SWIRLZ CUPCAKES LINCOLN PARK
THE COOKING GODDESS DIPS INTO CUPCAKES!
Lincoln Park is known for great places to eat, eclectic and unique stores and beautiful two and three flat buildings on shady tree lined streets. Now, it’s also known for sumptuous cupcakes!
Just off Lincoln Avenue on Belden, Swirlz Cupcakes is owned by Four Unlikely Friends who turned a love of the tasty treats into a flourishing business. Cupcakes are now “hot” all across the country – due in part to boomer nostalgia and the insatiable human need for a daily treat.
Pastry Chef Jeremy Sher’s passion for cupcake perfection is reflected in the use of top shelf ingredients such as Euro style butter, premium French chocolate and Italian buttercream frosting.
There’s not only love and beauty in the cupcakes – they also make their way across the street to Children’s Memorial Hospital. These treats always put a smile on the faces of children and their parents – a welcome oasis from daily adversity. The cupcakes are made fresh every day, so any unsold cakes also are donated to Deborah’s Women’s Shelter, the 18th District Fire Department, and other local non-profit organizations. This community good will attracts more customers! There’s such loyalty to “the goodness” of Swirlz that people often board flights at O’Hare with a box or two of cupcake comfort in hand.
One of the unique aspects of Swirlz is their Gluten Free (GF) offerings. For those with this allergy, the search for food products that taste good becomes an obsessive quest. Customers come from as far as Wisconsin and Iowa to buy the flavorful treats. They are rice-flour based, moist and cakey. The GF cupcakes are available every day (with a different flavor each day). GF Flavors include Chocolate Grasshopper Mint, Lemon Twist and Chocolate Peanut Butter.
Swirlz has reduced sugar cake offerings every day, flavors include chocolate on Vanilla, Chinese 5-Spice and Lemon on Chocolate – a “Weight Watchers friendly” cupcake that will only cost you 4.5 – 5.5 of your daily points!
My friend Julie and I sampled the red velvet, carrot, chocolate, vanilla and the “surprise” cupcake of the day, mango. My personal favorites were the vanilla, carrot and red velvet. What’s interesting about these cupcakes is that the overall taste of the two key components is not “overwhelmed” by sweetness, as many cupcakes can be. The cake itself is rich, moist and dense. The two fabulous frostings: buttercream and the cream cheese based are silky smooth. The depth of the quality ingredients is apparent by taking the time to really taste each frosting. One is tempted to lick off all the frosting and go for more. The cream cheese frosting (which I confess is traditionally not my favorite) – is a perfect accompaniment to both the carrot and red velvet offerings.- It is blended with whipped Italian Buttercream!
Swirlz can produce cupcakes for catered events, weddings and showers. Traditional size cupcakes are $3 each, with mini’s priced at $1. Minis are made only for special events. Swirlz even delivers!
Chef Jeremy Sher was kind enough to share this recipe with us:
Swirlz Lemon Curd
Yield: approx. 1 cup
Egg yolks 3
Whole eggs 1
Sugar 4.5 oz (½ cup + 1 T)
Fresh squeezed lemon juiceLemon zest 3 oz (2-3 lemons)From 1 lemon
Unsalted butter, melted 2 oz (4 T)
1.Whisk all ingredients together in a glass or stainless bowl just until combined.
2.Make a double boiler by placing bowl over a pot of simmering water (do not let boil) and stir occasionally for approximately 20-30 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken. It should coat the back of a spoon evenly when tested.
3.Strain and let cool (discard the zest).
4.Store in fridge for up to 1 week. Use on top of cupcakes, inside layer cakes or even on toast or pancakes in the morning. Enjoy!
BY LAURA HANSEN – THE COOKING GODDESS
Best of the Best Dining in Chicago