NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 4/1/09 (WITH PICS)!

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billyboy
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2008/09/13 16:43:13 (permalink)

NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 4/1/09 (WITH PICS)!

STOPS #6 THROUGH #10 ARE ON PAGE 2 OF THIS THREAD. ENJOY!!!

STOPS #11 THROUGH #15 ARE ON PAGE 2 OF THIS THREAD AS OF 4/1/09-billyboy


A few weeks ago, I decided to embark on a one-man cupcake tour of New York City to decide who I thought had the best. Much has been written in local magazines, blogs and on sites such as Chowhound.com and there has been a great deal of debate about whose are tops. I managed to come up with around 35-40 places to try and I know that my list is by no means comprehensive.


Since I'm doing this alone (although sometimes with the help of friends and/or my girlfriend), it's going to take me a while to get through my list and I'll post them here in installments. Some of my criteria are:

1.) Try 2 cupcakes from each place, one standard chocolate or vanilla and one specialty cupcake.
2.) Focus on places that specialize in cupcakes. Not a hard and fast rule as there are a few restaurants/bakeshops that I have my eye on.
3.) Limit the search to cupcakes costing $4 or less. My thinking being that most people are not going to pay more than that for one cupcake.
4.) Take photos of exterior/interior of cupcakes shops and of cupcakes both as they are presented and cut in half.
5.) Rate the cupcakes based on moistness/texture of cake (I like a most cake and by that I mean that it should have a springy/spongy texture when pressed with a finger, but not so wet that it sticke to my finger after), consistency/flavor of frosting (the frosting, for me, should be creamy and smooth, not hard like a shell and the intended flavor (chocolate, cream cheese, etc...) should not be trumped by the taste of sugar, value for the price and overall experience at shop.



Stop #1
Magnolia Bakery

The exterior

Customers can purchase up to one dozen as walk-ins. Larger orders must be ordered in advance.

Cupcakes in the window.

Pastel cupcakes.

My cupcakes to go.

Chocolate cupcake with pastel buttercream frosting.

And another shot of it.

Chocolate cupcake with chocolate buttercream frosting.

Another shot of it.


The Breakdown: These cupcakes were ok. Decent chocolate flavor to the cake, not terribly moist, but would work best with a cold glass of milk. I felt the pastel frosting was somewhat muted and it didn't "pop" for me, but the chocolate frosting had a nice chocolate flavor that came through. These were $2.50 each and seemed a bit small to me for the price. Much has been made about this particular shop since the HBO show, "Sex and the City" put them on the map. There are usually long lines to get in, but I won't wait if there is one. I have been here a few times and never waited more than 10 minutes to buy my baked goods. It's strictly a takeout shop and no seating inside, it is a beautiful shop with lots of charm to it, however, with so many other cupcakes places in the city, I wouldn't make a special trip there for the cupcakes. Being my first stop, I forgot to cut them in half for their close-up. I've made subsequent trips there and must says that they have other baked goods such as pies, cakes, bars and I do highly recommend a trip for their banana pudding and their Snickers icebox pie!



Stop #2
sugar Sweet sunshine

Black & White cupcake and a Red Velvet cupcake.

Close up of the Black & White (with vanilla buttercream).

Black & White, split open.

Sexy Red Velvet (with "The Moose" frosting-whipped buttercream)

Red Velvet, split open

Red Velvets in the case

The Top Ten list.

Outside sugar Sweet sunshine


The Breakdown: Both of these cupcakes were very moist and very inexpensive at $1.50 each. The buttercream on the Black & White was tangy and light. The "Moose" frosting was amazing! The lightest, tastiest frosting I've had in a while, like eating a yummy cloud. High marks for these and they have a few tables inside where one can relax with their treats, They do also offer other good such as cookies, cakes, puddings, etc... They are located in the Lower East Side neighborhood of Manhattan. Not an old-fashioned shop, but a friendly locals kind of place.



Stop #3
Tonnie's Minis

Yellow cake with chocolate ganache frosting and a red velvet with cream cheese frosting.

