We celebrated my last birthday with three flavors of cupcakes from the Bloom Bake Shop.
Be a Monkey: "We made this Banana Cupcake with real bananas and Dark Chocolate Chips then topped it with thick Chocolate Buttercream, for the monkey in all of us." Super dense with a surprising crunch from the chocolate chips, this cupcake (also gluten and soy free!) provided a satisfying mouthfeel and mild banana flavor.
Be Spiced: "Spiced Pumpkin Rum is folded into a moist batter to create a dense, sweet cake that is garnished with a Maple Cream Cheese Frosting." My dessert companions and I greatly approved of the pronounced coconut flavor complementing this lightly spiced cupcake.
Strawberry-Banana: Unfortunately, I couldn't find this flavor listed with a cute name on the website, but I can assure you of its absolute scrumptiousness. A moist cake flecked with visible bits of banana and strawberry receives a generous dollop of strawberry-swirled buttercream, topped with a finishing touch of dehydrated banana and strawberry.
Needless to say, I enjoyed every sinful moment of my birthday indulgence. But you know what? Out of all the cupcakes out there, the adorable ones from the Bloom Bake Shop score extremely low on the "feel guilty about me!" list. The bakery sources local ingredients, such as fresh fruit from Keewaydin Farms, peanut butter from Yumbutters, and freshly milled wheat from Enos Farms, as well as uses Florida Crystals organic fair-trade sugar. They also include many gluten-free menu options using brown rice, tapioca, and sorghum flours--vastly healthier than plain old refined all-purpose. But most important of all, their cupcakes encompass all the ethical sides of veganism: they obviously don't use eggs, butter, or milk from factory-farmed animals plus their local ingredients don't spawn a dirty environmental impact. On a side note, Bloom portions their cupcakes much more intelligently than those of your average supersized bakeries; three (yes, I certainly downed three mouthwatering cupcakes) small Bloom cupcakes would likely equal the size of one ginormous stereotypical American one.
See pictures and more info on the Bloom Bake Shop at my blog: http://farmersmarketvegan.wordpress.com/2011/09/15/happy-birthday-from-the-bloom-bake-shop/Pros: Creative flavors, Very friendly staff, Gluten-free options
Cons: Too-sweet frosting, Only a couple vegan flavors each day