Sunday, March 6, 2011

Cupcake Wars Chicago Style

When I was a kid, cupcakes were a staple of school birthday parties. For my birthday, my mom would bake just enough cupcakes for my entire class, including one for the teacher. Today, cupcakes have gone upscale. Bakeries specializing in cupcakes have sprung up everywhere in the last five years. And Chicago is doing its best to contribute to the craze. A simple Google search with the keywords “cupcakes Chicago” will confirm this.

Today's cupcakes have gone upscale.

Cupcakes are now replacing cakes at weddings. Less expensive than traditional wedding cakes, newlyweds serving cupcakes can avoid paying a cake-cutting fee—$1 apiece or more—which many caterers charge. Anyone planning a wedding today knows that those costs can add up.But what I find most intriguing are the companies selling cupcakes out of vans around the city.

The Flirty Cupcakes van is a common sight around Chicago.

First there was Flirty Cupcakes, but now others have gotten into the act. The drill is the same: you follow them on Twitter and/or Facebook to find out when they’ll be in front of your home or office. And like a kid chasing after the ice cream truck, you’re outside waiting for your Curious George cupcake.

Sweet Miss Givings sales support Chicago House.

Mintel, a market-research firm with offices in Chicago, predicted that cupcakes would be the fastest-growing part of the baked-goods industry between 2008 and 2013. Part of the reason for this growth is attributed to the recession. A cupcake only costs a few dollars as opposed to a cake from a bakery that can cost more than $20. For many, a freshly baked cupcake is a luxury they can afford, making cupcake sales recession-proof.

The More cupcake van may be the coolest in the city.

Have you purchased cupcakes from one of the several mobile cupcake trucks in the city? Are you following any of them on Twitter or Facebook? Let me know which cupcake bakery—mobile or stationary—you think is best.


  1. I love Flirty Cupcakes!

  2. I've tried the places you mentioned but MORE cupcakes has "taken the cake". IMO, they are the best! We just need them to love the South Loop and visit more often.

  3. JJ, I'll see what I can do about getting More cupcakes down our way. I could start by sending them a link to this post.

  4. Kim Deason from More cupcakes got back to me and said we can expect to see "more" of them in the South Loop. Check out their Web site and follow them on Facebook and/or Twitter for mobile locations.

  5. More has a truck?!?! Good Lord, I've seen the light. I remember when I took my first bite into their cookies and cream cupcake, I had no idea the top half was cream; I was in shock with the tastiness. Natalie Slater (who's from Chicago and actually was a judge on the Food Network's first "Cupcake Wars") actually said More cupcakes is her favorite, specifically the salted caramel (here's a link to the interview I love how she describes it as "I've seen grown men go.....::melts:: at these cupcakes."

    The first time I saw a Flirty Cupcakes truck, I really wanted to get some but... it was a long line, of course. :(

    Sorry for this long comment... just expressing my cupcake feelings :)

    Think they'll ever have a truck for the other Chicagoland cupcake places like Molly's or Phoebe's or Bennison's?

  6. Aya, More is at 13th and S Michigan right now!

  7. I'd have to say that Sugar Bliss is still my favorite cupcake bakery in Chicago. Although, with all the new places popping up, I haven't been able to keep up!


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