Close-up

Split open

Red velvet close-up

Red velvet, split open

Interior of Tonnie's Minis.

Cupcake list at Tonnie's.


The Breakdown: I put these somewhere in the middle so far. I liked them and they were somewhat moist, but not the best I've had. The frostings received high marks from me as the ganache had a slight bitterness to it that I loved and the cream cheese frosting was light and sweet with a good cream cheese presence to it. I believe these were $1.75 each. Tonnie's shares space with BB Sandwich Bar (they make only one thing, cheesesteak sandwiches) and they do have tables where one can eat inside. The staff here were very nice and and they got a kick out of watching me take pics of my cupcakes and were very cool and interested when I told them why I was doing this. They are located in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan. If it's a nice day (and they have finally finished work on it), you can take your cupcakes to nearby Washington Square Park and indulge on a bench whilst watching the people go by. I'd come here if I was in the area, but wouldn't go out of my way for it.



Stop #4
Sweet Revenge

Packaging at Sweet Revenge.

Dirty (with bittersweet chocolate ganache), presented in a cup

Sweet Revenge (with peanut buttercream), presented in a cup

Dirty and Sweet, side by side.

Close-up of Sweet Revenge cupcake

Split open

Close-up of Dirty cupcake

Split open

Cupcake menu.

Cupcake case

Exterior of Sweet Revenge shop.


The Breakdown: I found out about Sweet Revenge after doing some online research for this project. I got a little lost trying to find it in the winding streets of the West Village, but once I got there, I was excited as they all looked tasty. The staff was very nice and even chatted with me a bit about my project. I really like the look of this place and the best way I could describe it is "casually hip". They do have a few tables and they offer meals as well as cupcakes. The presentation of the cupcakes in the parchment paper was a nice touch as none of the cake stuck to it, which meant more for me and the it gave the cupcakes a very interesting shape. The cups are the perfect transportation vehicle as opposed to boxes where the cakes can get jostled around and the frosting ends up on the inside of the box. I took these home where my girlfriend and I split them. The Sweet Revenge was very good, moist cake and there was a tasty dollop of chocolate ganache in the middle but I wished that the buttercream had a bit more peanut butter flavor to it. The salted peanuts on top were a nice touch. Nothing prepared me for the Dirty. This was one seriously moist cupcake and the bittersweet chocolate ganache dusted with cocoa powder was very rich and decadent. A real winner! They are a bit on the high end with the Dirty being $3.25 and the Sweet Revenge at $3.50 each. I would definitely return to eat these again as a special treat and to try the other ones on the menu, but I wouldn't make it a regular thing as they are a little more than I would want to spend on a cupcake.



Stop#5
Two Little Red Hens

Exterior of shop

Cupcakes on display

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache

Lemon Pucker cupcakes

Inside Two Little Red Hens

Lemon and chocolate, side by side

c/u of Lemon Pucker

c/u of Chocolate w/sprinkles

c/u of Lemon Pucker

Lemon Pucker, split open

Chocolate w/sprinkles, split open



The Breakdown: The BEST of the bunch! This was a truly moving food experience. Located in the Upper East Side neighborhood of Manhattan, they have a few tables for sitting, but I got mine to go and split them at home with my girlfriend. The staff were very accommodating and a deal closer for me is that the girl behind the counter suggested that I wait to eat them for a about 30 minutes as they were in the refrigerated case and they really should come up to room temp first to truly enjoy them. Little thing likes that are what bring me back again. I picked up a Chocolate cupcake with chocolate ganache and sprinkles for $2.75. This was super moist and the ganache was another bittersweet winner. I wasn't sure what my specialty choice would be, but when I overheard the description of the Lemon Pucker, I knew I had to have it and I was justly rewarded for it. The combination of incredibly moist lemony cake, lemon curd filling and smooth cream cheese frosting was nothing short of magical for me! I wish all cupcakes were this good. I was just fantasizing about this cupcake as I wrote this and now I want more! I am torn about this one though as it is $4.00. Definitely on the high end, but so worth it!


