Last year, Astrid’s birthday party was a little bit of a circus. An awesome fun circus, yes. Also, enough people (40) and kids (12) that we couldn’t manage making the food, wrangling the drinks and baking the cake ourselves. (The party sort of doubled as a housewarming so, no, it wasn’t one of those crazy $40,000 Sweet Sixteen things!) Since I love Kara’s Cupcakes, I ordered mini cupcakes from them instead of making them at home.

Let me say up front that this, at $2/cupcake, is not an inexpensive commitment. But at that point, for us, it was the right choice and made for a more relaxing party.

I’m not an across the board, indiscriminate cupcake fan, so Kara’s is really the only place I get them. (Miette and Mission Minis’ are too dry.) Yeah, that’s a little snobby, but when you can get a kickin’ cake for so much less, a cupcake has to really be in it to win it.

Karas’ are always moist, the frosting is creamy (or fluffy in the case of the chocolate velvet and sweet vanilla), and their decorations are very cute and non-Disney for a little ones’ party. We did a jungle animal theme that included elephants, giraffes, lions…and a dog. Come on: Tarzan might’ve had a dog. You don’t know.

If you’re ordering more than a few, order at least 24 hours ahead (preferably a little more to ensure your order takes priority). Remember to specify your preferred decorations and it’s probably best to decide on your flavor assortment before going in – or just download the order form and email it to them. (They also do cakes of all of their flavors if you decide to go the cake route after all.)

Nice perk: if you order from the Chestnut location and ring them just before you get there for pick-up, they’ll bring your order out to the curb so you don’t have to brave Marina parking.

Kara’s Cupcakes, 3249 Scott Street (between Lombard and Chestnut), 415 563-2223


Ghirardelli Square, Plaza Level, 900 North Point, 415 563-2223

(Mon-Thurs 10am-8pm, Fri-Sat 10am-10pm (9 in Ghiradelli Sq), Sun 10am-7pm)