Kara’s vs. Sprinkles — Cupcake Throwdown


Sprinkles (left) vs. Kara's (right)


View from the Top


Check out that cake to frosting ratio

The biggest cupcake rivalry that exists in Silicon Valley is Kara’s vs. Sprinkles!

As mentioned in the past I work in walking distance to Santana row. Kara’s cupcakes opened in October. I was actually kinda excited because I currently have to travel 25 minutes to get my cupcake fix from Sprinkles. When I arrived I was surprised to find a shop the size of a bread box. There is a counter and the door. You can fit maybe two people inside comfortably. I was all jazzed to try their java and banana cakes but the employee working told me that since the store is minuscule they can only make 1/2 of the flavors you will find at other locations. I guess they don’t get the concept of making different flavors each day. I had to settle for lemon, vanilla (pictured above), coconut, fleur de sel and peanut butter.

So how did they measure up to my beloved Sprinkles? There really was no comparison between the two. Sprinkles trounced Kara’s in flavor, variety and size. Kara’s cupcakes tasted like they were straight out of a grocery store bakery (and that’s not a good thing). The cake was dry, almost flavorless and the frosting tasted like a GIANT glob of shortening. The best of the bunch was the coconut.

I really wanted the tiny cakes to be good so I could fulfill my cravings on a more regular basis but I just can’t stomach them. So sad…

Note: An in-depth Sprinkles review can be found here

8 Responses

  1. Thank you for the review. I go to the Santana Row Club One and have always been curious about Kara’s, but never tempted enough to try it. The cupcakes just don’t look appealing, and they kinda look like something I can get at the grocery store. I’ll save my calories for something else.

    I enjoy your reading your blog!

  2. Linda,
    Hang in there…give Sprinkles a try…

  3. I actually prefer Kara’s cupcakes since their frosting is less sweet and better imo.

  4. I’m sure there are many people who prefer Kara’s. Everyone has different opinions so it’s great that there are multiple options to choose from.

  5. I disagree… I’m not a big foodie, by any means… But I think Kara’s cupcakes outshine Sprinkles by a long shot. Kara’s S’mores cupcake ROCKS my face off! And the only Sprinkles cupcake I truly “enjoyed” (from a variety 6-pack) was the Chocolate Coconut and although it was good, I didn’t not think it was anything that special… just my 2 cents…

  6. Maybe you need to try a couple more flavors…it can’t hurt.

  7. I work with a group of ladies, and we all LOVE sprinkles. If any of us is going to be up the peninsula, we take orders to pick-up Sprinkles for everyone. So when Kara’s opened at Santana Row, we too we super excited, and took an after work field trip within a day or two of them opening. Stood in a line that was out the door almost to “The Counter”…. soooooo NOT WORTH IT! We were sooooo disappointed. Your review is SPOT ON!

  8. Kara’s cakes are smaller over all, but if you are a chocolate lover their chocolate cake is richer and truer than Sprinkles, which visibly isn’t as dark as Kara’s. Your imagination has to carry that last peak of flavor with Sprinkles chocolate cake. Fortunately, my imagination is pretty good, so I would never turn one down.

    Kara’s gluten free are pretty dry and spongy if you must have it (probably the nature of the beast) but become moist with 10 seconds in the microwave — I actually scrape the frosting off before I microwave it then put it back on afterward. Fantastic.

    In my book, neither company makes a great, classic vanilla frosting and I have complained of false advertising to Kara’s for displaying that cupcake in their windows in the Palo Alto store. Sprinkles frostings are usually too sweet, except for the fabulous ganache on their Marshmallow cupcake — which is poorly named because it is in reality a fantastic cream-filled, not marshy marshmallow cupcake — and many of Kara’s vanilla frostings are dominated with cream cheese, like all of their coconut frostings.

    There is room for improvement by a new cupcake company. You can never have too many.

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