Best cupcakes in town?

illustration by mark stivers

Esther’s Cupcakes

2600 Fair Oaks Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95864

I cut my baking chops making cupcakes for a few years, so for the most part I think I have the subject down—with the frosting perfectly piped. Filled with ice cream, topped with toasted meringue, butternut batter mixed with crushed amaretti—I did it all. Then in comes Esther, strutting in out of nowhere and offering the best damn cupcakes I’ve ever had at her new place, Esther’s Cupcakes (2600 Fair Oaks Boulevard). What’s worse, her buttercream frosting is way better than mine. (Bitch.)

What’s so amazing about her store though isn’t its chic, jewelry-box décor or open kitchen, but the assortment of flavors. Savory with sweet corn. Green-tea cupcakes dressed with an earthy adzuki (red bean) frosting. My favorite, an Earl Grey cupcake with lavender buttercream, never leaves me wanting. The strawberry is balanced, elegant and fashionable, and staple flavors vanilla and chocolate will not disappoint.

Plus, Esther, so sweet and welcoming, is herself worth making the trip for. Be sure to get there before all the brides and birthday people create too long a line.