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Best cupcakes in town?

s
Snarkley Mar 2, 2007 11:54 AM

Much as I love Chicago, I went to Magnolia Bakery in NYC last month and ever since I've been searching fruitlessly for a comparable cupcake here in Chicago. So far, I've found Sweet Mandy B's frosting to taste too much of food coloring. And Southport Grocery's weren't all I'd hoped for either, despite the hype. Over a year ago, I went to Cupcakes in Lakeview and was sorely disappointed in the lack of Buttercream frosting. At least at that time. Any thoughts?

  1. b
    bluepig1 Aug 11, 2011 07:49 AM

    I recently discovered Italian buttercream, and realize how much more I prefer it to traditional buttercream. I discovered it with Phoebe's cupcakes, and reading reviews realize Swirlz also has Italian buttercream. I really like the lighter, whipped texture of Italian buttercream, and really liked that Phoebe's frosting is also not as sweet as traditional buttercream.

    What other bakeries beyond Phoebe's and Swirlz use Italian buttercream? I'm particularly hoping to find one a little close to me (Wicker Park/River North). Thanks!

    1 Reply
    1. re: bluepig1
      l
      layne123 Nov 3, 2011 09:52 AM

      For anyone researching, my girlfriend and I really enjoy Sweet Mandy B's. I generally didn't like Molly's (did not come close to meeting the hype). I didn't like the cupcake gallery. I liked Sugar Bliss ok, yet Sweet Mandy B's has always been our goto place for cupcakes. Some of their specialty cupcakes aren't great sometimes, yet we always enjoy their regular yellow and chocolate vanilla and chocolate buttercream cupcakes.

      -----
      Sweet Mandy B's
      1208 W Webster Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

    2. e
      ElaneS Apr 17, 2011 09:30 AM

      Magnolia Bakerys cupcakes are delightful! I live in Chicago and I had the same problem. I just couldnt find a cupcake comparable! Until a friend suggested I visit a website called CrownCupcakes.com, they make amazing cupcakes, honestly the best I have had in the Chicagoland area. They are delivery only but I find that more convenient anyway. Try them!

      3 Replies
      1. re: ElaneS
        GraceW Apr 17, 2011 05:10 PM

        Magnolia is said to open a location in Chicago in June!

        http://chicago.eater.com/archives/201...

        (I am very excited because I have never been to New York or had a Magnolia cupcake.)

        1. re: GraceW
          a
          amberleigh Sep 6, 2011 08:55 AM

          Magnolia ain't all that special. Over-hyped, so-so cupcakes. The real turn off is watching customers pick out their own cupcakes: pick, decide not, put back, lick frosting from fingers, pick up another. Repeat.

          Ugh.

          Where's the Board of Health?

          1. re: amberleigh
            f
            ferret Sep 6, 2011 01:43 PM

            Magnolia has never been about over-the-top cupcakes. It was simply a bakery that featured pretty conventional cupcakes (I always found them to be too dry). In the decade or so since the craze took root there are countless better examples out there. Just tried Baker Boys (Ravinia area) over the weekend and was very pleasantly surprised.

      2. t
        tig519 Mar 4, 2011 05:08 PM

        So I have two places to add. One only has chocolate and vanilla cupcakes, but both the cake and the frosting is a perfect match. I personally like the vanilla/vanilla combo. The bakery has other excellent items and I haven't found a disappointing item yet- in Carol Stream, Sauer's Bakery.

        My latest craving- The first cupcake only food van- Flirty Cupcakes. They were in Naperville just before Valentines and I figured I'd try them. The line was 20 deep, but I stuck with it, and bought almost one of every flavor. They are pricey, but worth every penny. They come in the best cupcake holder I've ever seen... one per container and they stayed fresh for at least 5 days (that was when I at the last one I had). I have to say they have the best chocolate buttercream I've ever had. Sign up for their facebook or twitter update and when they're in your area (burbs on the weekends, downtown during the week) try them.... I'm sure you'll be like me and crossing your fingers that they'll be back soon or questioning yourself if you can drive out in time to a town an hour away.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tig519
          p
          PurpleKelley Feb 20, 2012 11:30 AM

          I totally agree with you about Flirty Cupcakes. They are the best, well worth the trip and price. They now have 2 vans and just opened a store.

          Flirty Cupcakes Dessert Garage (Bakery) 1030 W. Taylor St., Chicago, IL
          Hours
          Mon - Thu: 9:00 am - 8:00 pm
          Fri - Sat: 8:00 am - 9:00 pm

          Van locations vary check Facebook, twitter or website for schedule.

        2. g
          Greekfury Jun 15, 2010 10:08 PM

          www.foildedcupcakes.com good stuff but delivery only..City or Suburbs.. price is reasonable in comparison to other cupcake shops and taste is awesome!!!!!

