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Dec 7, 2006 05:20 AM

Best Cupcakes in Philadelphia?

When I lived (briefly) in New York, I did a mini self-guided cupcake tour of Manhattan. Cupcakes abound in that crazy place, and I was extremely excited to start a similar endeavor upon moving to Philadelphia. However, I haven't had much luck so far.

Brown Betty Dessert Boutique in Northern Liberties had a fairly yummy specimen, but I went to their shop near closing time and their bake case was nearly empty (even though it was 15 min til closing, the door was locked and I had to knock insistently until the lady on the phone finally let me in!), and I actually didn't even get to try the flavor I wanted because they had run out, which put a bit of a damper on the experience...

Naked Chocolate's cupcake was okay. A bit dry (both icing and cake) and pretty reminiscent of the cupcakes at NYC's Magnolia and Buttercup Bake Shops...good, but not WOW.

Have you found any great cupcakes in Philly?

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  1. I am sure you will get more recommendations, but Naked Chocolate Cafe's cupcakes are about as good as you will get in Philly, as there is nothing like Magnolia Bakery around here. Some people like the cupcakes at the Flying Monkey Patisserie are good but I think the icing tastes a little lardy, but you could still give them a try.

    BTW-I wonder how Magnolia and the rest will be handling the trans-fat ban...

    4 Replies
    1. re: bluehensfan

      I am biased - I have a friend who works at Flying Monkey - but, that said, I think their cupcakes are excellent, and I can vouch for the fact that the frosting is buttery, not lardy. My one objection to their cupcake policy is that they keep them cool, which hardens the frosting (which may be the cause of bluehensfan's complaint - Magnolia lets their cakes return to room temp before they sell them, which makes the frosting creamier and consequently tastier). But Flying Monkey bakes cupcakes so frequently that they're super-fresh, so if you have a bit of patience and will-power and can hold off until your cupcake warms up to room temperature, I think you'll find they're pretty perfect.

      Btw - to the OP - Flying Monkey is in Reading Terminal Market.

      1. re: GDSwamp

        I think cupcakes do have a lot to do with personal preference...that being said on our last viist to Magnolia I found that either the cupcakes were getting more sugary (which I am sure they are not) or my tolerance for sickeningly sweet foods is diminishing. They do have a wicked turnover at's all they can do to keep up with the demand, and they do have pretty good banana pudding cups too!

        Maybe that is why I like the icing at Naked Chocolate because it seems to be infused with a marshmallowy substance that is less sweet (but not that crummy whipped cream that they use at the Acme.)

        As an aside, I think that Flying Monkey has some of the best brownies around, and they do have really good peanut butter and oatmeal sandwich cookies.

        1. re: bluehensfan

          I used to work a few blocks from Magnolia and I think they're just inconsistent. I only really loved their yellow-cake cupcakes with chocolate frosting, but even sticking to that narrow band I found that they were only great about 70% of the time. Sometimes they sat too long and were dry, sometimes the frosting was too sweet or not chocolatey enough. Chowhound people make a big deal about consistency - the line being that a truly great venue will be great all the time - but I think it's a false idol. I've had blah meals at Le Bernardin, just-okay pizza at DiFara's and even a so-so pork sandich from DiNic's - I just don't think cookery is a sufficiently exact science to make for totally consistent results.

          My problem with Magnolia is that the rude staff think they're funny-quirky-rude, when really they're just annoying-rude. But not consistently so.

      2. re: bluehensfan

        The best cupcakes I have found in the region is out in Frazer. They are amazing!!!

        Checkout their daily flavors

      3. You can call me "some people" =) I think the cupcakes at flying monkey are great!

        1. I love the cupcakes at Cake in Chestnut Hill. They are as pretty as they are super duper delicious. The cupcakes from Eislin's Bakery in Roxborough are delicious as well, but not dressed quite as fancy.

          1. How about the cupcakes from Grocery, at Chestnut and 13th? They've got only about 5 flavors, as far as I can tell, but the flavors are creative (i., Lolita-esque flavorings) and I think they're pretty darn good.

            1. It's a shame you had a bad experience at Brown Betty. I think the key is when you go and that it is probably best early afternoon on Friday or Saturday. I know when we went on a Sunday our selection was more limited. The Red Velvet cupcakes and the Almond cupcakes are great. I also really liked the Strawberry and Pineapple cupcakes although not as much as the Red Velvet. The coconut cake, which I recognize isn't a cupcake was also spectacular. Give them another shot earlier on the weekend. By the way, I wasn't crazy about the cupcakes at the Reading Terminal but I haven't tried the ones at Naked Chocolate.