I don’t have the drinking endurance to handle a bar crawl, so when my friends get dolled up for a night of club-hopping, I curl up for a night on the couch. I might not be able to handle my liquor, but I’ve got the sweet tooth of a champion. My taste buds lead me right to the cupcake.
Cupcakes are having a major cultural moment: since super-chic Carrie Bradshaw nibbled on morsels from New York’s swanky Magnolia Bakery on Sex and the City, cupcakes have gone from childhood birthday party fare to a sophisticated culinary trend. Once relegated to grocery stores and cake shops, cupcakes are now staples of any corner bakery, and many bakeries are devoted entirely to the dessert. While my friends slept off their night on the town, I embarked on a cupcake crawl that took me around Chicago in search of the best the city’s got to offer. Here, my two favorites:
My first stop was More (1 E. Delaware Place), a couture cupcake shop in the river north neighborhood. With succulent sweet and savory flavors like lemon meringue and bacon maple, More is a spot for the discerning dessert-eater. The lemon meringue cupcake came with perfectly-formed tufts of fluffy meringue and a lemon-filled center. With its white interior and crisp light installations, this bakery has a chic, boutique feel. The fancy flavors like peach bacon bbq, blueberry acai, and salted caramel classify these cakes as haute cuisine, and the deliciously-sweet cupcakes definitely left me wanting More.
Next, I trekked to Lincoln Park to hit Swirlz (705 W. Belden), where I got a cupcake that totally justified the long CTA trip. Daily options include vanilla, chocolate, and the mouth-wateringly delicious red velvet, made with buttermilk, cocoa, and cream cheese frosting. Swirlz has options for various dietary needs, including those with vegan or gluten-free diets. Every day, there are different gluten-free and vegan options, including vegan chocolate-peanut butter and gluten-free banana cream cheese. In addition to cupcakes to accommodate these diets, the bakery also has fare for patrons’ four-legged friends. If your canine has a carb craving, give him a Pupcake, a bite-sized cupcake made just for Fido.
Embrace the cupcake trend and take a bite out of some of the tastiest deserts in town.