          1. c
            chotus53 May 7, 2010 11:13 AM

            The breakfast cupcakes at Phoebe's were AMAZING, nice crunchy bacon paired with the maple syrup soaked cake and icing were perfect. The only problem was they were on the small size. Luckily the cashier found it fit to sneak an extra serving onto our plate.

            1 Reply
            1. re: chotus53
              b
              bmorecupcake May 12, 2010 05:22 PM

              If anyone has been in the DC area, which cupcake place would be most similiar to Georgetown Cupcake. If you are a New Yorker or tried New York cupcakes, which would be comparable to Sugar Sweet Sunshine?

            2. GraceW May 6, 2010 05:18 AM

              This past summer I went on a cupcake crawl--ate at about 20 cupcakeries around Chicago. I found that the top three were:
              1) Molly's Cupcakes (top choices: Ron Bennington, Strawberry Shortcake, Truffle Bomb, Nutella cupcake, Cookie Dough-filled)
              2) Phoebe's Cupcakes (Top choices; salted caramel)
              3) Bleeding Heart Bakery (Top choices: Veruca Salt, vegan slash, Red Velvet)

              Swirlz is NOT going to have the frosting you are looking for.
              In the suburbs, Deerfield Bakery beats out Bennisons by leagues and all of the other bakeries.

              -----
              Phoebe's Cupcakes
              Chicago, IL, Chicago, IL

              Molly's Cupcakes
              2536 N Clark St, Chicago, IL

              1. e
                eskimo.mel Dec 6, 2009 01:09 AM

                MOLLY'S. Always and forever. Boyfriend likes Sugarbliss more but we go to Molly's more often because it's a great place to hang out. Solid coffee, lots of tables, and board games. You can make your own as well.

                1. c
                  cheflovestoeatout Nov 6, 2009 10:42 AM

                  Kirsten's in Burr Ridge hands down the best cupcakes around!!!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: cheflovestoeatout
                    b
                    bourj Jan 24, 2010 08:38 AM

                    I went into Kirsten's and there wasn't a cupcake to be seen. What am I missing? Is there a secret password to get into the cupcake room?

                  2. c
                    ChiGuy Nov 4, 2009 09:52 AM

                    Tried a new place in the Loop. The Cupcake Counter on Madison, near Franklin. A mom and daughter business with fresh cupcakes (and awesome snickerdoodles) each day. They frost in a unique way (more vertical) and the flavors were good. It is a little pocket store in the base of parking garage. Really cute.

                    1. t
                      TeacherSu Oct 4, 2009 09:02 AM

                      I have not been to Molly's, but my daughter who is a student at Loyola swears by them. She even drove into Chicago over the summer just for her Molly's fix.

                      1. chalkalot Sep 27, 2009 06:30 PM

                        my cousin works at sugarbliss... they are so good! very friendly in there too. i like it because they have mini cupcakes that are just as good as the big ones, but not as filling! i loved loved loved the mint ones. so good. and the frosting is delicious. especially the cream cheese on the red velvet :]

                        1. b
                          bourj Sep 25, 2009 10:17 AM

                          I'm surprised no one has mentioned Sugar Money Cupcakes in Naperville. They are outstanding, probably because it's all they make! A little pricey, but worth it for a rare treat.

                          http://www.sugarmonkeycupcakes.com/

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: bourj
                            t
                            TeacherSu Oct 4, 2009 09:01 AM

                            Went to Sugar Monkey over last weekend. Personally I thought the cupcake was dry, tasteless, and the frosting was quite cloying. I would not go back there at all based on the half dozen variety that we brought home with us. Not one was worth the price.
                            It was quite disappointing since I love cupcakes and was excited to see a cupcake store in downtown Naperville.

                            1. re: TeacherSu
                              b
                              bourj Nov 1, 2009 06:45 AM

                              I'm sorry to hear that; I first had them at a wedding (the couple served them in lieu of cake) and brought a variety pack to a dinner party a month or so afterwards, and they were quite a hit on both occasions. Certainly not dry or tasteless to us! I can see that some might think there's too much frosting, but I didn't have an issue with it. Sorry to hear you didn't care for them :(

                            2. re: bourj
                              t
                              tig519 May 2, 2010 06:11 AM

                              I just went to Sugar Monkey yesterday and have to say I'm disappointed. The cake was dense but moist. It was the frosting that turned me off. It was way too sweet and very "artificial" tasting. One of the flavors I bought was banana. I expected the cake to be banana, but instead it was vanilla with a frosting that tasted like it had banana flavoring vs real bananas. I won't go back which is too bad because I live 5 minutes from them.

                            3. r
                              rubinow Sep 22, 2009 02:01 PM

                              I'm no expert, but Sweet Cakes on Damen in Ukranian Village had one of the best cupcakes I've ever had. Love the decor, too.

