Yesterday, I returned home to California after spending twelve days with my family in Georgia. They moved out there eight years ago for a multitude of reasons, but they often miss the special things that make the Bay Area such an amazing place. Whenever I visit, I sleep in as much as I can, I cook, I bake, and I eat. Boy, do I eat. So, when I read the Top 50 Cupcakes in America Slideshow article from the Daily Meal, I had to eat some cupcakes. Wouldn’t you know that the #1 cupcake in America is made right in Atlanta, Georgia? Well, I just had to try it. Yeah, it’s not dairy-free, but sometimes you have to sacrifice some things in order to get others.
The Atlanta Cupcake Factory is a tiny shop on NE Highland in Atlanta proper. On the same block happens to be a vegan soul food restaurant where my dad, step-mom, and I ate lunch the day we picked up our cupcakes. That place was tasty too, but in a different way (obviously). My dad and I had tried to visit the shop the day before, but they had sold out of cupcakes by 3:30pm (and they only opened at 11am!) so we decided to order our cupcakes over the phone and have them held for us so we could try them the next day.
The Factory has an ever-changing menu of delicious cupcakes they make. Every day, they whip up twelve to fourteen varieties, but, if you place your special order 48 hours in advance, you can order any of their flavors for special occasions. I was placed in charge of the ordering, so I asked everyone what they wanted. My younger brother wanted chocolate. My step-mom wanted sweet potato. My dad wanted EVERYTHING. He told me to order two of every kind of available cupcake, plus an extra sugar cookie/brown butter rosemary (The Daily Meal’s winning cupcake). That week, they had fourteen flavors of cupcake, which means we ordered a grand total of 29 cupcakes. The lovely baker told us that the cupcakes (minus the decorations) freeze well, so we didn’t have to scarf them down in two days (not that we wouldn’t if presented with no other alternative). We drove our hoard of cupcakes home and froze most of the cupcakes with the intention of each person eating one to two every day.
Yeah, right. One night, my dad managed to eat five whole cupcakes. They are on the smaller side, definitely smaller than muffins, but still: five cupcakes! I was impressed. My family decided that these were, in fact, the best cupcakes they had ever had (besides mine, of course). It was also decided that perhaps they should only be purchased on special occasions and not become an everyday thing. My step-mom is usually really good at avoiding sugar, but these were too hard to resist. The adults (me, my step-mom, and my dad) agreed that the sugar cookie/brown butter rosemary cupcakes were the best. My brother really enjoyed the chocolate/white chocolate peppermint cupcakes. I also found the sweet potato/bourbon cupcakes to be fantastic! All of them were delicious, but those three really stuck out to us.
The other flavors we tried were: chocolate/chocolate, gingerbread/pear, red velvet, sugar cookie/salted caramel, chocolate/chocolate salted caramel, orange cranberry, sugar cookie/vanilla, lemon/lemon, lemon/blueberry, eggnog bourbon, and sweet potato/brown sugar. The eggnog bourbon was pretty awesome, too, though the guy in the shop told us that the most popular cupcake they sell is the red velvet. I’m not surprised, but that one really didn’t stick out to me, or any one else. It was good, but not the best.
If you find yourself in Atlanta, Georgia, try to pick up some cupcakes at the Atlanta Cupcake Factory. If you want to be sure you’ll have some cupcakes to take home, call ahead and have them reserve a couple for you. According to the baker, they have many out-of-town customers who make large orders and take them home to freeze and slowly enjoy over a few weeks. If you can make them last that long, good for you! We could barely make them last four days.