Faced with the challenge of finding a cupcake flavor combination to satisfy even the sweetest tooth, two seventh-graders, Julia Porter and Ella Berry, from Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School, came up with their own plan: a taste-test tour of Chicago 's most popular cupcake shops. They swore to see a dentist afterwards.
Named after "Chief Egg Cracker" John Nicolaides' third-grade
teacher, Molly's produces enough cupcake concoctions to try a
different flavor every day for two weeks. Molly's special, the Ron
Bennington, is named after the XM radio comedian, and is a
chocolate cake, peanut butter filling, butterscotch topping slice
of heaven. (It's also Julia's favorite.) So dedicated to children
is Nicolaides that he donates a portion of profits directly to
schools in the community.
2536 N. Clark St. Chicago, 773-883-7220
In the heart of the Loop lies a cupcake oasis filled with
frosted, flower-topped creations to service the random tourist or
daily commuter. Owner Teresa Ging, who's been whipping up these
sweet treats for three years, makes goodies ranging from the
corporate (think edible logos) to "frosting shots" for the waiting
parents of ravenous children. We all loved the way the signature
flower toppings looked, and Ella in particular thought the
atmosphere was "really fun."
Sugar Bilss Cafe, 115 N. Wabash St. Chicago,
With cupcakes that look like they're straight out of a museum,
the Gold Coast shop More Cupcakes turns cake-making into an art.
It's standing room only to sample More's cakes, but adults and kids
alike will find flavors like Oreo and S'more (think homemade
marshmallow, toasted with a torch) sweetly satisfying. Even better,
More has a roving cupcake truck that will show up at your child's
birthday party. How sweet.
1 E. Delaware Place Chicago, 312-951-0001
Phoebe's aims to create "the best gourmet cupcake anywhere." For
the kiddos, the "Funfetti" cupcake is just as it sounds-a vanilla
cupcake with sprinkles in the batter and in the vanilla frosting.
Who needs birthday cake? The girls found Phoebe's cupcakes to be
the "most creative" and favored the breakfast cupcake, a
pancake-flavored cake invention with a real piece of bacon on top.
Just the kind of well-rounded breakfast mama ordered.
Phoebe's Cupcakes, 3327 N. Broadway Chicago,
Calling itself "the progenitor of the haute cupcake craze,"
Beverly Hills-born Sprinkles Cupcakes provides a benchmark for the
modern cupcake shop. Sprinkles consistently has a line out the
door, but the staff was more than happy to serve our needs, albeit
quickly. Beat the early crowd for the perfect coffee break and head
over to Sprinkles during the week from 9-11 a.m. for a free
mini-cupcake for the kids with the purchase of an adult
Sprinkles Cupcakes, 50 East Walton St. Chicago,
Catering to a more sophisticated palette, Swirlz Cupcakes tops
their cakes with authentic Italian whipped buttercream frosting.
Owner Pam Rose calls her creations "gourmet fun." And if you can't
make it to Lincoln Park , Swirlz cupcakes are in 17 local Whole
Foods stores. The girls found the staff to be "very friendly" and
the cupcakes "very natural."
Swirlz Cupcakes, 705 West Belden Ave.
You can't think Chicago cupcake without mentioning Sweet Mandy
B's. With its pastel-colored interior, this place is made for the
kids. The sugary frosting comes in colors that match the walls and
there's a separate annex space for sitting or having your own
cupcake decorating parties (up to age 10.) "One of the best red
velvets," Ella said.
Sweet Mandy B's, 1208 West Webster Ave. Chicago,
Tucked away behind an alcove of what used to be a jewelry store
lies Evanston 's newest gem-Tiny Dog Cupcake. More than just a
cupcake storefront, Tiny Dog offers hot and cold beverages, a real
café, to quench your thirst after eating. The dark hot chocolate
panache made for a great balance to the Tiny Dog signature flavor,
the Dark Chocolate Minty. The girls found Tiny Dog to be "very
roomy" and it is-there's enough space in one of the alcoves to host
your own personal cupcake-decorating party.
Tiny Dog Cupcakes 616 Davis St.