                              1. n
                                ninacoko Sep 18, 2009 04:23 PM

                                www.sugarblisscakes.com is the best cupcakes I've ever had. They are right balance of sweet and light. They are not rich or bland like other places. I went to Molly cupcakes yesterday. They are good. I tried the turtle cupcake. But the best are sugarbliss the vanilla cupcakes taste like icecream. The frosting is the best I have ever tasted. I am going to try www.foiledcupcakes.com next.

                                1. s
                                  shawn404 Jul 27, 2009 09:33 AM

                                  Here is my list of the best cupcakes:

                                  Sweet Mandy B's is my ultimate favorite. http://chicago.metromix.com/user/play...

                                  1. b
                                    bricap May 9, 2009 12:29 PM

                                    My wife sometimes brings home a few from More, located at 1 E. Delaware. Gale Gand has a hand in this business.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: bricap
                                      w
                                      Wrigley12 May 12, 2009 07:35 PM

                                      They don't have a store I believe, but try Foiled Cupcakes. They deliver most places in Chicago and suburbs. Yummy! www.foiledcupcakes.com

                                    2. a
                                      afoodcritic May 9, 2009 11:54 AM

                                      I think they are referring to where you can buy them, not recipes inbiz. Every baker thinks they can make better cupcakes than companies that sell them.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: afoodcritic
                                        i
                                        inbiz May 9, 2009 11:06 PM

                                        Umm... It's the Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, so they are the same cupcakes. The only thing that makes them better is organic ingredients. As far as most bakeries, they're easy to outdo because they're not that great- like the op was lamenting.

                                      2. i
                                        inbiz May 3, 2009 07:44 PM

                                        I use The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook or Martha Stewart's Baking Book and make them for way less- organically.

                                        1. a
                                          afoodcritic Apr 27, 2009 10:18 PM

                                          I have a major sweet tooth and my 2 favorites by far are Sweet Mandy B's (www.yelp.com/biz/sweet-mandy-bs-chicago) in Lincoln Park and Phoebe's Cupcakes (www.phoebescupcakes.com) in Lakeview. I also tried Molly's), Swirlz and Southport Grocery, but Sweet Mandy B and Phoebe's win for taste and people being really nice (who wants to buy a cupcake from a grump).

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: afoodcritic
                                            l
                                            lvhkitty May 12, 2009 12:22 PM

                                            I just tried Phoebes today. Amazing. The cake is good as well as the frosting. It is so far neck and neck with Sugar Bliss.

                                            1. re: afoodcritic
                                              i
                                              iphonechica Sep 23, 2009 11:28 AM

                                              Just had cupcakes from Phoebe's. Tried the Red Velvet, German Chocolate and Salted-caramel. All were delicious. A friend had the blackberry and said it was quite good. I applaud them for creating a good cupcake, moist, buttery, and real. The buttercream tasted like real buttercream made with butter (not shortening). The German Chocolate had a surpise inside...some kind of filling, which was lovely. The Salted-caramel had some caramel sauce in the middle too. Nice touches. I would recommend this place, but I have not tried Sweet Mandy B or Sugarbliss YET.

                                            2. m
                                              mbspasox Mar 10, 2009 08:58 PM

                                              I love sweet mandy b's as well and I've discovered the recipe so I can have them anytime I want. The recipe is in the junior league of chicago's cookbook - www.jlchicago.org and features the chocolate frosting. it is delicious! kind of neat cookbook too.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: mbspasox
                                                l
                                                lvhkitty Mar 14, 2009 07:35 PM

                                                Dinkel's cupcakes - great value, cake very good, icing pretty good
                                                Highwood seems very very far away.
                                                Actually I had never tried Swirlz which had better icing than Dinkel's but twice the price. I mistook Molly's for Swirlz. So far Sugar Bliss is my favorite.

                                              2. l
                                                lvhkitty Mar 10, 2009 11:14 AM

                                                I'm on a cupcake hunt. So far I've tried Swirlz, Southport Grocery and Sugar Bliss, and remotely Fox & Obel. The icing was great at Sugar Bliss but not much of it. So far I'm underwhelmed. I hope to try Dinkels and Foodlife and Sarah's next. Maybe making my own will be more fulfilling (and cheaper).

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: lvhkitty
                                                  2
                                                  2phatties Mar 10, 2009 12:03 PM

                                                  You should really try The Bent Fork in Highwood, IL.... Really yummy cupcakes!!!

                                                2. a
                                                  actnoid Feb 8, 2009 06:21 PM

                                                  It's just my opinion and maybe its because I am in NY with some frequency but even New Yorkers are over Magnolia Bakery. Its old news there and many of the original folks who worked for them have moved on to start their own cup cake emporiums.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: actnoid
                                                    leek Feb 9, 2009 04:40 AM

                                                    New Yorkers may be over it, but walk by on a nice day and there's still a line out the door. Crazy!

