5 to Try: Cupcakes

Cupcakes: they're not just for kids anymore. Across the Philadelphia area, adults are gobbling up these birthday party treats at rates previously unseen. And the more we're eating, the more bakers are supplying our fix. Call it a cheap treat or call it comforting emotional nourishment in an economic era when we're in definite need of both, there's little question that the recession is a factor in our craving. So go ahead, make yourself feel better. Light a candle, eat a cupcake and celebrate yourself. (Photo coutesy of Night Kitchen)

Updated: September 25, 2009

5 to Try

Flying Monkey Bakery

51 N. 12th St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Although it's not the first time this Reading Terminal Market stalwart has boozed up its batter, the appropriately titled Jim Beam cupcake is the latest and perhaps the most surprising alcohol-soaked mini-cake to stumble onto its bakery case. Depending on the moment, you can get either a chocolate or vanilla cupcake lined with fresh butter cream frosting spiked with the bourbon member of the legendary ?Three Wise Men? trio of spirits. But don't expect to get lit ? one shot of JB coats an entire tray of these not-so-innocent pastries.

Brown Betty Dessert Boutique

1030 N 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19123

Get your tropical fix at this Liberties Walk bakery when you order a pineapple pound cake cupcake. A shot of pineapple rum and a pile of the crushed fruit liven up the thick batter and leave a pleasantly moist taste in your mouth. To top it off, Miss Betty mixes up a cream cheese frosting, dies it yellow and drops on a piece of sugary dried pineapple as garnish.

Naked Chocolate Cafe Llc

1317 Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19107

There's nothing that isn't magic at this mini chocolate chain, and that includes the luscious stuffed cupcakes. The Black Forest Stuffed Cupcake, for instance, is cake made of a chocolate base that gets hollowed out once it's baked and formed. Then, where the center of the cupcake used to be, specially trained Naked Chocolate elves stuff in gourmet whole black cherry preserves that make the cupcake squirt into your mouth like that gum that lost its flavor after the first chew. But this chocolicious treat never loses its flavor, and instead continues the goodness with fresh homemade whipped cream icing.

Night Kitchen Bakery

7725 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19118

It's autumn time and the leaves are fallin?, which makes it a nice time of year to nibble on seasonal confections like the pumpkin poundcake cupcake at this 25-year-old Chestnut Hill bakery. Fresh hunks of jack-o-lantern flesh get beaten into the batter before it gets cooked and topped with sweet cinnamon cream cheese frosting. Then, a fondant decoration shaped like an acorn or a multi-colored leaf completes the autumn theme.

Betty's Buttons

2241 Grays Ferry Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19146

Would you like a beer to wash down that cupcake? The answer is a definitive yes at this bakery that's no stranger to boozy desserts. The featured intoxicant in The Brawler cupcake is Yards Brawler beer, which is used to soak and cook up the spiced apples that form the flavor basis for this seasonal specialty. The drunken apples are then pureed into sauce, stirred into a poundcake batter and frosted with fresh ginger icing. What's more, the employees can even tell you what local farms grew the apples.