I love cupcakes, really I love any kind of cake. So last week while I was in Washington I made it my mission to find cupcakes, and I scored big. I came across Pinkabella cupcakes while in a shopping mall and asked if they had any gluten free ones, and the woman said of course! Well, color me surprised. I was actually met with a yes every time I asked that question pretty much everywhere, not exactly something I’m used to. But back to my story, the woman went to grab what they had left (yes they do sell out). She came back with vanilla with vanilla frosting, vanilla with strawberry frosting, and vanilla with chocolate frosting. I picked the vanilla and strawberry frosted ones just because they were prettier. In fact it’s another selling point for this company- they actually make an effort with their gluten free cupcakes. So often I go into a bakery and the regular cakes are decorated all pretty and the gluten free ones just have some frosting slapped on there. Way to make your customers feel like an afterthought. But at Pinkabella all of their cupcakes look the same regardless of gluten free status. The only difference is the wrappers. Gluten free ones come in a white wrapper and regular ones are in a black one.
Now it’s nice that they’re pretty but lets be honest- looks aren’t everything. If it tastes like cardboard and wasn’t prepared in a safe manner none of that matters. I asked in more than one location and was assured that they are prepared separately. I actually ran into a woman who’s been in their kitchen and she told me a little about how they do it and answered my many questions. They have a small kitchen and while they may be making gluten containing cupcakes at the same time they are each done in their own space. Gluten containing products are prepared in their own pans with their own utensils and never the two shall meet! There’s also two people baking at the same time and they don’t swap off. They bake every day so what you’re getting is fresh, but when you buy them they will be frozen (but they’re happy to microwave it for you). They take about an hour or two to defrost (perfectly) on their own and I recommend that as the microwave defrosted the cake but not the frosting the one time I tried it. They also take special orders so if you see a seasonal one you want you can request a dozen or more. I don’t know about the regular ones but was told they pick new flavors to bake for the week every Monday. In my experience each of their four locations (although they’re opening another) had different stuff. So if your suddenly in the mood for a specific flavor call around.
The cupcake above is a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting (the vanilla frosting is always pink) and it was amazing (if not completely defrosted- I just couldn’t wait). My son saw it and started running in his stroller. He loves them as much as I do. I will say that while they are expensive, they’re worth it. The cake is never dry and crumbly, or bland. It’s always moist and holds together like a “real” cupcake. I read some reviews on yelp and a lot of people complained that their regular cakes are tasteless, I have not found that to be true with the gluten free ones. There are others who feel the same way, so they’d be crazy to do away with them as it seems like they’re a big seller. In fact I was told they’re very popular in store and that makes me really happy, I hate to see gluten free things discontinued. I know they’re more difficult to make and more expensive but there are lots of people who rely on them. They’re frosting is worth mentioning too. So often cupcake places make this sickeningly sweet frosting and you have to scrape most of it off. Not these, you’ll want to eat every last bit (and maybe get a frosting shot to eat separately!). It’s just that right amount of sweetness no one else can seem to get right.
Here’s their website, http://www.pinkabellacupcakes.com
So if you find yourself near Seattle check them out! They’re definitely worth any drive and they have a number of locations. There’s one at at the Southcenter Mall which is right next to Sea-Tac. And another at Bellevue Square Mall which is an absolutely fantastic shopping center.