Cups

Daniel Caddell/Guardian

Cups Organic Cupcakes in downtown La Jolla puts an entirely new spin on the hip new world of minature confections. Made with sustainable, organic ingredients — with gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options — these small indulgences aren’t from your grandma’s Betty Crocker box.

Flavors range from caramel macchiato (espresso-chocolate batter topped with mascarpone mousse and caramel sauce) to lime-chili-mango (mango-batter topped with lime-chili butter cream) to Zanzibar chai (vanilla-bean topped with spicy-sweet chai frosting) — enough to satisfy the even swankiest of cravings.

But Cups has more to offer than bite-sized desserts crowned in cream caps. After you’ve filled up on cake, perch yourself on a red vinyl stool and order a coffee at the espresso bar, then gaze out onto Girard Avenu.

If it all tastes so good you want to sing and dance, the store’s live deejay — stationed in the corner — will pause some T.I. to set up the store’s karaoke machine. Free WiFi and wraparound couches in the back also make for a good study spot — but if you’re easily distracted, bring earplugs.

Unsurprisingly, Cups is a little pricey: A normal-sized cupcake will cost you $4, mini cakes will cost you $2 and drinks are almost twice as much as at the Living Room down the street.

And of course, due to its prime spot in downtown La Jolla, Cups lacks convenient parking, and its small square-footage — when combined with an overly zealous karaoke singer on her 30-minute lunch break — gets to feeling pretty cramped.

Though the close proximity of PupCups (cupcake-shaped dog treats) to human desserts in the display case might be disconcerting, Cups is overall a classy cross between modern lounge, sidewalk cafe and candy store.

It’s a great place to go for your birthday, your friend’s post-breakup cheer session or a study break when you’re hoping to cram all the sugar high you can stomach. At the very least, it’s a good casual-dessert alternative to ensure you don’t OD on fro-yo.

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