Chef Chat, Part 3: Candace Nelson of Sprinkles Cupcakes

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This week we had a chat with Candace Nelson of "Sprinkles" Cupcake emporium, located in Highland Village (see first two installments here and here). I brought some sample cupcakes home, invited over some friends and popped open some dry champagne. We all ate until we were in blissful sugar comas.

Interestingly enough, we all had different favorite flavors. Nelson's favorite is chocolate with chocolate, and though I might expect chocolate overkill from this creation, the fine quality of the Belgian chocolate made this a delicious choice. My personal favorites were the Valentine's editions. One was a chocolate cake with tiny chocolate bites and a rose petal-pink raspberry frosting that was utterly perfect.

A play on the Red Velvet infused with Red Hot Candies was a nostalgic bit of fun, though some people didn't particularly care for the hint of spice as much as I did. The traditional Red Velvet was moist, crumbly, and topped with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. It was easy to see why this was a best-seller - it was consumed in less than 30 seconds.

The Food Bank cupcake was white on white and tasted good, but had nothing on that raspberry number. A friend was beyond attached to a chocolaty marshmallow version that she said tasted like "the best version of a Ding Dong you could imagine." Again, it's that return-to-childhood-but-better mentality that makes people Sprinkles fanatics. White cake with chocolate frosting, chocolate cake with white frosting, yellow cake with chocolate frosting; not one morsel was wasted. Another friend wasn't fond of the frosting to cake ratio, but I was extremely pleased with the thick smear of high-quality buttercream.

Nelson told me that the cupcakes are baked several times per day to ensure constant freshness, no matter what time you visit, and this dedication to detail was clear. There were also doggie-safe cupcakes, and soon there will be child-size (or diet) cupcakes. Gluten-free is available by request, and seasonal flavors will be introduced throughout the year. The milk at the shop is organic, and the drinking chocolate tastes like a luscious cup of molten cocoa.

Though some consider the cupcake boutiques overly pricey and indulgent, I find Sprinkles to be the perfect spot for a treat and a little taste of sentimentality.

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