By Chelsea Karnash
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – They’re two of the biggest trends in the gastro world: cupcakes and craft beer. And at one Philadelphia storefront, you can get a taste of both in a single bite.
For pastry chef Lexi Malmros, the journey began at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont. Malmros loved a good beer, but she noticed that places with great brews usually lacked anything beer-related on the dessert front. So she set out to change that.
“I was intrigued by the idea, started experimenting with recipes, and Beer Cakes were born,” Malmros says.
Beer Cakes Philly, her boozy cupcakery, opened a few months ago inside the storefront of Society Hill’s Cookie Confidential. Malmros bakes her cakes fresh every day, and yes, they’re all infused with beer—1.5 oz. per treat.
“For the shop, I use only local beers. By local, I mean within the region. I use Jersey, Delaware and northern PA beers,” Malmros explains. “But I will accept custom orders for any beer, as long as it is a craft/microbrew. I would also love to use [a] customer’s home brew…that would be awesome.”
For now, there are 10 flavors of cupcakes available at Beer Cakes, including mouthwatering options like Dogfish Head Aprihop (apricot and pecan cake with Aprihop buttercream) and Victory Brewing Co., Otto (bacon and apple cake with Otto buttercream). Malmros says the best-sellers so far are the stout-infused Choco Dog, a chocolate chip cake with a stout and chocolate chip buttercream made with Stoudt’s Brewing Fat Dog Oatmeal Stout; and the King’s Cup, a toffee cake with coffee buttercream made with Victory’s Storm King Stout.
“I think these have been the most popular because stouts are the most familiar beer used in desserts, but I really try to encourage people to try the flavors that are made with wheat beers, IPA’s, weisse beers…they all have such amazing flavors that play so well with sweetness,” she explains.
So, have there been any not-so-amazing flavors?
“There have definitely been several batches of flavors that didn’t work. Without a doubt, mass-produced beers do not work in my cakes. They simply don’t have enough flavor to come through the baking process. I turned down a request to make a Heineken cake, and I will do the same for Bud, Coors, Miller…Brewing good beer is an art form, and I want to honor it,” Malmros says.
And speaking of good beer, she feels that Philly has plenty of it. Not only does the Bucks County native and former Center City resident refer to the city as “home,” but she cites the area’s many nearby craft breweries as one reason for opening her business here.
“[Philadelphia] is familiar to me, it produces great beer, and I know the crowd here. Philly is for beer lovers,” she says.
A former head cake decorator for a Boston cake artist, Malmros confesses cake artistry is where her passion really lies, and says she hopes to branch out into wedding and novelty cakes. She also adds that Beer Cakes will eventually have a diet-sensitive line of gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan cupcakes, as well as a line of beer candies like marshmallows “in the very near future.”
For more on Beer Cakes Philly, visit: www.beercakesphilly.com