As soon as I pitched this article, I realized I’d bitten off more than I could chew (cheesy pun intended). I liken cupcakes to the Hemsworth brothers: it’s impossible to pick a favorite. Rather than narrowing my list down to the best bakery (cupcakery?) in Austin, I’ve taste-tested my way around Austin and found several I love.
Each of the following bakeries offers cupcakes with distinct characteristics, guaranteed to satisfy a sweet tooth anywhere within Austin proper. You can also check the business websites for information about custom or advance orders.
Without further adieu, here are my current favorite cupcake bakeries in Austin, with specific flavor recommendations for each.
1/ Capital City Bakery
Capital City Bakery is one of the first I visited when I moved to Austin a few years ago. After a run around Town Lake, I used my GPS to find the nearest bakery. Kristen Davenport’s was the closest, and I’ve been a fan ever since.
The confetti cupcake and carrot pumpkin are regulars in my carb-loading arsenal. While I’ve spent years scraping icing off cake (it’s just not my favorite), I lick the icing here off a spoon or the to-go container itself. No shame.
The peanut butter cup and fauxstess are also winners. The icing is really incredible, and I’m partial to cupcakes with texture less dry than traditional cake. Oh, and did I mention the bakery is entirely vegan? How they craft such yummy creations without milk or eggs, I’m not sure. I just know I need them to not stop. Ever.
2211 E. Cesar Chavez St. – Website
➡️ Keep reading: “4 Places to Find My Favorite Cheesecake in Austin”
2/ Hey Cupcake!
When nostalgia calls, it asks for Hey Cupcake! Is its signature rotating cupcake a beacon, guiding you to your favorite traditional treat? Sure seems like it. Simply delicious, The Classic (chocolate cake, vanilla buttercream top) and Sweetberry (strawberry cake, strawberry cream cheese top) flavors deliver a gourmet, homemade taste I can never recreate at home.
With a consistently great taste void of overly fancy toppings, Hey Cupcake! is an Austin staple with locations both north and south. There’s even a Hey Cupcake! vending machine at Lakeline Mall (upper level, by the elevator near the food court).
1511 S. Congress Ave. – Website
3/ Polkadots Cupcake Factory
With a whimsical interior and several rotating daily specials, cupcake breaks at Polkadots Cupcake Factory could easily become part of your regular routine. Owners Olga and Ben Lee’s bakery is near The University of Texas campus, at the intersection of 28 1/2 Street and Rio Grande.
Five daily flavors are offered, and each day of the week features its own flavors, as well. Check the website to see what your new favorite might be.
Polkadots’ Black Bottom cupcake won me over. Decadent, but not overly rich, the chocolate cake with cream cheese and chocolate chips guarantees a flavorful cupcake that isn’t dry or crumbly. I normally eat my cupcakes with a fork to avoid a mess, but these are easily eaten by just peeling off the wrapper. I personally tested this by eating several on the car ride home (you know, in case the first was a fluke; you’re welcome).
2826 Rio Grande St. – Website
4/ Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery
Thank goodness Quack’s 43rd St. Bakery serves espresso, since their cupcakes are Texas-sized (you’ll need caffeine to counteract the sugar coma). If you’re not looking to indulge, mini-sized flavors are also available.
The chocolate cupcake with whipped cream filling is a yummier version of my favorite childhood Hostess snack. The mildly-flavored chocolate cupcake, filled with an airy, inner whipped core, is topped with a chocolate ganache-like icing that is simply irresistible. It’s one of Quack’s classic flavors, so it’s regularly available.
Other classic flavors, such as carrot cupcake, have quickly become favorites of mine, so I couldn’t be happier to hear Quack’s baked goods are expanding beyond the original location in Hyde Park. Owner Art Silver plans to open Captain Quackenbush’s Coffeehouse and Bakery in South Austin, on Manchaca Road near Stassney.
➡️ Keep reading: “5 Places That Serve Outstanding Pecan Pie in Austin”
5/ Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop
With south and east locations, Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop offers a variety of classic and seasonal flavors beloved by many. My friend’s sister insists on getting the Sprinkle Bomb whenever she comes to visit, while my favorite is the red velvet.
Olivia and Steve O’Neals’ bakery features a wide variety of flavors with high-quality ingredients. If you’re an icing fan, you’ll appreciate the generous dollop of icing that sits atop these creations. Lemon cake happens to be one of my other favorites, although it’s sometimes hard to find. Luckily for me, the Sugar Mama’s closest to me carries the Jack’s lemon cupcake when I’m in the mood for a tarter treat.
1905 S. 1st St. and 2406 Manor Road Suite B – Website
➡️ Keep reading: “Keeping Austin Sweet at Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop”
I’ll be the first to tell you to take these recommendations with a grain of
salt sugar. The type of texture, icing, and ingredients you prefer will determine your favorite, and I’d love to hear your verdict in a comment!
@theAustinot wants to know:
Where can I find your favorite cupcake in Austin?
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