In a city where foodies are demanding and restaurants open and close within a year, the award winning, handcrafted cupcakes of CRAVE have withstood the test of time—and are still one of Houston’s favorites. Now it’s time to celebrate their 10th birthday!
Elizabeth Cooper, her husband Peter and their business partner Brad Dorsey all lived in Los Angeles and had talked about opening a bakery for some time. When a movie project brought them to Houston for location scouting, they realized that there was nothing like their concept already in the Bayou City. And so it was they decided to make CRAVE a reality. “I’ve loved cupcakes my entire life,” says CRAVE co-owner Elizabeth Cooper. “When I was living in LA, I would always gift people cupcakes. I thought, if I love cupcakes so much, other people would too.”
Opening their first shop in Uptown Park in 2008, CRAVE has since expanded with a second location in West University and a third in The Woodlands, which functions as a dine-in bakery-coffee shop. “We expanded our focus to offer more than just cupcakes when we opened our location in The Woodlands. It was a much larger space than Uptown Park and West University, so we decided to add pastries because it was more of a coffee shop and we wanted people to have more options,” explains Cooper.
Although CRAVE has been around for a while, their menu is ever changing, with different flavors. The cupcakery has also created CRAVE Cares, a line of products for those that have dietary restrictions. “Our CRAVE Cares line of products, which includes vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free options, came from listening to our customers and their requests. Our biggest challenge was making this line still taste like CRAVE,” says Cooper. “It is harder to develop recipes that taste just as good without the sugar and cream.”
Despite the challenges, CRAVE has perfected their cupcakes so that each one is tasty, rich and full of flavor. Don’t worry if you are a traditionalist and want to see your favorite flavor up on the rotating menu. Vanilla, Red Velvet, Birthday Cake, Strawberry and Chocolate are here to stay. My personal favorite is the chocolate cupcake, because it is not too sweet, has a moist cake and the perfect amount of chocolaty icing. Another surprise favorite was the strawberry cupcake. I am not usually a strawberry fan but, with real chunks of fruit in the cake and yummy icing, this strawberry cupcake is delicious.
Cooper attributes the cupcakery’s success to staying true to what they’ve done since the beginning, making cupcakes from classic recipes, along with unique and interesting takes on classic recipes, that have stood the test of time. “We really focus on the taste, design and consistency of our product, while providing great service to our customers,” she says.
You will love all the flavors during CRAVE’s ten-week birthday celebration, as well as a new cupcake size called “The Giant,” which will feed 8-10 people. There’s also a rotating menu featuring a throwback flavor representing a top selling flavor from each year between 2008 and 2017. Visit any of the three locations until August 12th to enjoy the throwback menu.
CRAVE throwback flavors:
7/16 -7/22: Strawberry Lemonade (2014)
7/23 – 7/29: Peach Cobbler (2015)
7/30 – 8/5: Caramel Apple (2016)
8/6 – 8/12: S’mores (2017)
Gabi De la Rosa lives in Houston with her husband and three children. You can usually find her at a great local restaurant or out exploring HTX with her family.