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
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.
Customers can purchase up to one dozen as walk-ins. Larger orders must be ordered in advance.
Cupcakes in the window.
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!
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.
Yellow cake with chocolate ganache frosting and a red velvet with cream cheese frosting.
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.
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
Close-up of Dirty cupcake
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.
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!
1.) Magnolia Bakery
401 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10014
Phone # 212-462-2572
2.) sugar Sweet sunshine
126 Rivington Street
New York, NY 10002
Phone # 212-995-1960
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
4.) Sweet Revenge
62 Carmine Street
New York, NY 10014
Phone # 212-242-2240
5.) Two Little Red Hens
1652 2nd Avenue #1
New York, NY 10028
Phone # 212-452-0476
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