Tuesday, July 21, 2009

An ode to cupcakes

If it came down to cake or pie.....it would be a tough call but I'd probably go with cake. I mean, I love some sweet apple pie but I do really love cake a lot.

And because I can't walk around eating a piece of cake on the street (it would look really nasty), I can eat cupcakes outdoors and in Chicago, cupcakes are queen.

I get spoiled by all the cupcake options in Chicago because Wisconsin doesn't have a formal cupcake shop! I know, trust me, I looked and was shocked at that realization.

But, I have thoroughly sampled several cupcake options in Chicago and here are my feelings on them:

Must visit:
  • Sugar Bliss (Loop) - The best red velvet cupcake I've ever had. Period. Frosting sticks to your lips and the chocolate mint cupcake is also great. It's like a Thin Mint, but in a cake form! Also, my parents LOVE this place.
  • Molly's (Lincoln Park) - Another great place for a quick stop. With free glasses of water, swing chairs and make-your-own cupcake selections, it's got something for everyone.
  • Southport Grocery (Lakeview) - Very affordable ($2/each) but few flavors to pick from. Doesn't bother me though, I love everything I've had there.
  • Swirlz (Lincoln Park) - Humongous cupcakes with a ton of varieties to pick from. Also, very blogger-friendly. They supplied cupcakes for the BlogHer Chicago meet up and the owner was SO sweet to us when we visited last summer as a group. Also offers gluten-free cupcakes that are very tasty.
So close:
  • More (Loop) - The only place in Chicago I know with savory cupcake (like B.L.T.) but the last few I've bought here have been dry, and expensive. Two things I don't like.
  • Sweet Mandy B's (Lincoln Park) - This one is the "doll" of Chicago, very well known, and a group of us bloggers visited it last year. The cupcakes are good, but man that frosting is sweet. Like stomach ache-inducing.
  • Bittersweet (Lakeview) - Awesome atmosphere but it only serves the "cupcake of the day" flavor. So if you don't like the selection, there's no other cupcake options available. Fortunately, there are other sweets to pick from :)
  • Phoebe's Cupcakes (Lakeview) - I was thrilled when a cupcake shop opened right near my house and the staff is so nice whenever I go in but the last few cupcakes I've had there have been dry and the frosting has tasted a little off. But I won't write it off just yet.
So those are my thoughts on the cupcake shops in Chicago, as you can see, I've done my research. Oh and one cupcake company even delivers? That is dangerous.

Whenever I go to a new cupcake place, the two I always get are: red velvet and chocolate with vanilla frosting. Those are my favorite :)

What's your favorite flavor?

Also, so you don't think I'm just cupcake snob, I'm guest posting over at my friend Maris' blog In Good Taste. My guest post includes a recipe and photos from my cupcake-making adventure.

Trust me, they're really good!

27 comments:

lollygagger said...

I've actually only been to one of those places and only once. I know. What's wrong with me. Cookies are my cupcakes I think. But I do love funfetti cupcakes. They are my fav! Any of these places have those?

Mandy said...

Cupcakes are just perfect. A thin mint in cupcake form? Ummm, someone needs to send me one of those ASAP. I have already added your recipe to my stash.

howitstarts said...

In defense of Wisconsin, there is a place that just opened in Madison that serves cupcakes called Daisy Cafe & Cupcakery. It's not nearly as good as the ones in Chicago but it's a start :)

I love chocolate or spice cake with vanilla frosting the best, personally.

lbluca77 said...

I love cupcakes. Especially if they have sprinkles on it. Gives it a little extra specialness.

The Maiden Metallurgist said...

Do yourself a favor and get over to Lovely bakeshop for one of their tiny pies- I personally like the smores tiny pie- asap.

Maki said...

Aw this is a tough one.. I think I like pie better, but I guess it all depends on the flavor. I like chocolate both cake and pie (chocolate cream pie.) I like cheese cake and strawberry short cake.....

I would love to try those places you listed when I visit Chicago:)

Angela said...

I used to live right by a place called "Cupcakes" in Lakeview (it was on W Briar). I just tried the website, but it looks like the link is broken... I guess maybe it closed. Too bad. It was a fun little place.

abstika said...

I left Chicago two years ago, but I still think about Southport Grocery from time to time. It was near my office and occasionally my boss would pick some cupcakes up for us at lunch and we snack all afternoon. YUM!

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Allie said...

Molly's delivers - I saw them delivering this week! I'm telling you, I'm going to go to one of these shops and order a dozen, but tell them to deliver to work on a random day so we all have a nice surprise.

Mich said...

My mom was just in town over the weekend and celebrated her birthday while she was here - she is a cake fanatic and I got her cupcakes from Southport Grocery...and she was in love.

My all time favorite cupcakes are from Sprinkles in LA - hopefully one will come to Chicago someday!

Classy in Philadelphia said...

I love that there are so many cupcake places in Chi town. My friend Natalie actually started a cupcake business in Ohio- she makes the cutest cakes...check it out if your interested http://tickledpinkcupcakery.blogspot.com/

luckygirl said...

give phoebe's another shot! it's right by my place too and i didnt like the first one i had. i got funfetti the second time and it was delic! and sweet mandy b's is actually my fav...i like the painfully sweetness of the frosting :)

Jade said...

You're right WI is limited on cupcake stores. Until moving here I only thought you could get cupcakes at the grocery store bakery or make them yourself! My fav is red velvet also but since I'm now gluten free it's hard to find. I'll have to hit up Swirlz the next time I'm in the loop. :)

Ali said...

This just made my craving for a cupcake even greater! Haha...my favorite flavor, hm...I'm going with red velvet as well. Although if there's ever a peanut butter chocolate one, I'm all over it.

wekeepsaying said...

you need to stop posting things that remind me why i left wisconsin in the first place (not really). i don't want to have to change my mind about moving there in a week! no cupcakes!? ugh!! i'll just have to make my own...

Andhari said...

I loooooooooove cupcakes. And cheesecakes. Any cakes actually! :P

Andhari said...

I loooooooooove cupcakes. And cheesecakes. Any cakes actually! :P

Angela said...

You Chicago kids and your cupcakes. It makes me jealous.

But I'd rather have a lemon bar!

amindinmotown said...

Do you know what's missing from this post? Pictures. Pictures of cupcakes.

Although I might sort of be glad you didn't post any because I'd want one even more than I do already.

Angela Noelle said...

I've always wanted to visit Chicago, and this is making me want to get there as soon as possible! My go to flavor is always yellow cake with chocolate frosting, but honestly, I love just about anything that involves chocolate, or lemon, or red velvet... basically anything that isn't vanilla and vanilla. And heck, I'd probably even love that if it were my only option ;)

Blaez said...

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come get em

Joy @ BigTimeFancy said...

Is "Cupcakes" on Broadway & Briar still open? Me and Miss Roommate almost lived above it, back in the day...

A Super Girl said...

This makes me jealous...I wish Detroit had a better cupcake representation :-(

kendrasue said...

I love cherry chip anything!

comebacknikki said...

Sugar Bliss is my favorite! Unfortunately, I work 1/2 a block away from it... so, so hard to resist! I love their peppermint cupcakes and the vanilla vanilla. Mmmmmm! :)

comebacknikki said...

BTW - you should also try the cupcakes at Taste of Heaven (in Andersonville). They're amazing!