1736 W. Division St.
$1.75 to $2
The chocolate and vanilla cupcakes were the driest of the lot. Instead, go for the moist carrot cupcake with traditional cream cheese frosting. Ditto the red-velvet cupcakes.
|Bom Bon Bakery
1508 W. 18th St.
$2.50 to $2.75
The intense milk chocolate frosting edges toward darkness and tops fine-crumbed cakes. The piped frosting is a pretty touch.
|A Taste of Heaven
5401 N. Clark St.
The Moon Pie cupcake, pictured here, features a light chocolate cake topped with a gooey marshmallow filling under a hardened chocolate shell. Finger-lickin’ good.
|Fox & Obel
401 E. Illinois St.
The crimson cake and shocking white icing makes for a comely confection, but we found the cake bland, the icing almost flavorless. We prefer the bakery’s chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting.
|Sarah’s Pastries & Candies
11 E. Oak St.
This black-and-white version ends the chocolate or vanilla dilemma. Have both in this combination cake topped with a sugary hardened cocoa and vanilla–fudge icing.
613 W. Briar Pl.
Who wouldn’t be charmed by the store’s array of unusual flavors? Blood Orange Mimosa, anyone? Or, pictured here, mint chocolate chip? These designer cakes are subtly sweet, accented by mild, smooth frostings.
|Sweet Mandy B’s
1208 W. Webster Ave.
Showered in confetti sprinkles, these technicolor bites are a favorite on the Lincoln Park birthday party circuit. Moist cake, not-too-sweet icing, and a civilized size.
5306 N. Clark St.
Chocolate and vanilla offerings topped with rich buttercream are pretty enough for a buffet table, but the flavors fade. A spongy base topped with an unctuously slick frosting.
Southport Grocery & Café
Sometimes simplicity wins: the perfect balance of light, moist cake and sugary yet fluffy buttercream. The serene vanilla-vanilla combo won us over, but the chocolate wasn’t far behind.