A few days before my eighteenth and a half birthday (a momentous event, I know) I realized that as a new Dukie, I would not be celebrating the occasion the usual way: with my quirky family tradition of eating half a cupcake. Upon this heart-breaking realization, I immediately called upon Siri— the most knowledgable and trustworthy of friends— to help me discover the most scrumptious and affordable cupcakeries in Durham. After all, there are countless occasions in a college student’s life that simply require cupcakes, and what’s life without some fun-sized, Insta-worthy sweets?

The Cupcake Bar

Perfect for both half and full birthdays, The Cupcake Bar is located in the heart of downtown Durham, its vibrant orange walls impossible for pedestrians to miss. While some prefer to eat their problems away or commemorate a momentous occasion at the best kind of bar, the bakery also offers dorm delivery—great news for all the lazy students who can’t bear to part with their beds, cute parents hoping to surprise their children, or mid-term study sessions that demand both coffee and sugar. Ranging from a unique Apple Cobbler cupcake that immortalizes the essence of fall in each bite, to a Chai/Honey blend that serves as an unparalleled cure for the “Freshmen Plague,” The Cupcake Bar’s numerous flavors are sure to fulfill any type of appetite. Did I mention it is affordable? A single cupcake goes for $3.25, a half dozen for $18 and a dozen cupcakes for $36. That’s right, delicious cupcakes that are accessible to college students. I’ll just leave this here.

Smallcakes NC

This renowned cupcakery redefines celebration, bottling up the ecstasy and satisfaction of paradise within the confines of an affordable picturesque pastry. The 200+ mouth-watering flavors that are characteristic of this sweet-spot have been featured on The View, Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, and USA TODAY's list of the Top Ten Cupcake Places to try in the country. So, if you do not trust my taste buds, take it from the professional ones. Smallcakes NC is a superb satisfier of your cupcake cravings, and can even be delivered dorm-side via Postmates. At Smallcakes, it's $3.70 to treat yourself to one cupcake, $18 for a half dozen, and $36 for a dozen. Run, don't walk.

Nothing Bundt Cakes

Tired of the recent proliferation of unicorn cupcakes and galaxy themed pastries? Longing for a return to simple sugars or cupcakes that don’t make you feel like you’re eating a child’s dreams? Nothing Bundt Cakes is the ultimate intersection between traditional recipes and baked innovation. This creative bakery offers a variety of bundt cakes, including large 8 or 10 inch cakes, cupcake-like “bundtlets," and miniature bite-sized “bundtinis.” Although prices vary based on your sweet selection—whole cakes are sold for $21, "bundtlets" are $3.99 a piece, and a dozen "bundtinis" are $18.50— there are more than enough bargain bundts to go around. And, like all good cupcake shops, they will deliver to your dorm.

Mad Hatter Bakeshop and Cafe

Calling all brunch lovers, your eggs and French toast just got ten times better. Start your Sunday right with tasty croissants, silver dollar pancakes, or mouthwatering crepes, before treating yourself to one of Mad Hatter’s freshly baked cupcakes. Absolutely no celebratory excuse is necessary for this delicious outing, and their classic red velvet and white lace cupcakes will energize and motivate your mind before beginning your dreaded Sunday cram sessions. Basic chocolate-on-chocolate cupcakes are sold for $2.99, while their especially exquisite pastries are one dollar more. My recommendation? Don’t be late for this very important date.

Gigi’s Cupcakes

This popular cupcake franchise has over 100 locations in 23 states, serving 30 original flavors, a selection of mini-cupcakes, and three types of gluten free cupcakes. Ranging from a rich Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough to a gluten free Wedding Cake flavor, Gigi’s can certainly satisfy any type of cupcake appetite. At Gigi’s, a single cupcake costs $3.77, while a box of mini cupcakes costs $15. The best part? Online shopping at Gigi's is a quick and easy way of ordering cupcakes, not to mention much cheaper than online shopping sprees for clothing!

So, don’t sacrifice your traditions or cupcake worthy festivities simply because you’re a college student on a budget. Durham is bursting with affordable cupcakes, each one of them yearning to be the center of your celebration. Whether you are commemorating a birthday, half birthday, anniversary, sports win, or just need some sugar to get through your grind, Durham’s delectable cupcakes will definitely do the trick.