In 2009, after years of making custom cakes for friends and family, Naomi Moreno decided it was time to open her own bakery. Instead of full blown cakes, she pared her baking down to cupcakes and opened My Delight Cupcakery about 35 miles outside of Los Angeles. By focusing on small desserts, Naomi has the room to experiment with imaginative combinations—winning her the L.A. Cupcake Challenge for three successive years. One of my favorite creations bundles two desserts into one handful; the Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcake ($3.50).
The rich chocolate cake is speckled with tiny chocolate chips. Its moist body is stuffed with macerated strawberries and capped in strawberry flesh flecked buttercream. Then a plump, milk chocolate-dipped strawberry is plopped on top. Though it is difficult to enjoy all these elements in each bite, the variety of flavors—a mouthful of strawberry here, a glob of gooey chocolate there—makes this an exciting, albeit messy, dessert.