Candy Girls: The Shoppe--Valentine's Day Specials

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We know that cupcakes aren't technically candy, but luckily we've found a loophole around that for Valentine's Day. The Shoppe, at 3103 East Colfax Avenue, is celebrating the holiday with a variety of adorable and delicious cupcakes all dressed up and masquerading as Valentine's candy. But these are way better than your average box of chocolates, because the awesome owners of the Shoppe, Tran Wills and Emma Skala, will custom-design every box, mixing and matching flavors and decorations to suit your tastes. All they ask is that you order 48 hours in advance before the 14th rolls around.

There is an option for every size budget and sweet tooth, too; the boxes of various sizes can hold three to six minis for $2 apiece, or you can get a huge heart filled with six regular cupcakes for $25 or twelve minis for $20. They also have a Valentine's special cupcake -- a rich marriage of cupcake and chocolate-covered strawberry for $5. Small chocolate covered strawberries are only $1.50, and large ones are $2.50.

If you'd rather bring your sweetie into the Shoppe to soak in some of the clean, mod decor and fun atmosphere, Wills and Skala are taking reservations for their Valentine's Day Dessert Special for Two. Twelve dollars will buy you two regular cupcakes in any flavor, two chocolate-covered strawberries and two large cups of tea, coffee or milk.

We stopped by to check out the cute Valentine's offerings recently, and while we were there, we figured we might as well sample a few of the more holiday-appropriate treats. Strawberry Champagne cupcake? Sure sounds like Valentine's Day to us! And how could we resist the Valentine's special cupcake? Chocolate and strawberries are always a winning pair, and an especially popular combination this time of year.

Strawberry Champagne Cupcake, $3

Once split, this vanilla cupcake oozes with luscious strawberry filling. Though the frosting and filling are also supposed to be strawberry and champagne-flavored, we weren't able to detect any of the bubbly through the rich fruit and creamy frosting. But that doesn't stop this from being an altogether heavenly little cake. A more romantic take on the classic strawberry shortcake flavors, we recommend you try this hidden gem next time you're at the Shoppe.

Downside: The filling doesn't make its way into the minis.

Upside: Available year-round.

Valentine's Special Cupcake, $5

This is a chocolate-lover's dream come to fruition: an upside down chocolate cupcake with a hidden pocket of strawberry filling, covered in a rich ganache and topped with a thickly chocolate-covered strawberry. With all of this decadent chocolate around, you won't miss frosting one bit. The fruit works beautifully with the chocolate, cutting the richness with just the right amount of sweet and tart.

Downside: Limited edition!

Upside: Great for chocoholics and fruit-lovers alike.

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