Venturing along the Clark Street corridor in Chicago I found a slightly more sophisticated approach to cupcakes at Molly’s Cupcakes. This is a place that goes to great effort to take some other dessert favorites and package them in the form of a cupcake. On my visit they happened to have a cheesecake cupcake with filling, graham cracker crust, and blueberries.
Now I have to give them a significant score for presentation, and taste with their mixed berry cupcake complete with raspberry blueberry filling.
If you don’t find that they have on hand something to fit you fancy you can even order a custom cupcake.
Recently I had the privilege of tasting something that has ties to Latin culture. This was a mini cupcake that was chocolate with a touch of cinnamon. The deep dark color was matched by the rich chocolate flavor.
This as a special treat that I got on a recent visit to the Angel Food Bakery. Also, if you are a hot chocolate fan you have to be sure to try theirs.
Now there are some of you out there that have suffered from what I will call “icing rationing” on your cupcakes. This is a terrible thing for a person who enjoys the rich creamy icing more than the cake. You know who you are. You’re the people that consider the cake merely an icing pedestal.
Sensational Bites is where you should do your cupcake shopping. All of the cupcakes I saw there were architecturally impressive. This was due to how they all seem to be able to support the weight of the generous amount of icing on top. In addition to different shapes and colors you will also have your choice of flavors.
At the Angel Food Bakery they produce a wide assortment of specialty cupcakes. Depending on the day and week you stop by you can find one of the many popular cake flavors reproduced as a cupcake. The Red Velvet cupcake is one that so popular that they seem to have it available more often than not.
The butter cream icing topped off by the little red candies have you tasting red velvet cake before your first bite.
Carrot Cake is another classic flavor you can get in cupcake form. The icing is the feature of this favorite. Recently I watched the carrot cake cupcakes literally walk out with each customer that came in while I was having lunch.
Nostalgia is a strong longing for things from the past. Food nostalgia is when that longing takes our minds back to the times of some simple but unique taste experiences. Many of these are times from our childhood where we ate things with strange names. An example of is the “MoonPie”. This brain child of the Chattanooga Baking Company has been copied by many, but there’s nothing with a taste like the original.
On my travels around town I came across the Angel Food Bakery and Stephanie Samuels. As I get older I’m starting to notice that my memory works in a delayed fashion. Once I met her and we spoke I realized that I recognized Stephanie from her appearance on the Food Network Challenge. I was already hooked by her bake shop and the retro theme using toy ovens as a key part of the decor. As I sat and ate my lunch I was entranced by the display of cupcakes.
Looking at the colorful hand-iced cupcakes reminded me of the feeling I had as a kid when I opened a new box of Crayola Crayons. All of the colors so clean, neat, and perfect made it hard for me to choose which one I wanted to use first. Looking at the cupcakes was a two-edge sword. I didn’t know which one I wanted to photograph and taste first.
Now I do have a sweet tooth. The thing that starts the teeth to tingling the most is a good cookie. This is not a cookie you will find at you local grocery store. This is a cookie that when you see it you start to taste it. Along Southport in the North side of Chicago you’ll find a simple shop that knows how to do cookies. When you walk into the Sensational Bites you will notice that they take an old-fashioned approach to displaying their cookies. On top of display case you’ll see two rows of large glass jars. Each jar has it’s on special goodness in cookie form.
One of my favorites is the chocolate chip malt. As you can see by this photograph I couldn’t resist taking a bite. The other one not to miss is the oatmeal raisin. When it comes to cookies this place is hard to pass by.
If someone were to offer you a macaron the image that comes to mind in the USA is coconut. These chewy globs of coconut, cookie and sugar have some how come to mean macaron to us. When I stepped into Fritz Pastry I was looking for coffee. Coffee is one of my admitted addictions. If I smell coffee in the making it’s almost a given I’ll be drinking.
The pastry display at Fritz is simple but effective. At the star position in the case are these little sandwich cookies of various colors. Once you look you hooked. I scanned the entire case but my eyes would continue to drift back to the top row. Upon asking I was told the object of my eye are the macarons. Now this ain’t my father’s macaron. These are prepared in true Parisian style. The various flavors will offer something for almost any taste bud. I shared my find with a friend and she said that the pistachio are worth killing for. As for me I did have the coffee. I had coffee to complement the mocha macaroon.