Thanks to Lisa, a Bay Area representative of the Great American Bakery Hunt, for introducing us to Kara's Cupcakes. You know you're dealing with a true friend when someone drives hours from the Bay Area to LA with pastry box in tow, and resists digging into the treats during the long trek.
As for Kara's Cupcakes, there's something particularly endearing about a bakery started by a woman born the daughter of a dentist, who was routinely discouraged to eat sweets as a child. Baked goods with a touch of rebellion? Fantastic!
Try the fleur de sel cupcake for a tasty treat. And as long as you're in San Francisco, you might want to save room for Andronico's "Adult Brownie." I haven't yet tasted one, but after the descriptions, I'm ready for a trip up North.
If you're far from California, this article on Serious Eats provides you with the guidance to make an Adult Brownie in the comfort of your own home. Adulthood just got more appealing.