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Cupcake Faceoff Round 3: Tiffane’s vs. Miglet’s

The Diablo editorial team puts two Tri-Valley cupcakeries to the test.


Miglet's contender

For the second to last first-round pairing in our Crazy Cupcake Faceoff, we pit two beloved Tri-Valley cupcakeries against each other. Tiffane’s in Livermore is the feminine, covered-in-pink shop of Tiffane Schulz-Neu, whose gigantic cupcakes have popped up everywhere from the Vine Cinema’s Oscar Party to the January 2011 issue of Sunset magazine. Miglet’s in Danville, overseen by Katie Alin, is a haven for people with food allergies: All of its cupcakes and other treats are gluten-free, and some are gluten and dairy-free. Both shops offer cupcakes that remind us of home: Baked with love and without pretense.

Our plan to taste vanilla cake with chocolate frosting was foiled once again this week. Arriving at Tiffane’s first, we spotted a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting, but a call to Miglet’s to confirm it had the same offering was unanswered (turns out, it did). So, we went with something safe: another week of vanilla cake and vanilla frosting. Miglet’s was technically “confetti,” with colorful sprinkles added, but we say close enough!

We photographed the cupcakes, cut them in half, and served half of each to our editors and intern. It was a blind taste test. Because the cupcakes were so different in size, we referred to those from Miglet’s as “small” and those from Tiffane’s as “large.” Here are the results…

The competition: Tiffane'sSusan Safipour, Editor

Notes: This was Susan’s first time joining in the cupcake taste-off, and she was excited to dig in. But at first she didn’t care for the small cupcake's texture, especially the lack of smoothness in the frosting. Then she came around: “I liked it more as I ate it,” she said. Like a fine wine, apparently. She found the large cupcake to be “more like a birthday cake” than a cupcake—it was just too big—but still gave it the victory.
Winner: Tiffane’s.

Ethan Fletcher, Associate Editor

Notes: Ethan liked the taste of the frosting on the small cupcake but found the cake a note too sweet as well as a little gummy. While he was intimidated by the size of the large cupcake, he declared, “This might be my favorite so far.” Wow. That is some serious praise coming from the food editor. He found the large cupcake to be pound-cakey (but in a good way) with a frosting that had perfect texture and flavor. "My only complaint is that it's a little big, but you could always split with someone..."
Winner: Tiffane’s.

Roger Gurbani, Art Director

Notes: Typically moody Roger surprised us by seeming to enjoy the small cupcake. He declared the cake “good” and the frosting “classic.” Who is this man, and what did he do with our art director? But it was short-lived: The large cupcake was deemed heavy and dry, with frosting that was too sweet.
Winner: Miglet’s.

Serena Renner, Associate Editor

Notes: Serena wasn’t wowed by the small cupcake, calling it generic and saying, “The flavor is okay, but the texture is grocery store-like.” Despite what she called a "loaf-like consistency," she was impressed by the large cupcake's artisan character and the flavor of its creamy frosting. "I'm not usually a huge fan of frosting, but I'm going to lick this off my fingers!"
Winner: Tiffane’s.

Peter Crooks, Senior Editor

Pete wasn’t at this taste-off, but based on his refusal to name a winner in the last two rounds, we assume he abstains.

Like David and Goliath

Morgan Brinlee, Editorial Intern

Notes: Friday intern Jon Roisman (unknowingly) shared the cupcake riches this week, when we moved the tasting from Friday to Wednesday. Morgan jumped right in, not shy at all about offering her opinion. She was surprised by the small cupcake, saying, “It tasted better than it looked. And was there a hint of lemon?” (Huh. Maybe it brushed against a Lucious Lemon in the display case?) She loved the taste of the large cupcake, but did reserve a complaint for the decorative sugar flower nestled in the fluffy frosting: “I thought I might break a tooth!”
Winner: Tiffane’s.

LeeAnne Jones, Managing Editor

Notes: LeeAnne loved the milky flavor of the frosting on the small cupcake but was turned off by a lack of similarly stellar flavor, as well as moistness, in the cake. Upon inspecting the large cupcake, she declared excitedly, “You can actually see vanilla beans!” The natural flavor delivered, and she gave this cupcake the edge.
Winner: Tiffane’s.


Susan Safipour gets messyOverall Winner

Despite a clear 5-1 win for Tiffane’s, even the Tiffane's fans agreed that Miglet’s was not far behind. We’re pretty excited that people in our community with food allergies are able to eat such delicious and safe treats!

We lingered longer than normal, savoring every delicious bite and even digging into a mocha cupcake from Tiffane’s that our managing editor meant to take home. How could we resist!? We then spent the rest of the afternoon in a sugar-crash coma, sluggishly shooing away Bob the Office Dog, who ultimately snatched half of a Miglet’s cupcake. Bob!!!!!

Stop by next Friday for our last first-round pairing, and then it’s off to the semifinals!!!

Miss the first two rounds? Check out Round 1: Kara’s vs. Frosting Bake Shop here. And Round 2: Teacake vs. Sweet Tart here. And for more on cupcakes in the East Bay, read our funny November 2010 essay, Operation Cupcake.

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32 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette
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