Dots Cupcakes – Pasadena

Even though Dots Cupcakes is the closest cupcakery to my home, I’ve avoided trying it for months due to the prevailing negative sentiment on Yelp. In all my years of using the site, I have rarely encountered an establishment that was so overwhelmingly jeered. Everything from Dots service to the taste of their wares was ripped apart by user after user. Yelpers are a fickle bunch, so I usually take what they write with a heap of salt. However, when the consensus was clearly negative, I figured it was best to steer clear.

If it wasn’t for the sage advice of fellow cupcake-goers Sharon of Weezer Monkey and Pam of Rants and Craves, I probably would have never walked through Dots doors, and missed out on one of L.A.’s best cupcakes as a result.

Dots has two equally adorable locations in Pasadena—one in Old Pasadena and another on the Arroyo Parkway. The Astronomer and I visited Dots in Old Pas on a Saturday afternoon.

Cupcakeries are known for their sleek design and cutesy decor, and Dots is no exception. The small shop was so saccharinely decked-out that The Astronomer commented that he’d feel extremely self-conscious, bordering on embarrassed, visiting Dots without a girly companion.

Dots offers regular-sized cupcakes for $2.75 and minis for $1.50. The Astronomer chose a regular-sized Raspberry Cheesecake cupcake, while I went with a regular-sized Vanilla Chocolate cupcake. Both cupcakes were packaged inside a charming box even though they were going to be consumed on the premise.

After walking some ten-feet from the front counter to the window seating area, The Astronomer and I opened up the box and dug into our sweets. Dots cupcakes are ridiculously precious, with their creamy frosting swirls and sugary decal adornments.

My Vanilla Chocolate cupcake tasted as good as it looked. The cake had a firm but delicate crumb, while the frosting was just sweet and chocolaty enough. The ratio of frosting to cake was sensible and satisfying. Sprinkles Cupcakes still tops Dots by a hair because French chocolate sprinkles are infinitely superior to fondant flowers.

The Astronomer really liked his Raspberry Cheesecake cupcake. The texture of the vanilla raspberry cake was similar to my cupcake, while the cream cheese frosting was second to none. The Astronomer’s only complaint was the cupcake’s lack of distinct raspberry flavor. Additional fresh fruit atop the cupcake and in the batter would have easily solved this problem.

I was so stoked about the deliciousness of Dots cupcakes that I revived my idle Yelp account as soon as I got home; the gibberish reviews needed to be countered immediately.

POWER RANKINGS

Sprinkles Cupcakes > Dots Cupcakes > Vanilla Bake Shop > Crumbs Bake Shop > Auntie Em’s Kitchen > Yummy Cupcakes > Violet’s Cakes.

Dots Cupcakes
21 North Fair Oaks Avenue
Pasadena, CA
Phone: 626-744-7719

Dots Cupcakes on Urbanspoon

Dots Cupcakes in Los Angeles

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12 Responses to “Dots Cupcakes – Pasadena”


  • As usual, Yelp are full of morons….

  • The level of “precious” in cupcakeries can be overwhelming, but on the other hand I think it’s nice when bakeries make an effort. Whenever people travel to Paris, they comment about how beautiful the shops are and how much trouble the proprietors go to in packaging their wares. Then we get back to the US and complain that a shop is trying too hard!

    So for me, if a bakery (or any other food establishment) wants to dress up a bit, I’ll take it and be glad. I think we deserve it.

  • There is hate out there for Dots? WTF?! Like I said before, a trip to the courthouse for me is not complete without Dots. ;)

  • I can’t believe you went! Now, I really have to try it out…..you must come with me and try a different flavor…

  • Hooray for Dots!!!! And BOO to the yelper haters! So glad you tried it & liked it…as I said before, I lived on these whilst preggo (as you can see in my Blogger & Twitter icons)! I’m pretty sure my son has Dots in his blood. haha

  • Hey Gastronomer — unrelated to cupcakes, I read this blog post about a “guilty pleasure dinner party” and thought you might be interested in the idea — http://icanhascook.wordpress.com/2009/04/19/guilty-pleasures-dinner-party/

    You might also be intrigued by the Potato milkshake. Yes, it’s an Irish food blog.

  • You’re not alone in your praise of cupcakes! Indeed, it sounds like the fad is far from over. Let’s hit up some of these spots! http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo-cupcakes3-2009jun03,0,6376640.story

  • Those are almost too cute too eat! But I would. :)

    I definitely agree with the sentiment that Yelp reviews can be a bit of a mixed bag. As a pretty active Yelper, I have seen many places that I find perfectly respectable get reamed out for inconsequential factors or personal grievances. While I do consult Yelp before dining at a new place, I’ve learned to take the majority of reviews with a grain of salt. I focus on the opinions of those yelpers that I trust and know personally — the reviewers who are not just looking for something to complain about.

  • Their cupcakes are decent enough (better than Sprinkles but not as good as Violet’s just down the street) and they’re cute and come in nice packages, but the owner is a nightmare to deal with and the customer service was one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had. The girls behind the counter are consistently rude and full of attitude. I don’t know about their store on Arroyo, but I’m talking about their location in Old Town. For the customer service alone, I will not be going back to Dots. I only went there because Violet’s isn’t open on certain days, but now I don’t even bother.

  • Wait till you try “The Perfect Circle Cupcakery” – worst cupcakes I have ever tried in my life and I never, ever thought cupcakes could ever be bad. Ehhh maybe but bad?!?!?! I love Sprinkles’sprinkles too!

    AND you should totally have a cupcake cake – it would be splendid!

  • Violet’s?! Ugh. Violet’s is VILE.

  • I like precious! Nice post. Thanks for the info

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