There's been an explosion of cupcakeries in Milwaukee lo these past few years – frozen yogurt joints are catching up! – so we put a pair of Downtown cupcake purveyors to the test in this latest Milwaukee challenge.
Located right on Cathedral Square, Classy Girl Cupcakes, 825 N. Jefferson St., was opened in 2009 by sisters-in-law and best friends Erica Elia and Sara Elia.
Meanwhile, Deborah Gale runs Milwaukee Cupcake Company from its Third Ward headquarters at 316 N. Milwaukee St.
In order to guarantee a level playing field, which selected a cupcake offered by both places: vanilla bean.
Milwaukee Cupcake Company calls its version "The Cream City" – which sells for $2.50 – and describes it as, "Vanilla bean cupcake topped with our fluffy and delicious vanilla buttercream, both made with organic 100% real Madagascar-bourban vanilla extract, and garnished with vanilla vermicelli."
Classy Girl's is simply called a white cupcake – which sells for $2 – and describes it as, "a classic white cupcake, topped with vanilla buttercream."
While we thoroughly enjoyed both cupcakes, our taste buds declared Classy Girl's the winner by a nose.
Pick: Classy Girl Cupcakes
Boy, this was a close call. After taking a bite of both it was almost impossible to tell the two apart, flavor-wise. I went back and forth for a bit and found Milwaukee Cupcake Company's cake slightly denser and moister than that of Classy Girl's. My frosting decision went in the other direction, though -- Classy Girl's was smoother and more buttery than Milwaukee Cupcake's fluffy dollop of blended sugar. Since I have to go with the best "total cupcake experience," Classy Girl Cupcakes wins my vote.
Pick: Classy Girl
Both cupcakes were absolutely delicious, but I found the Classy Girl frosting slightly less sugary and therefore, slightly more appealing. The cake part on both was very good – dense and moist – and the Milwaukee Cupcake Company's came with white jimmies atop the white frosting which looked really nice. But I still have to go with the Classy Girl if forced to choose. However, that said, I would be happy to reduce either cake to crumbs given the opportunity.
Pick: Classy Girl
Classy Girl wins the frosting war, with a thicker more buttery frosting than the lighter and sugarier version from Milwaukee Cupcake Co. However, the results are reversed in the cake portion of the battle. Milwaukee Cupcake's yellow cake is lighter and tastier than Classy Girl's, which is a bit more dense, though still yummy. Really, these are both pretty darn good cupcakes and I wouldn't kick either one off my plate. I'm only picking a winner because I have to; otherwise I'd be inclined to call it a draw.
Pick: Milwaukee Cupcakes
Unlike the rest of the world, I'm not much of a cupcake guy. I find them a little too sweet, and these two samples were almost identical. However, upon extremely close inspection, I could pick out a few differences. I found the Classy Girl offering to have a sweeter frosting, as well as a denser flour. The Milwaukee Cupcake dessert was less sweet, with a softer, more eggy flour. I could never differentiate these two if they weren't tasted head-to-head. But if I had to pick one, I'd just barely take Milwaukee Cupcakes.