Thursday, September 27, 2012

NYC's Best Cupcake - A city wide search for the perfect cake.

Hey Cupcakers,

Guest blogger, Livin Lyssa (@LivinLyssa) here.  Super excited for the chance to blog for Cupcakes Take the Cake - a blog I've been reading multiple times daily for years.  I wanted to share my search for NY's Best Cupcake with you and the self-led cupcake tour that took me across the city, eating, licking, and bouncing my way from one bakery to to the next!

If you want to skip the details of the journey and only care about the the winner, then scroll to the bottom of the post for my Best NY Cupcake nominee.  Also, feel free to venture over to my own blog, LivinLyssa, to debate about NY's Best Cupcake.

New York City isn’t officially the Cupcake Capital of the World but it’s close and I’m pretty sure it’s home to some of the most famous cupcakeries in the world, making it the number one place for someone like me, who’s a bit cupcake obsessed, to search out the Best NY.

New York City offers cupcake tours, but they’re over priced and hardly scratch the surface of the cupcake heaven that is New York.

Rather than investing in the tour, I created my own - covering 10 bakeries across  Manhattan with the freedom to indulge in as many cupcakes as my blood sugar could handle.  I even recruited a tourist to take along with me, making it a true tour!

My partner in crime for the adventure was - Heather Saffer, head cupcake at Dollop Gourmet in Rochester, NY and Cupcake Wars Champion!  If you're in the neighborhood, stop by her Rochester cupcakery, check out her ramblings on her blog, or order up a tube of Dollop's Ultimate Dude frosting to enjoy at home!

Our Cupcake Tour began in the West Village through SoHo to the East Side, and wrapped up in Midtown.

Taste Test Results:

Sweet Revenge:

  • Crimson & Cream: Raspberry Red Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Beautiful presentation. Unique twist on the classic red velvet flavors with an elegant touch of raspberry and a lightly sweeted cream cheese frosting.. I'm normally a Red Velvet hater (I know, a rarity in the world of cupcake lovers) but this tasting may have made me a Red Velvet convert. 
  • Sweet Revenge® (Seriously, it's trademarked.): Peanut Butter Cake, Ganache Filling with Peanut Butter Fudge Frosting.  Sweet's ganache was a bit too rich but in the addictive can't-put-it-down type way.  On the other hand, the cake was a bit too crumbly and the PB frosting needed a bit less sweetener and a stronger dose of peanut butter.

Molly's Cupcakes

  • Cake Batter: Does this really need an explanation?  Just imagine eating cake batter straight from the bowl.  It's a child's dream.  Vanilla cake with a gooey buttery-batter filling, and a light Swiss meringue frosting. Definitely birthday party worthy.
  • Ron Bennington:  Another PB bomb.  The center was filled with pretty much a glob of PB that any nut butter lover would enjoy.  The cake it self was chocolatey and moist and the frosting complimented the cake splendidly.  No ingredient out shined the other.  This was a perfectly paired PB & Chocolate masterpiece.
  • Mixed Berry: Great summertime delight.  Delicious berry filling with a fluffy vanilla cake and a simple swiss meringue.  Light and delicate for a hot summer day. Truly enjoyable.

Empire Cakes

  • Chocolate-Covered Snack Cake:  Yes, I know.  This isn't technically a cupcake but it's cake (yellow) and it has frosting (chocolate) and a stuffing (vanilla cream).  Plus - this is what Empire is known for.  Imagine eating a fresh off the line, Hostess snack cake. It was what I would expect - I wouldn't go out of my way to eat it again and Hostess may do it better.

Georgetown Cupcakes

  • Vanilla: Sometimes you just have to taste the classics.  This cupcake definitely had a great vanilla flavor and was made with actual vanilla bean, as I could seek the flecks, but the cake was a bit dense and a tad over baked.  C'mon Georgetown if you're going to do simple - do it right and don't let it fall wayside in the oven.
  • PB Fudge: Maybe I'm bias but this could have definitely used more peanut butter in both the frosting and the center.  I'd rename it Chocolate with a Hint of Peanut.


