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Sift Cupcakery

Author: | posted 05/2/08 | Print This Post Print This Post |

cupcake.jpgCupcakes are the happiest food on earth.
I dare you to defy me on that. Wrapped in crinkly paper collars and
capped with a pastel poof of buttercream, they’re unabashedly adorable.
They come in dozens. And no one can pull off sprinkles and candy
glitter with the same panache.

But when it comes to taste, well,
that’s where things sometimes go horribly wrong. Dry, crumbly cake.
Greasy, fake frosting that leaves behind a room full of purple
fingerprints and blue teeth. Exactly the sort of thing that keeps
cupcake baker Andrea Ballus awake at night. Or rather up at 4am each
morning.

As owner of Sift, the Sonoma County’s first official cupcakery,
Ballus is dedicated to the art of killer cupcakes. With a baker’s dozen
(or so) flavors fresh made each day, she and her staff (of one) are
barely keeping up with demand. Not exactly surprising when at least
half the menu reads like a high-end cocktail list–Pink Champagne, Miami Vice, Limonata, the Irish Car Bomb and the Ooh La La. Cute, but just a little dangerous.

Using
non-traditional ingredients like Guiness Stout, champagne, green tea
and key lime pie filling, Ballus is elevating the cupcake to more than
a mere snack. It’s a little bit of pastry heaven.

The
long-time Bay Area resident recently returned from a stint in Las
Vegas, where cupcake shops have become all the rage with sweet-teethed
grown-ups. Inspired by the baking bug, she opened her Cotati shop in
mid-April. She shop has been reduced to crumbs nearly every day since.

Cupcakes
run $2.75 a piece, which may sound a bit shocking at first. But
consider the cost of morning croissant. Or a Starbuck’s latte. Cupcakes
are way better and they won’t make you nearly as jittery. Unless of
course, you eat twelve–which is exactly what BiteClub did (with a few
friends) after grabbing a dirty dozen from Sift ($30).

With a hearty shout of “Cupcake Tasting!”, we decimated a box in just under 15 minutes. Results as follows:

Handsdown Winner
Key Lime Bliss: Vanilla cake with key lime pie filling and key lime frosting

Car Casualty (meaning it never even made it back to the office, it was so dang good)
Miami Vice: Pina Colada cake with fresh strawberry frosting.

Most Surprising
The 50/50: Orange cake with cream cheese frosting (think Creamsicle)

Most fascinating to the guys
Ooh La La: Red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting. I won’t even try to figure that one out.

Most radically delish

Irish Car Bomb: Chocolate Guiness cake with Irish cream frosting.

Best for Last
With its unassuming white frosting, this little sneaker got left for last. But oh, how good it was.
Pink Champagne: Fresh raspberry cake with champagne frosting.

And the rest
Pinking of You: Vanilla cake with pink buttercream frosting
Bugsy: Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting
Limonata: Lemon cake with strawberry frosting
Showball: Coconut cake with cream cheese frosting
Chocolatease: Vanilla cake with chocolate frosting
Over the Moon: Chocolate cake with pink buttercream frosting

Sift
Cupcakery: 7582 Commerce Blvd., Cotati, 792.1681. Open Tuesday through
Friday from 7am to 6pm, Saturday 10am toi 5pm and Sunday noon to 5pm.
Closed Monday.

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4 Responses

  1. Killerbbb April 29, 2010 at 1:23 pm #

    OMG. These are the best cupcakes in the world. I have been to 2 other cupcake shops and they don’t hold a candle to Sift. I live in Martinez and will drive to Napa just for cupcakes. These are to die for. Concord and Walnut Creek, blah cupcakes. Waiting for the Lafayette address to try those. Then I’ll head to Napa for a Siftcake.

  2. brandi August 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm #

    Why the heck is the taste of railroad square featuring SIFT cupcakery???? Their not even IN SANTA ROSA???? Nice promoting of that ares businesses.