                                                    1. re: leek
                                                      nsxtasy Feb 9, 2009 06:22 AM

                                                      That's reminiscent of the quote by Yogi Berra, the former baseball player: "Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded." :)

                                                  2. d
                                                    doinwhatyodoes Sep 30, 2008 03:17 PM

                                                    ok so i went to mollys, more,twisted sister, sarah's, swirlz and cupcakes. more was the thickest and most interesting ones- i had the bacon, brie and strawberry- different and good! Now if you are looking to keep these cupcakes for a few days you have refrigerate them except for swirlz cupcakes. any cupcake with fruit has to be refrigerated. but reallly i wasnt the biggest fan or any of these places. swirlz was the best bc it was light. the gluten free lemon one was good. the rest taste like cornbread. really im done with cupcakes. cakes taste much better-easier to make moist!

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: doinwhatyodoes
                                                      t
                                                      theuninvitedguest Oct 6, 2008 11:54 AM

                                                      I've been wondering about More Cupcakes since I saw job advertisements for them earlier in the summer with Gale Gand's name listed as a consultant.

                                                      I still haven't been to Molly's, but I've heard good things.

                                                    2. Chew on That Sep 26, 2008 12:35 PM

                                                      I hear good things about a place called The Bent Fork: http://www.thebentfork.com

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Chew on That
                                                        l
                                                        LAWoman Sep 26, 2008 03:54 PM

                                                        The Bent Fork is in Highwood so not in Chicago but it's a wonderful little bakery. Husband and wife who are very nice do all the baking. The whoopie pies are incredible (so incredible that I have not gotten around to the cupcakes yet) but the cupcakes look outstanding.

                                                      2. d
                                                        danielle0israel Sep 25, 2008 02:54 PM

                                                        I just found your post and I too am on a cupcake hunt. I like the cake at Mandy Bs but i agree with the colored frosting comment. try either straight up vanilla or the chocolate. honestly, i think they have some off-days. the whoopie pies are always spot on. But i have come to love sugar bliss cupcakes. they only do catering now, but they are opening up in loop soon. some of the frosting/cake combos need some tweaking, i.e. too many cream cheese frostings on fantastic cake, but it is Magnolia in NYC quality. the cake is wonderfully tasty and moist--you taste chocolate cake. and the buttercream is very very good. give it a shot and order some via the website. www.sugarblisscakes.com

                                                        1. d
                                                          doinwhatyodoes Sep 24, 2008 02:38 PM

                                                          Okay! I love to bake! I actually just made cupcakes for a friend's brother b-day (white batter with yellow dyed buttercream frosting and blue cream cheese frosting in the middle. letter made with melting candies bought at a bakery shop)

                                                          But anyways I moved to Chicago and have been looking for cool bakeres. My sister bday is the 27th and I am going home so I was searching for a list of cupcake places to get here cupcakes from. here is my list below and I will post how each cupcake tasted to my sis, mom and I :)

                                                          PLACES IN CHICAGO TO GET CUPCAKES

                                                          1. Swirlz Cupcakes
                                                          705 W. Belden Ave
                                                          Chicago, 60614
                                                          (877) 791-7594
                                                          www.swirlzcupcakes.com
                                                          2. Cupcakes 'N' More
                                                          275 Old Orchard Center
                                                          Skokie 60077
                                                          ( don’t have number, couldn’t find. Does it still exist?)
                                                          3. Cupcakes
                                                          613 W. Briar Pl.
                                                          773-525-0817
                                                          www.chicagocupcakes.com
                                                          4. Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique (would have to order a dozen, store doesn’t open until Dec 115 N. Wabash) www.sugarblisscakes.com 312-845-9669
                                                          5. More Neighborhood: Near North Side
                                                          1 E. Delaware Place (between State St & Wabash Ave) Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 951-0001 www.morecupcakes.com (opened September 12th
                                                          )6. Molly’s Cupcakes 2536 N Clark St Chicago, IL, 60614 (773) 883 7220 www.mollyscupcakes.com
                                                          7. The Bleeding Heart Bakery 1955 W Belmont Ave Chicago, IL (773) 327-6934 www.thebleedingheartbakery.com
                                                          8. Sarah’s Pastries and Bakery 70 E. Oak Street Chicago, IL, 60610 (312) 664-6223 www.sarahscandies.com
                                                          9. Sweet Mandy B’s 1208 W Webster Ave Chicago, IL, 60614 (773) 244-1174
                                                          10. Swirlz cupcakes 705 W Belden Ave Chicago, IL, 60614 (773) 404-2253
                                                          11. Twisted Sister Bakery www.twistedsisterbakery.com
                                                          1543 N Wells St
                                                          Chicago, IL 60610 (312) 932-1128
                                                          12. Sweet Cakes Bakery sweetcakeschicago.com
                                                          935 N. Damen Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 772-5771
                                                          13. Milk and Honey Café www.milkandhoneycafe.com 1920 W. Division Street Chicago, IL 60622 773.395.9434 (yellow cake with chocolate frosting and deil food cake with white frosting
                                                          )14. Bent Fork Bakery 333 Waukegan Rd Highwood, IL 60040 (847) 926-4438 thebentfork.com
                                                          15. Swirlz Cupcakes www.swirlzcupcakes.com
                                                          705 W. Belden Ave Chicago, IL 60614 (773) 404-2253
                                                          16. Dinkel's Bakery www.dinkels.com 3329 N. Lincoln Ave Chicago, IL 60657 (773) 281-7300
                                                          17. Fox & Obel Food Market www.fox-obel.com
                                                          401 E Illinois St # 1 Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 410-7301 (call to see what they have)
                                                          18. Magnolia Cafe Inc www.magnoliacafeuptown.com
                                                          1224 W Wilson Ave
                                                          Chicago, IL 60640
                                                          (773) 728-8785
                                                          19. A Taste of Heaven 5401 N Clark St Chicago, IL 60640
                                                          (773) 989-0151
                                                          20. Foodlife www.foodlifechicago.com (food court in watertower
                                                          )835 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611 (312) 335-9580
                                                          21. Sweet Cakes Bakery sweetcakeschicago.com
                                                          935 N. Damen Chicago, IL 60622
                                                          (773) 772-5771
                                                          22. Southport Grocery & Café www.southportgrocery.com
                                                          3552 N Southport Ave
                                                          Chicago, IL 60657
                                                          (773) 665-0100

