Monday, February 8, 2010

When Less is More: More Cupcakes

When I was in grade school, each day for lunch I had cupcake envy as my best friend pulled out a mechanically frosted, cream-injected Hostess chocolate cupcake. This similar-but-better signature cupcake at More Cupcakes in Chicago tasted even richer and sweeter than those childhood memories.

Imagine a curated shop where cupcakes are like individual art pieces, on display to show their rich frosting and delicate garnishes. More Cupcakes is exactly that, a simple store where cupcakes are the stars.

Simple glass shelves showcase the unique flavors: from savory cupcakes like parmesan brown butter to cocktail cupcakes like cosmopolitan to sweet classics like red velvet. The extensive seasonal menu features an incredibly long list of flavors with at least 15 of them available on the day we were there. With two sizes, a regular size cupcake and mini-version in sets of three flavors, temptation abounds. We had a large group of tasters and therefore a good excuse to purchase a dozen.

In a modern bakery box, these cupcakes are carefully nestled in cutout cardboard circles with fingerholes so that they can be lovingly placed and removed without mussing their appearance. (Starting left and moving clockwise: coconut, chocolate vanilla cream, blood orange meringue, and oreo cookie.)

Starting top left and moving clockwise: champagne, blue cheese walnut praline and goat cheese basil (sans the pine nut garnish- they weren't finished with this one but we begged a sample).

Starting top left and moving clockwise: pomegranate, valrhona, salted caramel, the More signature cupcake.

My preference was for the signature and sweet cupcakes, particularly the surprise caramel filling of the salted caramel, the lovely citrus burst paired with the fluffy meringue of the blood orange meringue and the nostalgic cream filled More cupcake. While intrigued by the savory cupcakes and the cheese course for dessert that they evoked, the heavy and fatty mouthfeel of the cheese based frosting was too much for my palate.

But even after our over-indulgent tasting of 12 different cupcakes, the lengthly list of unexplored creative flavors still left me wanting to come back for more.