Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cupcakes in Belgium

Please join me in welcoming back Tanya Brothen, travel blogger and co-cupcake taster extraordinaire, for her latest cupcakery guest review. This time, Tanya was kind enough to take some time out from her globe trotting to give us a peek into Brussels' Lilicup bakery.

Belgium is not known for its cupcakes. Waffles and chocolate, yes. Moules frites, yes. Beer, definitely yes. But cupcakes? Non.

Enter, Lilicup. Run by a delightful Belgian-American, it's the store that is single-handedly trying to bring cupcakes, cheesecakes, and other stateside sweets to the residents of Brussels. That's right: Lilicup is the city's one and only cupcake store. And after celebrating its grand opening in November 2009, the ensuing buzz around town has been non-stop.

The first thing you notice about Lilicup is that it's adorable. With a pink awning and heavenly window displays, you can't help but be drawn in. Besides, after seeing nothing but croissants and tarts for weeks, aren't you just a little curious about the pastry store that doesn't look like the rest? Order at the counter and then grab a seat if you'd like to eat in while sipping an espresso. or, you can take your cupcake to-go at a reduced price.

The old standbys are all there--red velvet, carrot cake, and chocolate - but my favorites are the ones with a more local flavor. Try the violette or rose cupcakes, flavors that are often seen in France and French-speaking Belgium, but are less widespread in the U.S. I recently stopped by for my regular violette fix, and was reminded that a Lilicup cupcake is not just something you taste; it's a complete sensory experience.

The smell of a violette cupcake is subtly sweet. The color of the frosting looks fanciful and wholesome at the same time. The crunchy candy topping gives it an appetizing texture. The flavor is simple yet intense. it actually tastes like a violet flower! In a sugary-not-woodsy kind of way. Alas, it all ends too quickly, as these are European cupcakes that come in European sizes.

Lilicup has one more thing that sets it apart in Brussels: excellent customer service. It's a scare commodity in the Belgian capital, but the ladies at Lilicup are friendly, welcoming, and efficient. And they make a mean cupcake.

If you go
Open Tuesday-Friday, 10am to 5pm
Saturday, 10am to 6pm
+32 (0) 2 538 02 68

Tanya Brothen is a Minnesota native who began her travel blog, Parisian Spring, after moving to Paris while completing her Master's degree in international affairs. Just returned from a stint in Brussels as a Presidential Management Fellow for the Department of State, stay tuned to her blog to see where her travels take her next.


  1. Wow, I'd love one of those cupcakes! They're gorgeous!

  2. Hi Tanya,

    Well... actually, there is another cupcake store called Merrily's. I tried it yesterday and I am hooked! You should check it out.

  3. If you are looking for a real cupcake in Brussels, then look no further than All cupcakes use organic ingredients, are made by an American, and are delicious! They come in a beautiful pink box, can be ordered in minis or regular size and can be delivered or picked up. The best treat to impress for an event. Gluten free and vegan cupcakes on order.

  4. I've just discovered a new store called Berko.
    I am a huge fan of Lilicup but this new adress is amazing. Cupcakes are gorgeous and very tastefull. No doubt this place gonne become my new spot !!