The Info:

1.) Magnolia Bakery
401 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10014
Phone # 212-462-2572
Website: www.magnoliabakery.com


2.) sugar Sweet sunshine
126 Rivington Street
New York, NY 10002
Phone # 212-995-1960
Website: www.sugarsweetsunshine.com
Roadfood review: http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Overview.aspx?RefID=5180


3.) Tonnie's Minis
120 West 3rd Street
New York, NY 10012
Phone # 212-473-2002
Website: www.carrotcakesonline.com


4.) Sweet Revenge
62 Carmine Street
New York, NY 10014
Phone # 212-242-2240
Website: www.sweetrevengenyc.com


5.) Two Little Red Hens
1652 2nd Avenue #1
New York, NY 10028
Phone # 212-452-0476
Website: www.twolittleredhens.com


That's it for now, folks! I'll keep sampling more and posting as I can. Hope you enjoy it!

post edited by billyboy - 2009/04/01 23:49:54
#1

49 Replies Related Threads

    agnesrob
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/13 17:03:17 (permalink)
    OMG I'm going to relook at these pictures all evening! Those all look so good! Thanks for sharing. I love your reports.
    #2
    Russ Jackson
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/13 17:05:25 (permalink)
    Great stuff....Russ
    #3
    leethebard
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/13 17:13:57 (permalink)
    Wow...I feel like a kid again,looking at all those cupcakes....boy does that look like a lot of fun!!!! Thanks for sharing the good times!!
    #4
    ann peeples
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/13 17:23:47 (permalink)
    You like your sweets, Billyboy! Great looking pics-I absolutely love red velvet anything!!!
    #5
    Michael Hoffman
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/13 17:31:09 (permalink)
    My only question is this: Why on Earth would anyone want to eat a cupcake in the first place?Letmeextend that to cakes and pies, as well.
    #6
    CajunKing
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/13 18:06:31 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Michael Hoffman

    My only question is this: Why on Earth would anyone want to eat a cupcake in the first place?Letmeextend that to cakes and pies, as well.


    Because We Can!!


    Billy My Boy - I am jealous, I miss living in a large city and having that type of choice near by.

    This looks like an amazing adventure, can't wait to see some more
    #7
    Twinwillow
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/13 19:05:50 (permalink)
    Great comprehensive report. They all looked so yummy! I'm jealous. I wish I could have gone along with for this tasting. The cupcakes from Magnolia appeared better than you described them. Go's to show you, looks are deceiving. Oh, well. back to my diet.
    #8
    Twinwillow
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/13 19:08:05 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Michael Hoffman

    My only question is this: Why on Earth would anyone want to eat a cupcake in the first place?Letmeextend that to cakes and pies, as well.



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    #9
    Pancho
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/13 19:44:08 (permalink)
    Nice commentary and pics! I have but one question....did you eat ALL of the ones pictured and how much time elapsed? I had no idea NYC had cupcake specialty shops. I've been missing alot. Drat.
    #10
    tcrouzer
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/13 19:52:41 (permalink)
    Great report, BB! I love the way you have approached this! All in the name of a thorough study, right? I knew when I saw that Lemon Pucker cupcake that it would be delicious and the lemon curd inside just put it over the top IMO! I love cupcakes!!! They are petite, not too filling (if you just eat one), personal, make a mundane day feel like a party, and if done right, delicious! And they do make you feel like a kid again. I've not seen too many folks turn down a cupcake...."see it's small"....."just one little cake"....."awwww, com'on and try one!"

    Looking forward to the rest of your tour!
    Teresa
    #11
    outolunch
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/13 23:58:57 (permalink)
    billyboy, what a great report! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. I was wondering if you were going to include the Cupcafe Cafe in your sampling. A friend brought me some a while ago. The taste was only okay, but the cupcakes were a work of art. I couldn't get over how beautiful they were.
    #12
    billyboy
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/14 10:51:00 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Michael Hoffman

    My only question is this: Why on Earth would anyone want to eat a cupcake in the first place?Letmeextend that to cakes and pies, as well.




