By Megan Gillette
Really, who doesn’t love cupcakes? Cream & Flutter (formerly Cakes on Walnut) in Downtown Champaign is the embodiment of everything sweet, charming and comforting. The exquisite baked goods of the “Cupcake Girls,” sisters Amanda Bates Wyatt and Trisha Sutton, are sought after by anyone in search of a sweet delight. To date, I have never been disappointed when walking though their doors, even if they are out of my favorite kinds.
When you walk in, the smell is sweet, warm and refreshing, like the kitchen you may remember from birthday parties past. The décor is soft yet chic, an unexpected juxtaposition of modern art and old lace, with bon-bons in the glass containers of yesteryear that any proper sweet shop should bear. Tiers of footed plates hold only the most perfect and beautiful cupcakes, and any child-at-heart hopes to be rewarded.
Newer to the menu are French Macaroons. A slightly crisp exterior yields to the bite to reveal the delicate and creamy middle. While this is a confection growing in popularity in America, it is rare to find them fresh, made on premises, and so expertly executed.
The British sweets from Fiona’s Sweetshop, behind glass are a delight. Not too sweet or cloying in flavor, I favor the strawberry foams, lemon sherbert and wine gums.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, made with all-natural ingredients, perfectly adorn the cakes. Creamy and dense, they come in unexpected flavors like Salty Caramel and Reisling Poached Pear Sorbet. I never tire of the selections. Rumor has it there will be ice cream sandwiches made with Jeni’s this summer!
There are unique cocktail creations or boutique wines and beers to be enjoyed, but I prefer my sweets with a nice cup of tea. Their whole leaf teas are patiently brewed and the Jasmine Green pairs nicely with a Red Velvet cupcake.
This brings me to the star of the show, the cupcake.
These cupcakes are perfection. I do not say this lightly. I have been know to take days off of work and hire babysitter so I could bake for — and win — cupcake competitions. My texture and flavor standards are high; my aesthetic standards are even higher. Cupcakes delight my senses like not many other experiences. These cupcakes are largely responsible for my 65-pound weight gain with my second child. He still loves them, naturally.
My favorite is the Red Velvet, but I like a pure Vanilla Bean or seasonal Pink Lemonade sometimes to mix it up. The Green Tea Cherry Blossom made for the Japan House is special now. Spice cakes in the fall are divine, as is the Lavender Honey in the Spring. While you may have a preference, I don’t think any will disappoint.
Verdict: Feast AND Family! I love taking kiddos here for a reward. The environment inspires them to act like little gentleman and quietly eat their confections, savoring every bite. My husband and I love to come here on date nights after dinner for dessert or as an alternative to a bar. Sitting outside is a great place to people watch and take in the scene. Inside, is pure bliss.
Megan Gillette is a mother of two active little boys — FIT kids (Foodies in Training). In her “spare time” she is a senior graphic and web designer at Wolfram, a real-estate broker with TeamKay at Keller Williams, and a real-estate maven for the family holding company. Megan is in constant pursuit of perfect food, exciting dining experiences, and farm-to-fork meals with her husband and personal sous chef, Kurt.