The other day, I was getting my bangs trimmed at a haircutting place in Philadelphia, and I asked the stylist if she had any foodie recommendations in town.
She started naming restaurants and bars she liked. Now, I like bars, don't get me wrong--but I prefer bar cookies, if you know what I mean. So after a while, I said, "how about bakeries?".
"Oh," she said. "There's a great one nearby, it's called Whipped Cream or something."
"Whipped Bakeshop?!?" I asked. She looked at me sort of funny.
"I thought you wanted suggestions from me." she said, flatly.
Well, maybe I didn't make a new hairdresser friend, but I did get re-acquainted with a bakery whose work I admire. After having interviewed owner Zoe a few years ago, I was happy to finally have a chance to visit myself. They've received accolades such as "Best Cupcake in Philly"--so I was pretty excited to see for myself.
And guess what happened when I went in: I was greeted by Ryan of Ryan's Baking Blog, who works there, who recognized me! Sweet!
The retail case is small (most of the real estate at the bakery is a work space where they make custom cakes) but alluring--they have mostly cupcakes but a few other items, including brownies, cookies, and "Cake Cups" as pictured above.
After a brief consultation with both employees, I was assured that the Lemon was a standout flavor; to be friendly, I picked up a vanilla cupcake for a friend. It had a Peep on top.
Shortly after exiting the premises I stuffed said lemon cupcake into my mouth. I paused to take a picture (top of the post) so you could see how there was a sweet surprise under the buttercream: a dollop of lemon curd!
This was a sunshine stuffed cupcake if I've ever tasted one: a buttery cake stuffed with zingy lemon curd, and topped with a modest amound of decadently rich buttercream. The frosting was none too sweet--the meringue buttercream is incredibly silky, and the richness of it worked very nicely with the tart lemon filling. The sweetness of the coarse sugar on top was a nice little bit of sweetness to balance the butter-tart thing going on with the frosting and curd, and it added a nice little texture contrast too.
I personally did not get a taste of the Vanilla cupcake, but was assured (after my companion had eaten it in approximately 2.5 bites) that it was "really, really good"--once again, not an over-sweet cupcake, but a more sophisticated treat, rich in vanilla flavor, and "definitely not the cheap stuff".
Moreover, we were quite impressed with these cupcakes. It was wonderful to see a cupcake shop that offers such a carefully crafted, thoughtful product win "best cupcakes"--there is no schtick going on here. It's refreshing--just good sweet stuff.
My only regret about my visit is that I didn't pick up another half dozen cupcakes for later.
Whipped Bakeshop, 636 Belgrade Street ; online here.