                                                          LET ME KNOW IF THERE ARE SOME MISTAKES BC I AM UNSURE :)

                                                           
                                                          1. j
                                                            jpearson1018 Aug 15, 2008 11:42 AM

                                                            Who doesn't love cupcakes! Tough question considering there are so many yummy cupcake bakeries in Chicago these days. My favorite by far though is Southport Grocery's chocolate cupcake with vanilla buttercream frosting. Apparently most people choose the vanilla (which is also delicious) but I prefer the chocolate...and they are enormous!

                                                            1. c
                                                              Cupcakes123 Apr 10, 2008 06:16 PM

                                                              You should try Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique cupcakes, they have 24 flavors of cupcakes. Right now they just do catering and delivery, but they are opening a retail store this July near Millenium Park and Macy's. I really like their buttercream! Here is their website www.sugarblisscakes.com.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Cupcakes123
                                                                g
                                                                ginagroh Jan 22, 2010 06:29 AM

                                                                I think Sugar Bliss is delicious too. I used them as our go to bakery when I did events at a bar and every time they were a hit. Great flavor selection, always fresh, and very reasonably priced.

                                                              2. p
                                                                PatBastrop Feb 6, 2008 07:27 PM

                                                                I ordered cupcakes to be delivered to my law student son this week from Swirlz. They delivered on time and he was sooo pleased!!!! Loved the vanilla cupcake best with the candied sunflower seeds. The frosting, he said was awesome, and the cake (reduced sugar, even) was tender, very flavorful. I thought he'd like the carrot cake the best, but what do I know, I'm just the MOM!

                                                                1. b
                                                                  bpharri1 Jan 24, 2008 08:29 PM

                                                                  Sweet Cakes bakery on Damen, just south of Augusta are the best I've had. The mini ones are great!

                                                                  1. d
                                                                    DKS1 Jan 24, 2008 06:16 AM

                                                                    I replied once before that Dinkel's and Foodlife (in Water Tower Place) are the best... But I recently tried the new place on N. Clark (2500 blk.), Molly's Cupcakes, and they are equally as fantastic! Really great storefront, too... If you are a cupcake fan, you MUST try these as well. They also have mini cupcakes for $1 - always a bonus!

                                                                    1. c
                                                                      chowhound1122 Jan 21, 2008 08:35 AM

                                                                      This woman is out in Naperville, and does not sell retail - but she makes fantastic cupcakes for wedding showers, birthdays, or maybe just a dozen to eat as you would like. This is her website. www.rosepetalscakery.com

                                                                      1. i
                                                                        imguido2000 Jan 21, 2008 08:13 AM

                                                                        Bennisons for there choclate choclate

                                                                        1. e
                                                                          emiliewasmyeve Jan 20, 2008 11:43 PM

                                                                          if you like buttercream, i'm surprised you didn't like southport's vanilla cupcake. it is, by far, the best cupcake i've ever eaten. the cake is very dense, but moist. it has a slight almond flavor. and the icing is REAL buttercream. taste of heaven also has great cupcakes---try the almond joy or the whoopie pie cupcake. they are both made with a delicious buttercream filling.

