Duane Park Patisserie is a tiny little shop across from a mini park in the heart of TriBeCa. They have just one pastry case full of beautifully decorated cookies, mini cookies, brownies, and tarts. It almost seems like the cupcakes are an afterthought, which they might be. There were only a dozen on display and they have 2 flavors, vanilla and chocolate (which they call “Magic”). The glossy frosting is perfectly swirled on top without the dome that is typical of most cupcakes. But, shiny and perfect nonetheless.
The whole shop just exudes perfection but these cupcakes to not fit in there. Upon biting into this cupcake I immediately reached for my milk because this is most definitely the driest cupcake I have tried so far. And I was surprised by the cream center, which I think was straight up whipped cream. Except I couldn’t really tell because it didn’t even taste like that. The cake it self is very dry, and crumbly. It fell apart in my hands. Not a good sign. The ganache frosting was very smooth and silky with an intense chocolate flavor. I’m not such a fan of using ganache as the frosting for cupcakes since it always overpowers the cupcake. It’s definitely better in the middle as a filling (which is definitely what would make this cupcake a little more Magical). Since the ganache is so rich, there isn’t a ton of frosting to this cupcake, making the cake:frosting ratio definitely lacking.
Crumbly and dry. Boo.
This cupcake is not magical. And seriously not worth $5.00. Not at all. If you are going to blow $5.00 on a blah cupcake, you’re better off at Crumbs. Or spend $3.00 on a good cupcake. Which is worlds better than is one. Duane Park, these cupcakes seem like an afterthought. Stick to your A Game–which is cookies.
Whole Foods has everything. We all know that. They also have the power to gentrify any neighborhood and turn it to the land of rich people. Example: when I moved to Washington DC and told my mom the name of my new neighborhood (Logan Circle) her first words were, “get some mace, and don’t leave your house at night.” My mom went to Georgetown in 70s and everything but that WASPy neighborhood was a scary place, she was being a mom. But with a Whole Foods down the block from my house it was a completely different story.
I’m mesmerized by bakeries, and that’s where you’ll find me if I get lost in a grocery store. I’m not concerned with all that other real food. And Whole Foods really goes all out. Cake, cookies, petit fours, literally every baked good. And even those you didn’t think you needed. After string at mini tarts for 10 minutes, obviously you need them all. And cupcakes. Some of their items come from local bakeries and some is baked in-house. For this adventure, I’m assessing the in-house products so thats the route I’m taking. Their pastry chef steered me in the right direction and even though they had 5 different flavors I went with their “most popular.”
First, we have chocolate (whoa, noticing a pattern here). The cake was dry, and extremely dense, but it did have good chocolate flavor. The frosting was intense, not quite full ganache but very deep chocolate flavor and thick and creamy. It actually wasn’t a bad cupcake, but it could have definitely used some more frosting. This would have helped offset the dryness from the cake. And also I really wanted more frosting.
I’m a huge fan of frosting. I’m a person who scrapes the filling out of Oreos leaving a box of cookies. Because frosting is crack and I’m addicted. I’m not shy about overloading cupcakes I bake with a mini mountain of frosting. And I may scrape all the frosting of an unsuspecting boyfriend’s cake. So when I walked into this pink and brown bakery and noticed 8 “frosting shots” sitting on the counter my inner 5-year-old brain started screaming , “sugarsugarsugarsugarsugarSUGAR.” And I will absolutely pay $1.50 for more frosting. Because there’s no such thing as too much.
Onto the frosting: this is amazing. It’s thick and creamy, not grainy and not overly sweet. I may have found my perfect NYC frosting. So I was way excited for the cupcake too. First, it’s so pretty, pro piping job with a perfect distribution of sprinkles. It also covers the entire surface of the cake, but it isn’t overwhelming. I’m so excited! Finally! A place that knows how to do cupcakes right!