella cupcake that we bought ended up being my favorite cupcake of the entire trip. I’ve been trying to find a great dessert that includes Nutella (after a boiling over disaster at a friend’s house that you’re not going to ask me about) and this was just what I was looking for. The frosting was a great consistency, I LOVE the hazelnuts sprinkled on top, and the cake was nice and rich. The blueberry lemonade cupcakes were tasty, but they were more like muffins than cupcakes to me. The Death by Chocolate cupcake (while fantastic) was probably my least favorite from The Shoppe. It came close to finding the ceiling of my sweet tooth (though don’t worry, it didn’t) but I think if you’re not a fan of frosting, wouldn’t be able to handle their Death By Chocolate cupcake. Maybe you would realize that just by looking at it and not choose that particular one (I don’t know, I’m not you). Overall, the cake was a little less dense but still delicious with a healthy dose of yummy frosting.

Laurel: After missing the s'mores cupcake from Trophy the last couple times I've been in Seattle, I was SO excited to find a s'mores cupcake here. I ate it on our way out of the store, but I was pretty let down. There were some crumbled graham crackers on top and a couple mini marshmallows in the frosting, but they got lost in all the chocolate. It tasted like a chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting. I mean, I like chocolate cupcakes, but I wanted a strong marshmallow flavor to go with the chocolate and it was not there at all. The other two cupcakes were great though. I think the Nutella cupcake might be my favorite from all the ones we tried; the hazelnut flavor was strong in the cake and the frosting was a good consistency - not as thick as at Lovely Confections, but thicker than Big Fat Cupcakes. The hazelnuts provided a nice crunch too! The blueberry lemonade was tasty as well, but the cake tasted a little more muffiny to me than cakey. The cream cheese frosting was great too, nice and tangy. Excellent frosting-to-cupcake ratio if you're a frosting lover!

Rachel: My favorite of the bunch. Fun fun fun place. A huge variety of interesting flavors with piles of frosting like you would make as a kid. But the décor is what gets my vote, not just the cakes. It’s the kind of place where you want to allot at least an hour for conversation and eating. Inspiring books and artwork surround you. Very relaxed and hip.
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Yum Yums in Denver, c/o Laurel
Shop 4: Yum Yums

Impressions of shop: Yum Yums is very bright, clean, and modern. They had some cake and cupcake displays set up near the door that were gorgeous. They had some other desserts in their display case that looked awesome, like this double-decker chocolate & vanilla rice krispie treat, but since we were on a cupcake tour we refrained from buying anything else.

Cupcakes Tasted: Chocolate Mint, Boston Cream (I think?)


Miranda: I only got to try the Boston Cream cupcake from Yum Yums. I don’t know how the chocolate mint got away from me but I have no recollection of it. The frosting was disappointing to me which took away from the deliciousness of anything having to do with Boston Cream. As I said before, I’m a thick frosting girl. I like to take the bottom off of my cupcake and make a frosting sandwich. This frosting couldn’t stand up to such behavior. The cake was a nice consistency though and there was a good amount of filling for a small cupcake.

Laurel: The flavor of the chocolate mint was great - the chocolate and the mint complimented each other nicely, neither overpowering the other. I wasn't crazy about the frosting though, and I really wanted to be since there was a lot of it. I think it's an Italian buttercream, so it's lighter than the frostings used by most shops, but it left my mouth feeling greasy - almost like a grocery store frosting (though it tasted much, much better than grocery store frosting does). Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to taste the Boston Cream cupcake. I wish I had, it sounds good.

Rachel: This place felt kind of old school. Unoriginal designs, mediocre tastes. Nothing particularly bad about them, but I can't say there’s any reason I would ever want to come back.
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Happy Cakes in Denver, C/O Laurel
Shop 5: Happy Cakes

Impressions of the shop: Happy Cakes is super cute. We loved looking at the wall decor and the gorgeous aprons for sale. Unfortunately, there's nowhere to sit! Our husbands met up with us and we wanted to have a cupcake or two before going back to Miranda's, but the nearest seating belongs to another little shop. It's really too bad; they've made such a warm and homey atmosphere in the shop that you want to sit down and spend awhile there.
Happy Cakes in Denver, C/O Laurel

Cupcakes Tasted: : S'mores, Coconut, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Pom Pom (vanilla frosting, chocolate cake, Trix topping)


Miranda: Happy Cakes has a special place in my heart (there’s a picture of my baby-cakes on the wall for cryin’ out loud) so I’ll try to keep that bias out of my review. I had a S’mores cupcake and was satisfied with the consistency of the frosting and cake, but not so much with the flavor. Where was the marshmallow taste? I know that during previous visits, the marshmallow buttercream had more flavor than it did on the day we visited. Could there be a difference in the quality from day to day? I love Happy Cakes’ sturdy buttercream frosting, and the cupcake as a whole is perfect for turning into a frosting sandwich. Like The Shoppe, the frosting to cupcake ratio is perfect for me although their flavors may not be as intense.


Laurel: Another s'mores cupcake! This looked like it had marshmallow buttercream, so I had higher hopes, but again, they were dashed. The frosting tasted like a basic vanilla buttercream. I liked it fine as chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, but I wanted to taste the marshmallow and it was completely missing. Sadness. The chocolate cake was also a little dense for my tastes. The coconut cupcake was good - I liked the cake, and the frosting was great - not too sweet, lots of coconut. I liked the frosting to cake ratio on that one as well (though as I mentioned earlier, I'm kind of a frosting fiend).

Rachel: A cute little shop in a swank neighborhood. Too bad there’s no seating to enjoy their tasty cakes! They have the best frosting. I’ve been a bit disappointed in the options when I go there. Maybe I’m too late in the day or go on the wrong day, but I feel like I’m always peaking at their weekly calendar, wishing they had something that isn’t available just now. Too much space dedicated to plain old chocolate and vanilla. The decorations on the frosting are both creative and classy, from simple dragee pearls to Trix cereal orbs on their PomPom cupcake. There’s room for improvement with these ladies, but I’m happy to go to a place out West by me instead of driving out to East Colfax for Lovely Confections or The Shoppe.

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Conclusions: Our overall favorites were the Strawberries & Cream from Lovely Confections and the Nutella cupcake from The Shoppe. Those two shops along with Happy Cakes are the places to go for a thick buttercream and a variety of rich flavors. If you like a lighter frosting, Big Fat Cupcakes and Yum Yums are the places for you. No matter where you are in Denver though, you're not far from a delicious cupcake or two! Or 16...the final number of cupcakes we bought. (Also, if you are in fact interested in going on a cupcake tour of Denver, you should get in touch with Rachel and Miranda since…you know…they live there and they’ve already mapped out the route. Just sayin’.)