Let them eat cake!

Let them eat cake! Lots of it, as it turns out. I don’t know who’s responsible for the trendiness in recent years of cupcakes, but I’d like to send a personal shout out (years late, I know) laced with lots of gratitude his or her way. Yo! Way to go, person! Very. Good. Idea.

New York City seems to be the epicenter of Operation Cupcake Resurgence, so I set out last weekend to do a little recon and taste-testing. Not as much as I’d hoped, frankly. It was a good start:

Magnoia BakeryFirst off we had Magnolia Bakery, which I’d heard good things about years ago but not lately. It wasn’t on my list, but was very near my hotel. These are their cupcakes. I didn’t even have one because (and this may come as a surprise) I don’t like frosting. I know, I know… that doesn’t seem particularly characteristic… here’s the thing about frosting: It’s kind-of like gratuitous violence. It’s just such an easy win. Too easy. And almost always too sweet, in my opinion. So these Magnolia Bakery cupcakes just did not appeal to me. Too much frosting. For me, it’s about the cake.

I tried a flourless chocolate cake that was remarkably light and fluffy for flourless, but not enough flavor for me. Almost threw it away (then decided against it!). The people behind the counter were super friendly (Bonus points for the Magnolia Bakers!). One guy gave me a taste of banana pudding. It’s what I’d get if I went back there. Outstanding!

Saturday afternoon I bailed on BlogHer sessions to try out the 2 Little Red Hens Bakery at 2nd Avenue and 86th on the Upper East Side. Oh. My. Goodness. This whole place was a little slice of heaven…

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I’d read great review of the Brooklyn Blackout chocolate cake filled with chocolate pudding. How could you go wrong? This cupcake was so rich it took me more than one sitting to eat it. The Red Velvet mini cupcakes were one of the best things I’ve ever eaten… and the frosting, hands down, was the best I’ve ever had. It’s a tangy cream cheese, not too sweet.

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Another huge bonus for the 2 Little Red Hens is that inside it feels like you’ve left Manhattan just for a moment… or like maybe it’s Manhattan, Kansas. If it was a little bigger it might be quiet, too. It’s a tiny little place, though, just room enough for a few tables. Perfect for an afternoon coffee and cupcake break in the neighborhood. I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’m already thinking about how to fit cupcakes into the Best of 2010 list!

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More than anything… what I realize about my cupcake taste-testing is I love to bake cupcakes. You can make a whole batch and throw half in the freezer for later. They are sooooo good on the reheat, soft and warm. Making your own will save you a LOT of money, too, the cupcake market’s through the roof!
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Describing the flourless cake makes me wander to Ellie’s fabulous recipe. ALso, “not enough flavor for me” is hysterical-there can never be enough chocolate in anything for your or me!

  2. I am totally with you on the frosting, I hate it when you can feel the granules of sugar against your teeth! It needs to be creamy and smooth, people. I think you could do well baking cupcakes and selling them. Not sure how you sell cupcakes online but I’m sure you would figure out a way.

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