Call me a cupcake connoisseur. I have literally tried cupcakes coast to coast from Seattle to NYC with A LOT in between. I have come across some really good cupcakes in my day, but there is one that has left a lasting impression, and in my mind, an unattainable high bar. Sweet Mandy B’s in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago.
Now to be fair, I feel that I have attempted to standardize my taste testing methodology while savoring these nationwide cupcakes (seriously, who has a methodology when it comes to eating cupcakes?). My favorite all time flavor profile is a vanilla cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting. In order to have a comparable and valid comparison, I have used that particular cupcake as my base constant at each cupcake establishment. I always at least order that cupcake and then will branch out and try something else (because I think a cupcake place needs to do the standard, non-gourmet flavor cupcake really well in order to call itself a great bakery. If you can’t do the plain and simple ones, you have no business doing the fancy, foo-foo ones!)
What does it for me at Sweet Mandy B’s is both the cake and the frosting. The cake is moist and flavorful while the frosting is creamy with just the right mix of butter and sugar and whatever other magical ingredients they put in there (you know how some frostings are too sugary, a weird texture or just have no flavor? Not here!). But the most important part of the frosting is the amazing chocolate flavor. I joke with friends (especially my best friend Sonia) that the frosting is laden with crack because it is just so awesome and addictive. Seriously, what magic do you put in there Sweet Mandy B’s??
The other important thing that Sweet Mandy B’s has perfected is the proper ratio of cake to frosting. Yes, this is important people! I think too much of one or the other just throws off the balance and then all you taste is either cake or frosting. No good. You need both in the right proportion in each bite to truly enjoy the magnificence of this godly creation.
While I believe the chocolate buttercream frosting is heaven-sent, I will give high props to the vanilla buttercream there as well. It is really good and one of my favorites from all that I have tried. But, if I ever had to decide between the two, hands down, chocolate it is.
I’m pretty sure I would be at least 10 pounds lighter had I not been introduced to these cupcakes (yeah, thanks a lot Parul for introducing me to this bakery). Oh well, they are so worth it, I sadly really could eat my weight in these cupcakes! ha ha.