When did cupcakes go from being the thing your kid tells you he needs 37 of for school the next day [usually about 9:30 at night and when you know for a fact you’re out of flour or baking soda or some other key ingredient] to being artisanal creations that people line up around the block for?
This new take on cupcakes started appearing on my radar screen thanks to New York magazine a few years back. Places like Magnolia’s and Crumbs were doing a land office business, and frequent magazine dispatches alternately offered breathless descriptions of their wares and smartass jabs at all the hype over, well, cupcakes.
To me, they were still pretty much, well, cupcakes. And then I found, well, cupcakes, right here in Chicago. This appropriately diminutive and charming bakery [even its name is in all lowercase] specializes in heavenly little cakes it calls, modestly enough, the “best cupcakes anywhere!” Not having extensively sampled cupcakes everywhere, I can neither substantiate nor refute this claim, but I’m here tell you their cupcakes are really, really delicious. They’re also just the right size. After you’ve eaten one, you neither feel cheated nor piggish.
The pastry chefs at cupcakes hand-bake and hand-frost the cakes in small batches. Each week, they offer eight or so flavors from their repertoire of more than sixty. Everything from Classic Yellow to Red Velvet, Key Lime and the Double Chocolate and Spiced Mango [fresh mango cake with ginger white chocolate buttercream frosting] shown above.
You can check out the flavors of the week on their website, an evil little feature that has been responsible for more than one car trip over to the Lakeview neighborhood. Every time, it’s been worth the drive.
613 W. Briar Place [just west of Broadway]
Open Monday through Saturday, 10am – 7pm. Closed Sundays.