S.F.'s Top 12 Cupcakes To Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth ASAP

If there's one nouveau ethos that we've been happy to adopt, it would be that of "treat yo self." And there's really no better time to indulge in self-centric care than around Valentine's Day, when red, pink, and chocolatey treats tempt you at every turn.
So, we figured it was only appropriate to eat our way through the city (once again) in a quest to uncover our town's very best cupcakes. Sure, the little hand-held delicacies might scream 2005 to some, but they've never stopped being epically tasty. Especially in the culinary paradise that is S.F. — where chefs are perpetually whipping up inventive cakes and icings that will make you consider deviating from your go-to red velvet.
Advertisement
Need proof? Browse through our roundup of a dozen delectable cupcakes. Trust us, if you weren't hungry before, you will be now.
1 of 12
Dulce de Leche Cupcake At Black Jet Baking Co., $3
Originally made as a special request for a bride, we're so glad Gillian Shaw, owner of Black Jet Baking Co., decided to keep this cupcake in her regular rotation. Close your eyes, pretend you're in South America, and sink your teeth into this vanilla-bean-cake badboy, filled with salted dulce de leche, creamed with (also salty) caramel frosting, with an extra dollop of dulce de leche on top for good measure. Mouth watering? Just make sure you order these babies ahead of time (or via Good Eggs), since they aren't sold at the Ferry Building kiosk on the daily.
Black Jet Baking Co. at the Ferry Building, One Ferry Building, Shop 38B (on the Embarcadero); 415-845-9925.
2 of 12
Most-est Cupcake at Noe Valley Bakery, $3.10
Still lamenting the dearly departed Hostess CupCake? Drown your sorrows in this little slice of heaven over at beloved neighborhood joint Noe Valley Bakery. Built out of a moist chocolate cake, filled with white Bavarian cream, topped with chilled chocolate ganache, and finished with a curly white-chocolate swirl, it's pure yummy nostalgia.
Noe Valley Bakery, 4073 24th Street (at Castro Street); 415-550-1405.
3 of 12
The Samoa Cupcake at Sift Cupcakes & Dessert Bar, $3.25
Another childhood throwback, The Samoa over at Sift is reminiscent of the famed Girl Scout cookie of the same name. This decadent number, crafted out of coconut cake, a chocolate-ganache filling, caramel frosting, and rolled in toasted coconut, also holds bragging rights as a Cupcake Wars champ! Coconut not your thing? Go for The Battle Royale, instead. It's an almond cake with blueberry tequila filling, topped with acai-berry cream-cheese frosting. Or, yanno, just get both. We did.
Sift Cupcakes & Dessert Bar, 2411 California Street (off of Fillmore Street); 415-580-3030.
4 of 12
Chocolate Coconut Cupcake at Kara's Cupcakes, $2 mini, $3.25 regular
Despite the fact that back-to-back coconut cupcakes appear on this list, we have to admit, we're not even huge fans of the flaky white stuff. But here's another little muffin that's turned us on in a major way. Perhaps it's the combo of perfectly moist chocolate cake and just the right amount of coconut cream-cheese frosting piled on top. In any case, pretty much everything at this Marina shop is TDF. Plus, gluten-free folks can get in on the fun, too, with four flavors (chocolate coconut, vanilla coconut, chocolate velvet, and sweet vanilla) made specially for them.
Kara's Cupcakes, 3249 Scott Street (at Lombard Street); 415-563-2253.
Advertisement
5 of 12
Ice-Cream-Stuffed Cupcake at Cako Creamery, $4
And this, dear readers, is something we like to call reinventing the wheel. Seriously, why hasn't someone thought of stuffing a cupcake with a scoop of ice cream before? No matter, Cako Creamery in The Metreon has it figured out. Just select from the company's menu of cupcakes and mix and match them with your choice of ice cream (flavors include red velvet, strawberry cheesecake, bacon, mango, etc.) and go to town customizing your dessert. It's something like a birthday party in your mouth and we're absolutely smitten.
Cako Creamery at The Metreon, 135 4th Street (between Mission and Howards streets); 415-348-8885.
