Bakery Roundup: NYC

[Portrait of a dork (me) outside Baked] Today I am very excited to present my very first bakery roundup! Woo hoo! As some of you know, late last month, I went to NYC to visit friends and to eat dessert, and, despite the two day drizzle, I still managed to hit not one, not two, but five bakeries! That's a lot of sugar, even for me! The highlights, and the lowlights, are listed after the jump.

Sugar Sweet Sunshine. I thought it would be best to start this list with my most amazing dessert experience. You know, always good to start things on a positive note. I hadn't planned on going to this bakery. Honestly, I'd never even heard of it, but a friend of mine said that she had heard that they made some seriously delicious pistachio cupcakes, so she picked up one for me while I was off in Crown Heights for the day. Let me tell you, it was a damn good cupcake. Honestly, I think the whole cupcake trend it generally overrated. I like cupcakes, but I feel like bakery cupcakes rarely live up to the hype. This one completely did. One of the best cupcakes that I've ever had; it has completely renewed the pistachio obsession that I had as a kid!

Momofuku Milk Bar. I was super excited about going to Momofuku. Whenever there newsletter arrives in my inbox, I immediately start reading it and then begin to drool. There were soooo many things that I wanted to try, but, as I'd already had the Crack Pie and they didn't have the Arnold Palmer cake, I settled on the Cereal Milk soft serve. I've been longing to try one of their creative ice cream flavors for a long time, and cereal milk is one of their signatures, so it seemed like a good choice. It wasn't. The consistency was nice, but it just tasted like ordinary vanilla soft serve. It didn't taste like anything frankly, and, honestly, I didn't even finish it. I was sooo disappointed. This isn't to say that I won't go there again, though. I tried a bit of the Crack Pie and the Candy Bar Pie and they were both super yummy. I just got the wrong thing. After taking a quick look at their Web site a few minutes ago, I now see that they have salty caramel pistachio ice cream at their midtown location. Oh…my…god.

Baked. Anyone who visits this site on a regular basis, knows that I am all about Baked. I don't think I've ever made so many recipes out of one cookbook in my life! They were definitely on top of my bakery list. I am going to Baked, I told my friends. I am GOING to Baked! In fact, I love Baked so much that I was a little nervous about going there because I thought that I would be disappointed, but I am happy to report that it completely lived up to my expectations! I ate an entire rocky road bar and bits and pieces of the brewer's bar, the sweet and salty brownie, and an apricot thingy. All sooo good. The brownie could have used a bit more salt, but whatever, it was still a mighty good brownie. Yay, Baked! Actually, it's probably good that I don't live in NY because I'd probably be there every day scarfing down sugary goodness! Well, every other day, at least. It was definitely the highlight of the trip for me, well, except for the time the taxi cab driver told us that we should go to a swinger's club. Oy Vey.

BabyCakes. I was a little unsure about going to BabyCakes. People have such extreme opinions about this gluten-free, vegan bakery. Some people love it, others absolutely hate it! I've also heard that it depends on what you get, that some treats are good and others virtually inedible. I actually heard one person describe something that they got at BC as gross! I finally decided that I needed to give it a try for myself, so that I could see what all the fuss was about because, although I've tried recipes from their cookbook that I've really enjoyed, I'd never actually set foot inside one of their bakeries. So what was the verdict? Okay, but maybe not worth a second visit. There were a lot of comments from my friends about the cupcakes being dry, and although I didn't notice this, I wasn't in love with my carrot cake cupcake. It was fine. Don't get me wrong. I ate it, but it wasn't very exciting. Then again, generally speaking, I think most bakery cupcakes are overrated. A cupcake is a cupcake. They're good, but are the worth standing in a super long line for? Most of the time, no. I do think, though, if you are a person who is a vegan or has a gluten allergy, then BabyCakes would be like heaven on earth. For the rest of us, it's a fun thing to try and I LOVE that they think outside the box, but there are just so many other options out there.

Buttercup: (The bakery of former Magnolia co-owner Jennifer Appel.) Basically, what I said about bakery cupcakes in my review of BabyCakes also holds true here. The general consensus among everyone was that they were better than the BC cupcakes, but no one was raving about them. That's not to say that they were bad. I enjoyed the pumpkin/ginger cupcake that I got, but not any more than any other pumpkin/ginger cupcake that I've had during the course of my life. I'm not trying to be negative here, but like I said previously, it takes a lot for me to be really impressed with a cupcake. Their cupcakes are good, but unless I lived in the neighborhood, I wouldn't be making a special trip over there. But the pistachio cupcake at Sugar Sweet Sunshine? I would go out of my way any day of the week, just so I could eat one of those again!


Marguerite said...

oh man, you missed out! The best thing Sugar Sweet Sunshine makes by FAR is their banana pudding. Forget the cupcakes, especially if cupcakes aren't much your thing. They're fine, but seriously, the banana pudding is what makes sugar sweet sunshine deserve its reputation.

also, really? the cereal milk soft serve didn't taste like cornflakes in milk to you? when i had it the flavor was spot on and the resemblance uncanny. i hope they aren't slipping since i last had it.

dessert girl said...

Hi, Marguerite! Oh, man, I'll have to get the banana pudding next time! I love banana pudding!!

Yeah, the cereal milk was a bummer. At first, I read your comment and thought, oh, maybe my palate just isn't sensitive enough, but then I remembered that I gave the rest of mine to someone that I was with and she agreed that it pretty much tasted like vanilla soft serve. Maybe it was a bad batch or maybe I didn't get enough cornflake flavor in my serving. :-(

AngelaBeth said...

Oh MAN! When were you in NYC? I was there April 30th to May 3rd and my only goals were: meet my cousin, see two shows, and eat as many cupcakes as possible!

I went to Magnolias, Crumbs, and Babycakes. I felt I had to go to the typical places first, then next time I'll branch into more underground. I LOVEEEEED Babycakes' vanilla sprinkle donut. It was sooo good. (But a little too expensive.. darn fresh and expensive ingredients.) But my sister has Celiac Disease (no gluten) so Babycakes was a little more meaningful for me. It's REALLY hard to make sweets without flour and gluten! Trust me, I've tried. And Babycakes was SO worth it. I brought her back two cupcakes and two donuts, which she devoured!

Next time I'll DEF have to try your suggestions. I heard that Alice Tea place (can't remember the proper name) has some good little sweets too.

Oh, and I hit up Leo's for some bagels. Typical, but DELISH.

p.s. just read the comments on banana pudding and I have a friend (living in NYC) who goes to Magnolias JUST for the banana pudding. And you can get samples! heh.

dessert girl said...

Hi, Angela! I was actually there the weekend before you! Yeah, my brother's gf has a gluten allergy, so I definitely appreciate the effort that goes into making something gluten free AND vegan. I liked my cupcake. It just didn't knock my socks off, but I guess it's the gluten free part that is the most important element in the whole thing. I'm glad your sis liked her treats! Oh, and Alice's Tea Cup sounds cute! Especially for little ones. :-)

shaz said...

I am so envious..FIVE bakeries? Great round-up! Like you, I often think bakery cupcakes are a bit overated, they're not bad but not really exciting either. The pistachio one sounds like a real gem though (I have a bit of a thing for pistachios too) :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Aww that pic of you is SO CUTE! :) Wow how I'd love to go on a tour like this one day!

caitlyn said...

How fun that you made it to five bakeries! I just bought the Baked cookbook recently and am looking forward to baking more from it!

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