Every Friday, Roots in Alpharetta features an article on food and dining in a series called Foodie Friday.
Cupcakes are hip, baby. There are reality shows about them. How Alpharetta escaped this craze is a mystery to me. But no longer are we without artisan, gourmet mini sweets. Jilly’s Cupcakery opened a little more than a week ago.
It’s going to be hard to avoid comparing these guys to Dutch Monkey Doughnuts. It’s a similar product… Decadent sweet treats, made by hand in small batches, cleaver and inventive use of ingredients, and family operated. The amazing success Dutch Monkey has had in a little over a year made me wonder why someone didn’t give this business model a go with cupcakes.
Jilly’s Cupcakery opened after Christmas in the Kroger shopping center at Windward and Highway 9, just into Milton. The shop is the namesake of Jill, the daughter who bakes along with her mother. At this point the shop is fairly simple. A large counter holds an impressive array of cupcakes, all carefully lined up. Protecting the cute little creations is the world’s tallest sneeze guard. Germs or grubby little fingers are kept safely at bay. A comfy couch is about all that’s left in the smallish space.
Their menu features a dozen varieties of cupcakes, two of which rotate as daily features with the rest being everyday staples. I tried my best to sample several varieties to prepare for this review. To avoid a potential cupcake overdose, I employed the help of my wife and some all-too-eager co-workers. For the most part we all came to the same conclusion.
The single best feature of Jilly’s cupcakes is the frosting. There’s a reason the frosting swirl is their logo. This stuff is delicious. It’s rich, flavorful and smooth as velvet. They infuse it with flavors such as strawberry, lemon or chocolate to match the cupcake ordered. It was unanimous among my fellow cubicle critters… Jilly’s frosting is king.
Jilly’s creations are built on several different cake bases. Unfortunately most of us found the cake itself to be on the dry side. The richness of the frosting counteracts this somewhat. But my fellow reviewers all agreed that a more moist cake would have better rounded out the overall cupcake.
I like that Jilly’s put effort into packaging of their product. You’ll be sent away with sturdy boxes. Inside are specially-made cupcake holders that will prevent your treasures from rolling over or getting mangled in transit. You could drive home like Mario Andretti and never disturb a delicate little cupcake.
Overall, I think Jilly’s is a neat joint that has a lot of potential. Don’t let my comment on the dry cake keep you away from this place. I was critical of Dutch Monkey when they opened for having a chewy doughnut. It was a defect they fixed over time. Jilly’s can fix this as well. I also think that over the coming months Jilly’s will get more creative with their offerings. Wait until spring and summer roll around and fresh fruit is in season. The possibilities are endless. For now, I suggest Jilly’s salted caramel or ultimate chocolate. Totally worth a $2.75 splurge!
Photo credit: Robyn Guy Photography, Alpharetta