The editors traipse around Chicago's Loop in search of the best tasting red velvet cupcake.
Armed with water bottles, impeccable palates and loose-fitting pants, Modern Baking editors Katie Martin and Maggie Hennessy set out on a trek to determine the best red velvet cupcake in Chicago’s loop. The contenders were a mix of local and chain bakeries: More Cupcakes (local), Sugar Bliss Cakes (local), Magnolia Bakery (chain), Crumbs (chain), and Sprinkles Cupcakes (chain).
We selected a fairly warm October day so the cupcakes (and the editors) wouldn’t be affected by cold weather. To limit the cupcakes’ exposure to the elements, we purchased all the cupcakes within one hour–dodging some suspicious looks from employees who saw our arms full of competitor’s cupcakes. To prevent bias (What? Baking editors are biased?), each cupcake was sliced in quarters and numbered before the taste test began.
As a caveat, we are not setting out to pan any establishment (and frankly, we were surprised at some of the results). We are acting as two consumers with no agenda other than to find what we think is the best tasting red velvet cupcake. We chose red velvet simply because it was a flavor all of the bakeries offered and had available that day. Our results are not meant to be a reflection on the bakeries as a whole, and are the comments of only two people.
Cupcake #1: More $4.35
Cupcake #2: Magnolia $3.50
Cupcake #3: Sprinkles $3.50
Cupcake #4: Crumbs $3.95
Cupcake #5: Sugar Bliss $3.50
Sprinkles (great balance of flavors throughout, perfect icing-to-cupcake ratio, good moist crumb to the cake, the right hit of sweet and tang in the icing)
More (attractive and sleek white takeout box with an actual cupcake holster built in for easy carrying)
Katie: Sugar Bliss (liked the flower petal application of icing)
Maggie: Magnolia (liked the tall, homemade look of the icing application)
Best bang for its buck
Crumbs (for sheer size of cupcake)
The editors unanimously chose Sprinkles as the best-tasting cupcake overall (it was visible on our faces mid-first bite), though there were positive attributes to each cupcake in the running.