Like I said earlier, I wasn’t successful in tracking down a good Chicago dog or deep dish pizza during my visit to the Windy City. But you know I can always find a city’s best cupcakes.
I can’t say that I visited various cupcake bakeries in Chicago to declare Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique as having the “best” cupcakes. But after doing some research on discussion boards and tasting them first hand, I feel pretty safe calling them so.
Sugar Bliss started out as a cupcake catering company and then opened its first retail store near Millennium Park in December 2008, which means it’s really convenient to find if you’re a tourist like me. (It’s also close to the Macy’s store.) The bakery was started by a former financier who got bored and went to culinary school in Paris, returning to create the many flavors that make up the menu at the store in Chicago’s Downtown Loop area.
Like other cupcake shops, Sugar Bliss offers several daily flavors (the popular ones include Red Velvet and Black and White) and seasonal flavors (this week is a multi-colored bright Cotton Candy cupcake). The cupcake sells for $3.50 each and mini versions are available at $1.50 each. All the cupcakes are decorated in a flower pattern, which is unique compared to the typical swirls. (But for the record, I do like the swirls because the flower petals can sometime look like dollops.)
I got three mini cupcakes so I could try a few flavors. I went with the popular selections (according to the counter person), which was the Red Velvet and Black and White. And I also got the Chocolate Cappuccino.
The red velvet is actually called Texas Red Velvet because the owner is originally from Texas so I guess she uses a recipe popular there. The cake was really moist and I really enjoyed the cream cheese frosting.
The chocolate cappuccino had a really distinct coffee flavor in the icing, and the chocolate cake was just as moist (maybe too moist because the top of my cupcake broke away from the bottom as I ate it).
But I think my favorite of the three I tried was the Black and White. I can see why it’s so popular. The moist chocolate cake is balanced by a pure vanilla icing that was not too sweet yet refined. The beauty is in the simplicity and purity of the flavors that make the combination such a classic.
Sugar Bliss is a cute shop with just a few counter seats. People come far to purchase dozens of cupcakes for special occasions and I can see why. The cakes are moist but not crumbly and the icing (a variety of either butter cream or cream cheese) are balanced and light. IMHO, this beats a Chicago dog anytime.
Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique, 115 N. Wabash St., Chicago. PH: 312.845.9669. Open daily. www.sugarblisscakes.com
More cupcake travels:
Georgetown Cupcakes (Washington, D.C.)
Crumbs Bake Shop (New York)
Cake Couture (Honolulu)
Monday, May 24, 2010