  • No Cupcake Report: Heather & I did journey past the Crumbs Bake Shop and stopped in to oogle the cupcakes, but at this point in the journey, I was approaching a sugar coma and had to pass on any Crumbs tasting.  I can honestly say though, these oversized cupcakes look sloppily homemade rather than deliciously appetizing.  I understand Crumbs is a cupcake paparazzi favorite but from my dedicated online research, I've conclude Crumbs cannot possibly be the Best NY Cupcake.

Billy's Bakery

  • Vanilla:  Again with the classic.  I had heard rave reviews about Billy's vanilla.  Sadly, this cupcake was crumbly, the frosting tasted a bit like plastic, and the vanilla was not prominent enough.  Billy you bombed.

Butter Lane

  • Chocolate Cookie Dough (I think that's what they called it): The rich, brown sugary filled cookie dough center was the star of this cupcake.  In my opinion, I could have just done shots of filling and scrapped the cake and frosting, which lived up to it's name with a strong buttery flavor.


  • Dark Chocolate: Maybe it's just me, but when you get big, sometimes the quality drops.  This was a three bite cupcake. One bite frosting, one bite cake, and one bite frosting & cake together.  I needed nothing more than that to tell me that the rich chocolate flavor the cupcake promoted was obviously missing.
  • Salted Caramel:  The salty-sweet mix is always a winner...except when it doesn't carry through to all portions of the cupcake.  Sprinkles' frosting was spot on and the crunchy salt was delicious but unfortunately, Sprinkles doesn't offer frosting shots and I missed the delicious caramel cake that would have made this combination stellar.

Baked by Melissa

I get the appeal here - small cupcakes!  And normally, I'd be all over mini cupcakes allowing you to eat each and every one of these but Melissa's flavors can all be lumped together.  I feel like I have to pop two of these babies in my mouth simultaneously to actually taste anything.  Because to me, I was eating was air.  Kudos to you Melissa for capitalizing on the mini-loving, calorie counting sweet addicts but it's a no-go on flavor and taste.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie
  • Cookie Dough
  • Cookies & Cream
  • Cinnamon
  • S'mores
  • Mint Chocolate Chip\

  • Salted Caramel: Again, sweet and salty.  Like Sprinkles, this had amazing, lickable, crunchable salty frosting but I'd pass on the cake.  I believe I'm seeing a pattern here with Salted Caramel cupcakes.  The bakers are spending too much time thinking about the crunchy delicious frosting and are forgeting to carry the duo into the actual cake portion of the cupcake.

Final Results:

Okay so truth be told, Heather and I never found the BEST NY CUPCAKE that day while we scoured the city, walked 5,000 miles, and ate ourselves into a sugar coma, but I did find the Best NYC Cupcakery, which later  led me to find the Best NYC Cupcake.

I gotta give it up for Molly.  She does it right.  She seriously Takes the Cake.

Molly's has a cute, friendly atmosphere and board games for entertainment; a do it your self sprinkle bar (because sprinkles make everything better); swing seats and the color yellow prominently displayed everywhere.  This place just screams happy and cupcakes make people happy.

Once I came down off my Cupcake Tour sugar high, it was clear to me which cupcakery was the best. On the Cupcake Tour all of Molly's cupcakes were delicious.  So weeks after I recovered from my cupcake binge, I ventured back to Molly's and treated myself to the Peach Cobbler Cupcake.

At first bite I knew, this cupcake was the BEST CUPCAKE I EVER ATE!

A buttery vanilla, cinnamon-like yellow cake with a coffecake crumble crust, a summer-fresh peach puree filled center, and a mound of light, fluffy, homemade whipped cream on top.  Everything about this cupcake was delicious and if I can recommend one cupcakery and one cupcake in NY it is most definitely Molly's Cupcakes' Peach Cobbler Cupcake.

Try it and let me know what you think on Twitter @LivinLyssa or my own blog!


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