Best Cupcakes in California…Maybe in the World

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I have found the best cupcakes in California…maybe in the world. As a cupcake connoisseur, I do not make such a statement lightly.

Best Cupcakes in Newport Beach

SusiCakes cupcakes

My husband and I got a hankering for cupcakes during the drive home on a recent family road trip. A little iPhone inquiry led us to SusieCakes in Newport Beach. Everything looked so delectable, I named off which cupcakes I thought we should order to eat on-site, and which we should box up to take home with us. My husband, Phil, whispered, “What if they aren’t any good? Let’s just get one each to try. We can always order more.”

As dessert lovers, we tend to enjoy the idea of a cupcakery more than eating the actual desserts these shops proffer. Between mouthfuls, Phil and I often complain to each other that the cake is too dry, the frosting too sweet, or (as with Sprinkles-brand), the whole cupcake seems utterly lacking in salt.

So how did SusieCakes stack up? Let me put it this way…we devoured the cakes, making num-num-num sounds all the while. Then we jumped back in line to purchase more whilst licking frosting from our fingers!

Tables at SusieCakes=

Pastel decor at SusieCakes

Susie’s signature frosting-filled cupcakes come in nine flavors plus holiday favorites, like October’s pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting. Both kids chose chocolate with chocolate frosting, which they gobbled up with much gusto, leaving a trail of crumbs in their wake. My husband is a cupcake purist and stuck to his standard white cake with butter-cream frosting. I, on the other hand, like the adventure of wackier flavors. The frosting on my strawberry cake tasted like real strawberries (only better!), with a delightful balance of sweet and tart.

My husband’s birthday was the next day, which provided the perfect excuse to load up a box of treats to go. We purchased four cupcakes: chocolate, coconut, vanilla, and red velvet. For good measure, we bought a smallish (five inch) apple pie and a peanut butter whoopie pie (peanutbutter cream sandwiched between two sizeable peanut butter cookies).

Strawberry Cupcake at SusieCakes in Newport Beach

Strawberry cupcake at SusieCakes

I made it through the whole day without succumbing to the desire to at least dip a pinkie into the frosting of one of the cakes for a preview of the birthday fun to come. I could not, however, escape the lure of the whoopie pie. The peanut butter cookies were crispy-chewy and salty-sweet, just how I like ’em. The cream in the middle pushed this treat into the “too sweet” zone for me. That seems to ring true for me with all whoopie pies, so if you are a frosting enthusiast, you’d probably love a SusieCakes whoopie pie.

We had invited our neighbors and their kids over to help us celebrate Phil’s birthday that night. Since there would be four adults and four children, I stopped by the grocery store to purchase some mini cupcakes. I didn’t want to sacrifice the SusieCakes splendor to the kids!

Chocolate Cupcakes at SusieCakes

My kids devouring their chocolate SusieCakes

The crowd consensus best of the bunch was the vanilla with pink butter-cream frosting. All four cupcakes were moist, delicious, and had the perfect frosting-to-cake ratio (as all cupcake lovers know is so important). I defy you to find a better cupcake!

My husband’s favorite dessert in the world is apple pie. If there is apple pie on the menu, Phil feels compelled to order it. He makes his own homemade version for every holiday. He cons my mom into baking apple pie for him every time she visits. And he gets really mad when he has a bad slice of apple pie. I’m happy to report that the SusieCakes apple pie left him in good spirits. When I asked him what he thought of the pie, he said, “For a place that makes cupcakes, they make a helluva apple pie.”

Wedding Cake at Susie Cakes in Newport Beach

Wedding cake

Plan to inhale a cupcake on-site and then take a few home (or back to your hotel) to savor later. The gals behind the counter seemed quite smitten with our kids. The minimalist pastel decor was lovely too. Besides a handful of small tables, though, there isn’t a whole lot of space to sit at the Newport Beach location. It’s not a place you necessarily go to linger over dessert with cup of coffee (or milk).

SusieCakes offers layer cakes, stacked cakes, and specialty decorated cakes for such occasions as birthdays, weddings, and beyond. There are also miniature cupcakes, cheesecakes, puddings, and a variety of cookies and bars on their menu. According to the SusieCakes website, “We specialize in an array of sentimental dessert favorites, which conjure up the sorely missed flavors and aromas of childhood.”

Cupcake Selection at Susie Cakes in Newport Beach

My son enamored with the display of sugary goodness

We visited the Newport Beach location, but there are five other SusieCakes locations in California including branches in San Francisco and Los Angeles. After all this sweet reminiscing, I think another road trip with a special stop at a SusieCakes may be in my family’s near future!

Who do you think makes the best cupcakes in the world? Please let us know in the comments!

A Note from The Travel Mama: I did not receive any compensation or free goodies from SusieCakes related to this story. I will always let you know if I receive any money or products related to a blog post.

About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show,, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

  1. Amy @ The Q Family says

    I’m not a big fan of cupcake in general but love to watch those cupcakes war show. 🙂 After reading your post, I just wanna ask you to ship me one to try it out. 🙂

  2. I think I’ll come there just for the cupcakes!!

  3. Now I want one…road trip!

  4. Waaaah. There aren’t any on the East Coast?!

    I have to say that the North End in Boston (Hanover street?) There is a cupcake place called LuLu’s..and they made the best creme filled chocolate cupcake I’ve ever had.

  5. You might want to try Enjoy Cupcakes in Los Olivos. They are out of this world.

  6. I just had SusieCakes red velvet cupcakes…OMG…what is she putting in these? They’re soooooooooo good…I want more now…Seriously! You know, I’ve eaten my fair share of cupcakes and most of the time I’m unimpressed but these are significantly better…crazy good!

  7. Suzycakes is actually not that great compared to Crumbs in Beverly Hills. Once you’ve had a crumbs you will never want any other cupcake.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Sheryl – I think I’ve had Crumbs. Meh. Although I certainly wouldn’t turn one down!


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