Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chicago - A Cupcake Kind of Town

Oh so tasty treat - Sprinkles
There have been countless articles about the emergence of the cupcake in Chicago and across the country. There was a great article in the New York Times last year about the cupcake craze, which seems to (shockingly) have picked up some speed, especially here in the Windy City. Really, what's not to like? You get a little cake and some frosting and magical things can happen. There is also the opportunity to get creative.

One of my favorite shops is More. This is a local Chicago shop, and though the staff is not particularly friendly, nor the shop overly inviting, I find myself craving their creative cakes (think bacon maple, sweet potato orange, cupcakes flavored like popular cocktails and even bacon ranch).

Another local shop I love dearly is Molly's. The cupcakes themselves are classic and decadent (here you can order them filled with sweet treats like cookie dough or Nutella), but the joy is entirely in the visit to the shop itself. You can top your cake with a variety of different sprinkles, order an Intelligentsia coffee drink, play a board game or two and take a seat on one of their indoor swings. This is a place where any adult can easily feel like a kid (ahem, that would be me!)
B-day treat of Phoebe's

I dream of Lakeview neighborhood Phoebe's Cupcakes which makes a divinely decadent salted caramel. Then there are the cakes (and cookies, and other desserts) available at Lincoln Park fave Sweet Mandy B's (they make pricey but beautiful birthday cakes to boot). On top of the local stores there are now the addition of cupcake trucks - just in case you need your fix and the sugar fairy isn't close enough.

As if we didn't have enough saturation in the cupcake market, there is now the addition of other national cupcake chains encroaching on our fare city. There is Sprinkles (of LA fame), Crumbs (of NY), and soon to opening the famed Magnolia Bakery (also of NY - hey, what is it with these guys?!)

Don't get me wrong, I do love my cupcakes, but is it any wonder that we're looking for new sugary treats? We need something to get us going through the cold winter months, and I like a little variety in my desserts. I've got a doughnut concept in mind, but its execution is still farther on the horizon. Until then, it will be....cupcakes.


  1. Don't forget the underrated "Susie Cakes" in Los Angeles. And when your doughnut shop does come into fruition, can you please have a pink frosted doughnut with rainbow sprinkles?

  2. The next time I come to visit, we're going to visit every one of these bakeries!