If you’re wandering around Chicago and come across a blue van selling cupcakes, it’s not a mirage. No, it’s the latest way to bring yet another avenue of cupcake consumption to Chicago’s sugar-hungry consumers. After all, that’s what this city needs, hmm?
Right now Flirty Cupcakes is a novelty and is helping to break ground for other street food ventures. Cupcake fans as well as food truck lobbyists are certainly happy to see them. However, I’m concerned that they’re not serving under-cupcaked neighborhoods. I also fear they will wear out their welcome by parking in front of competing establishments or increasing the density of bakeries unduly. When I spotted them on Clark the other day, they were camped out in front of the Rise ‘n Roll Amish Market & Bakery. That can’t be good and may even spark a back-lash against the nascent food truck trend.
Given the number of cupcake options in Chicago, I felt it was fair to rate them against their competition. For one, the price is steep for the size/quality — $3.25 for a single cupcake and $5.25 for four mini-cupcakes. If you’re going to spend that kind of money in downtown Chicago for cupcakes, I say head over to The Cupcake Counter, Sugar Bliss or make the trek up the road for More Cupcakes or even Fox & Obel. There are advantages to the stand-alone stores — you don’t have to track them down, worry that they’ll run out, fail to spot them, or wait in line.
Having said that, the cupcakes at Flirty Cupcakes do have something to offer the passer-by. The buttercream frosting was excellent and piled high — too much for the tiny cupcakes. I like to take a bite of the frosting and cupcake together and these aren’t engineered that way. The packaging makes it easy to transport from the sidewalk to your office. I’m also satisfied with the range of cupcakes available — everything from a plain jane to a “Curious George” banana-chocolate cupcake can be counted upon. A cupcake with nutella ganache nearly took me away from my standard red velvet and vanilla choices.