It seems like every city, no matter how big or small, has a cupcake shop.  It amazes me that a bakery can make it only selling one item and it also makes me very curious to sample these items to see what all of the rage is about.

I have told you before about my love for Magnolia Bakery and when I was in Chicago this past week, I naturally had to wander in to the Magnolia there to see if the standards that NYC set were held up.  Everything that I have come to expect from Magnolia was just as it should be.  In addition to their cupcakes, Magnolia offers other confections that people rave about such as pies, icebox desserts, cookies and bars.  I have only sampled the cupcakes, but the other desserts look just as drool-worthy.


I have never tried Sprinkles Cupcakes and felt that it was my sweet tooth duty to compare the other popular cupcakery to my already beloved Magnolia.  Sprinkles prides themselves on having celebrity fans and using high quality ingredients for their cupcakes which are topped with their signature “modern dots”.

While the cake was incredibly moist, and the frosting was just fine, I just felt that the cupcakes were nothing to write home about.  I detected no overwhelming flavor sensations and the vanilla and chocolate cake may as well have been from a box mix.  Please don’t stone me to death devoted Sprinkles fans, I’m just telling it how I experienced it!

There was an unexpected contender in this battle for the country’s best cupcake.  This quaint little place literally just snuck up on me.


Even though this place was a sleeper to me and I had never even heard of it, I made two trips in the 4 days I was in Chicago just so that I could be sure of what I am about to proclaim:  Crumbs Bake Shop officially makes the best cupcake I have ever tasted!

What makes these little babies earn the top spot on my list?  Well these aren’t just any old cupcake.  Almost every cupcake is not only frosted and topped with wonderful things like candies, cookies or nuts but also filled with fruit preserves, buttercream, fudge and many more tempting fillings.  I also love the Crumbs philosophy of celebrating the simple things in life, like the best cupcakes on earth, for example!

This cupcake was my love at first bite.  It is called the Baba Booey and is a peanut butter lover’s dream come true:  chocolate cake filled with peanut butter frosting and topped with peanut butter and chocolate cream cheese frosting and miniature peanut butter chips.  Are you booking your trip to Chicago yet?

The bakery also offers inciting breakfast options such as scones and ginormous muffins that looked splendid, but even I only have so much room in my tummy for treats, so those will have to be a reason for me to revisit Crumbs (like I needed another reason :))!

The day we left Chicago, we made one final stop and my husband and I each chose a cupcake for the road.  Before I forget to mention, Crumbs cupcakes come in 4 different sizes:  Taste (a mini cupcake to tease you a bit), Classic (your traditional-sized cupcake), Signature (Crumb’s most popular size and the size that you want if you are a serious sweet tooth like me) and Colossal cupcakes (perfect for a party:  serves 6-8).  My husband chose the Salted Caramel Cupcake which was a deep chocolate cake filled with melty salted caramel and topped with fudge sauce and I chose the Cookie Dough which was vanilla cake with chocolate fudge filling and topped with cream cheese frosting studded with cookie pieces.  I regret to inform you that possibly our favorite cupcake, the Salted Caramel variety never made it to it’s photo debut.  You can use imagination as to why that tragedy may have happened……

But it’s Cookie Dough friend made it far enough to introduce himself:

The cake is so moist and flavorful and that fudge filling and perfect frosting just puts these cupcake over the top into my new favorite bake shop dessert.

Don’t worry, Chicago is not the only place you can find a Crumbs cupcake of your own.  There are bakeries on both coasts and you can also order your very own assortment of cupcakes and have them delivered to your door.

I hope you enjoyed my cupcake tour of Chicago (FYI: they actually have formal cupcake tours of the city that you can go on!).  I always love to get new inspiration on my travels and you can bet I will be trying to replicate some of these incredibly scrumptious creations!

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15 Comments ( Reply )

  1. emily (a nutritionist eats)
    Mar 16, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

    Now how am I NOT supposed to go to Crumbs this afternoon….?!


  2. Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    Mar 17, 2012 @ 11:53 pm

    I love cupcakes & the Baba Booey sounds to die for! I’ve visited both Sprinkles & Crumbs in Los Angeles, but my favorite is Kara’s Cupcakes – several locations in the Bay Area. I haven’t had the opportunity to visit Magnolia – one day!


  3. Sommer@ASpicyPerspective
    Mar 22, 2012 @ 8:22 am

    Oooo, i just love shops like this!


  4. Sally @ sally's baking addiction
    Mar 23, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

    i am DYING to try Crumbs cupcakes! looks insanely delicious 🙂


    • Mercedes
      Mar 26, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

      I am going to try to replicate a few Crumbs cupcakes! We will see how it goes!


  5. Erika - The Teenage Taste
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 8:15 am

    Thank you for the commments on my blog – I really enjoyed checking out yours! Chicago sounds like a blast and, boy, does that cupcake look delicious!


  6. Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 10:09 pm

    Mercedes, you’re from Minneapolis?! Do you attend any of the MN Food Blogger events? My apologies if we’ve met and I’ve forgotten, but I really don’t think we have met. ?? I love Chicago and love your cupcake and pizza posts. Now I have more cupcake joints to check out next time…wasn’t aware of a Magnolias there! I’m wondering if you’ve been to More, a tiny cupcake shop (no sitting space) by Gale Gand? That is my must-stop when we’re in town. Exquisite yum. Hopefully we’ll meet some day!! 🙂


  7. Alana
    Mar 29, 2012 @ 6:41 am

    Umm the baba booey looks TREMENDOUS! I wish we had more speciality cupcake places here in Sydney. 🙁


    • Mercedes
      Mar 31, 2012 @ 1:46 pm

      It was a fantastic cupcake! I wish I could replicate it in my own kitchen!


  8. Luv What You Do
    Apr 10, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

    I live in Chicago and I have never tried Crumbs…my mouth is watering and I think I will have to get down there this weekend! I’ve seen Magnolia with a line out the door but I haven’t been there either. I have lots of cupcake tasting to do!


    • Mercedes
      Apr 10, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

      Oh, I am so jealous that you can have Crumbs whenever you want! You must try it and let me know which flavor(s) you try and what you think! Happy cupcake tasting!


  9. Judit @WineDineDaily
    Sep 09, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

    Crumbs Bake Shop looks like Cupcake Heaven”!


    • Mercedes
      Sep 09, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

      Yes, Judit, I am pretty sure that Crumbs is what cupcake heaven would be like!


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