  3. Lucy April 5, 2009 at 9:46 am #

    I’ve tried Sift on several different occasions and my only compliant that I have is that if you buy less than 6 cupcakes they put them in a container that destroys the cupcakes, and with the price of the cupcakes you think they would come up with a better container. I even called and complained about it and ask them to have the owner call me back…..never got a call back. I guess I just need to buy at least 6 cupcakes.

  4. BiteClub October 27, 2008 at 11:01 am #

    Vince (02/05/2008 9:34:05 AM)
    Comment: I’m not big on sweets, but I really want to try a key lime cupcake!
    Show/Hide Replies (1) | Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Naomi (05/05/2008 10:22:18 AM)
    Comment: You should, they are so good, they have a creamy filling that is reminisent of Key lime pie and then the frosting is really good too! Yummy! So far every one that I have had was delicious. I got a cupcake for my daughter last week and they packed in a special container that even had a sparkler in it, which I lit before I gave it to her. Too cool!
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: cotati resident (02/05/2008 9:38:04 AM)
    Comment: I decided to try four of their last remaining cupcakes they had, two chocolate cakes with different frostings and two white cakes with two different frostings. The white cakes by far had better flavor, however, I still think I could have created just as good of a cupcake if not better. The chocolate frosting tasted very familiar, almost straight from a Duncan Hines container. Having seen cupcakes bakeries in the past, the size of the cupcake at Sift seemed rather small in comparison and still for a $2.75 price. The generic cupcake holders surprised me as well. I would have thought a little more pizazz or even their logo on the wrapper would have a nicer touch. Although I think the idea is great, for the price of the cakes and what you get, it isn’t worth a trip back.
    Show/Hide Replies (3) | Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Garage Boutique (02/05/2008 12:12:24 PM)
    Comment: Most certainly worth a trip back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cupcake mania has swept over Sonoma County and I can honestly say that I have a cupcake jones. When I arrived at Sift’s grand opening, the owner barely had the door open, when cupcake lovers from all over where invading the shop like ants to honey. Who knew that a love for cupcakes extended to the masses. Just cupcakes? You may be thinking to yourself- yup that’s right, 14 of the most unbelievable flavors inhabit the display case, and doily covered cake stands. It’s truly a dessert Mecca. Think about it- you don’t actually need a reason to purchase a cupcake. Its your own personal cake, and if you want another it doesn’t look as bad as reaching for another slice of cake. Cakes have to be planned, you need a reason, or perhaps a room full of PMS-ing girls to pick one up and take it home. The cupcake allows you the freedom to indulge in your own personal craving for cake.
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Foodie Toodie (02/05/2008 4:57:56 PM)
    Comment: I actually asked the owner what the ingredients were because I don’t eat anything with hydrogenated oil (the main ingredient in Duncan Hines) and there is none. Her ingredients are all natural. I think they are delicious. My favorite so far is the Irish Car Bomb because it’s almost like a chocolate covered pretzel, the sweet and something to offset the sweet.
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Elizabeth (08/05/2008 12:48:35 PM)
    Comment: I’m sure she can do without negative customers like you… read the rest of this blog… feeling a little bit lonely in your opinion. Duncan Heinz INDEED!
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Nancy (02/05/2008 9:42:30 AM)
    Comment: I’ve got to try the Snowball! It’s so cool that Sonoma County has a cupcakery! It’s so New York. I’ll check it out this weekend.
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Marina (02/05/2008 9:55:00 AM)
    Comment: I can’t WAIT to try these! I’ll be there this weekend!
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Shannon (02/05/2008 11:11:23 AM)
    Comment: If this place is anything like Sprinkles in Beverly Hills I will be VERY excited. The flavors seem quite limited now, but hopefully they will bloom with the summer months.
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Mark (02/05/2008 11:55:23 AM)
    Comment: When I lived in Vegas (actually Henderson) there was a place right down by my job called “The Cupcakery”. I had never been big on cupcakes either until a customer brought me a dozen as a thank you gift. They were OUTSTANDING. Can’t wait to try this place!
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Mark (02/05/2008 11:57:42 AM)
