I’m not really sure where my obsession for cupcakes came from but I was definitely into them before I moved to New York. And Sprinkles was the first trendy cupcake I had during my Pre-NY life. Hailing from Los Angeles, they became the first choice of celebs and trendy people so naturally I bought into the hype. I took a trip to their original store with my best college friends and after talk of liposuction and personal trainers we each walked away with 4 cupcakes. Did we each need 4 cupcakes? Probably not, but this was college, and we were athletes, so calories don’t count. Having always had a pretty picky palate when it comes to baked goods, I can honestly say I wasn’t impressed. The cupcakes were dry, there wasn’t enough frosting, and I would have rather spent my money on chocolate. Or vodka. Because college.
Sprinkles has been here in New York for awhile now, and I think my initial reaction is what has kept me from going. Except that one time I had a cupcake for breakfast. Because when you have rowing practice at 5am and you forgot a granola bar a cupcake just seems like the next logical supplement. Obviously. I had 2 from here because the first one was awful. I’m all for giving second chances, and I’m glad I did because the second one I had was incredible. First I went with a Chocolate Marshmallow and I definitely expected more chocolate and a whole lot of marshmallow. It looked pretty enough, pretty uniform decoration, covered in ganache. Upon first bite I seriously did a double take because I was not prepared for this. There was not much chocolate flavor, it was dry, and there definitely wasn’t enough frosting. And I’m including the marshmallow filling too. There was barely any in there which left my cupcake feelings deflated. The ganache covering the top actually had great flavor; rich and chocolaty, but there was so little of it that it did nothing to save itself from the dry cake. There was definitely too little ganache and marshmallow filling, and there wasn’t really any balance of flavors. I was definitely not impressed. But I decided to try again. There can’t be such a huge following for such a lackluster cake.
Whoa, guys. Whoa. I think I get it. I think I may have had the best red velvet cupcake of my life. Seriously amazing. Great balance, good flavor combinations, the cake really shines with frosting as an aftermath. But everything works! Oh man! I am so happy. The cake itself had great flavor, a moist crumb, no dryness at all, and a really nice coloring for red velvet. No one wend dye crazy when making this cupcake. The frosting was creamy and had a perfect tanginess. This cupcake had the best cake:frosting ratio of any cupcake I’ve tried so far; nice balance that you can really taste all the elements of the cake. Thank you, Sprinkles for securing my faith in the Red Velvet cupcake world.
I’ve loved Brooklyn for a long time. And now that I live here I’m immersing myself in everything. Like this bakery. 15 blocks from my apartment. Now, we can’t confuse this with BAKED, the bakery-cafe in Redhook, Brooklyn. Entirely different and I promise you we will get to them eventually. Exciting stuff. But Baked in Brooklyn is intriguing because I didn’t even know it existed, let alone had cupcakes. And especially not the 15+ different varieties that they do. Because of this presentation of cupcakes I had to go with two for testing purposes. Obviously.
First up is Birthday Cake. Because sprinkles in cake is always a good idea. On the first bite I was already losing interest. The frosting was piped too high so I couldn’t get the whole thing in my mouth. I know what you’re thinking: details, details. But these details are very important! If that wasn’t enough to present my not impressed face, the cake tasted dry and the frosting had an oily taste to it. Not what I’m looking for when I’m literally eating sprinkles. I should be eating happy cake flavors too. The frosting was too dense and bland, definitely not sweet enough for vanilla. The cake:frosting ratio didn’t do this cupcake any favors and while the right amount of frosting was present, it was too high and you really can’t distinguish any balance of flavors. I just wish there was more party in my mouth and less corn muffin taste.
Moving onto Double Chocolate and I’m liking my chances here. Initially I’m surprised with good flavor and a moist cupcake. The cake presented a moist, fine crumb, and a good balanced chocolate flavor. The frosting was fluffy and creamy, with a subtle chocolate flavor. Once again, this cupcake had frosting that was piped too high, but overall had good balance and a good combination of flavors. This is not my favorite chocolate cupcake, and competition is getting fierce. I guess I’ll have to keep looking.
Dessert and drinks just go together. All the time. I like dessert and drinks so much that have a really hard time baking cupcakes without alcohol. I mean, I guess for children I can leave it out. But booze-infused cupcakes make me happy, they make my friends happy, and I’m not a bringer of non-happy things. So I’m just going to keep it going. And this is why I’m so happy that places like Sweet Revenge exist. I’ve been before, because anyplace that has a cupcake happy hour is obviously on my radar. For $10 you can get a cupcake and a glass of wine. That’s the most brilliant thing, right? Because I love both those things. Doesn’t everybody? But this time around I just went with a cupcake because I have a job to do and I’m a professional.
