Whimsical Cake Studio: Garneau Edition

have a soft spot for Whimsical Cake Studio (I have to stop myself from referring to them as “Whimsical Cupcakes” every time). Whimsical was one of the first full-time cupcake purveyors in the city, before the cupcake colonization of Whyte Avenue. It was also their cupcakes that initially drew me to the City Centre Market, where I now spend nearly every Saturday morning between May and October. Moreover, picking up a couple of their cupcakes was an annual tradition for a few years running, the perfect single-serving treat to help ring in a friend’s September birthday.

Whimsical Cake Studio at the City Centre Market

Edmonton’s cupcake landscape has changed in the past few years. Several home-based cupcake businesses have sprung up, as well as Flirt, The Cake Studio, and two locations of Fuss. Whimsical Cake Studio was tucked for several years in the suburban recesses of Riverbend, where I only had the opportunity to visit once, but this month, they moved into their renovated, more visible location right next to the Garneau Theatre (the best news about their move, besides the fact that combined with T2, daCapo, High Level Diner and the Sugar Bowl, among others, this little strip is a force to be reckoned with, is that a walkable cupcakery crawl is now possible!). Mack and I checked our their new digs over the weekend on our way home from the Old Strathcona Farmers’ Market.

Whimsical Cake Studio

It’s a bright and beautiful space, hues of sweet baby blue and cotton candy pink contrasting with the stalwart heritage brick. A small seating area with brightly coloured, albeit a haphazard collection, of lounge chairs occupies one side, right next to a sprinkle station (too cute). I love how customers are able to peer into the open bakery, between the racks of still-cooling and just-iced cupcakes. Prices are slightly cheaper than nearby cupcakeries ($2.75/cupcake vs. $2.95 and $16 for half a dozen).

Interior

Sprinkle station!

Cupcakes galore

We picked up four cupcakes to share with Mack’s Grandma later that night – raspberry, cookies and cream, Smarties and hazelnut chocolate. They hit the spot – moist and not too sweet, we all enjoyed them (I loved the addition of crushed Smarties on mine too – the extra crunch and pop of colour made it more fun to eat).

Our cupcake bounty

I’ll be back to Whimsical Cake Studio some time, most likely in combination with a coffee at daCapo or T2, or before a movie next door at Garneau. Note also that Whimsical is hosting their grand opening on April 17 – nothing says happiness like free cake samples!

Whimsical Cake Studio
8716 109 Street
(780) 988-2253
Monday 11am-5pm, Tuesday-Friday 10am-7pm, Saturday 10am-5pm

Cupcakes!

I am not afraid to admit that I have a cupcake fetish, or at the very least am in the midst of a cupcake phase.

Ever since Magnolia Bakery hit it big in New York, gourmet cupcake shops have been springing up in major centres across North America. Even Edmonton, as small as we are, currently supports four cupcake franchises: two physical stores and two home-based businesses.

  • The Cupcake Shoppe: a home-based business, they deliver, and have sold their product at St. Albert’s Outdoor Farmer’s Market in the past. I haven’t yet had a chance to try out their cupcakes, so I will withhold judgment until then.
  • BabyCakes Bakeshoppe (6861-170 Street): a cupcake bakery and tea room, I just read about this location in the Edmonton Journal. I will be sure to make a stop there sometime soon.
  • The Cupcake Bakeshoppe & Cafe (17298 Stony Plain Road): I visited this cafe a few weeks ago with a friend of mine, and after much anticipation, I was sorely disappointed. The cafe itself was quite charming, but the cupcakes were not what I expected. Because they were refrigerated, it was hard to determine whether or not they were freshly made. Moreover, the icing was of the buttercream variety – not sweet enough for my tooth. The server explained that they only use imported Belgian fruit purees in the icing, but to me, the strawberry icing atop “The Diva” tasted strangely reminiscent of artificially-flavored Pocky. I will return sometime soon, if not only to try the ‘cakes that they had sold out of (“The Don” especially), but I will remain cautiously optimistic.
  • Whimsical Cake Studio: another home-based business, they are clearly my favorite (with the best website too!). They also deliver, and sell their product at the St. Albert and Downtown Farmer’s Markets. Over the summer, Whimsical was profiled in the Edmonton Journal, which is where I discovered the company. I had my first taste of their cupcakes at the city centre market, and felt even more privileged when I managed to score the last two they had for sale that Saturday (yes, there was a little boy behind me in line. No mercy when it comes to cupcakes). The ‘cake was obviously freshly baked, and the icing was a little taste of heaven – sweet, but not overwhelmingly so. If you’re interested, Whimsical will be setting up booths on November 4 & 18 at Churchill Square. Details here.

An unidentified Whimsical cupcake (picture courtesy of a coworker with a talent for photography).

EDIT: on a cupcake-related note, I discovered Johnny Cupcakes clothing today. They make one cute shirt.