    Comment: Oh and for those curious as to what serious cupcakes are check their website http://www.thecupcakery.com/
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Garage Boutique (02/05/2008 12:15:05 PM)
    Comment: Most certainly worth a trip back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cupcake mania has swept over Sonoma County and I can honestly say that I have a cupcake jones. When I arrived at Sift’s grand opening, the owner barely had the door open, when cupcake lovers from all over where invading the shop like ants to honey. Who knew that a love for cupcakes extended to the masses. Just cupcakes? You may be thinking to yourself- yup that’s right, 14 of the most unbelievable flavors inhabit the display case, and doily covered cake stands. It’s truly a dessert Mecca. Think about it- you don’t actually need a reason to purchase a cupcake. Its your own personal cake, and if you want another it doesn’t look as bad as reaching for another slice of cake. Cakes have to be planned, you need a reason, or perhaps a room full of PMS-ing girls to pick one up and take it home. The cupcake allows you the freedom to indulge in your own personal craving for cake.
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Garage Boutique (02/05/2008 12:15:16 PM)
    Comment: Most certainly worth a trip back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Cupcake mania has swept over Sonoma County and I can honestly say that I have a cupcake jones. When I arrived at Sift’s grand opening, the owner barely had the door open, when cupcake lovers from all over where invading the shop like ants to honey. Who knew that a love for cupcakes extended to the masses. Just cupcakes? You may be thinking to yourself- yup that’s right, 14 of the most unbelievable flavors inhabit the display case, and doily covered cake stands. It’s truly a dessert Mecca. Think about it- you don’t actually need a reason to purchase a cupcake. Its your own personal cake, and if you want another it doesn’t look as bad as reaching for another slice of cake. Cakes have to be planned, you need a reason, or perhaps a room full of PMS-ing girls to pick one up and take it home. The cupcake allows you the freedom to indulge in your own personal craving for cake.
    Show/Hide Replies (1) | Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Wojamo (02/05/2008 5:24:45 PM)
    Comment: Hey- Garage Boutique- I saw your MySpace page. Cool stuff! I sent it to my sister. Side note- I am SO excited to try this place. LOVE cupcakes. Oooooh!
    Show/Hide Replies (1) | Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Garage Boutique (09/05/2008 1:20:56 PM)
    Comment: Thanks, Would love for you guys to come and visit!!!
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: psycat90 (02/05/2008 12:22:17 PM)
    Comment: Very exciting! One of my must stops in the city for the past few months has been Kara’s Cupcakes. Her meyer lemon and passion fruit cupcakes are absolutely to die for. http://www.karascupcakes.com
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Cyndi (02/05/2008 1:13:24 PM)
    Comment: Yummy! I tried an Irish Car Bomb and it was delicious! You can taste a hint of the Guiness in the cake and the irish cream frosting was tasty. I bought a 50/50 for my husband to try and an Over the Moon for my daughter. I just hope I can stop myself from eating them before I get home tonight! This is dangerous as Sift is just down the street from my office and I have a raging sweet tooth!
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Leia (02/05/2008 2:18:58 PM)
    Comment: I had never heard of such a place so I checked it out today and YUM! The Miami Vice was especially tasty and I am not really a cake fan :) Business was jumping while I was in there too! Can;t wait to check out new flavors in the months to come.
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: notthepublisher (02/05/2008 4:09:49 PM)
    Comment: I had the raspberry champagne concoction — whoa man! One killer cupcake application, there. Roadtrip to Cotati this weekend to be sure. (and I don’t even like champagne .. or raspberry)Thanks for the tip.
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Pennvalleygal (04/05/2008 10:09:02 AM)
    Comment: Well, it was great to see an article about this place. Since I walked in on the day of their grand opening, I have been spreading the word like crazy! I was a little hesitant to go on opening day, given the fact that many places just aren’t ready to receive customers when they open..not so with Sift! From the pink walls to the cupcake art inlaid in the custom concrete floor, to the latte to the IRISH CAR BOMB…it was heaven on earth! Even though Ms. Ballus was elbow deep in cupcake batter, she was gracious and smiling as she took the time to explain some of her flavors to me. This girl has PERSONALITY and it’s plain to see she has a true love of cupcakes! I will definitely be back…by the way…I purchased two dozen assorted and wowed everyone at work – not a bad one in the bunch! Next trip to Sonoma County, I will definitely go back! Congrats and kudos to Ms. Ballus!