This time I went with a non-chocolate cupcake. Peanut Butter is probably the next best thing so the Sweet Revenge cupcake intrigued me. First off, these cupcakes are huge. Not the ones you’d take to your average birthday party and can’t get by with just stuffing it in your mouth, sans-napkin. Nope. You definitely a fork for these babies. Think, Crumbs-sized. Except better. They look impressive, although the presentation is slightly sloppy, although it is really interesting. The domed frosting with the three stripes is definitely something I haven’t seen before. The first bite isn’t perfect (for me) because I had to cut it, but the flavors were great and there was really good balance. This cupcake loses points for me because while I really like them, it’s just not what I’m looking for in a perfect cupcake. The cake itself had a great flavor, and actually tasted like peanut butter. But you know that sticky feeling you get in your mouth after you eat PB with a spoon? Yeah, that happened here. I definitely should have opted for that wine. But despite the dry, sticky feeling, it was still a solid cake. The frosting was banging. It had great flavor, was smooth and fluffy, without being too sweet. If only there was more. The cake:frosting ratio was lacking, and I can’t tell if it’s because of the dryness of peanut butter in general or just too much cake. I guess I’ll have to come back and reevaluate this. Overall, this really was a solid cupcake with great flavor. There was even a surprise of chocolate ganache in the middle, which was awesome. I think it might have been my favorite part. So once again, the West Village doesn’t disappoint. I’m thinking cupcake happy hour should make an appearance in Round 2. Whose going to join me?
Sugar & Plumm is an adorable shop along one of the cutest streets in Manhattan. Bleeker Street is right smack in the middle of Greenwich Village and it’s totally adorable and every single shop and restaurant is also. If you aren’t from New York, chances are most picture you’ve seen of quant townhouses on tree lined streets are from Greenwich Village. And when I first moved to New York –in 2006 — that’s what imagined my life like. But my tiny shoebox of an apartment on Bleeker and 6th Avenue was the size of a largest closet, and it cost more than anything a 22-year-old without a trust fund had ever purchased. Just living the dream. At least I was close to Magnolia Bakery. And hipster-finance dating prospects. Oh man, I had so much to learn. Like what actually makes a good cupcake. And to avoid those finance heart breakers at all costs. At least until I had eaten for the day. But Greenwich Village does have killer bakeries. Case in point, I definitely just had a superstar chocolate cupcake.
If Candyland and a colony of fairies had a baby the result would be Sugar & Plumm. Everything is pink and purple and the vast array of cookies, macarons, and candy — so much candy — can definitely cause one to miss the cupcakes. Because they only have three kinds. Just don’t do it. The chocolate cupcake alone is phenomenal.
First of all it looks really amazing and there was edible glitter on my cupcake. Um, yes to glitter. I felt like a princess who was made this cupcake from my own personal fairies. And biting into this cupcake sends a mixture of grown-up-princess-tea-party-feelings. For those of you who don’t speak princess fairy, let me clarify that: great chocolate flavor, nice balance, and overall happy feelings. The cake had a fine, moist crumb and was definitely not dry at all, which is a huge feat for a chocolate cupcake. The frosting had a strong chocolate aroma and flavor, was creamy, with no graininess, although it was slightly too thick for the light texture of the cake. The cake:frosting ratio was great; good balance and had the perfect amount, not too much cake, not too much frosting. The thickness of the frosting did make it a little top-heavy once 2 bites were taken out of the cupcake, so it wasn’t able to stand up on its own. But if that’s my biggest problem, I’m not too worried. I’m definitely looking forward to being transported back to fairy princess land, full of candy, and chocolate goodness.
Holy wow. Big Booty Bread Company has the best smell of any bakery I’ve been to in a long time. That was literally my first reaction upon walking in. How can a bakery smell this amazing and have me walk away empty handed. Obviously that’s dumb. Bring on the sugar. I’ve been intrigued by this shop for awhile because any shop with big booty-ed man on the window is amazing. And it’s just way too fun saying “big booty.”
There are several kinds of cupcakes displayed under domed cake displays, which is a total relief after my last taste, which came from refrigerated cases. Not cool. I went with Red Velvet, which the bakerista said was their most popular. At first look this is a great cupcake. The piping job was great, not too much, and the entire cupcake is covered by frosting. Of to a great start. And this continues — with the first bite, cake flavor, frosting flavor, etc. This is a really solid cupcake. The first bite revealed great flavor, not too sweet, and a seemingly perfect frosting/cake combo. Upon further cake exploration, the cake had a nearly perfect red velvet flavor and a fine, moist crumb. The frosting had a great slightly sweetened flavor. I do wish it was thicker and it lacked the tanginess that I was expecting in a cream cheese frosting (which is typically paired with red velvet). But I didn’t mind this variation because it went really well with the cake, I think it actually made the cake better. The cake:frosting ratio had a perfect combination and balance of texture and flavor and neither the cake or frosting hogged the spotlight. Big Booty’s red velvet cupcake is the perfect unassuming, classic cupcake. It doesn’t exude bitchiness or elitism. Can cupcakes be bitchy? I’m going with yes. It kind of reminded me of something my mom would make. Or my southern grandmother. If I had a southern grandma. I’m very into stepping into this kitchen again.
Big Booty Bread Company
261 W. 23rd St (@7th Ave)
New York, NY
First Bite: 4/5
Cake:Frosting Ratio: 4/5