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2020 Cupcakes
Editors’ Choice

Pipe Dream Cupcakes


A BONS perennial, Pipe Dream Cupcakes posts on social media which cupcakes you’ll be enjoying that day.

Andover/North Andover/Traveling, 978-397-6470,

Readers’ Choice

Cupcake City


Pick up a decadent cupcake (or two or three or six) at Cupcake City’s pretty bakery boutique, from its mobile cupcake truck, or even whip up a creation of your own at a decorating party. Gluten free and vegan options available, too.

37 Main St., Reading, 781-944-0400,

+Pandemic Pivot

Pipe Dream Cup Cakes

With its pretty pink truck, delicious homemade cupcakes, and the sweet smile of owner and baker Nadine Levin, North Shore residents have known for years how special Pipe Dream Cupcakes is to the community. But this year, Levin showed us just how special it is in ways we’ve never dreamed of. When COVID-19 temporarily shuttered her business, along with so many others, Levin wondered what to do with all the extra ingredients she had on hand. But she didn’t wonder for long. Levin, who’s no stranger to donating her cupcakes and time to charity, sprang into action, baking cupcakes to donate to the brave and selfless frontline workers at Lawrence General Hospital.

It wasn’t long before she ran out of ingredients, but she wasn’t the only one baking up a storm. As more people were stuck at home they turned to baking for comfort, resulting in baking ingredients not only becoming harder to find, but also much more expensive than usual.

Even so, Levin wanted to keep donating her time, energy, and cupcakes. That’s when she launched Cupcake Crusaders, on Instagram on April 3, which allowed community “Crusaders” to send money to Pipe Dream via Venmo for Levin to buy more flour, eggs, milk, and other cupcake ingredients.

“The community really rallied around me and donated money so I could get all the supplies,” Levin told Northshore magazine. “And my goal was to donate my time.” She spent the entire month of April busily baking in her kitchen, eventually donating 4,000 cupcakes to more than 40 different local hospital units. Cupcake Crusaders throughout the community not only helped to spread sweetness and cheer financially, but also assisted in delivering cupcakes to the hospitals. “It was a great network and a great community where everybody was willing to deliver them,” Levin says.

Now, Pipe Dream Cupcakes, which celebrated its eighth birthday in June, is back on the road, but Levin’s philanthropy hasn’t stopped. During the week of June 2, she donated all proceeds to Black Lives Matter to support the movement that’s sweeping the country.

And despite the pandemic, Pipe Dream Cupcakes hasn’t lost its stride with the kind of awesome flavors that have won it BONS for six years running. Follow Pipe Dream Cupcakes on social media to find out which cupcakes you’ll be enjoying that day. Some recent flavors have included rainbow dipped (in honor of Pride Month), Heath Bar crunch, anisette, s’mores, chocolate mousse drizzle, and “pool party” (vanilla cupcake and frosting with a teddy cookie on a gummy Lifesaver).

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