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« Dinner at Artisanal, 7/10/09 | Main | CLOSED: Dinner at Matsugen »

My sweet tooth weighs in

Whether it’s nymag.com or chow.com, I find myself constantly reading about new bakeries/cupcakeries surfacing in Manhattan. And as a proclaimed sugar-carboholic, you can only imagine what descriptions like “the moistest cake in town,” or even the word “buttercream” do to me (and my figure). Since I’m simultaneously trying to watch my weight without depriving myself of treats, I concocted a plan: If I happen to pass (and by “happen to pass,” I really mean “intend to pass”) by one of these sweet shops, I will order a dessert “to-go.” Once I return home, I will cut the baked good in to the perfect “bite sized” taste so that I can: 1) Get an idea of its flavor and texture 2) Not feel deprived or guilty 3) Save the rest for later (by placing in freezer).  Without further ado (note that these are listed in chronological order, #6 being the most recent)…


  • Big Booty Bread Co: Dulce de Leche Napoleon, Reese's Peanut Butter cookie
    • Imagine a traditional Napoleon: Stacked rectangular layers of thin and flaky pastry sandwiched (multiple times) with vanilla crème and finished with a coat of rich chocolate icing/ganache. NOW, imagine the same dessert, only instead, topped with a layer of dense dulce de leche (caramel). A truly unique and delicious Latin twist on the original.
    • I must say, Big Booty’s Reese’s PB cookie just may be the city’s best. Measuring about 3 inches in diameter, the dough is moist, buttery and chock-full of peanut butter. Topping this treat is a generous lather of lightly crumbled Reese’s PB cups.
  • Cupcake Stop: "Black and White" cupcake
    • It was straight out of the famous scene in the movies when the poor fellow is lost in the desert; and just when he thinks he’s about to take his last breath, he spots a green oasis complete with palm trees, water, etc. Picutre it: I was walking home from a farewell gathering at Otto, feeling terribly sorry for myself. All I wanted/thought-about was bringing home a small cup of olive oil gelato, only to be told that gelato is “only available for takeout in the pint size.” Just when I thought my evening was doomed, I spotted the Cupcake Stop truck! There were so many flavor variations to choose from, I wasn’t sure what or how to pick. Finally, I settled on the “Black and White” cupcake. The white cake had, without a doubt, the softest and moistest consistency of any cupcake I’ve had in NYC. The icing resembled a chocolate and vanillayin yang.I was impressed by its delicious similarity to sugar-cookie frosting (shiny and dense, with a very subtle crunch after each bite).
  • Billy's Bakery (Tribeca): Vanilla cupcake w/ pastel buttercream
    • Having read that Billy's Bakery (est. in Chelsea) had recently opened a store in Tribeca, I decided to pay my respects after a light dinner at Matsugen. I ordered 2 vanilla cupcakes with pastel buttercream, and found the cake to be slightly dry, desperately yearning for more of a generous schmear of icing.
  • Sugar Sweet Sunshine: Lemon cupcake
    • Having never stepped foot in the retail store, I was familiar with SSS's cupcakes from numerous late-night delivery orders from maxdelivery.com (yes, there is a service that delivers cupcakes in NYC). However, it was time to pay the shop a visit and try a cupcake that had not been refrigerated for a large, city-wide delivery service frequented by drunkards and gluttons, alike. What a steal! I ordered a dozen cupcakes, 10 for a housewarming party I was en route to and 2 for myself, and spent less than $20! I couldn't resist taking a bite of the bright yellow lemon cupcake. The cake was fluffy, spongy and "eggy" tasting, with just the right amount of tart lemon buttercream icing that had been lightly dusted with sugar.
  • Momofuku Milk Bar: Lemon-verbena and blackberry soft-serve
    • With all of the hoopla I'd read on the chow.com boards about the Milk Bar's "unique and eccentric" ever-changing soft serve flavors (think along the lines of jelly donut), I was eager to try a frozen treat for myself. Unfortunately on the evening I went, the three flavors were all relatively "healthy." Blackberry, apricot and lemon-verbena. With the cashier's advice, I ordered a cup of half blackberry, half lemon-verbena. While I enjoyed the blackberry, I found the lemon-verbena soft serve to taste a lot like my bar of Fragonard verbena-scented soap in my shower. Needless to say, I only ate half of the portion that I paid for.
  • "I Left my Heart at Sprinkles"
    • BEST.CUPCAKES.EVER. I'm not really sure what I was expecting from Sprinkles, but it would be safe to say that my hopes weren't high. "Oh pah-leez," I thought to myself. "Who do these Californian's think they are? NYC is the home of the cupcake, and the world's best cupcake, for that matter." Boy, was I wrong. Not only was the store more organized and stream lined than any in NYC, the employees seemed equally as happy to be there as I did. I couldn't resist ordering just one cupcake. Bah! I ordered 4: Vanilla cake with coconut-studded buttercream, chocolate cake with a marshmallow filling and dark chocolate ganache topping, carrot cake with a whipped cream cheese icing, and a blueberry cake topped with tart lemon buttercream. Each delivered a velvety moist cake and the precise amount of 100% perfect frosting.

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