    Mr. Hoffman,

    I think my answer to that query can be best summed up in song:

    Now, the world don't move to the beat of just one drum,
    What might be right for you, may not be right for some.
    A man is born, he's a man of means.
    Then along come two, they got nothing but their jeans.

    But they got, Diff'rent Strokes.
    It takes, Diff'rent Strokes.
    It takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world.

    Everybody's got a special kind of story
    Everybody finds a way to shine,
    It don't matter that you got not alot
    So what,
    They'll have theirs, and you'll have yours, and I'll have mine.
    And together we'll be fine....

    Because it takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world.
    Yes it does.
    It takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world.
    #13
    tarragon
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/14 12:14:36 (permalink)
    Billyboy, what a great report - "it's a tough job, but -somebody's- got to do it, right?" Last Wednesday's food section of the Washington Post had a cupcake survey of the DC area; unfortunately, they only reviewed cupcakes from -two- bakeries, one of them vegan. I'm sad to report that as good as the vegan cupcakes looked, the reviewers said they tasted awful! Wish I was up in NYC, I'd surely try some of those cupcakes you reviewed; and some of them were very reasonably priced! Thanks again.
    #14
    MiamiDon
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/14 13:10:01 (permalink)
    Hats off to your effort. I just re-read your intro, and realized that you are going to go to ALL of them!

    I thought that I was not a fan of cupcakes, until on Friday when I went to a new cupcake shop on US-1 across from the University of Miami, Misha's. I picked up a six-pack of mini's for my wife. She laid out three apiece for dessert. I really liked them, and now I have another vice to avoid.

    I had thought that there were no cupcake shops here (I was waiting for the caterer Misha to open her shop), but Google just told me that there are now four shops in town! I guess the NY craze is drifting down to here. Do you think that is my RF duty to try all of them?
    #15
    billyboy
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/14 13:30:23 (permalink)
    Twinwillow, yeah, Magnolia does great presentation on their cupcakes, but the lack of moistness is where they lose points, IMHO.

    Pancho, out of the 10 cupcakes so far, I personally ate 7 of them over the course of about 2 weeks. I split some of them with my girlfriend. The wealth of cupcake shops has sprung up in the last 5-10 years, I think. Lots to choose from!

    Outolunch, I have the Cupcake Cafe on my list. I went there about 6 months ago and had a very wonderful experience, but I wasn't fond of the cupcakes. I hope I'll like them this time around. They are very pretty though.

    MiamiDon, I command you to eat all cupcakes in a 50 mile radius!!
    #16
    bethgrd
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/14 13:33:50 (permalink)
    Wow...great report. You have performed a valuable service for us all.
    Will def use as a reference next time in NYc.

    LOOK DELICIOUS.
    BETH
    #17
    Slim Strummer
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/14 13:55:58 (permalink)
    Great stuff.

    Are you going to go to Crumb's and eat the Artie Lange cupcake? Pleaseohpleaseohplease (with pics!).
    #18
    Ahi Mpls.
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/14 14:03:41 (permalink)
    Oh my gosh the lemon pucker!!!!!!!! Too yummy, I'd have to eat 3 or four {know when to say WHEN, NOT ME!!} Now please don't yell at me , but what is the flavor of red velvet ? maybe cocoa ?? I've got to get out MORE!!!!!
    #19
    Nancypalooza
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/14 14:20:53 (permalink)
    Dear Billy,

    Admit it, you are trying to kill me, aren't you?

    Kisses,
    N

    PS Thanks for getting a lemon in there for us pucker lovers.
    #20
    will_work_4_bbq
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/14 14:56:46 (permalink)
    Fabulous report! The pictures are outstanding!
    #21
    CCinNJ
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/14 21:55:41 (permalink)
    Wow! In the age when the cupcake is usually reserved as the dreaded bake sale fundraiser purchase, you reminded me that there are some quaility and tasty treats, in the big city. Many thanks Billy!

