After Hours: Sugar Daddy in Seoul, South Korea
In recent years, cupcakes have become a staple at wedding receptions in the United States, and even the subject of a popular TV bake-off competition.
The cupcake phenomenon has also caught on in South Korea, and particularly in Seoul, where bakeries selling elaborately decorated versions of the dessert can be found throughout the city’s trendiest neighborhoods.
One of the newest to open is Sugar Daddy, a cafe near U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan that specializes in cupcakes but offers a selection of other desserts, from cheesecakes to bone-shaped peanut butter, parsley and banana cookies for your dog.
Choosing your cupcake from the assortment on display is half the fun. On a recent visit, the selection included Snickers, Nutella, mint chocolate, Oreo-topped cookies and cream, and caramel popcorn mudcake cupcakes heaped high with sticky popcorn in lieu of frosting.
I ordered a classic red velvet cupcake topped with cream cheese frosting. It was tasty, but the standout of the day was the perfectly prepared banana cake, similar to a pineapple upside down cake but topped with a moist layer of sliced bananas. Best of all, it was served in a slice big enough to split between two or three people, which meant I got to take my leftovers home and enjoy it the next day.
Stuffing myself full of red velvet and banana goodness meant, sadly, that I had to skip the caramelized apple cake, New York cheesecake and the mini blueberry-topped cheesecakes, served cupcake-style.
Admittedly, you could bake a few dozen cupcakes for the price of a single 4,800 won (about $4.50) cupcake here. But you’re also paying for the ambience, and on warm weekends, Sugar Daddy’s outdoor courtyard is filled with couples on dates and groups of friends. With its sunny interior, the cafe is cozy, quiet and surprisingly removed from the grit of Itaewon just a few dozen feet away.
SUGAR DADDYLocation: The main street of Itaewon, next to McDonald’s. You’ll see a sign for Sugar Daddy above an entrance to a short alley that leads directly to the cafe.
Hours: 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends.
Food: Cupcakes, desserts, coffee and tea.
Prices: Most cupcakes cost 4,800 won, and other desserts cost between 5,000 and 6,500 won, except for ice cream sundaes, which are 8,000 won. Coffees and teas cost between 3,800 won and 5,300 won.