San Diego, California – Babycakes (Cupcakes)

Restaurant: Babycakes
Cuisine: Bakery/Desserts/Cupcakes/Diner/Coffee
Last visited: October 2, 2010
Location: San Diego, California (Hillcrest)
Address: 3766 5th Ave
Price Range: $10 or less

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Cupcakes: 3.5
Service: 5
Ambiance: 4
Overall: 4
Additional comments:

  • Locally owned and operated
  • Most popular for creative cupcakes
  • Home made desserts/pastries
  • Expensive cupcakes
  • Dessert cocktail bar
  • Coffee Bar/beer/wine
  • Cute and quaint atmosphere
  • Busy at night/local favourite
  • Casual & comfortable
  • Lunch/Dinner/Desserts
  • Weekend brunch
  • Big portions
  • Patio seating/Garden patio seating
  • Dine in/Take out
  • Sun-Thurs: 9am-11pm
  • Fri-Sat: 9am-12am

**Recommendations: Pistachio cupcake, Shortys cupcake (let the chill come off before you eat them)

After a failed attempt hitting up both locations for Extraordinary Desserts we had our local dessert guide bring us to plan C – Babcycakes! Babycakes is a casual eatery and diner located in Hillcrest, one of San Diego’s upcoming neighbourhoods. It was late, but the place was packed with people drinking and snacking on the patio. The majority of the place was very casual, friendly and warm with a quaint and cozy atmosphere. However the left side of the restaurant seems like a dodgy bar and I almost thought it was two restaurants operating under one roof. If Babycakes was in Vancouver, BC it would 99% be located on Davie Street, everything about it screams and shouts Davie and I felt like I was back at home.

The Chocolate Vibrator… this is something Voodoo Doughnut would do… or say.

Babycakes offers big portions of baked comfort food like home made stuffed croissants, chicken pies, quiches, and of course cupcakes. They’re most known for their selection of cupcakes ranging from traditional flavours to creative ones such as mango guava and peanut butter and jelly. The cupcakes are fairly large however they’re quite expensive at $3.50USD for one.

We ended up getting a box of cupcakes to go because there was nowhere really to sit except for the dodgy bar area which honestly seemed like a separate restaurant. It was all very dark inside and everyone was drinking beer outside so seeing these pretty cupcakes was really quite the surprise. If you eat them inside the fabulous and friendly staff will plate them for you with a nice raspberry drizzle and whipped cream. It’s fabulous men who enjoy fabulous cupcakes!

I have to say that I have pretty high standards when it comes to cupcakes. I had the honour of eating some of Vancouver’s best cupcakes after hosting Vancouver’s 1st Cupcake Challenge. Therefore creative flavours don’t really impress me as much as the execution, flavour and texture of a cupcake. I did like Babycakes and they were creative, but a bit hit and miss with the flavours. I would say Sugar Mama’s Bake Shop in Austin, Texas is a notch above.

On the table:

A box of 6 cupcakes $21USD

Classic Vanilla Cupcake – 3.5/6

  • $3.50USD
  • Initially, the vanilla flavour is not that obvious. It was quite plain and I really had to search for the flavour. It was the 2nd softest and moist out of all the cupcakes.
  • The vanilla taste seems a but artificial and I wish they used some real vanilla beans in the butter cream.
  • I was not a fan of this butter cream. It was very buttery and greasy tasting and very thin. It wasn’t that sugary but almost thin and melted.

Red Velvet Cupcake 3/6

  • $3.50USD
  • It had quite a bit of dye and it was on the dense side. I thought the cream cheese icing was more apparent than the chocolate cocoa flavour.
  • The icing was very cheesy and very thick. It’s cheesier than most cream cheese frosting and I would liked it fluffier, lighter and sweeter.
  • I’m not a fan of cheesecake and I though this one was almost like a dense cheesecake.


  • $3.50USD
  • This was recommended and it was one of my favourites of the bunch along with the pistachio cupcake.
  • It was a short cake like cupcake filled with a custard centre, a light whipped cream mousse frosting, topped with caramel and a chocolate dipped strawberry.
  • It was the moistest, lightest, fluffiest and softest cupcakes of them all. It was delicious and I wasn’t all the cupcakes to have this texture.
  • The whipped cream mousse was perfectly light and sweet and easy to eat. Overall it had the best texture and flavours.
  • The custard filling kept the cupcake even more moist and I only wish they had more of it. The filling only came 1/4 of the way down so there was hardly any and it was good too. It reminded me of the filled cupcakes from Big City Cupcakes in Vancouver, but those are filled all the way through.

**Pistachio Cupcake4.5/6

  • $3.50USD
  • This was my tied with the Shortys cupcake as my favourite cupcakes of the bunch. It was a recommended one as well.
  • It was the2nd  moistest cupcake of them all and it had a lovely almond flavour. There were no actual pistachio nuts in the cupcake or in the frosting. If they were in the cupcake they were very finely grounded. It was very aromatic, light and not too sweet.
  • The frosting on this was better than the butter cream on the vanilla cupcake. This one was sweeter and more like a frosting than a butter cream.
  • I may be a bit biased, but I made Martha Stewart’s pistachio raspberry cupcakes before and I actually prefer those.

Pomegranate Cupcake2.5/6

  • $3.50USD
  • The cupcake was  a bit on the dry side and  it didn’t have any pomegranate flavour.
  • It’s still somewhat sweet and fruity, but it wasn’t pomegranate. It had a nice sugary frosting like the pistachio cupcake.

Guava Mango3/6

  • $3.50USD
  • This was the sweetest and at the same time most tart of the 6 cupcakes. I could only taste the guava which made it not as sweet, but I couldn’t taste the mango. The flavours were a bit artificial and I really wasn’t a fan of the dollop of mango puree they put on top. It tasted like a fake mango candy jam.
  • It was closer to tasting like guava mango than the Pomegranate Cupcake was to tasting like pomegranate.


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