Sometimes New Yorkers tend to be a bit snarky (a witty mannerism, personality, or behavior that is a combination of sarcasm and cynicism). One fine day, we were walking down the street and I overheard someone say, "I just don't get cupcakes, what's the big deal?". Of course, the popularity of cupcakes was being called into question by someone residing in New York City. How typical.
Let me share what the big deal about cupcakes is, they are delightful little manageable treats. Cupcakes are portion control at it's finest. Cupcakes are portability at it's finest. Cupcakes need no forks or utensils. Cupcakes need, two free hands, one to peel back the paper wrapper, one to place up to mouth, and one open mouth ready to indulge.
Why in the world do we need to get down on cupcakes, I think they are brilliant.
So where did I indulge in cupcakes on my New York City getaway? Two places, but I have a third cake experience to throw off the competition. First, the Magnolia Bakery was literally a stones throw away from the place where I was staying. And the crowds were completely unbearable. Every time we passed by, morning, noon, or the wee hours of the morning, drones of people were spilling out of the space. And at their West Village location, the cupcakes are out on the shelves, you hand pick them yourself. Which seems wonderful from a logistical point of view, but I will throw into that reality, EWW- gobs of people breathing and potentially handling my cupcake. Not so much thank you. The eve of my departure I wandered into the Magnolia Bakery in Rockefeller Center, was served right away and purchased a few cupcakes to go. The cupcakes were behind glass for the record. The employees, well they were robots.
The second bakery where I indulged in the portable dessert, was Billy's Bakery. Now Billy's on the other hand was bustling, but delightfully so. Talk about a kid in a candy store, their layer cakes were stacked beyond my wildest imagination. The employees were beyond friendly, I actually wanted to hang out with a few of them, even when ordering at about 9:45 at night, fifteen minutes before closing on a Sunday. Not one crabby stare down, but rather some very happy employees. Funny enough, on my first visit a few days prior, I was chatting up some lovely NY Police Officers out front, who wouldn't let me buy them a cupcake, but I had a feeling they may inquire for my phone number. It was funny and I regret not getting a photo of that moment.
My third cake experience, was a beautiful slice of Coconut Cake from Balthazar's bakery. This cake proved why cupcakes have taken the lead in the portable dessert department. I didn't bother to grab a fork, so the three of us just went to town on the cake right out front on the street. I had the meringue frosting and coconut all over my face. My hands were covered in the smooth and rich filling, but it was worth every chuckle and stain.
And the results? Well, Balthazar won it hands down for me. I regret not indulging in the layer cakes at Billy's or Magnolia's. I know a little unfair of me. The Balthazar cake was moist and delicious, it had a beautiful meringue feeling frosting, like nothing I have ever tasted before. In the cupcake department, my first choice is Billy's. Their cake was moist and the balance of the sweetness of the buttercream frosting was just perfect. For taste testing purposes, I always eat a vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting. I found Magnolia's cupcakes to be delicious as well, but just a tad too sweet in the frosting department. It tasted as if I was spooning confectioner's sugar straight into my mouth.
Overall any disappointment, no way! Loved them all. Loved the atmosphere and employees at Billy's hands down. I highly recommend a stop by the next time you are in West Chelsea! Oh and the cupcakes are very well priced, $2.25 at Billy's and $2.50 at Magnolia's. I have paid $2.75 for what tasted like a cupcake from a box in Denver before, which wouldn't even compare to these!
Next time I am in NYC, I must seek out Crumbs. I missed that one completely.Although J has mentioned they boldly opened one just doors down from my Beverly Hill's favorite, Sprinkles. So many little bakery gems, so little time!
Here enjoy a laugh to go, sorry it's not a cupcake...