    You take the good, you take the bad,
    you take them both and there you have
    The facts of life, the facts of life.

    There’s a time you got to go and show
    You’re growin’ now you know about the facts of life,
    The facts of life.

    When the world never seems to be livin up to your dreams
    And suddenly you’re finding out
    The facts of life are all about you, you.

    It takes a lot to get ‘em right
    When you’re learning the facts of life. (learning the facts of life)
    Learning the facts of life (learning the facts of life)
    Learning the facts of life.
    #22
    Tony Bad
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/14 22:44:54 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by billyboy

    Mr. Hoffman,

    I think my answer to that query can be best summed up in song:

    Now, the world don't move to the beat of just one drum,
    What might be right for you, may not be right for some.
    A man is born, he's a man of means.
    Then along come two, they got nothing but their jeans.

    But they got, Diff'rent Strokes.
    It takes, Diff'rent Strokes.
    It takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world.

    Everybody's got a special kind of story
    Everybody finds a way to shine,
    It don't matter that you got not alot
    So what,
    They'll have theirs, and you'll have yours, and I'll have mine.
    And together we'll be fine....

    Because it takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world.
    Yes it does.
    It takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world.



    BillyBoy, I can't decide what I like better...your report or this reply.

    You are the greatest either way!
    #23
    EliseT
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/15 04:34:10 (permalink)
    Mmmm dulce de leche!!!

    I certainly hope you are food blogging.
    #24
    Sneetch
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/15 12:51:19 (permalink)
    bravo again, billyboy!
    it's always gratifying to live vicariously through all the amazing trip reports on roadfood, and yours never fail to please...
    #25
    cecif
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/15 13:36:23 (permalink)
    Bill, this is gorgeous! YUM!
    (And fyi I think cupcakes are more $$ here, at least "Sweet" is...)

    It tempts me to do something similar with my fave: grilled cheese.
    #26
    tiki
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/15 17:41:40 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Michael Hoffman

    My only question is this: Why on Earth would anyone want to eat a cupcake in the first place?Letmeextend that to cakes and pies, as well.

    Oh Mr Hoffman!--you really ARE getting old!! Cupcakes are FUN!--Great report!
    #27
    buffetbuster
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/15 22:16:28 (permalink)
    billyboy-
    Excellent stuff as always and this is truly a noble pursuit. Really looking forward to following you along on your quest.
    #28
    harriet1954
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/25 19:52:22 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Michael Hoffman

    My only question is this: Why on Earth would anyone want to eat a cupcake in the first place?Letmeextend that to cakes and pies, as well.


    Mr. Hoffman: Cupcakes are very nice! Cakes and pies are good, too, but like anything else, the quality has to be there. And the value too, especially in today's economy.

    Billy, this was a fun and unique report to look at. Brian and I first looked at it on Sunday evening, but I thought I'd comment later on.

    Sometimes I think that these little specialty places are just too "precious" for lack of a better word. I grew up in the age of old fashioned bakeries, and I seriously still think that that's where the nicest cupcakes would come from (I also bake a mean Red Velvet cupcake too).

    Hmmm. I think you'd have to take me along on one of these future cupcake tours to convince me otherwise.

    But this was sure fun to look at.
    #29
    Jennifer_4
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    RE: NYC Cupcake Tour UPDATED 11/16/08 (WITH PICS)! 2008/09/25 20:36:27 (permalink)
    Great pics and report! If I had cupcakes like that to eat, I might like cupcakes....but here is my problem.. I grew up on cupcakes that were nothing more than regular cake mix and frosting, in a smaller size..even as a child, taste was the thing, and I just couldn't get behind packaged cake mixes and frostings.. and no one I knew made "homemade" cupcakes (or cake). So the only cupcakes I have ever tasted, were from a box. Someday I'll have a great cupcake and that will be a great day.
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