Full disclosure: I’m not really into chains or franchises, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying cupcakes from Crumbs back in June. So, applying that open-mindedness, I knew I would need to trek to Gigi’s Cupcakes during our vacation to Denver.
This particular Gigi’s is family-owned and operated. According to the website, the bakery created 7 new jobs for the Denver economy, it buys eggs and milk from Colorado farms, its dairy is 100% natural, and it recycles and composts with Waste Farmers. Just from all of that, I was feeling pretty hopeful.
The shop located amid a Moe’s Bagel and Starbucks in an unassuming mini-shopping plaza on Grant St. between 5th and 6th. After a hearty vegetarian brunch at WaterCourse Foods, we made the trek down to the cupcake shop. I kept my fingers crossed that we’d find noteworthy cupcakes, and luckily we did.
Upon arriving to the very cute shop we were met with several trays of cupcakes to choose from. With Ray’s help, I selected the Kentucky Bourbon Pie, Grasshopper, Lemon Dream Supreme and Raspberry Buckle. Later during our vacation we came across Gigi’s Cupcakes kiosk on the 16th St. Mall and ordered a Chocolate Salted Caramel. All in the name of research, folks.
The first two cupcakes we enjoyed on the patio of Great Divide Brewing Co. among fellow beer enthusiasts. I selected the two cupcakes with cream cheese frosting to have first (due to cream cheese’s perishable nature).
Kentucky Bourbon Pie
This cupcake consists of a bourbon cake with pecans and mini chocolate chips, with a cream cheese frosting and topping of more mini chocolate chips, caramel and chocolate ganache. The pecans had sunk a bit to the bottom, but were a wonderful part of the cupcake. The mini chocolate chips, eh … they didn’t do much for me inside the cake. Maybe just stick with them as a garnish (also to note, the website lists pecans as a garnish, but our cupcake didn’t have any).
I found the cake to be sweet and gooey, but didn’t get much bourbon (most had probably baked out). I found that the caramel and chocolate ganache drizzles worked well, building on the cupcake’s overall flavor. For Ray, the thing that stood out the most was the crispiness, the pecans. He also agreed that the bourbon didn’t add much beyond sweetness.
This cupcake is a dark chocolate cake made with Andes mints, topped with a mint cream cheese frosting, chocolate ganache drizzle and Andes mint garnish. I found the cake to be light and moist, surprisingly packed with minty, chocolatey flavor. Of the two, the mint cream cheese frosting actually had a lighter mint flavor, but it went perfectly with the cake. We really liked this flavor-bomb of a cupcake.
Chocolate Salted Caramel
I noticed Gigi’s Cupcakes kiosk on our way up the 16th St. Mall for lunch at Biker Jim’s Hot Dogs (reindeer and wild boar, yum!). We swung by after lunch and picked up this little beauty. It’s a dark chocolate cake filled with caramel, topped with caramel frosting, then dipped in a chocolate ganache and topped with sea salt.
A first, I was a little unimpressed … all I managed to get in my first bite was cake, and it was light in the chocolate flavor. Then I bit again and got to the gooey caramel center and salted caramel frosting. Wow. The combo was perfect. Flakes sea salt on top–excellent touch Altogether, this cupcake had a great flavor combo and was well executed. Screw my first impression!
Lemon Dream Supreme
Time for more disclosure: We were so busy on our short Denver vacation that we didn’t get around to eating the last 2 cupcakes until Sunday afternoon at the airport. At this point the cupcakes were at least 3 days old. However, this was obviously our fault, and not the baker’s.
Nevertheless, we were surprised: Aside from the frosting having a bit of a stiff outer shell, the cupcake was still fairly moist and the lemon flavor blew us both away! This cupcake consisted of a lemon cake, filled with lemon filling then topped with lemon buttercream and yellow sugar crystals. We loved how bright and sunny the cupcake tasted and how there was lemony goodness in every single bite.
The other cupcake which fell to the fate of almost being forgotten consisted of a raspberry cake topped with raspberry buttercream and rimmed in sugar cookie crumbles. It had a nice fruit flavor, and excellent sweetness to the buttercream. We both found the sugar cookie crumbles to be a nice touch. Ray called this cupcake a “berry bomb.”
Overall, we were EXTREMELY impressed with Gigi’s Cupcakes in Denver. The cupcakes were large, which made them perfect to share, and their menu was large and creative. The bake shop has a daily menu with 12 offerings and it also varies a bit day-to-day.