Review: Prohibition Bakery Cupcakes

I recently sat down with Prohibition Bakery's owners, Brooke Siem and Leslie Feinberg to talk (mini) cupcakes and (mega) cocktails.

Prohibition Bakery

Brooke and Leslie with mini (boozy) cupcakes.

Brooke is a classically trained chef who has put in time at ChefMod and restaurant WD~50 with Wylie Dufresne (I kinda love him). Leslie is a mixologist/bartender who has plied her trade getting NYC's best and brightest drunk and drunker. They both found themselves unemployed and broke earlier this year and, as they say, "A chef and a mixologist walk into a bar and Prohibition Bakery was born."

Prohibition Bakery

"We're all about vice," says Leslie.

The cupcakes:

Prohibition Bakery

For the love of bacon, strawberry daiquiri, shiny apple, salted margarita, pretzels and beer, scotch and cigar, car bomb, pretzels and beer, scotch and cigar, car bomb, strawberry daiquiri, L'Italiano, shiny apple, for the love of bacon, L'Italiano (back to forward left to right).

I don't drink alcohol, so I invited a tasting pro, Matthew Stevens coeditor of Dessert Professional magazine to assist me. He loves the pairing of alcohol and sweets and has provided tasting notes for CTTC in the past. And with these cupcakes, there's alcohol in the frosting and filling (!) but not necessarily in the cake. As in, there's no macerating the cakes in alcohol, although they might have the flavor of alcohol, such as the beer baked into the pretzels and beer cupcake.

On to the cupcakes:

Prohibition Bakery

Scotch and cigar (molasses, Laphroaig scotch and tobacco).  Before I tell you the horrors I experienced at the hands of this cupcake, let me just say I detest cigars (and cigarettes) and I do not drink, nor do I like the taste or flavor of alcohol. I mistakenly thought it would be a mild version of a "manly" flavored dessert, with hints of scotch and the merest whiff of smoke. Ohhh no. This cupcake is like eating a cigar and scotch and sugar confection. I loathed it. But -- and here's where having a pro taster came in, Mathew pronounced it one of the best things he'd ever tried. He LOVED it! He was very impressed (it's tough to impress him) and he felt it was worthy of an award. For what? Dunno. He said you get a full-on flavor sensation of scotch, a quality scotch, and the delicious taste of a fine cigar. He claimed to have tasted actual tobacco in the mix and he is probably right.

If you like scotch and spirits, and you like cigars, you will love this cupcake. If, like me, you do not like either, you should stay far away. Let the buyer (taster) beware.

This cupcake is not for the faint of heart. (Or palette.)

Next up, the Irish car bomb. (No hate mail please, I didn't name the cupcake.)

Prohibition Bakery

Irish car bomb (Bailey's, whiskey, stout and chocolate).

Prohibition Bakery


Matthew thought this was a very unified, well-married cupcake. He said the flavors combined well to form a delicious package that he ate in one quick bite. The he asked for another one. He found it smooth, and I believe he actually said, "It's like an inside-out Ding-Dong, only better."  I tasted a teeny-tiny piece (I had learned my lesson with the scotch and cigar one) and I found it to be pleasant with well-defined flavors and mildly alcoholic. The ganache filling was divine.

For the love of bacon:

Prohibition Bakery

Bacon, toffee and chocolate.


Prohibition Bakery

As a vegetarian I couldn't taste this one, but I was eager to see what Matthew thought. He confessed early on that he doesn't like bacon in sweets. I let him eat his mini and watched his face. I knew it was a success when he asked for the second one. He said, "I would say this is a successful bacon cupcake." Then he looked confused, as if someone had pulled a fast one on him. He went on to say the common pitfalls found in bacon cupcakes weren't present at all. No oiliness, excellent crisped texture. He said he felt the bacon was handled well, almost like a lardon, with all parts coming together to form a perfect taste.I suspect he would have eaten a third one, if we had it.

Next up, we had no idea what flavor it was but we tried it anyway. By process of elimination, we discovered it was the Shiny Apple (moonshine, cheddar, apple).

Prohibition Bakery

Since we didn't know what we were tasting we just make notes on what we thought. We both decided it was good. Very good. Light, no real alcoholic taste or aftertaste, and rich but airy. We loved the topping, which to us had a cheese wafer-type taste. We tasted fruit but decided it might be orange. Or a mixed flavor. Once we went back and ID'ed it, it was like, Ohhh, of course it's apple.  *sigh*

Next up was my favorite:

Prohibition Bakery

The L'Italino: rosemary cake, cranberry filling, roasted almond frosting.

Prohibition Bakery

Delicious! Sweet yet savory. The rosemary was right up there with the first bite, then the almond and then the sweet sugary flavors of the buttercream and cranberry. Not only was this a scrumptious cupcake, it was the prettiest of the bunch. The presentation was wonderful. This cupcake was a good choice for me as it had no meat and no alcohol. It's sophisticated and probably not for kids. I could have eaten a half-dozen, easily.

Next in line was the strawberry daiquiri:

Prohibition Bakery

Strawberry daiquiri (rum, strawberry and lime).

Prohibition Bakery

This cupcake smells so darn good. It was very very sweet (perhaps like a strawberry daiquiri might taste?) and the strawberry taste came through clearly. The rum was more of a mild finish, an aftertaste that lingered pleasantly on the palette. It's not too rich but rich enough. It's like drinking your cocktailed dessert or eating your alcohol. Yummy. Both Mathew and I liked this one.

Last up was the well-deserved best seller, the perfect pretzels and beer:

Prohibition Bakery

Pretzels and beer (pale ale, nutella and pretzels).

Prohibition Bakery

This was clearly Matthew's favorite cupcake and my second choice. It was delicious and needed no tinkering at all. The beer was baked into the cupcake lending it the flavor without the alcohol bite. I didn't taste the nutella nor did Matthew but we thought this cupcake was perfection and fought over who would get the last bite. (He won.) We thought it was malty, crunchy, salty and sweet with a perfect texture. I challenge you to find someone who wouldn't enjoy this cupcake! The sugar cuts the salt and the salt cuts the sugar and the chocolate and hoppy taste all come together. Brooke and Leslie, this is your killer cupcake.

Phone:  646.454.9970

Cupcakes are approximately $34 to $48 for 2 dozen minis, 2 dozen minimum order.

Gluten-free minis are in development, no vegan or allergy-free stuff planned as of yet.

Local NYC delivery available, with surcharge.

You can see the whole set of pictures here, all shot by Stacie Joy for CTTC.



Gerri S. Reid said…
Wow! Alcohol and cupcakes...that's a winner. I have seen "Cocktail cupcakes" springing up in the cupcake scene. Very nice for a an adult party. Loved the ideas and pics!