Cupcakes are strangely divisive – some people consider them a subpar dessert and others (like us!) find them absolutely irresistible. What’s not to love about lighter than air cakes and decadent frosting all coming together in an adorably sized treat that can be easily enjoyed at parties, or as a well-deserved afternoon sweet break! While the cupcake craze caught on like mad in cities around the world (thanks in part to an iconic Sex and the City scene set outside NYC’s Magnolia Bakery), it flourished at a slower pace in Hong Kong and so, there aren’t an abundance of cupcake shops, but we all know that quality triumphs over quantity! In this list, you’ll find the best spots for all of us who know that cupcakes are the ultimate treat…
Sift is probably the first shop Hong Kongers think of when they are in the mood for a miniature delight, and it deserves credit for introducing Hong Kong into the cupcake foray. Ingredients are sourced from all over the world to give customers the ideal dessert experience. I guarantee that when you walk out of a Sift patisserie, you’ll be leaving with something extra in hand. The cupcakes on display look so tantalising that it is near impossible to leave with just one. The frosting to cake ratio is spot-on with the perfect level of sweetness that you crave.
Must order: The classics are really what you want to go for here…in my mind, the Red Velvet ($29) reigns supreme but people swear that the Salty Caramel Chocolate ($29) is certifiably addictive
Sift, multiple locations across Hong Kong, www.siftdesserts.com
Originating in Singapore with great fanfare, Twelve Cupcakes in Hong Kong offers its signature bites of heaven. There are always a few classic favourites ($28) for sale, but Twelve Cupcakes is constantly injecting innovation into the cupcake field by offering six special flavours changed twice a month, as well as three unique flavours for the whole month. It dials up the scrumptious factor some more by stuffing some of the cupcakes for added bursts of flavour…like say, a blueberry cupcake oozing with fresh and juicy blueberries. It’s also fun to pop by during holiday seasons to ooh and ah over the stellar seasonally designed cupcakes.
Must Order: Any special monthly flavour ($33 each and posted on its Facebook page) will be deeply satisfying but keep your eyes peeled for when a liqueur-centric concoction pops up
Twelve Cupcakes, multiple locations across Hong Kong, www.twelvecupcakes.com.hk
This dessert shop understands that vegans or those with dietary restrictions/allergies need to satisfy their sweet tooth, too! There are gluten-free, egg-free and dairy-free options so everybody will find something to their liking. Only real ingredients are used so you won’t find anything artificial; for example, the red colouring in the red velvet comes from wholesome beets. An added bonus – those who want to know exactly what they are eating can find all the ingredients and nutritional info on The Cakery’s website.
Must order: The divine Day Dreamer vegan chocolate cupcake ($42) is so good that you won’t notice the lack of milk and eggs!
The Cakery, Shop 303, Landmark, Central, Hong Kong
The Cakery, Shop 124, Lee Garden Two, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, www.thecakery.com
Sometimes when we indulge in something it has a negative connotation, but with Sweet Secrets there is nothing to feel guilty about. The team at the bakeshop prepares everything with the highest quality organic ingredients, foregoing refined sugar for coconut sugar and using nutritive coconut oil in its recipes. No one will miss out on cupcake joy at Sweet Secrets because it caters to any food intolerance, with options for vegan, gluten-free and paleo diets. In fact, there are 30 gluten-free options and they are genuinely more delicious than some conventional options out there. Stop by and have a chat with the wonderful owner, Sarah Lee, who is deeply passionate about creating great tasting desserts that can be enjoyed by the health conscious or those with allergies. She’ll guide you through the options that best suit your health needs.
Must order: If you have no dietary requirements, the Thrilla in Vanilla ($28) is sure to please, but the gluten-free and vegan Heaven’s Chocolate ($35) is an equally excellent choice!
Sweet Secrets, G/F, 35 Graham Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.sweetsecrets.com.hk
Feel the love at Kisses! Actually a franchise of ChikaLicious in New York (that we know from experience whips up amazing desserts), the cupcakes at Kisses live up to its American counterpart. Each cupcake really tastes like the flavour it claims to be and the texture is pure fluffy goodness with moreish buttercream frosting that will prompt plenty of mmmmm’s!
Must order: The show-stopping Ferrero Rocher ($33) that comes with a whole Ferrero in the centre!
Kisses Cupcakes, multiple locations across Hong Kong, www.kissescupcakes.com
Sweetpea Café serves tasty savoury fare, but its sweets are what you’ll leave singing about. The charming location on Shin Hing Street provides some respite from the hullabaloo of Hong Kong, which makes it a perfect spot for afternoon tea. There are beautiful gluten-free cakes and cupcakes, but keep in mind that everything is made to order with the freshest ingredients so cupcakes are not churned out everyday. To avoid disappointment, give the café a call to find out whether there are any cupcakes in store or order some in the flavour of your choice (by phone, Instagram or Facebook) to ensure they’ll be there. The staff are very friendly, too, which is always the cherry on top of the cupcake!
Must order: The Banana Salted Caramel or the Double Earl Grey ($65 each) balance bold flavour and sweetness masterfully!
Sweetpea Café, 4 Shin Hing Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.facebook.com/SweetpeaPatisserieHK
Phoenix Sweets’ creations, made with 100% real ingredients, really are a feast for the eyes and the tastebuds. Walk into the brick and mortar store in PMQ and be awestruck by the fanciful pastel-drenched cakes and cupcakes that would have made Marie Antoinette jealous! It’s no wonder that it specialises in custom cakes for events like birthday parties and weddings. So why not go for something unexpected at your party or wedding and order a bunch of pretty cupcakes instead of a standard cake? The patisserie always bakes a few standard flavours, but you can also try any one of the daily special flavours in store.
Must order: Rose Buttercream and Earl Grey Cupcake ($35) made with fair trade earl grey tea leaves and organic rose water is full of complex flavour and doesn’t overpower the mouth with too much sweetness.
Phoenix Sweets, Shop S103, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong, www.phoenixsweets.com
Featured image courtesy of Pixabay Image #1 courtesy of Sift via Instagram, image #2 courtesy of Twelve Cupcakes via Facebook, image #3 courtesy of The Cakery via Facebook, image #4 courtesy of rachtsao via Instagram, image #5 courtesy of Kisses Cupcakes via Facebook, mage #6 courtesy of Sweetpea Café via Facebook, image #7 courtesy of foodsearchers via Instagram