PW's Guide to Philly Cupcakes

Where to go with your achey cakey heart.

By Tim McGinnis 
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted Nov. 3, 2009

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Got the booze?: Betty’s Speakeasy spikes some cupcakes for an extra kick.

Photo by Michael Persico

Famed curmudgeonly chefs Anthony Bourdain and David Chang recently sat down at a roundtable to call bullshit on some current culinary trends. At one point David Chang stated, “I hate fuckin’ cupcakes.” To be clear, Chef Chang wasn’t talking about making love to this confectionery; if American Pie taught us anything it’s that the physical act of love with any baked good is pure hedonistic pleasure. Chang was, however, bemoaning the recent rise in the dessert’s popularity. Despite his feelings, you may have noticed that some of us food writers are quite obsessed with this trend, and for good reason: Cupcakes are playful, cute and downright tasty. As for David Chang, he’s talented but saltier than soy sauce on a salt lick. 


If You’re Mobile


We’ve all had run-ins with incompetence and the Buttercream Cupcake Lady (twitter.com/buttercreamphl 267.505.7486) and her famed cupcake truck is just like the rest of us. After a gas station attendant filled the truck with regular instead of diesel a few weeks back, the Johnny Appleseed of cupcakes was out of commission. But with the help of some prayers and a bit of elbow grease, the lady and the truck are back on the road making at least five weekly stops—find out where on Twitter—to dole out a rotating cast of flavors like Vanilla Vanilla and Chocolate Peanut Butter made with Ghiradelli cocoa. D S $ M


If Monkey is the Only Way to Fly


Reading Terminal Market’s Flying Monkey Patisserie (12th and Arch sts. 215.928.0340) has outgrown the confines of its stall among Amish pickle vendors and fishmongers and opened Deuce (1112 Locust St.), a freestanding location in Washington Square West. Here, you can get high-quality cupcakes like their signature Flying Monkey, made with chocolate cake, both vanilla and chocolate buttercream and banana chunks, without being trampled by tourists in search of Oprah’s favorite mac ’n’ cheese. I S M


If You’re Straight Philly


We’d like to see David Chang talk mess to Top Chef contestant Jennifer Carroll and her pastry chef Monica Glass at 10 Arts (10 S. Broad St. 215.523.8273 ). They’ve got Le Bernadin pedigree and Jen’s got the Northeast attitude necessary to pull off a mini-cupcake trio for dessert during lunch or dinner for $10, and make it look tough as well as delicious. O I S

If It’s Easy Like Sunday Morning


Graduate Hospital’s Betty’s Speakeasy (2241 Grays Ferry Ave. 215.735.9060) is this year’s winner of Philadelphia Magazine’s Best of Philly award for cupcakes. Even though most winners are usually from outside Philly, the magazine ventured into the actual depths of the city to crown the undisputed queen of cupcakes. Betty bangs out an ever-changing cast of cake characters—like the Black Magic chocolate cupcake—or specialty items like wheat beer-spiked pear and ginger cakes. O I S $ 


If It’s a Family Affair


The lovely ladies of Brown Betty Petite (269 S. 20th St. 215.545.0444), the sister site to Brown Betty Dessert Boutique in Northern Liberties, have a strong sense of family and a knack for baked goods. At Petite, they are decidedly cupcake-focused and their flavors—including strawberry pound, carrot and chocolate red velvet—are sure to please at any family reunion. O S M


If You’re Whipped


The new kid on the cupcake block, Whipped Bakeshop (636 Belgrade St. 215.598.5449), claims to be “cupcake heaven.” Their beautifully designed cupcakes makes us believe the phrase “God is in the details.” Take a gander at their chocolate “scribble” cupcakes with butter cream and a mohawk of chocolate, and try not to fall to your knees in thanks. O D I S

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1. Nessa said... on Nov 21, 2009 at 03:52PM

“It's a CupCake! is also a new cupcake on the block. Located in Northern Liberties
958 North 2nd St
itsacupcake.com
There Sweet Potato Pie cupcakes is to die for! They also make savory cupcakes for appetizers.”

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