mollys cupcakes

Restaurant of the Week: Molly’s Cupcakes

Molly’s Cupcakes isn’t an ordinary cupcake shop. It’s so much more, with a very unique story. 

Molly’s Cupcakes was started within Lincoln Park in Chicago by a guy named John. John Nicolaides had a third-grade school teacher named Molly. Whenever one of her students had a birthday, she would bake them cupcakes.

And that’s how Molly’s Cupcakes was started in 2007. Today, there are Molly’s Cupcake shops in Iowa City, Des Moines, Chicago and New York, all under Nicolaides’s direction. 

Pull up to the parking meter, and drop a few coins in. Let’s take a mini-tour of the recently expanded Molly’s Cupcakes in Downtown Des Moines. 

Adjacent to the well-known Iowa Taproom, Molly’s Cupcakes resides in the corner of the building. Don’t worry; you won’t miss it. Its branded delivery vehicles and light blue signage are hard to miss. 

Jump up the steps – and enter inside to the smells of heaven. The clear cases are full with cupcakes and sweet treats. Some walls are earthy brick tones while others are painted light blue. You’ll catch the refreshing smell of espresso in the air. Seating consists of shiny school desks along the far wall, with bookshelves of board games and books for those who want to linger over their treats. Then you hear chains rattling. Along the U-shaped serving counter, wooden swings with rope chains hang from the ceiling. You’re in a classroom, but also a bakery.

Though known for its cupcakes, Molly’s ice cream is homemade right at the bakery in four delicious flavors. There are also brownies, cookies, pies, cheesecakes, eclairs and more, all made from scratch at the bakery. Each store keeps a steady rotation of flavors for in-season and local favorites. 

Every center-filled cupcake is a different adventure. The gooiness and the frosting provide the perfect textures, and the flavors are incredible. Our favorites: Cake Batter, Cookie Monster (because who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies?), Cookies-N-Cream (for that Oreo-fluff frosting) and Peach Cobbler (fruit in cupcake form and best had with a scoop of vanilla ice cream). Every cupcake is so delicious in it’s own way. 

If you’re looking to spend time at Molly’s Cupcakes with your little ones, try having your kids “Create Their Own” cupcakes. (There are non-filled cupcakes available for this option.) Kids will love choosing the cake flavor, the frosting and even the sprinkles to decorate their individual treats.

Molly’s Cupcakes also hosts workshops on a monthly basis, which are set to roll out again this spring. Stay tuned to the website for the next available classes. Learn from the experts on how to decorate cakes, have your kids decorate a cupcake, or book some spots for your friend’s birthday party!

Are you getting married or know of someone who will be? Send them to Molly’s Cupcakes to inquire about a complimentary tasting for wedding purposes. The Molly’s Cupcakes team customizes each request to the couple’s wishes based on frosting, fillings and toppings to ensure their special day is all that they hoped for. 

If you’re worried about Molly’s Cupcakes running out of cupcakes on a busy Saturday in the summer, don’t hesitate to order ahead through the website. It’s quick and easy; just drop by to pick up at your designated time. Catering is also available for corporate events or group outings.

Molly’s Cupcakes is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. To learn more about Molly’s Cupcakes in Des Moines, visit

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