This L.A. import has a chic shop in Highland Village and Hollywood bonafides, plus a rotating line-up of gourmet treats. Sprinkles has something for everyone, including a vegan-friendly and gluten-free red velvet cupcake, dog cupcakes (seriously!), a Twitter feed that offers daily freebies and partnerships with local and national charities.
A Houston original, Crave has a cute but modern take on cupcakes, with all-natural, premium ingredients baked fresh all day. The fresh fruit flavors can't be beat, and we simply adore the breakfast specialties.
The home of the most adorable parlor in town, Sugarbabies bakes in the mornings and closes at 7 p.m., so after lunch flavors can dwindle and treats can get stale. But alongside the excellent java, the fun flavors (hello, creamsicle!) can make for a sweet morning.
At the cupcake showdown, Vanessa O'Donnell's cupcakes took home the trophy. With a bakery in Katy and one in west Houston, word of mouth has started to reach inner loopers where to find the most inventive (and delicious) flavors. Pancake cupcake with maple syrup frosting and bacon, anyone?
It's hard to pass up the cakes here, but if you can get past the un-cupcake-like shape and cylindrical packaging, Sara Brook's cupcakes come with a gooey surprise: think dulce de leche with a caramel center and milk chocolate with dark chocolate inside.
Not oversized or overly ornate, Celebrity Cupcakes are more like the beauties a Southern grandma might bake, simply delicious and made from scratch with organic ingredients. Housed in a quaint storefront in Rice Village, Celebrity is still something of an insider affair. The hummingbirds are truly to die for.
Specializing in vegan and gluten-free cupcakes (and cakes), Jodycakes are made to order and sold at Coffee Groundz, 13 Celsius and Tuscany Coffee.
Homemade, gourmet and organic cupcakes are available by order from the bake shop in Katy or via the roving cupcake truck, which can often be found around the Heights. (Follow on Facebook or Twitter to stay in the know.) And for those weary of chocolate, vanilla and red velvet, Frosted Betty also offers original flavors you won't find anywhere else around town — think salted caramel, green tea and bananas foster, plus filled cupcakes and a special line of cocktail-inspired sweets.
Sometimes we get so enamored of the mini-macarons offered by CityCentre's Sweet bakery that we forget that they also make great cupcakes. Small enough they won't trip your guilt-meter, Sweet has cute flavors like orange blossom, cookies 'n' creme and s'mores.