Friday, May 29, 2009

fuss cupcakes - edmonton, ab

fuss cupcakes
10441 82 ave

I finally made my way down to Fuss Cupcakes this past Sunday. While I had snuck by on a few previous jaunts down the Ave, I was always without my camera. The store is located below a bar and beside a pizza joint which almost creates a perfect eating trifecta - pizza, beer, cupcakes!

Fuss Cupcakes is the second shop of its kind to open on Whyte Ave this year, with Flirt Cupcakes opening on Valentines Day. The store is deep with most of the space dominated by seating. This is quite a contrast to Flirt's more shallow setup and made me wonder how they could fill such a big space with cupcake eaters. I remembered Sharon's post when I looked at the menu board, and realized how they may fill the space. Along with 16 different cupcake options, they server specialty coffees, teas, gelatos, and 'fussy floats'.

Fuss, while appearing new, is actually The Cupcake Bakeshoppe & Cafe reinvented. The new name and branding seems to be a play on their 'attitude'. The back of the menu card states they are 'fussy' about everything they do. From the 'world class ingredients' to their fussy about nuts statement (100% nut free), they ask you to taste what all the fuss is about.

A few tables were occupied when I arrived and as I looked around for 10 minutes before ordering, I noticed they did steady counter service. The staff was helpful, even offering to fill the trays with more cupcakes for my pictures. What a crazy offer no? And speaking of cupcakes, there was plenty. Where Flirt has smaller, albeit more beautiful displays, Fuss is definitely going through a serious amount of cupcakes. Along with the counter supply you see in the pictures, they were making more which I think could easily fill the display once over again.

On my visits to Flirt I usually end up getting a couple of treats each time; feeling the need for cupcake overload I decided to just get a bulk purchase from the get go. So with so many options, what did I get?

Clock wise from the top left;
Cherry Cheescake - cherry cake with cherry cream cheese icing. Cake was good with a red tint but the icing was average.
Purple Haze - chocolate cake with Madagascar bourbon vanilla icing. This cupcake lasted through the night and was still delicious the day after. The chocolate cake was dense and the icing had a perfect sweetness. I don't know what I should have been looking for with regards to the Madagascar bourbon though. Anyone?
Scarlet O'Hara - red velvet cake with cream cheese icing. A big fan of red velvet cake, I was delighted with this offering. It was dense with a rich cocoa flavor and topped beautifully with cream cheese.
Jungle Fever - marble cake with marble icing. The icing was sweeter than Lemon Aid and the mix of chocolate and vanilla batters created a really light base.
The Diva - vanilla cake with strawberry icing. The sweetest icing of the group but it delivered a strong strawberry flavor.
Lemon Aid - vanilla cake with lemon icing. Moist and dense like the Purple haze, with nice tart/sweet icing mix.

After consulting with the staff, this selection gave me a good idea of what they offer. It incorporated 4 different flavor bases (chocolate, vanilla, marble, and red velvet) and 3 icings (marble, cream cheese, buttercream). I found the icing at Fuss to be in a more realistic proportion with the cupcake, as well as infused with more flavor. I'm not a big fan of over the top icing, something I find with most cupcakes on the market. I find the shorter iced cupcakes allow you to take a bite of your treat without getting icing all over your nose or having to come at it from a crazy angle. All the cupcake bases were good with some slight differences among the group, and they didn't suffer from 'crunchy' top like Flirt. But really, like comparing many things on different days and at different times, there is no straight winner. Some like Coke, some like Pepsi.

Being on the Ave the night before my visit I noticed they were open quite late. I think these 'extended' hours, along with their coffee and ice cream options will entice more than a few evening diners for a post-meal snack. With, in my opinion, a better location than Flirt, an open and more welcoming store front, and a wider array of cupcakes, Fuss is definitely throwing down a serious challenge to Flirts early domination.


Marianne and Zed said...

I had the Cherry Cheescake yesterday evening... you're right about the icing lacking, but in general I found it pretty oily - maybe it was because they had likely been sitting for most of the day?

I did also enjoy the icing ratio with their cupcakes though... in general the icing is my least favourite part. I always end up scraping off a lot of the icing on most cakes, but this was pretty well done.

Anonymous said...

FYI ..Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean is supposed to be the best natural vanilla's not supposed to taste like bourbon, it's just what it's called..I've tried Fuss as well and I much prefer them to flirt, I could really taste the quality in Fuss.

Chris said...

MandZ - I'm glad you understood my icing ratio idea. Like you, I end up scraping so much off usually which is a shame, because so many cupcakes depend on the icing for 'flavor'.

