By now, much, if not all, of the St. Louis food community, both professionals and happy amateurs, has learned that Jilly's Cupcake Bar has won Cupcake Wars - again. And the winners deserved it. The winning collection is carefully focused, the flavors choreographed to go together with leaps and flourishes and pirouettes and even a little tap-dancing here and there. The last set of winners were nice. This group is outstanding.
Because the competition was held at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival in Miami, Miami became the theme for the cupcakes. The winning entry's four cupcakes were Cuban Coffee, Miami Spice, Cruising Down Collins (Avenue, a main drag in South Beach) and SOBE Wine Fest. (You can see them on Jilly's website.)
I'm hard pressed to choose a favorite, but Miami Spice, a passionfruit cake with raspberry jam filling, and a frosting of mango whipped cream, a bite of passionfruit candy, and a hit of ghost chile salt certainly pushed all the right buttons for those of us who love a little heat in unexpected places. Cruising Down Collins is a tropical cocktail in a fluted paper cup, so to speak, coconut, rum, pineapple, orange and tangelo flavors doing a rhumba. Cuban Coffee is happily, seriously coffee, between the cake, the buttercream, andthe coffee syrup to add at the last moment, plus a toffee dulce de leche filling. And the SOBE Wine Fest has cabernet in the chocolate cake, a zinfandel chocolate ganache and more cab in the buttercream grapes and vine. What a group.l
Yes, they're sweet. If that's a problem, move along, nothing to see here. They're cupcakes, they're going to be sweet. (Actually, the judges allowed for the possibility of savory ones, but the single entry, one with shrimp, didn't make it to the next round.)
Do not even attempt to eat these without a cold jug of milk. Not coffee, not with these complex flavors. You need milk, which really ought to be offered along with other end-of-meal beverages like brandies and espresso and port on restaurant menus, come to think of it.
Available through the end of June. Hurry up.
Jilly's Cupcake Bar and Cafe
8509 Delmar Blvd., University City
Jilly's Cupcake Bar a-Go-Go
1131 Colonnade Center, Des Peres