Gigi’s Cupcakes

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).

photo by Emily Connor

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.

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