Crumbs Bake Shop


Oh Crumbs. We have been through so much. I’ve had every.single.one of your massive cupcakes. Seasonal ones too. Yes, I was obsessed. I definitely was a huge fan from day one. You know, before you got lofty goals, went public, and then, bankrupt. I was sad for you, but not totally surprised. Because your cupcakes were never that good; dry cake, way too sweet frostingn, and every single massive cupcake with some filling in the middle. We all know, it’s always about the insanely intricate flavors. Ok, and the massive size. Despite your faults, I was saddened to hear of your abrupt closing. I held out hope that you’d return and when you did, I was over the moon! Welcome back, let’s see if you’ve still got what it takes to make it with these new cupcake MVPs.

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This in just half of the cupcake. Yes, massive.

While I didnt expect these cupcakes to stack up to the much stiffer competition that has taken over the New York City cupcake scene, I had to include them. Crumbs is an iconic shop, having opened its original Upper West Side shop over 20 years ago. Crumbs is known for selling monster cupcakes, of a variety of flavors. Seriously. These things are huge. Think jumbo muffin, but it’s cake and covered with frosting and usually filled with something creamy and sweet. Which is brilliant. While they do sell normal-sized cupcakes (and minis) I stuck with a giant one. I will always go for chocolate, but decided to go for the most popular this time. Before I even finished the question, the bakerista (yep, it’s a thing) said, “red velvet.” So here we go.

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Bakeway

I stumbled across this bakery when I first moved to Astoria. It’s owned by the same people who run The Strand Smokehouse and it has quickly become my favorite place to get an amazing latte or massive almond croissant. I quickly discovered they had cupcakes and made it my mission to try them as soon as possible. So when this challenge came along, they were added to the list.

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It was a rainy day, I was tried from rowing practice and I had just spent 20 minutes on the subway where I witnessed a homeless man pooping in the corner. Yep. True story. This is New York, after all. So I needed a cupcake. I picked up two and headed home to begin the first of many taste tests.

Bakeway
25-21 Broadway
Astoria, NY 11106

FLAVORS
Red Velvet $2.50
Chocolate Oreo $2.50

Bakeway is definitely not known for their cupcakes, and after my taste test that will remain true. They only offer two varieties, so of course I tried them both. A great cupcake also looks great and this red velvet did not. You can tell immediately that the beet color is due to an over abundance of dye, which seeps into the frosting and makes me afraid to eat it. The cake itself had a good, moist crumb, although slightly too much chocolate flavor and not enough red velvet, which is why I think there was so much dye in this one. The cream cheese frosting was an obvious (and perfect) choice for this cupcake, although it was way too sweet and didn’t have enough tartness to contrast with the sweet cake. Upon first bite I didn’t get the foodgasmic effect I’m always looking for, instead I got a lot of cake and not enough frosting. Which brings us to the final category: the cake:frosting ratio is too heavy on cake and left me with a dry taste. Overall, I was impressed with a fine, moist crumb, but it didn’t blend well to be the perfect red velvet cupcake, and the over-eager dye was really off putting.

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The Chocolate Oreo cupcake was visually, much more appealing. There is a nice thick, piping job, with proper technique (from the middle, always from the middle). I had high hopes but at the first bite, I was just really confused. The taste was weird and I was not excited to have another bite. It wasn’t a bad taste but I couldn’t place it. As I broke each element apart I could pinpoint this disturbance. The cake was very dry, as is common with chocolate cupcakes, but there was also very little chocolate taste to it. It was very subtle and I could only taste it as I ate more. If I have to eat 5 cupcakes to distinguish the chocolate flavor, it’s not the right chocolate cupcake. The other part that contributed to the off putting taste was the Oreo frosting on top. The frosting was actually really good; thick and creamy, with small Oreo crumbs, and a strong Oreo taste. But paired with a light chocolate cupcake, it was all wrong.

Bakeway has some awesome treats, and I am absolutely going to keep going there if I need a massive sugar carb fix, chocolate covered cheesecake (yes, thats a thing), and the best latte (plus they have Almond Milk). But I’ll keep searching for my perfect NYC cupcake.

Red Velvet score
Presentation: 2/5
First bite: 2/5
Cake: 3/5
Frosting: 2/5
Cake:Frosting ratio: 1/5
Total: 10/25

Chocolate Oreo score
Presentation: 4/5
First bite: 1/5
Cake: 3/5
Frosting: 3/5
Cake:Frosting ratio: 3/5
Total: 14/25