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.
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.
Astoria, NY 11106
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.
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
First bite: 2/5
Cake:Frosting ratio: 1/5
Chocolate Oreo score
First bite: 1/5
Cake:Frosting ratio: 3/5