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Flying Monkey Patisserie

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Flying Monkey Cupcakes

An array of flavors including tiramisu, Tahitian vanilla and pistachio.

Image: Meg Favreau

The Reading Terminal Market patisserie features dozens of flavors that all put the "butter" firmly in "buttercream."

Reading Terminal Market
12th and Arch Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19107

Hours:
Monday-Saturday: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Cupcake Convert

I have a friend who is not a fan of sweets. He'll pass on dessert at dinner parties and shuns every birthday cake slice passed his way. But there is one sugar hocker that he has kind words for: The Flying Monkey Patisserie. Such is the power of Flying Monkey.

Specifically, the power of Flying Monkey is its ability to make consistently great cupcakes in a wide variety of flavors. The bakery's website lists literally dozens, and several of them are offered each day at Flying Monkey's flagship Reading Terminal Market location (they also have a spot in the Washington Square area). My dessert-shunning friend's love of scotch far outshines his dislike of sweets, and thus he was converted when given a smokey and sharp Johnnie Walker Red cupcake. I could see why it won him over: I tried a little bite, and it was one of the booziest-tasting boozy baked goods I've tried.

Raspberry cupcakes.

Rosebud-topped raspberry cupcakes.

Photo: Meg Favreau

Flying Monkey serves up most of its flavors through the frosting, offering everything from lavender to mint to apricot on vanilla and chocolate cupcakes. And while I have my favorite flavors (mint chocolate chip, Tahitian vanilla on chocolate cake, the aforementioned Johnnie Walker...goodness, even their vanilla on vanilla is pretty spectacular), the thing that I love more than any specific flavor is Flying Monkey's dedication to butter. I firmly believe that if buttercream frosting was meant to taste more like sugar than butter, it would be called sugarcream. But at Flying Monkey, you can taste the butter in their frosting. In fact, there's so much butter in there that they warn you to eat the cupcakes at room temperature so the frosting isn't hard.

Not everything I've had from Flying Monkey Patisserie has been amazing; the lavender violet sounds more interesting than it tastes, just providing a light floral flavor without much wow. And while both the chocolate and vanilla cakes are quite good, the chocolate, in my experience, has been fluffier.

Those complains are pretty minor, though. These cupcakes are an indulgence: moist, nicely balanced, moreover, able to woo people who don't normally eat dessert. That sounds like a pretty powerful cupcake to me.

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