Off the Beaten Plate: The Retro Cupcake at Billy Vanilly

The Retro cupcake from Billy Vanilly, 914 Massachusetts St.

The Retro cupcake from Billy Vanilly, 914 Massachusetts St.


The Retro cupcake from Billy Vanilly, 914 Massachusetts St.

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So what if another company never takes over production of now-defunct Hostess Brands’ iconic chocolate CupCakes, the ones with the mysterious cream filling and white curlicues on top? Meh. Downtown Lawrence has the same thing, only better. The Retro is a moist, dark chocolate cupcake filled with vanilla cream and topped with glossy chocolate ganache — and white squiggles.

Unlike its prepackaged, semi-crusty, convenience store counterpart, The Retro’s frosting actually smears if you stick your finger in it.

Where to get it: Billy Vanilly, 914 Massachusetts St.

What you’ll pay: $2.50 apiece for a regular-sized cupcake (they call them baby cakes, as opposed to preemies — tiny size — or big kid cakes — overgrown toddler size, more or less).

Try it with: Milk. There is no disputing this.

Also on the menu: A few cakepops, but mainly cupcakes, lots of cupcakes. I Love Lemon, 24 Carrot, Death by Chocolate and ever-changing specialty flavors of the month are just a few. The store’s namesake Billy Vanilly cupcake is vanilla cake and vanilla buttercream topped with sprinkles and a cherry on top — just like the picture on the logo.

— Off The Beaten Plate highlights some of the more exotic, oddly named or inventively concocted (for better or worse) dishes from local menus. Know of an offbeat menu item we should check out? Email food and features reporter Sara Shepherd at Tweet her at


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