If you have followed my blog for any length of time, you know how I love cupcakes. In fact, for each half marathon I do toward my Fifty States Half Marathon Challenge, I try to find a local cupcake store to review. This post is going to be all about cupcake locations in downtown Charleston, SC. My friend Michael and I have been plotting out the idea to develop a cupcake tour of Charleston for some time now. He and I would walk at lunch for exercise, and keep passing hole in the wall cupcake shops, so we decided that we must try all these in one day. It has taken us about three years to put it together, and this past Saturday we took on the challenge. With the support of our wives and family, we all ventured out into downtown Charleston to see how stuffed we could get!
When we began the day, we had a list of 10 cupcake shops and/or bakeries in Charleston. Well at least they claimed to have cupcakes. Well, 3 on the list did not have cupcakes, so we removed them from the list. Another on the list was closed when we arrived, so I will review that in a negative light, because we were there before the documented closing time. There are other excellent cupcake shops in the lowcountry; however, because of logistics, we limited this tour to only stops in the downtown Charleston area (besides the final stop because of its uniqueness).
With that said, it is on with the show.
Cupcake Stop #1 – Brown’s Court Bakery
199 St. Philip Street, Charleston, SC
Saturday Hours: 7a – 3p
Our first stop was a small little bakery we had noticed some time back while we were on an “exercise walk” and lunch one work day. This is what spurred our idea to formulate a cupcake tour. Brown’s Court Bakery had most baked breads; however, they had one dish with one choice of cupcake. It was a vanilla cake with strawberries in the mix, with vanilla whipped frosting and pink sprinkles. The cupcake had a really good taste to it and the filling really helped with the cupcake flavor. The cupcakes were at room temperature, just the way I like them.
Cupcake Stop #2 – Wild Flower Pastry
73 Spring Street, Charleston, SC
Saturday Hours: 8a – 3p
Our second stop was just around the corner from Brown’s Court Bakery, and was another small, quaint bakery. They didn’t have too large a variety of baked goods, but did have 3 variety of cupcakes. They had a Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing, Vanilla Confetti, & a Lemon Cupcake with Blueberry Compote & Cream Cheese Frosting. My wife and I got the Vanilla Confetti and Michael & family shared the Lemon/Blueberry. Overall, not a bad cupcake for either, but they were different. The Vanilla Confetti was very dense in the icing. The Lemon/Blueberry must have been good because it was gone before we were even half done with ours. The downside here was that the cupcakes were in a refrigerated cooler which make the cake portion cold & hard.
Cupcake Stop #3 – Sugar Bake Shop
59-1/2 Cannon Street, Charleston, SC
Saturday Hours: 11a – 5p
Let me start here by saying that Sugar Bake Shop is my favorite cupcake shop in Charleston, and was the standard for which I viewed all others. The beauty for Sugar is that they have different sizes of cupcakes, standard and smaller. My wife and I both got coconut cupcakes, me the standard size, and my wife the mini. As always it was divine! Michael & family got a Lemon Curd and a Vanilla. The cupcakes are all out on display at room temperature, just like I like them. We so enjoyed this stop. They have the largest variety of cupcakes and best selections. As you can tell in the video, I had a coconut explosion!
Cupcake Stop #4 – Cupcake DownSouth
433 King Street, Charleston, SC
Saturday Hours: 10a – 11p
Cupcake DownSouth is more of your chain style cupcake store. There are several in the area to meet your needs. Because of this they had quite the variety of cupcakes. My wife and I stuck with a theme and got the Birthday Cake Confetti cupcake, which had a confetti cake, with vanilla icing and sprinkles. Michael and family had a Chocolate Salted Carmel. The cupcakes were really good, but they typically keep there cake portion in the cooler until put on display, so as you have noticed, is not a favorite strategy of mine. Because of its popularity, it was the busiest of the cupcake shops.
Cupcake Stop #5 – BakeHouse Bakery
160 East Bay Street, Charleston, SC
Saturday Hours: 8a – 7p
By the time we got to Bakehouse Bakery, we were starting to get stuffed. When we went up to the counter the only variety they had was a Lemon Cupcake with whipped icing. Because we were so full, we were only able to take a couple of bites. Since Lemon is not my favorite, I was not thrilled about the cupcake; however, it was a good consistency and a fluffy whipped icing. The lady behind the counter was nice and was really interested in hearing about our adventure. They also have the largest seating area of the locations we visited.
Cupcake Stop #7 – The Holy City Cupcakes
Citadel Mall, Charleston, SC
Saturday Hours: 10a – 9p
This was our final stop, and was not in the downtown area; however, there concept was worth the drive to visit. The Holy City Cupcakes is in the Citadel Mall in West Ashley. Their concept is choice. You pick the cake bottom that you want, then pick the icing/theme you would like, and then choose the toppings you would like. It was such a neat concept. Since we were still stuffed, we knew we were not going to be able to eat the cupcakes there, so we ordered for later, so we could enjoy them. We both chose a Cinnamon Roll Cupcake. We also got a Vanilla cupcake with vanilla icing and sprinkles to keep with the theme. When we did eat them, oh were they good. Wow! I will be having to make a trip to visit them again. The only problem is they are close to the Krispy Kreme. If I am driving all that way, it will be hard to pass up the Hot ‘n’ Now. Michael and family built a Chocolate cupcake with Vanilla Icing and sprinkles. Problem is, when it made it home, Michael never got to try it, as his son consumed it. 🙂 He did give it a great review thought.
Cupcake Stop That Wasn’t – Twenty Six Divine
682 King Street, Charleston, SC
Saturday Hours: 11a – 3p
This bakery gets a bad review, simply for the fact that it was not open when it claimed to be. We we arrived about 2:45p and the shop was not open. You don’t advertise a time and have customers drive all the way to visit your shop, and then you not be open. For Shame!
Winner: Sugar Bake Shop
We have visited Sugar Bake Shop on numerous occasions and knew it would be hard to beat, and it was. Sugar Bake Shop continues to be our favorite cupcake in the lowcountry. Mainly its freshness, flavor, and quality is what allowed it to take the win. I am not a fan of cold out of the refrigerator cake, so many lost out because of this very reason. Even though Sugar Bake Shop took the win, The Holy City Cupcake was a close second, simply for their concept of designing your own cupcakes as you wait.
Well it was a fun & exciting day. We want to thank our wives and family for enduring this adventure with us. We could not have done it without them. I hope you find this recap handy if you are in Charleston, SC and looking for cupcakes. We sure had a blast.
In conclusion, this picture is worth a 1000 words of how we felt at the end of the day, stuffed and happy. It was a great day with friends. I hope this will spar you to get out and try something new. If you decide to do something like this, I highly recommend running first!