Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chicago Cucpake Tasting Part 1

It seemed ludicrous that I had lived in Chicago for almost 1.5 years without visiting ANY cupcake shops. That was all remedied for my birthday this year. Thomas gave me the day off so I could snag a friend and head into the city to collect cupcakes from EIGHT cupcake bakeries. This of course ended in the planning of a party to eat the cupcakes. Seriously, who wants to hate cupcakes by eating so many in one day? This task required friends. For now we'll just focus on the hunt. I will list more about the flavors when I talk about the cupcake tasting party in a later post.

Bakery #1: Bleeding Heart Bakery
We started at the most northern stop, in Rosco Village. This is a local, sustainable, punk rock bakery, which happily had punk rock customers. Tattoed up, listening to blaring punk music, eating cupcakes, at 10am. There was awesome people watching to be had.

They sold a lot more than cupcakes, but it wasn't hard to stick to our mission because their cupcakes looked fantastic.

There's my friend Eileen who I took on the crazy adventure- so glad to have her along :).

We ordered humongous scones for breakfast. I had a ginger scone (it had the largest chunks of candied ginger I've ever eaten whole and was not for the faint of heart. I couldn't pass up the chocolate covered bacon. YES. It was delicious.

Bakery #2:  Phoebe's Cupcakes
A very different aesthetic from Bleeding Heart, Phoebe's was sort of cottage chic in the Lakeview neighborhood. Their art was very intriguing to me, it seemed a bit more edgy than the rest of their shop.

We, of course, told everyone what we were doing (it helped me feel better about snapping a million photos). This guy was totally into it and gave us 2 free cupcakes.

One had bacon :). It might me an odd trend, but I'm loving it.

 Bakery #3:  Molly's Cupcakes
Next we headed slightly south into Lincoln Park. This one made me want to do my homework before our trip (oooohhh the bad puns!). There was obviously some solid reasoning behind the name and decor of Molly's Cupcakes and I thought it was the cutest on our tour.

The place was decked out with vintage school house ephemera and memorabilia that highlighted the cool things Mrs. Molly did with her students. Some of the cupcakes were named after her friends and favorite things.

There was also a sprinkle station :).


Bakery #4: Swirlz Cupcakes
Swirlz was also in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Their buttercream cupcakes were really cute and their staff was super sweet.

The Twixie cupcakes looked familiar, but way more decadent.

Bakery #5:  Sprinkles
After a quick lunch at Kim and Scott's Pretzel Cafe we headed into the heart of the city to checkout the most popular bakery, Sprinkles. 

Wow, did people ever love their Sprinkles. If you saw a group of 5+ teenie boppers carrying designer bags headed down the sidewalk you knew exactly where you were going. It was a bit crazy in there.

I sort of felt like they were going to start screaming and throwing themselves on the cupcakes like they were the Jonas Brothers (or whatever bad is popular now, I know I'm 5 years too late for that comment).

Bakery #6:  More Cupcakes
This was a very nice contrast to Sprinkles, and it was just across the street (they were both on Millineum Mile). It was TINY. And crowded. But it was also relatively quiet.

And REALLY luxurious.

Bakery #7:  Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique
We hopped on the L and headed about 1 mile south for our last two visits. Oh Sugar Bliss, you had many hard acts to follow and it might be for that reason that you were so unimpressive in the sea of bakeries, but nonetheless there are no memories or observations to share. This was honestly a very vanilla little shop. I'm sure if I lived in the neighborhood I'd be happy they were there.

Bakery #8:  Crumbs
Crumbs was not a necessary stop because I was spoiled and received a dozen assorted crumbs cupcake the day before our tour via mail from the awesome Anna and Ryan. But I have ordered their cupcakes as presents in the past (they have great variety and do mail order),wanted to visit them in person, and we were a mere few blocks away.

 These guys were really excited about the cupcake tasting as well, though they didn't offer us free cupcakes :).

Check back for the party post!

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