Thursday, July 25, 2013

Adding a Little Something Extra at Hapa Cupcakes

Hapa Cupcakes
1210 Jefferson St. Suite Q
Anaheim, CA 92807

One of the fringe benefits of writing this blog is going to some great food events. For a good majority of these food events, maybe about 90 percent of them, I bring my partner in crime, and in life, Katie with me. There are sometimes that she can not make an event because of her eight to five job, and that is when I get to ask someone else to be my plus one. I have really tried to spread it around, so no one gets their feelings hurt. I always ask someone that will like the kind of event we are going to. When I heard this event was all about cupcakes, and not only that, but alcohol infused cupcakes at that, there was only one person I had in mind to be my sidekick at this event, my sister Kristin.

My sister has been known to enjoy a cocktail or two in her time. She's also a pretty good baker herself, making some of the best chocolate chip cookies out of anyone that I know. This event worked out even more perfect because it was on her way home from work, and because it was summer, there were no kids to pick up from school. It all kind of fell into place perfectly.

We met at the Hapa Cupcake's place just after 4PM on a recent Friday. Hapa Cupcakes for the time being shares a space with Bedazzled Deli and Catering. Bedazzled works out of the space for the first part of the day, and then Hapa takes over at 4PM. Most of their ordering is done on-line. You order on-line the day before you want your cupcakes, with their very easy to navigate website. Then you have the option of picking up the cupcakes or having them delivered to you. Cupcakes run between $29 to $34 a dozen, depending on if they are the alcohol infused ones or not.

The masterminds behind Hapa Cupcakes are life long friends, Akemi and Hanayo. These local OC girls started this business about a year and a half ago. Akemi is more on the business side of things, while Hanayo is the culinary force behind Hapa Cupcakes. She used her friends and family as a guinea pigs to help perfect her recipes, and try out new flavors that pop into her head. Lucky them. Her latest creations are Hot Cupcake Sundaes, which can be tried at their storefront. We were lucky enough to get to try these for ourselves.

We were offered two versions of their Hot Cupcake Sundaes ($4.95). I am more of a chocolate guy, so I went with the Chocolate Jameson Sundae. The base of this sundae was their Valrhona Chocolate Jameson cupcake, which was warmed just enough to melt the vanilla ice cream on top of it. The sundae is then topped with a vanilla bean whipped cream and Oreo cookie crumbs. I made quick work of this sundae. The cupcake part was very moist, and the chocolate flavor was very good. I did detect a hint of the Irish whiskey used in this, but it definitely did not overpower the sundae. Kristin went with the Banana Sundae. I think we both liked this one out of the two that we had. Here the banana cupcake is infused with Meyer's dark rum, then topped with vanilla ice cream, vanilla bean whipped cream, and sprinkled with brown sugar and cinnamon. The banana was very pronounced here, and the rum was more evident in this sundae. This will be my choice on future visits back to Hapa Cupcakes.

After we devoured our sundaes, the girls from Hapa Cupcakes gave both my sister and I a four pack of cupcakes to take with us. I was very excited to try their cupcakes. Hapa Cupcakes was recently featured on the Food Network TV show, Cupcake Wars. I have never seen an episode of the show, but I'm looking forward to catching it on repeats, so I can see the Hapa girls in action. Spoiler alert: They told me that they did not win, but they seemed happy with their performance. I always like eating at places that have been featured on TV, so this added to my anticipation for these cupcakes.

Since I was headed over to my parents house after this anyways, we decided this would be the perfect opportunity to have a cupcake sampling party. My Mom did all of the work of cutting the eight cupcakes into quarters, so we all got to sample each one. Let's see which one of the four would come out on top in our own version of Cupcake Wars.

First up is the Will You Remember Me in the Morning Cupcake. The batter used in this cupcake is a mix of Madagascar vanilla and Kahlua, then topped with their signature cream cheese frosting, and cinnamon streusel. We all really liked the cream cheese frosting on this one, even my Dad, who is no fan of cream cheese frosting. The vanilla batter was good, but we needed a little more of the Kahlua flavor coming through.

I have never understood why red velvet cupcakes have gotten so popular. It is basically just a chocolate cake with red food coloring. I mean, don't get me wrong, I think it is good, but this seems to be every one's favorite cupcake flavor of the moment. The red velvet version of this at Hapa Cupcakes is called the Red Velvet Stiletto. This was our third favorite of the four that we tried. The cake portion was very moist, and again the cream cheese frosting was not heavy on the cream cheese, and not sickeningly sweet, like others have been known to be. A very solid cupcake.

Our second favorite of the night was a secret cupcake, off of the secret menu at Hapa Cupcakes. The Vanilla Raspberry Cupcake is not to be missed here. It is a vanilla cupcake with a dollop of raspberry sauce on top of it. This cupcake really reminded me of the Hostess O's that I had as a kid. They were a powdered sugar donut with raspberry jelly on the inside. I miss those donuts, but this cupcake brought back some of those old memories for me. A little more raspberry used on this, and I would have been transported back in my mind to Saturday mornings watching cartoons. in my PJ's.

No surprise to me, but our favorite cupcake of the night was this Jameson Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake. We really liked everything about this cupcake. The base of this was a Valrhona chocolate Jameson batter, which had a great richness to it, while not being too sweet. The peanut butter cream cheese frosting was spot on. Really good peanut flavor that played well with the chocolate cake. It was really hard for me to not eat more than my fair share of what was allocated to me of this cupcake. A week later, and this is the cupcake that I keep coming back to in my mind.

So my thoughts on Hapa Cupcakes? I really liked them. Some of the bright spots for me were that the frosting was not too over the top, like at other gourmet cupcake places. I was also happy that these are a more manageable size than their cupcake competitors. If I want a huge cupcake, I'll just go have a piece of cake. I really just liked the whole vibe at Hapa Cupcakes. Being a guy, some of the cupcake places are just so girly and prissy. That is not the case with Hapa Cupcakes. They are a little on the naughty side, with the names of their cupcakes, the flavors they are coming up with, or the inclusion of alcohol into their cupcakes. Just talking to Hanayo and Akemi, you can tell that they really love what they are doing, and it shows in a great product. These cupcakes were a hit with not only me, but with my sister and parents as well. Glad I could share this experience with my family.

If you would like to experience Hapa Cupcakes for yourself, go to their website here:


  1. Thank you for your blog about Hapa Cupcakes! We were so happy to meet you and your sister and we're so glad everyone enjoyed the delicious treats! Hope to be in touch with you soon.

  2. Hapa Cupcakes - It was great getting to meet you guys as well. We are really looking forward to seeing what the future holds for you two girls. Good luck with everything, we will keep in touch also.