                                                                          1. blondie60614 Sep 17, 2007 04:59 PM

                                                                            Dinkels or Bittersweet

                                                                            And I'll add that the bite size cupcakes at whole foods are pretty darn amazing as well

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: blondie60614
                                                                              n
                                                                              nessy Jan 20, 2008 07:35 PM

                                                                              We are visiting Chicago from San Diego and my brother arranged a Cupcake Crawl to 15 cupcake places. We thought Sensational Bites on Southport was the best, with a Boston Creme and Chocolate Mint cupcake. Also above average were Swirlz on Belden and Molly's on Clark.

                                                                            2. nsxtasy May 12, 2007 11:23 AM

                                                                              Bennison's Bakery in Evanston has always had smaller, traditional cupcakes. I noticed today that they now have larger sized cupcakes in "red velvet" and "carrot cake".

                                                                              www.bennisonscakes.com

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: nsxtasy
                                                                                s
                                                                                sfcng May 20, 2007 11:52 AM

                                                                                Bennison's is our local weekly stop for the miche (a hearty organic bread) and often cupcakes. The quality varies widely from week to week but the red velvet are the most consistently good. Unfortunately the icing on the flower cupcakes is a bit bland and doesn't have either the "so bad it's good" crisco icing or the flavor of a real buttercream. In general, their cupcakes don't hold a candle to Sweet Mandy B's.

                                                                                1. re: sfcng
                                                                                  d
                                                                                  DKS1 Sep 14, 2007 09:10 AM

                                                                                  I wholeheartedly support the recommendation for both Dinkel's and the Foodlife (in the Water Tower) cupcakes! Both have AMAZING chocolate cupcakes (with chocolate frosting, of course). I always go to Dinkels, but my mother in law brought us some from Foodlife last weekend and they certainly were stiff competition! You can't beat Dinkel's old-school feel, though - great place!

                                                                                  1. re: DKS1
                                                                                    m
                                                                                    matt krc Sep 14, 2007 10:41 AM

                                                                                    What about Sarah's in Gold Coast? I really love their simple vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. Taste nice and rich, quite good! Also, they offer their cupcakes "naked" showing how they are proud of their cakey creations...so you know they will be good.

                                                                                    1. re: matt krc
                                                                                      kauai2b Sep 17, 2007 02:50 PM

                                                                                      Sarah's does have great chocolate cupcakes and I actually like them with the chocolate buttercream. It's not too dense it's a lighter buttercream.

                                                                                      1. re: kauai2b
                                                                                        d
                                                                                        drjimkim Jan 29, 2008 04:23 PM

                                                                                        Sarah's cupcakes are great - my wife is a huge fan of the carrot cream cheese cupcake there. Absolutely worth a visit. To be honest, I think her pastries were much better when she first opened as compared to now, although they are still quite tasty.

                                                                              2. 2
                                                                                2phatties Mar 19, 2007 07:20 PM

                                                                                Have you tried Bent Fork Bakery in Highwood? Great buttercream in a variety of flavors.

                                                                                1. m
                                                                                  manogirl Mar 13, 2007 11:50 AM

                                                                                  Hmm, I disagree with the Swirlz recommendation. Both my sister and I are cupcake fanatics, and neither one of us liked the Swirlz cupcakes.

                                                                                  Actually, I really like the yellow cupcakes from Foodlife, in Water Tower. They're huge and very good. And I've had it on good authority that their chocolate cupcakes are better than Sweet Mandy B's, which can be pretty bland.

                                                                                  5 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: manogirl
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                                                                                    Snarkley Mar 13, 2007 02:59 PM

                                                                                    I'm afraid I didn't like Swirlz at all either. Last night, I bought a red velvet cupcake and a vanilla cupcake there. The cake itself was nice. Moist. Pretty dense. But I really didn't like the frosting. Although they call it buttercream, it's not what I think of as a buttercream. It doesn't taste very buttery. It tastes more like whipping cream with a hint of butter. And it's not very sweet at all either. Nor is it generous. For me, it was a big thumbs down. And the $3 price tag per cupcake didn't help the experience any either.

                                                                                    1. re: Snarkley
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                                                                                      froggy04 Mar 19, 2007 05:35 PM

                                                                                      If you're up north, Deerfields Bakery (not surprisingly in Deerfield) has delicious cupcakes. My friend claims they're even better than Magnolia (a big statement I know).....

                                                                                      1. re: froggy04
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                                                                                        LAWoman Mar 20, 2007 05:37 AM

                                                                                        Have to disagree on this one - - I'd be wary of Deerfield's. Every product tasted from the Schaumburg location has been quite dry. Further, most everything is completely spackled with a less-than-appetizing frosting.

                                                                                        1. re: froggy04
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                                                                                          greeniiiiz May 12, 2007 04:27 PM

                                                                                          If you are up north Bent Fork is THE BEST, Deerfield pales in comparison.

                                                                                          The Bent Fork has THE best cupcakes EVER!

