I think I’ve been watching too many episodes of Cupcake Wars on Food Network lately. In fact, I’m watching the damn show right now. It always makes me want to get in the kitchen and bake cupcakes with crazy flavour combinations. Then I realize I have no occasion to bake a whole batch of cupcakes for, which just makes me sad.
While I was out shopping downtown yesterday, I felt the need to get a sweet treat before heading home. Because obviously, I should have a plethora of awesome bakery options being in downtown Vancouver, right? A quick check of the Urbanspoon app on my phone left me feeling…unsatisfied with my options. Probably because I was specifically looking for cupcake places that weren’t chain cupcake shops (no offense to them – but they are just okay). Long story short, I Googled cupcakes and bakeries in Vancouver, and after a series of random clicks, finally found myself heading to Bonchaz, hoping they might have a fancy cupcake to offer me.
Bonchaz is located at 426 West Hastings Street – an area I probably wouldn’t frequent if I was just out and about shopping downtown, but far from sketchy either.
Upon entering I was greeted with a very typical, west coast hipster kinda coffee shop/bakery – counter and display case on one side, lots of seating on the other, including an area at the back with large comfy red chairs. Apparently the name Bonchaz refers to an “oven baked milk bun topped with a crisp golden crust and a hint of fresh ground coffee”, that comes in a variety of flavours. Had I known that, perhaps I would have given up on my cupcake search and tried one out. But I had a one track mind, and it was quickly scanning the display cases for that which I treasured.
I almost thought I was going to end up leaving empty handed…then I saw it. One lonely cupcake…
But this lonely cupcake was totally made for me. It was a vegan matcha chocolate cupcake. They should have just called it Marianne’s Cupcake. I had to have it.
Just as the girl behind the counter was handing it to me on the napkin, it fell over. NO!!! A small amount of precious icing was lost to the napkin and counter. She asked if I still wanted it. I looked back at the display case, then to the cupcake, and said yes. I was going with the 5 second rule and the fact that it was the only one left. She did give me a discount on the cupcake, which I happily and cautiously carried off to a table to enjoy.
Thumbs up to the matcha frosting. It’s easy to go overboard on matcha flavour, but I found this struck the right balance and went nicely with the chocolate cupcake. The cake itself was probably average. Not too dry, not too dense, good amount of chocolate flavour, but not amazing either. Perhaps I expect more from a cupcake, but I often find the cake to be just alright in comparison to the frosting/toppings. Or perhaps Vancouver just doesn’t have a very good cupcake scene? I don’t know – I hope that’s not the case.
As for Bonchaz – I think I’ll have to go back just to try these milk buns. I hear some days they have a matcha variety. How could I not give that a go?
So readers, help a girl out – where should I go to get an amazing, original, delicious cupcake in Vancouver?