Food Adventures

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Today is a very special day—the first day of 2008 that Sensational Bites, my favorite Chicago bakery, is open. They are always closed the first week of the year (something about the employees and the owner taking vacation) and I have spent the past week trying not to think of the luscious custard in the Boston cream pie cupcakes, the fluffy, light cupcake and the way the two combine to make even the worst of days bearable.

Yes, you guessed correctly: my favorite thing to have is the Boston cream pie cupcake. Saying that is my favorite treat doesn’t come close to describing exactly how much I enjoy this custardy dessert. This is what helps me get through the endless months without bomboloni (to better understand my fascination with bomboloni, read some of my posts on these perfect Italian breakfast pastries). Yes, the Boston cream pie cupcake makes being away from Italy just a little brighter. This probably explains why I have a cupcake every single day and why I am so excited to be able to get one today after a week. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, in the past week I have not been without custard (that would not be possible). I made sure to save a couple of cupcakes in the fridge and even the freezer. They were not nearly as good as when I get them fresh, but they got me through a tough week. I also paid a visit to a Sicilian bakery in Andersonville (more about that in another post) and had a treat with Sicilian custard. But nothing compares to the Boston cream pie cupcakes made by Gina and her friends.

To start with, this is the lightest, tastiest cupcake I have ever had. The batter is light without being insubstantial and even though I am not the biggest fan of yellow cake, I can eat this kind of yellow cake any time. The middle of the cupcake is hollowed out and filled with thick, smooth, heavenly custard unlike any other I have ever tasted. If you are lucky enough to have a cupcake minutes after it has been filled with fresh custard, you will never think about what is essentially a cooked mixture of milk, eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla the same way again. On days when I get to Sensational Bites as the cupcakes are being brought out of the back, I have been known to have two instead of my usual one. It’s an experience impossible to put into words.

It is not unfair to suggest that my favorite part of the whole cupcake is the custard itself (I believe by now my love of custard is well-known) and I have been known to just scoop out the custard on days when I am too full to eat the entire cupcake (I am never too full to have custard). Another thing that shows just how much I adore Gina’s custard is the fact that most often I will simply skip the chocolate ganache the cupcake is glazed with. Me skip chocolate?!? Now, there is something I never thought I’d do, but the custard is simply so good that everything else, including the chocolate, fades in comparison.

Even the coldest, gloomiest, most stressful day can be turned around by Gina’s heavenly custard and the fluffy pillow of yellow cupcake that is its vessel. Cheers to that!

To experience one of these delectable cupcakes (or any other delicious dessert), go to

Sensational Bites
3751 N. Southport Ave.
Chicago, IL 60613
(closed Monday)

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At 9:30 PM CST, Blogger lifestudent said...

Hey, just stopped by to say hello. I LOVE Sensational Bites. It's absolutely my favorite cupcake in the city - and I have tried all cupcakes in the entire city. I too crave cupcakes from there, but prefer the simple chocolate or vanilla (best frosting too)!

At 8:07 AM CST, Blogger Viktorija said...

Hi, lifestudent! Thanks for the comment! I agree that Sensational Bites has the best cupcakes in he city. And I happen to know that working on a Ph.D. requires at least one cupcake a day. :)



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