BY CHRISTINE BARBOUR
Sex in the City may not have managed to make New York singles look like multidimensional, well-adjusted people, but it did a world of good for the cupcake. Long relegated to childhood memories and packaged snack-cake displays, cupcakes were everywhere by the time the show went off the air in 2004. From New York City’s Magnolia Bakery, where their renaissance began, to bakeries around the country, cupcakes are now de rigueur, whether for a quick mouthful of decadent sweetness or to replace traditional birthday cakes and even wedding cakes. Clearly, cupcakes are not just for children anymore.
Here in Bloomington there are cupcake options galore. Of course, there are the cheap, premade-from-a-mix supermarket versions, with icing in improbable, neon colors, but Bloomingtonians seeking a bite or two of made-from-scratch cakey goodness have some delicious local options.
BLU Boy Chocolate Café and Cakery, on East Kirkwood just off the downtown Square, makes its cupcakes from top-quality ingredients, including local eggs. In addition to the standards of chocolate and vanilla, BLU Boy has a rotating menu of cupcake flavors that vary by day of the week, as well as a daily mystery flavor. Intriguing-sounding flavors like Monkey Love (chocolate and banana), Pucker (lemon), and BLU-Morning (blueberry, cream cheese, and cinnamon streusel) are designed to tempt the most disciplined dieter.
At Angel B’s A Galleria of Cakes on West Patterson Drive and South Rogers Street, the small-batch cupcakes are usually only a couple of hours old. They, too, rotate daily, with flavors like lemon raspberry, pistachio with white chocolate, and crème caramel with caramel butter cream, though Chef Mark Brethauer says that the bestsellers, hands down, are chocolate and vanilla, especially on gloomy days when people are looking for a bite of comfort.
Sweet Claire on East 3rd Street focuses on breads and sweet pastries, but its beautiful cupcakes are worth a visit all on their own. Standard flavors of chocolate, vanilla, and red velvet are supplemented by carrot cake, strawberry, or whatever the customer wanting an entire batch orders in advance. The chocolate, topped with Italian butter cream, is a fudgy delight.