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: http:// (04/05/2008 7:39:58 PM)
    Comment: So yummy. We bought several and cut them in four so we could have a few bites of each flavor, they are delisous and so fun.
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Reesha (05/05/2008 8:10:28 AM)
    Comment: They forgot the Sky is falling. That one is by far the best and the Key Lime is right behind it!!!
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Marina (06/05/2008 11:47:49 AM)
    Comment: I went to Sift this past Saturday, with my husband and baby boy. I got four different cupcakes and my favorite so far is the SNOWBALL! For those who love coconut, this cupcake was decadent. The vanilla/coconut cake was light, moist and perfect. The light, fluffy cream cheese frosting had the perfect sweetness (not too sweet), which complimented the shredded coconut on top. It was delightful. I could have eaten at least two more…And I can’t wait to go back this weekend to try more flavors!
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Lance (06/05/2008 1:41:25 PM)
    Comment: Went into this place on Saturday on a whim with my daughter. Spotted it just by driving by – We purchased 4 cupcakes – the my daughter and I shared the Bugs Bunny Carrot Cake – Fantastic!!! – Also tasted the Champaign, very very good as well. I will most likely return, however on a special occassion only – The price of the cupcake in relationship to the size seems a bit much. – However, the Flavor is, as I have previously said, Fantastic!!!
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Eryn (06/05/2008 9:11:23 PM)
    Comment: My experience wasn’t so great. I went in and pre-ordered and pre-paid for 1 dozen cupcakes the night before, and the next day I sent my son in to pick up the cupcakes and heard that they “ran out” of 2 of the cupcakes that I PRE-ORDERED AND PRE-PAID FOR. How does that happen?? You’d think, for the price, $2.75/ea, there wouldn’t have been such a problem. I will not be a returning customer. Very disappointing for my first visit.
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Mary (09/05/2008 5:27:09 PM)
    Comment: I live in Cotati. My daughter-in-law got excited and bought several which she brought home for all to try. We were not impressed at all. Just average and way to expensive. I can make some from a mix with canned frosting and they would be just as good. As Randy Jackson would say, “Just ok dawg!”
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: cupcake critic (10/05/2008 3:15:30 PM)
    Comment: I was in the other day and purchased four different cupcakes. I also was not impressed. The cupcakes tasted as if it was the same batter with different liquid flavorings added in. The frosting didn’t feel very good in my mouth, and I think lacked a natural flavor. I won’t be going back for a long while. Maybe things will improve with time….
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: lisa (11/05/2008 12:03:34 PM)
    Comment: love this place!!! I’ve been several times in the last month…Pink Champagne is my favorite…like a little piece of heaven!
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Liz (12/05/2008 9:35:25 AM)
    Comment: I tried the cupcakery and they were delicious! My only beef was that I went in at 2 when they had opened at noon and they were sold out of all but 3 selections. No good. I would advise to bake throughout the day. They will obviously sell no matter what.
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Kit (12/05/2008 1:04:49 PM)
    Comment: My parents in Cotati visited Sift last week and were not impressed. I teased them about being picky and tried them myself over the weekend. Sadly, I have to agree with the “not impressed” crowd. The cake part was okay, but nothing special. It just seemed like a store-bought mix, and was a little dry. The frosting looked nice, but was strangely oily and MUCH too sweet (although my mom said the cream cheese frosting was better). We definitely don’t consider them worth the $2.75 price. The kids liked them, but most of the adults in our family didn’t even bother to finish one cupcake. Very disappointing.
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: Valerie (15/05/2008 9:34:51 AM)
    Comment: We have driven to Sift from Santa Rosa twice and both times they were completely out. Not sure we’ll try again.
    Reply to Comment
    Posted By: i http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanaray/2533116866/
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