Atlanta Bakery Tour 2011

Before I left for school earlier this month, I had an opportunity to go bakery hopping with my mom and my aunt. We ate countless cupcakes and traipsed all over my favorite city, Atlanta. Let me tell you, there are a lot of bakeries and cupcake specialty shops all over this city. So when I get a chance to open my own, it better be epic, because I'm going to have a lot of competition.

But while I'm figuring out what my future bakery is going to hold, let's check out the current offerings from Atlanta's bakery scene. Now, I've never claimed to be a food critic, so bare with me. I'll probably use the words "cute" and "delicious" a lot, so be prepared!

1. Belly General Store

We tried the piña colada and red velvet cupcakes. They also had a peanut butter & jelly on their menu, but weren't offering it when we were there, so that was slightly disappointing. The cupcakes were pretty good, a little dry, but they didn't taste bad. They had a whole store thing going on, though, so it wasn't like their business depending solely on cupcakes. They sold bagels, breakfast/lunch items, candy, and other eclectic items. In fact, the whole store was this little eclectic country store. Rustic furnishings and all. I really liked the atmosphere, plus the giant bowls of candy was awesome.
Belly's Store Front.

OK, now we're talking cupcakes. The ACF has only been open for a couple of years (I think the lady behind the counter said 4) and they have won so many awards since then. In fact, they had an entire wall covered in newspaper clippings and plaques and awards. Which I don't blame them for at all. They had a "half off" sale for all day old cupcakes, so we bought half a dozen. Without the half-off price, these little guys were more expensive than the bigger Belly cupcakes, but then, ACF is a cupcake-only kinda place. Also, they were decorated a little more elaborately, which Aunt Jess says means they can charge more. She did do the whole marketing thing in college, so she would know, right? :) The flavors were red velvet, salted caramel, diablo (spicy chocolate), coconut, German chocolate, and browned butter with rosemary and pine nuts. I realize that the browned butter one sounds really weird, but trust me, it was good. Their icing? Was amazing. I'd eat a bucket of it, especially the one on the salted caramel cupcake. The diablo didn't taste very spicy at first, but the heat definitely hit you in a surprising way. The red velvet was really moist, and you couldn't tell that any of them were a day old. ACF tied for a my favorite bakery, because their cupcakes tasted delicious and because the people who were there were the nicest and friendliest.

Aunt Jess was ready to dig in!

Cute little store front.
3. Joli Kobe

This was a bakery that I found online, but had never heard of before. We were stuck in traffic en route to another bakery (which I don't think we ever arrived at...) so we just pulled in to check it out. It's really more of a cafe than a bakery, and no cupcakes. :( Mom did buy a loaf of raisin bread, which she started eating as soon as we got back to the car. They had nice bathrooms and the whole cafe was very business-y and upscale.

This picture may or may not be sideways, unless you tilt your head to the left.

4. Cami Cakes

Cami Cakes ties for first place (along with Atlanta Cupcake Factory) in my eyes. First of all, it's super cute. Do you see their logo on the van?! And that was just the first preview. I really wanted to check this bakery out, so I'm glad that we just happened to drive past it. Cami Cakes also has 2 locations in Florida, which I'm sure are equally cute and delicious. The entire inside of the store is bright pink with brown accents, and they have these awesome wooden trays where they line up their cupcakes. And behind the counter? Trays and trays and trays of cupcakes. You know they do good business.

Mom, Jess, and I tried the Elvis cupcake and white chocolate raspberry, both of which were the epitome of perfect cupcakes: flavorful, moist, falling apart (but definitely in a good way) with sweet, creamy frosting that was not too heavy like I always think mine is. The Elvis was chocolate and peanut butter and banana, obviously. And the white chocolate was actually a chocolate cupcake, which I'm pretty sure was filled with some kind of raspberry deliciousness, and topped with white chocolate buttercream, more raspberry deliciousness, and yes, even a fresh raspberry. My cousin's birthday was also that day, so Jess bought him a chocolate peanut butter cupcake. I hope he liked it, because I know I would have. :)

Our final destination of the day was Lenox Cupcakes, which was, oddly enough, inside of the mall. And not just any mall, but the really swanky mall that I wouldn't be able to afford anything in (which might explain why these cupcakes were more expensive). We tried a sample cupcake, which was pretty good, but since we were all stuffed from cupcakes and Vortex burgers, we didn't buy any cupcakes. The M&M ones looked cute, however. Oh! I did get an I <cupcake> ATL t-shirt, courtesy of my mom. It's awesome and I plan on wearing it everywhere.

So that was my bakery hopping adventure. I'm pretty sure I gained about 30 pounds that day, but it was so worth it. Aside from the traffic and a parking ticket and not having a big enough stomach, the day was super fun. And there were about 10 more bakeries on this list, so maybe this summer, we can do it again. What do you think, guys?! :)