Food, San Francisco, TravelSan Francisco Cupcake Crawl

As I’ve mentioned before (and before, and before), I have quite an addiction to cupcakes. In my mind, no vacation is complete without a cupcake crawl, and I always seek out and plan my route before my arrival. My San Francisco vacation was no exception, as I visited four cupcake bakeries; believe it or not, we even missed a few, and I actually learned there IS such a thing as cupcake overload!

Cako Bakery

Our first stop was newly opened Cako Bakery, located in bustling Union Square. Cako’s interior is minimal and teeny-tiny, so we decided to buy our cupcakes and run. Cako’s cupcakes are huge and beautiful, but overpriced at $3.50/cupcake. I sampled the Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcake; the peanut butter buttercream topped with crunchy salted peanuts was a delicious combination, but the cake was uninspired and boring. Cako offers many traditional flavors, as well as fun varieties like S’Mores and Andes Mint Chocolate Chip.

Kara’s Cupcakes

Our next stop was Kara’s Cupcakes. Kara’s actually has two locations, but we visited the one in the Marina/Cow Hollow. Kara’s is fun, pink, girly, and basically everything you’d expect in a cupcakery. One thing I REALLY like about Kara’s is that every flavor is available in miniature sized! I also love that Kara’s buys locally and uses as many local ingredients as possible. They are also “green friendly”, and everything from their beautiful packaging to store design take environmental factors into consideration! At Kara’s I opted to sample the Vanilla/Vanilla and Pumpkin. The Vanilla/Vanilla was very heavily flavored with Madagascar bourbon vanilla, which was a nice change from the bland vanilla cupcakes I’ve had too often. If you’re a fan of pumpkin, and especially cream cheese frosting, you have to try Kara’s version; the pumpkin flavors were super intense, and the cream cheese frosting was tangy and smooth! Kara’s mini cupcakes retail for $2, and their regular cupcakes are $3.50.

That Takes the Cake

Our third destination was That Takes the Cake, located just a few blocks from Kara’s on Union Street. That Takes the Cake is tiny, quait, and shabby chic. While there’s no indoor seating, there were some tables outside, which we quickly snagged. That Takes the Cake is known for their Red Velvet, so I was sure to try one of those, as well as their “Opposites Attract”, which is a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter buttercream frosting. The Red Velvet cupcake was very disappointing (dry, tasted just like chocolate), but the Opposites Attract did not disappoint! The cake had chocolate chips in it, which added a strong chocolate flavor and nice texture. The peanut butter buttercream was delicious, although I would have liked a little more frosting. Mini cupcakes from TTTC are $1.50, which regular sized are $2.95. They also have cocktail-themed cupcakes on Friday and Saturday nights!


The last destination, which I literally stumbled upon is Sweet, located in the Castro. Sweet offers a wide variety of candies and baked goods, but they have a nice selection of miniature cupcakes. I sampled the Vanilla/Vanilla; you could literally see the specs of vanilla bean in the cake, and the ratio of cupcake to frosting was perfect!

By the time I got to Sweet, I was seriously cupcaked-out, something I never though could happen. Hopefully my appetite for cupcakes will reappear on my next trip (I’m SURE it will, actually), and I’ll be sure to hit up other notable cupcakeries, like Cups and Cakes Bakery, sweetiecups, Sweet Things, and others! In the meantime, if you attempt a San Fran cupcake crawl, or can recommend any other crawls in the country, please let me know. Once my appetite is back, I’m not ruling out another roadtrip!


  1. Intern Sarah  |  1 December 2009 at 1:08 PM

    I totally want to go on cupcake crawl NOW

  2. Bridget Houlihan  |  15 December 2009 at 12:24 PM

    This Cupcake Crawl looks awesome! Makes me want to pack my bag for San Fran. 🙂 If you’re looking to Cupcake Crawl in Chicago, Chicago Bites can help you out with tested routes by neighborhood, price, or cupcake type; public transportation directions; and tips and tricks. Chicago has some serious cupcake game!

  3. Lauren N  |  18 August 2010 at 3:33 PM

    Dont bother with Cako, its in union sq so the quality/cost ratio is ridiculous considering they take advantage of tourists.
    I am always on the look out for the perfect cake to frosting ratio!

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