Apr 2009

Violet's Cakes – Pasadena

A quest to find a local cupcake joint that can rival my beloved Sprinkles in Beverly Hills brought my friend Carissa and me to Violet’s Cakes. Unlike Sprinkles’ modern and sleek space, this shop had a homey, DIY kinda feel. Violet’s offers a multitude of flavors that change daily. Depending on what time one drops in, there can be up to fourteen varieties or quite a few less. When we visited on a Friday afternoon, there were ten or so flavors to pick from.

Carissa chose the Raspberry Lemonade ($3.25), which she said was tart and sweet with just a hint of “fruity goodness.” The one bite that she shared with me registered as one-dimensionally sweet. Too sweet, really. The bakers need to lay off the sugar and embrace more lemon juice and zest.

I picked the Chocolate Chip cupcake ($2.50) since it was the closest one Violet had to my favorite combination of yellow cake with chocolate buttercreme frosting. By the way, all of Violet’s cupcakes are double lined—there’s a regular paper liner underneath the outer aluminum one. We thought that was very peculiar.

My cupcake contained chunks of chocolate chip cookie dough within the batter, which was a pleasant surprise. Compositionally, the cupcake was very Pamela Anderson-esque—top heavy, if you will. The cake was too squishy and fluffy to balance out the thick, sloppy swirl of frosting on top. I also disliked how the frosting had a thin, hard outer shell due to the substantial lull in between baking and eating. The sprinkles atop the cupcake, especially the bulbous pink ones, were terrible as well.

When I go out for cupcakes, I expect to consume a product that is better than what I can bake at home. Unfortunately, this was not the case at Violet’s.


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

Violet’s Cakes
21 E. Holly Street
Pasadena, CA 91103
Phone: 626-395-9821

Violet's Cakes on Urbanspoon

Violet's Cakes in Los Angeles

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8 thoughts on “Violet's Cakes – Pasadena

  1. harsh! but i agree. if you’re spending a couple bucks on a cupcake, it darn well be better than the ones you make yourself. in your last photo, the cake looks way to squishy as well, and not dense like the sprinkles variety. ick.

  2. Ooh, I love yellow cake with chocolate frosting too from way way back. The thick lumpy frosting appeals to me, too bad it wasn’t worthy.

  3. Is being like Pamela Anderson such a bad thing? She was married to a couple of rock stars!!!!
    And an awful lot of people think she is pretty HOT!!!!
    I prefer a light and springy cupcake to the Dry and Dense cupcakes you seem to favor.
    I LOVE the chocolate frosting at Violets Cakes it is so fudge like and delicious!
    Also their raspberry lemonade cupcake is really good. The one I had was full of flavor and
    had plenty of Zest in it, and the price was 2.75 not 3.25.

  4. Oh goodness, Violet’s makes my favorite cupcakes in L.A. *because* theirs are very homemade-tasting and not bizarrely flawless like everyone else’s. Some of the other places taste too store-bought, as though they’re made from a mix. The flavors you picked don’t sound too appetizing – I recommend you go back this winter and try them again, they really are wonderful. Definitely recommend the sweet potato, peppermint patty, or the toffee. The peppermint patty is especially heavenly.

  5. I’m with China — I always loved Violet’s because it’s one of the few cupcake places that doesn’t seem to use boxed mix. If you have a chance to try their French Toast cupcake, I highly recommend it!

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