                                                                                        2. re: Snarkley
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                                                                                          scout1 Sep 14, 2007 09:00 AM

                                                                                          I completely agree!! I really did NOT like Swirlz. Honestly, they should just sell cake. I thought the icing was terrible and actually scraped it off. It tasted cheap and very artificial. I also did not like how it was piped on the cake. The deliberate piping coupled with the bad tasting frosting made it seem like they were mass produced and should be sold for $1 a piece. Sorry, so harsh! But I feel like this place gets a lot of hype for no reason. Again, not that this helps, but if you REALLY want a good cupcake, go to Billy's in Chelsea. They do it right.

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                                                                                        aliselara Mar 9, 2007 12:57 PM

                                                                                        I love Southport groceries...is there a particular attribute that you look for in a cupcake?

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                                                                                          SUSANinWP Mar 9, 2007 08:56 AM

                                                                                          I aboslutely concur with the SWIRLZ recommendation. The flavors offered each day are fantastic and the decadent, addictive buttercream frosting and tiny little "extra" topping on each one make this - by far - my favorite cupcake in town. I had a "flavor of the day" cupcake one time that was something like honey-orange-cinnamon and it was unbelieveable. The almost-everyday flavors of red velvet and banana-nutella are fantastic. But the plain vanilla and chocolate versions are how I would measure/compare against other cupcakes and these definitely win, hands down. (My comparisons are to Alliance Bakery, Sweet Mandy B's, Dinkels...have not tried Cupcakes yet.)

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                                                                                            asg23 Mar 7, 2007 10:01 AM

                                                                                            Used to love Sweet Mandy B's but they seem to have slipped a notch.

                                                                                            Second the opinion on Bent Fork. Best in the burbs up north by far.

                                                                                            My favorite cupcakes though come from the Goddess and the Grocer at Delaware and Wabash right in the heart of the Viagra Triangle. The Red Velvet cupcakes are nothing short of awesome.

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                                                                                              SKing Mar 7, 2007 08:07 AM

                                                                                              If you're looking for a good butter cream, I definitely second Cupcakes over on Briar/Broadway. All of their frostings are butter creams, some more creative than others. Their menu changes frequently and my favorite so far has been poached pear and key lime.

                                                                                              1. ChefJune Mar 7, 2007 07:55 AM

                                                                                                Doesn't Ina Pinkney still make great cupcakes?

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                                                                                                  DorothyOz Mar 7, 2007 07:11 AM

                                                                                                  Taste of Heaven on Clark in Andersonville. Totally different and delicious!

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                                                                                                  1. re: DorothyOz
                                                                                                    lulubelle May 20, 2007 12:57 PM

                                                                                                    I adore the cupcakes at Taste of Heaven, but they are nothing like the ones at Magnolia Bakery.

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                                                                                                    Snarkley Mar 7, 2007 05:19 AM

                                                                                                    Thanks for all the great suggestions, everyone! I hope to hit them all. My first report: the Fox and Obel cupcakes are tasty. We had the devil's food and the coconut at F&O last night. The second in particular was a big hit. Excellent buttercream frosting (though it did pull off like a cap when jostled). Looking forward to trying the rest.

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                                                                                                    1. re: Snarkley
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                                                                                                      jamirblaze Sep 25, 2008 08:54 PM

                                                                                                      I disagree. Fox & Obel's baked goods in general leave a lot to be desired. The cake is dry and the frosting over powering. Their carrot cake was a huge disappointment to me -- dry, bland and the cream cheese frosting overpowered, rather than complimented the cake. And they are way over priced. As someone who enjoys baking, I would throw out something that came out like that rather than let anyone eat it. The only baked good that I have enjoyed is the occasional cookie from the cafe.

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                                                                                                      scout1 Mar 6, 2007 01:09 PM

                                                                                                      OR! Alternatively, you can bake them yourself. There's a recipe from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook. A friend of mine baked them using the recipe and they were pretty close! ENJOY!

                                                                                                      http://www.amazon.com/Magnolia-Bakery...

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                                                                                                        scout1 Mar 6, 2007 12:56 PM

                                                                                                        I live right around the corner from Magnolia in the City. I am actually moving to Chicago this summer. I used to LOVE Magnolia cupcakes, but I think they're overrated. If you ever find your way back to NY, I would HIGHLY recommend trying the cupcakes at Billy's Bakery (Chelsea) or Duane Park Patisserie (Tribeca). WELL WORTH it and no crazy lines!

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                                                                                                        1. re: scout1
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                                                                                                          amberleigh Mar 16, 2008 12:22 PM

                                                                                                          I totally agree about Magnolia. The cupcakes are NOT anything special, Sex in the City notwithstanding. The thing about the place that has always creeped me out, is that customers are allowed to select their own cupcakes. Stand outside and watch through the window as these Carrie Bradshaw wanna-bes pick up a cupcake, decide they don't want THAT one, lick frosting off their fingers, pick up ANOTHER one, decide no, lick icing from THAT one off their fingers, pick up a different one...and so on and so on. I watched one little chickita do that about 7 times before she decided upon her cupcake. I related this to a friend who said she'd seen the same thing happen many times. Someone call the Health Inspector...!