Anon - Thanks for the info, learn something new everyday!

Isabelle said...

I just visited Fuss for the first time tonight. I wasn't really impressed with it at all - I tried the Full Minty, chocolate cake with mint icing. The cake was average, but the icing had almost no taste and was way too oily. I know I've only tried one but I like Flirt better. I agree Fuss' concept may make them more successful, but if Flirt continues with the quality of their products I hope they'll succeed too.

Chris said...

I hope they will succeed as well Isabelle, I've always enjoyed my time in Flirt, as their personality really shines. I think it may just go to show how difficult it can be to produce consistent tiny cakes. And with the flavoring who knows..not enough mixing, flavor etc..

Like I mentioned, it's hard to compare at the end of the day.

Sarah said...

Giggling a little - these reviews are identical to my own. The cupcake base was superior to the ones offered at Flirt, but the icing was too oily. I had the full-minty and some sort of raspberry cupcake and while the flavour was great, the texture of the icing was what I'd imagine liking a the top of a margarine tub. For $3 a pop, Flirt will still get my money - crunchy cupcake top or not.

Anonymous said...

I went to Fuss on Thursday afternoon and WOW. They claim world class ingredients...and no doubt. They were amazing and I personally loved the icing. That is some high quality buttercream icing. My personal opinion is that it is a amazing mix of butter to icing sugar whipped just right. I never found them oily at all. I prefer Fuss over Flirt anyday!!! Flirts icing tastes like safeway :(

Anonymous said...

I was really turned off by Flirt's "crunchy cupcake" - to me, that's just wrong. Fuss is consistently moist, and you can really taste the butter in their icing - that's probably what makes it more "oily", because although shortening tends to stablize icing and give it a longer shelf life, it also kills the flavour and quality of the icing and sticks to the roof of your mouth in a bad way. Fuss cakes don't do that. Also, I like that Fuss gives you a plate, napkin and fork and/or an actual container for your cupcake! Flirt tried to offer me a single napkin "to stay" and A PLAIN BROWN PAPER LUNCH BAG for my "to go" cakes! Ick.

Fuss wins.

Chris said...

I don't know of this brown paper bag option. I've yet to see or hear of anyone this has happened to. I quite enjoy Flirt's to-go boxes and find them very attractive. Unless things have changed, maybe a thriving business (out of stock) is what kept them from giving you a box. I do find their cupcake boxes do a better job than the plastic available at Fuss.

There is definitely a line drawn by some here, but I hope we can keep both in business. The more options on Whyte, should mean we get some creative flavours and creations. Flirt for example, is now offering orange creamsicle.

Anonymous said...

I got offered a brown paper bag too!! If you buy one , that's what they give you, if you buy more than one they give you the pink box which may look attractive, it doesn't keep the product fresh like Fuss' plastic packaging. I went to Flirt a couple of times cause I live in the area ( before Fuss came along ) , now Fuss will always have my business.. what's funny to me is that it seems like a lot of people feel sorry for Flirt and give them ALOT of undue praise , maybe cause their location is inferior or this is Fuss' 2nd location so maybe people feel bad for the little guy? Fuss (who used to be the Cupcake Bakeshoppe) was the 1st cupcake bakery in the city!!! It's almost like cause Flirt was first on the Avenue , people feel bad for them cause Fuss is doing so well - Fuss is THE ORIGINAL Cupcake Bakery in Edmonton and Flirt just ripped them off!!...that's why Fuss is dominating the cupcake market, cause they've been doing it the longest and in my opinion have earned it!

Anonymous said...

That's a good point! I don't think the people that write these articles realize that ! My wife and I have used Cupcake Bakeshoppe- now Fuss Cupcakes- for at least the last 3 years for birthdays and such..and as far as I know Flirt has only been open a few months? My wife and I saw an article ( I believe it was in the journal? ) and the way it was written it was like the people at Flirt just came up with this genius idea, yet Fuss has been open and operating for years- probably before the owners of Flirt even thought of doing can def tell the difference experience makes between the two business'...Fuss' branding , their huge cupcake selection, down to how elaborate their cupcakes are iced - by far more professional than Flirt .

Anonymous said...

I quite prefer flirt myself - I just went to fuss today to compare, and I just found they didn't do that much for me. The icing had good flavor, but it was way to skimpy and oily. I find flirt has a good icing ratio without being overdone. I also find the staff there very friendly. Fuss feels too commercial, I like the small bakery feel of flirt.

Anonymous said...

Cupcakes are cupcakes. Is anyone else wondering why the Fuss owners seem to be posting so much anonymously?????

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