What to eat this weekend: Molly's Cupcakes

BY BEN VERHILLE | MARCH 07, 2013 5:00 AM

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And the winner of Food Network's Cupcake Wars is … Eileen Kerbel of Molly's Cupcakes.

Kerbel is one of the partners in the small franchise called Molly's Cupcakes, and she helped land this specialty shop on the map in New York, Chicago, and Iowa City by winning in Season 1 of Food Network's Cupcake Wars.

In a growing specialty-food age, Molly's Cupcakes can be counted among the most influential of specialty dessert shops, partially because of its delicious cupcakes, and the good that this particular shop does. 

According to the mission statement, Molly's Cupcakes provides a portion of profits to local schools, as well as donating cupcakes for school functions or fundraisers. 

The inside has tables with classroom-style desktops, complete with grooves for your pencil. There are even vintage connected desks, with board games stacked on top. But my favorite part about this store is mostly what it offer insides: the cupcakes.

I looked down the list at the cream-filled options, and the names by themselves excited me: Banana Montana, Blue Cheesecake, Peanut-Butter Nutella, and the Cookie Monster.

Although I was tempted, I didn't indulge on four of these hearty-sized cupcakes. Instead, after much deliberation and recommendations from friends, I settled on the Cookie Monster.

There was a little drawing of the blue Cookie Monster from "Sesame Street" climbing a skyscraper on the nameplate for the cupcake, and that kind of effort only convinced me further that this was the right choice.

Made with chocolate-chip cupcake, chocolate-chip cookie dough filling, buttercream frosting, and a tiny cookie on top … Oh yeah.

I didn't want to see a calorie counter because I can't imagine this is a healthy choice, but the taste was so worth it.

The chocolate chips have a strong presence in every bite, in both the frosting and the cake, an adventurous combination with the cookie-dough interior.

The moistness of the batter reminds you that there is still cake to this dessert plate. The flavors of the cupcake alone are delicious enough to satisfy your needs, before stuffing you with cookie dough.

It might be a little big for a right-after-dinner treat — you will need a fork as you attempt to experience this cupcake.

If you can't have gluten or if you're a vegan, there are options available in the create-a-cupcake side of the menu.

This side is also worth a trip, but I suggest newcomers trust the professionals with their specialties. One of the chefs won Cupcake Wars … She probably has better cupcake taste than you or me.

I would say Molly's is a great idea for a study break or maybe just a calm night, because it feels a bit like indoor recess with the board games and swing chairs at the coffee bar. I initially came here because I saw a sign outside that said it offers a free puppy and espresso. After reading the fine print, that deal is only for unattended children. 

I wish I could've told young Ben about this.

Beaver's Night Out
Where: Molly's Cupcakes, 14 S. Clinton
Monday through Thursday: 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m.-midnight
Sunday: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Offers: Cupcakes and coffees
What to try: Cookie Monster specialty cupcake

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