East, West coast cupcakes now in Chicago

March 30, 2011 9:42:42 AM PDT
Just when you thought the cupcake trend was over, two well-known shops -- Crumbs from NYC and Sprinkles from Beverly Hills -- pop up.

If it's a Friday afternoon in the Loop, you can bet the cupcake business will be brisk.

"That's a vanilla cake, it's filled with chocolate cream cheese frosting, it's topped with a very thin layer of vanilla cream cheese frosting then its topped with chocolate fondant and white chocolate sprinkles?"

The most recent import from New York City is Crumbs Bake Shop, which has locations on the coasts, but picked Chicago for a reason.

"There's a lot of cupcake shops in every city. Chicago is a fantastic city for us, it's a foodie town, which all of us are, we're all big foodies. We thought Chicago is the next best step for us," said Harley Bauer of Crumbs.

Cupcakes here come in four different sizes, and are often times filled with hidden treasures.

"We carry in store probably upwards of about 35 flavors a day, and in our arsenal overall we have probably 80 to 90 flavors, which is probably the biggest reason that sets us apart from all of our competitors," said Bauer.

One local competitor with similarly national aspirations is Sprinkles. Based in Beverly Hills, this cupcake salon is always busy it seems..due in part to the fact everything is made in the back.

"All of our cupcakes are very classic flavors, classic combos; we have a black and white or a red velvet and they're individual sized so it's like a personalized dessert," said Maura Weber from Sprinkles.

Strawberry cake is crowned with strawberry frosting; a Belgian dark chocolate cake hides marshmallow cream embedded inside. Weber says there's variety, but it's not overwhelming.

"We have two frosting bases; we have a cream cheese which comes on about half of our cupcakes then we have a buttercream base. And then from there we'll do a chocolate, a dark chocolate, a cinnamon cream cheese which is really good," Weber said.

Now a little bit of a more focused effort here at Sprinkles rather than Crumbs. Only about a dozen flavors a day and there's no giant or mini, it's one size fits all. The only filled cupcake they have is a chocolate marshmallow, which frankly, is just fine with me.

New York's famous Magnolia Bakery is slated to launch in the Block 37 Mall in the Loop in June.

Sprinkles 50 E. Walton St 312-573-1600 www.sprinkles.com

Crumbs 303 W. Madison St 312-263-6500 www.crumbs.com

also mentioned:

Swirlz 705 W Belden Ave 773-404-2253 www.swirlzcupcakes.com

Molly's 2536 N Clark St 773-883-7220 www.mollyscupcakes.com

More 1 E. Delaware Pl. 312-951-0001

Sugar Bliss 115 N Wabash 312-845-9669 www.sugarblisscakes.com