by Emily Connor, Dining and Nightlife Editor
Extravagant and over-the-top describe the myriad of cupcakes sold at Gigi’s Cupcakes in Hilldale Mall. This cupcake shop goes above and beyond customer expectations. Although incredibly delicious, the bone-chilling price of and amount of sugar in Gigi’s Cupcakes were particular drawbacks to the desserts.
I decided to bring home four different cupcake varieties for my friends and I to sample. At a startling $3 per cupcake, my expectations were already heightened. At this price, these cupcakes had better be worth the sizable portion they were taking out of my tiny college-student budget.
Well, I soon realized most of the price was paid for the frosting and not the actual cake. With a whopping two to three inches of frosting on each cupcake, I found my head pulsating with a powdered sugar rush after only a few small bites. For frosting fanatics, Gigi’s cupcakes are perfect.
The flavor of the cupcakes and the frosting was excellent. My favorite, the Turtle cupcake, was a rich chocolate cake with caramel flavored frosting, pecans and caramel drizzle. The cake was moist and very dense. I also enjoyed the Banana Cream Pie cupcake, a vanilla cupcake with a banana flavored frosting and vanilla cream center. The center contained very little filling, but the wonderful banana buttercream certainly made up for this. However, I found the flavor of the vanilla cake to be rather bland on its own (perhaps the reason two inches of banana frosting was layered on top).
Although other varieties I sampled were great as well, I was slightly dismayed when I realized many of the cupcake varieties were either the same cake or frosting flavor just mixed in different combinations with unique garnishes. For example, the Apple Spice flavor was a wonderful cinnamon and apple cake, but it had the exact same caramel frosting as the Turtle cupcake. This mixing and matching of flavors became much less of a shock after I realized Gigi’s is actually a national chain with dozens of locations nationwide.
Staff was very friendly, and although it was quite busy for a Sunday afternoon, I hardly waited in line and was taken care of rather quickly.
Overall, I enjoyed Gigi’s cupcake varieties but found them lacking in several flavor elements. They were certainly delicious and perfect for satisfying a sugar craving, but their flavor profiles and uniqueness was nothing compared to other local Madison bake shops.