An array of cupcake bakeries have sprouted up throughout the city, and traditional neighborhood bakeries are starting to take these mini-cakes much more seriously. Plus, every month, it seems as if a new reality show on cupcakes and their bakers is debuting on some cable television network.
I think the cupcake craze is here to stay. With so many flavors and so many places to buy these treats, it can be hard to narrow down where to find the best ones. So I complied a list of, what I believe, are the five most lusicious cupcakes in Chicago. To heighten the suspense, like Letterman's Top Ten list, I'll give them to you in reverse order of their most deliciousness.
5. Lemon from Beautiful Cakes, 5814 W. Higgins
A few months back, Beautiful Cakes had a Groupon available--a dozen cupcakes for $12. I wish I had taken advantage of that offer and nabbed the lemon cupcakes! Maybe it's just me, but whenever I have lemon cake, it aIways seems like a dry, crumbling coffee cake rather than moist cake. But not Beautiful Cakes' lemon cupcake. It has the moist cake texture I want with the right amount of lemon flavor. Topped with a whipped cream frosting and embellished with a savory lemon curd, the cupcake is a steal at $2 each, even without the Groupon.
4. Tiramisu, Molly's Cupcakes, 2536 N. Clark
I hate to admit it, but I've tried nearly every cupcake at Molly's cupcakes, and none of them have disappointed. As a fan of tiramisu, I'm bias to its cupcake counterpart. The tiramisu cupcake at Molly's is rich and has that great airiness, specific to tiramisu. The tiramisu cupcake is filled in the center with sweetened mascarpone cheese. It's priced at $3.75, as are all Molly's center-filled cupcakes. But non-filled mini cupcakes are $1 and cupcakes are $2.
3. Chocolate from the Bleeding Heart Bakery, 1955 W. Belmont, Chicago and 1010 North Blvd., Oak Park
The Bleeding Heart Bakery has perfected the chocolate cupcake. It's moist, yet flaky, with a prominent chocolate flavor, and it's also vegan. In fact, the ingredients used at the bakery are organic and purchased locally. Their regular chocolate cupcakes come with a choice of chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter or mint frosting and cost $2.75. Decorated chocolate cupcakes are $4.00.
2. Cookies n Cream, also from Beautiful Cakes
Beautiful Cakes also scores big with their Cookies n Cream cupcake, a vanilla-based cupcake with crushed up Oreos baked into the batter and folded into the sugar frosting. True to its name, each bite tastes like a spoonful of Breyers Cookies and Cream ice cream. Cost: $2, same as is their Lemon cupcake.
1. Red Velvet, The Sugar Cube Bakery, no retail shop yet. Call: 773-791-2823 for custom orders or check out their website.
The Sugar Cube Bakery's red velvet cupcake gets my number 1 rating because it is literally mouthwatering! The cream cheese frosting is rich and smooth with the perfect amount of sugar, while the cake itself is rich and flavorful.
The Sugar Cube is currently a custom order bakery that does amazing decorative work for birthdays and other special ocasions. The 21st birthday-themed cupcakes, pictured below in this post, were ordered for my own birthday and were $28 per dozen. However, typically, cupcake orders range from $16-$20 per center-filled dozen.
By Erin Nederbo, guest blogger