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                                                                                                          rsmuckles Mar 5, 2007 02:26 PM

                                                                                                          I second Dinkel's . . . really good stuff.

                                                                                                          1. ChicagoKat Mar 3, 2007 02:58 PM

                                                                                                            Oh my gosh! I can't believe anyone hasn't recommended Dinkel's yet! They have the most awesome cupcakes! You must try them!!

                                                                                                            1. nsxtasy Mar 3, 2007 11:58 AM

                                                                                                              I was in Fox and Obel earlier today. They carry four kinds of cupcakes: the previously-mentioned red velvet, devil's food, carrot cake, and butter cake. They had all but the butter cake in the counter. They sometimes decorate them for the season; for example, last week, before last Sunday's broadcast of the Academy Awards, they had some decorated with an Oscar statue on top.

                                                                                                              Metromix lists three places specializing in cupcakes, but I don't know anything about them:

                                                                                                              Swirlz Cupcakes
                                                                                                              705 W. Belden Ave
                                                                                                              Chicago, 60614
                                                                                                              (877) 791-7594
                                                                                                              www.swirlzcupcakes.com

                                                                                                              Cupcakes 'N' More
                                                                                                              275 Old Orchard Center
                                                                                                              Skokie 60077
                                                                                                              847-679-1490
                                                                                                              http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/dining/119964,0,688940.venue

                                                                                                              Cupcakes
                                                                                                              613 W. Briar Pl.
                                                                                                              773-525-0817
                                                                                                              www.chicagocupcakes.com

                                                                                                              1. kauai2b Mar 3, 2007 11:00 AM

                                                                                                                RE: Sweet Mandy B's the only cupcakes I like there are the red velvet when they are fresh. I usually don't like red velvet otherwise. Good cream cheese frosting.

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                                                                                                                  keli Mar 3, 2007 10:47 AM

                                                                                                                  Have you tried Swirlz? I think it's on Belden. Interesting and intense flavors. they are about $3 per cupcake, but if you're in the mood for a good tasting cupcake it's worth it! Cute little shop too. they serve juices and coffee drinks.

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                                                                                                                  1. re: keli
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                                                                                                                    theuninvitedguest Oct 6, 2008 11:46 AM

                                                                                                                    We ordered Swirlz cupcakes for a birthday in my office about a month ago and almost nobody liked them. They were way too cloying and nobody was sold on the Italian butter cream.

                                                                                                                    I remember having a cupcake from Sarah's Pastries and Candies and really loving it. They have a location on Oak St. and one in the Macy's State St. store.

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                                                                                                                    waxpaper Mar 3, 2007 07:32 AM

                                                                                                                    I never made it to Magnolia when I was in New York. But I love going into Swirlz here, in Lincoln Park (somewhere near where Lincoln and Orchard Street intersect).

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                                                                                                                      dlpens Mar 2, 2007 04:11 PM

                                                                                                                      Well if you able to venture up to Highwood you will not be disappointed in the Bent Fork which has now forged a great reputation based on their cupcakes. The smaller versions are $1.95 while the larger versions are $2.95. My wife is a cupcake afficianado and she has declared the Bent Fork as her favorite spot.

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                                                                                                                      1. re: dlpens
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                                                                                                                        2phatties Mar 15, 2007 11:39 AM

                                                                                                                        I agree. Bent Fork is definitely worth the trip. Great cupcakes especially the carrot and red velvet. Delicious!!!

                                                                                                                        www.thebentfork.com

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                                                                                                                        the brat Mar 2, 2007 02:57 PM

                                                                                                                        Haven't tried Magnolia, so this is a blind suggestion, but I've had multiple cupcakes from Alliance Bakery on Division just west of Ashland, and love 'em.

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                                                                                                                          SuzMiCo Mar 2, 2007 01:07 PM

                                                                                                                          I had a delicious red velvet cupcake at Fox & Obel Cafe. Because red velvet is so different from other kinds of cupcakes (and usually has cream cheese frosting, although frankly I don't remember if that was true at F &O), I don't know how it would compare to Magnolia (which I adore).

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                                                                                                                            NDJ Mar 2, 2007 12:06 PM

                                                                                                                            Magnolia Bakery is pretty fun isn't it? I agree with you on Sweet Mandy B's...I only eat the chocolate frosted ones (they also are oddly lighter tasting than the other buttercream ones). They do not always have them (so call ahead), but whenever Milk & Honey Cafe on West Division St has cupcakes, they are awesome. They've had them a lot recently. Let me know what you think. It's not the kind of place where you can go and buy a dozen like Magnolia Cafe, but if you just want to get your fix, it is perfect.

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