6 of 12
White Chocolate Raspberry Cupcake at SusieCakes, $3
Available only during February, this delectable cupcake is pure intoxication. Topped with a mound of sugary, old-school frosting (plus a pretty little heart), and raspberry-laced vanilla cake, this is a classic that we'd dare anyone to deny. And don't worry, everything in SusieCakes' arsenal is A+ quality, so even if you miss this monthly special, you won't be disappointed.
SusieCakes, 2109 Chestnut Street (at Steiner Street); 415-474-2253.
7 of 12
Salted Caramel Cupcake at Baker & Banker, $3.50
With a last name like "Baker," could we really expect anything less than perfection from Chef Lori at this Pac Heights neighborhood joint? Probably not. And boy does she deliver on the fresh-out-the-oven goods, including our prized pick, a dark-chocolate cupcake filled with salted-caramel and dark-chocolate frosting. Sound like ecstasy? It is. Pair it with Baker's much-lauded XXX Triple Dark-Chocolate Layer Cake, and you've got yourself one sweet Valentine's Day...no matter your relationship status.
Baker & Banker, 1701 Octavia Street (at Bush Street); 415-351-2500.
8 of 12
Pink Popcorn Cupcake at American Cupcake, $3
If you find yourself missing the grub served up at carnivals, we suggest you munch on this playful vanilla cupcake, with velvety vanilla frosting and housemade pink popcorn, for a quick jolt of nostalgia. The mega-fun, lip-smacking option is just one of over two dozen offered at American Cupcake, which also serves up gelato-infused specialties like a cupcake split and cupcake sandwich (soft-serve ice cream nestled between two cupcake tops, dipped in housemade chocolate or butterscotch Magic Shell).
American Cupcake, 1919 Union Street (between Buchanan and Laguna streets); 415-896-4217.
9 of 12
Gingerbread Cupcake at Miette, $3.25
This cupcake is almost too pretty to eat. Operative word: almost. Straight from the cult-followed Miette bakery, the gingerbread wonder is the company's all-time best-selling cupcake. And for good reason. Made with dark stout beer, sweet molasses, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom, then iced with cream-cheese frosting and topped with a delicate sugar flower, we consider it the cake form of Miette's famed gingersnap cookies.
Miette, 449 Octavia Street (at Linden Street); 415-626-6221.
Advertisement
10 of 12
Bananas Foster Cupcake at Cups and Cakes Bakery, $2.15 mini, $3.25 regular
Although it's often a shocker to us, some folks out there aren't into super-sweet snacks. And, thankfully, there's a cupcake out there that satiates this need. Enter Cups and Cakes Bakery, which not only offers tiny, bite-sized servings, but also relatively unsugary cakes combined with inventive frostings that channel root-beer floats, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Thai iced tea, and more. Our favorite of the bunch is the Bananas Foster, a combo of banana cake, brown-butter buttercream frosting, and caramel drizzle. It tastes so much like banana bread, we think it makes eating cupcakes for breakfast almost acceptable.
Cups and Cakes Bakery, 451 9th Street (between Harrison and Bryant streets); 415-437-2877.
11 of 12
Green Tea Cupcake at DeLise Dessert Café, $1.95
Known for its unusual, savory-sweet flavor combinations, DeLise Dessert Café also hosts a plethora of options for you non-sweet lovers. From a pumpkin cupcake with maple-bourbon frosting topped with candied bacon to a devil's chocolate version with dulce buttercream frosting, sea salt, and pink peppercorn, our top pick is the spongey green tea cupcake, filled with a "red bean surprise," and topped with sesame frosting. We're not sure this treat will provide all of the health benefits associated with the beverage itself, but we pretend it does.
DeLise Dessert Café, 327 Bay Street (between Powell and Mason streets); 415-399-9694.
12 of 12
Cinnamon Horchata Cupcake at Mission Minis, $1 mini, $2 regular
Hungry with only a few quarters to your name? We suggest you hit up Mission Minis, where the $1-a-pop cupcakes will surely satisfy your sweet tooth in no time (and money) flat. Keeping with the local Latino vibe, the Mission spot serves up a mean Cinnamon Horchata cupcake that's created by whisking the sweet Mexican drink into the cake batter. Topped with cream-cheese frosting and a sprinkle of cinnamon, we dare you to not shell out another buck and double down.
Mission Minis, 3168 22nd Street (between Mission and Capp streets); 415-817-1540.
Advertisement